Reflections About the MiddCORE Journey

An update from Team Northstar Facilitator, Jonathan Miller-Lane:

We are midway through week two of MiddCORE SNC, Summer 2013. Team Northstar is thick in the work of moving from “themes, to insights, to platforms” as we develop strategies for a national campaign to raise awareness about, and affirm the importance of, First Generation college students.  Chastity Lord, Chief External Officer of Achievement First, who delivered the First Generation challenge during Week One, is now here with us to shepherd students through week two and to our final presentations on Friday morning. Blake Glenn from What If! Innovations has played a key role over the past five days in unraveling the creative process.  Rather than relying on the limited practice of ‘brainstorming,’ Blake has challenged students to develop a much deeper and intellectual understanding of how to move from impulsive reactions to a question, to a rich and nuanced process of data collection, analysis and synthesis.  Not surprisingly, the young men and women of MiddCORE have responded with marvelous creativity and the kind of energy that only 20 somethings can muster!!

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Marc Randolph, co-founder of Netflix and Start-Up Consultant is back with us this week, reviewing students’ individual innovations and offering both critique and inspiration.  Dr. Helen Reiss from Harvard Medical School presented a lecture on the neuroscience of empathy and its relevance to effective group dynamics. EJ Bartlett from Middlebury MiddCORE led students through a Tuesday morning session on how to represent abstract ideas into concrete images and forms.  Once again, like all mentor presentations, EJ’s emphasis was on becoming more conscious, aware and explicit in one’s expressions of ideas and meanings.  Tuesday afternoon, Chastity Lord and Blake Glenn will offer an initial review of team Northstar’s group work to date—examining how students have responded to all the advice and ideas they have heard!

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Evening sessions for the remainder of this week will focus on Financial Literacy and Investment.  In addition, we will continue to work on Communications Strategies with Ben LaBolt and how to conduct more effective research with John Hedden. Our days are full, challenging and inspiring!

-Jonathan Miller-Lane, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Education, Middlebury College
Team Northstar Facilitator

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