Sterling President Rama Kavaliauskas was a guest speaker at the Waubonsee Community College-Vision 2050 Futures Summit on June 23, 2015. Renowned business futurist and innovation thought leader Nicholas J. Webb was the event’s keynote speaker. His theme “The Future of Disruptive Innovations” focused on innovation and how the traditional innovations of the past, both incremental and landmark, are no longer enough. Future innovations will need to be breakthrough and/or disruptive. Moving forward, the only changes that matter are those that are “fast and deep”.
“I found his projections on the future of education very insightful and they certainly fit with trends we’re seeing in the engineering field”, noted Kavaliauskas. “Mr. Webb pointed out that a degree will no longer be the only requirement to land a job, candidates will need to prove they’re able to apply that knowledge to create or invent.”
As President of a 45 year old engineering and technical staffing company, Ms. Kavaliauskas drew on her industry knowledge, research, and expertise to highlight trends in the manufacturing sector for her presentation, “The Age of Specialization,” and provided examples of how the revolution in technology has displaced many of yesterday’s workforce skills and will continue to make certain skills obsolete. “Our future workforce will need to be nimble and adept at acquiring more advanced skills on an ongoing basis. These tools will be critical to keep up with the rapid advances in technology” she cautioned. “It’s a mindset we need to instill in students for a successful career. Education will not stop at graduation” advised Kavaliauskas.
Demonstrating knowledge and competencies was also the focus of Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy President Dr. José Torres’ presentation, who spoke of digital badges as “the new currency.”
Faculty members Allison Beltramini and Justin Hoshaw presented “Personal Touch in a High-Tech Learning Environment,” and “Preparing for Sustainability,” with President/CEO of The Conservation Foundation Brook McDonald. Waubonsee Community College President Dr. Christine Sobek believes the timing is right for Vision 2050 with the school’s upcoming 50th anniversary in 2016. “Our anniversary is not just about our past but also the chance to tell the story of our future,” said Dr. Sobek speaking to the 250 attendees at the summit. “We’re here today to write the next chapter together.”