Establishing a School of Gumption in university campuses can have a significant impact on the personal and professional development of students. Gumption, defined as the willingness to take initiative and to take risks, is a vital quality that is necessary for success in all areas of life. In the world of Artificial Intelligence, where machines are rapidly taking over routine tasks and even more complex decision-making processes, it is more important than ever for universities to establish a School of Gumption.
The School of Gumption is not a historical institution, but rather a hypothetical school that embodies certain values and attributes that are seen as increasingly important in the modern world. However, the concept of gumption itself has a long history, and can be traced back to the ancient Indian scriptures, as well as in many modern writings.
In his famous 1907 essay “The Energies of Men,” William James, philosopher and psychologist, wrote about the importance of gumption in achieving success and fulfilling one’s potential. He defined gumption as “the will to do,” and argued that it was essential for individuals to cultivate this quality in order to overcome obstacles and achieve their goals.
While the term “School of Gumption” may be a modern construct, the concept of cultivating certain qualities and attributes in order to succeed in life has a long history in education. Many ancient Indian philosophers, for example, believed that education should be aimed at developing the whole person, and not just imparting knowledge or skills.
Similarly, many modern schools and universities have emphasized the importance of cultivating qualities like creativity, empathy, and critical thinking alongside more traditional academic pursuits. The School of Gumption can be seen as a modern embodiment of this idea, emphasizing the importance of certain attributes in the age of AI and automation.
Here are some reasons why:
- To foster creativity and innovation: While machines may be able to crunch numbers and perform routine tasks, they cannot replicate human creativity and innovation. A School of Gumption can help to cultivate these uniquely human traits by encouraging students to think outside the box and take risks in their work.
- To promote ethical decision-making: As AI becomes more prevalent in our society, there is a growing need for ethical decision-making and responsible use of these technologies. A School of Gumption can provide students with the tools and knowledge they need to navigate these complex ethical issues and make responsible decisions.
- To develop critical thinking skills: While machines are great at processing large amounts of data, they are not equipped to interpret or analyze that data in a meaningful way. A School of Gumption can help students develop the critical thinking skills they need to make sense of complex data and draw insights from it.
- To cultivate empathy and human connection: As machines become more prevalent in our society, there is a risk that we may lose our sense of empathy and human connection. A School of Gumption can help to foster these important human traits by encouraging students to connect with others and to develop a deeper understanding of the human experience.
- To prepare students for a changing job market: As AI and automation continue to transform the job market, there is a growing need for workers who can think creatively, make ethical decisions, and collaborate effectively with others. A School of Gumption can help to prepare students for this changing job market by providing them with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in the new economy.
- Developing leadership skills: A School of Gumption can help students develop leadership skills. By encouraging students to take initiative and take risks, they will learn how to lead others and take responsibility for their actions.
- Building resilience: The willingness to take risks and the ability to bounce back from failure is an essential quality of gumption. A School of Gumption can help students develop resilience by teaching them how to handle setbacks and learn from them.
- Preparing for the future: The world is constantly changing, and the ability to adapt to new challenges is a critical skill for success. A School of Gumption can help prepare students for the future by teaching them how to be proactive and adaptable in the face of change.
- Empowering students: By instilling the qualities of gumption in students, a School of Gumption can empower them to take control of their lives and pursue their dreams with confidence.
As the concept of a “School of Gumption” is relatively new, and not all universities have established such a school on their campuses. However, some universities are incorporating the principles of gumption into their curriculum and programs. For example, Stanford University has a program called “Design Thinking and the Art of Innovation,” which encourages students to take an entrepreneurial approach to problem-solving and innovation. Similarly, Harvard University offers a course called “Leadership and Organizational Behavior” which teaches students the skills needed to be an effective leader, including the willingness to take risks and the ability to adapt to change.
In addition, some universities have established entrepreneurship centers or innovation hubs that serve as a platform for students to develop their entrepreneurial skills and pursue their ideas. For example, the University of California Berkeley has the “Berkeley Haas Entrepreneurship Program,” which provides students with mentorship, funding, and resources to launch their own businesses.
While not all universities have a formal “School of Gumption,” many are recognizing the importance of instilling the qualities of gumption in their students and are incorporating these principles into their curriculum and programs. As the importance of gumption in personal and professional success continues to be recognized, it is important that more universities establish formal programs or schools to teach these skills. By fostering creativity and innovation, promoting ethical decision-making, developing critical thinking skills, cultivating empathy and human connection, and preparing students for a changing job market, these schools can help to ensure that we continue to thrive as a society in the years to come.
School of Gumption & National Education Policy 2020:
The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 and the School of Gumption share many similarities in their approach to education. Both emphasize the importance of developing students holistically and fostering qualities like critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving skills.
NEP 2020 emphasizes the need to move beyond rote learning and focus on experiential learning and skill-building. This is aligned with the School of Gumption’s emphasis on cultivating creativity and innovation, which are essential skills in the age of AI and automation.
The School of Gumption also emphasizes the importance of empathy and social responsibility, which are central to NEP 2020’s emphasis on education for citizenship and social awareness. Both the School of Gumption and NEP 2020 recognize the importance of developing students’ emotional intelligence and social skills alongside their academic skills.
In addition, the School of Gumption emphasizes the importance of grit, determination, and perseverance in achieving success, which is also reflected in NEP 2020’s focus on developing a growth mindset among students. Both the School of Gumption and NEP 2020 recognize that success is not just about intelligence or talent, but also about the willingness to work hard, overcome obstacles, and persist in the face of challenges.
Overall, while the School of Gumption is a hypothetical concept, it shares many similarities with NEP 2020 in its emphasis on developing students’ holistic qualities and preparing them for the challenges of the modern world. Both approaches recognize that education must go beyond the acquisition of knowledge or skills and focus on developing the whole person, with an emphasis on qualities like creativity, empathy, and perseverance.
Contributed by Kunwar Shekhar Vijendra. Views expressed are personal.