Six months after the last edition of The Courage, it is my great pleasure to welcome almost 300 new students to Hult who arrived last week and welcome back 750 returning undergraduates, including a few dozen rotating here from Boston or San Francisco. Welcome to you all, welcome to London – the best city in the world!
Now, I’m sure most of you will have never heard me talking about the Growth Mindset and the importance of listening to feedback, so for those who are new to this: we should all strive for a Growth Mindset. In summary, listen to feedback, learn from mistakes and if you don’t succeed, try harder and you will get there.
We listen to feedback. You should all know that by now, but there are a couple of big things we have done based on your feedback which I wanted to make you all aware of now. First of all, as you should all know by now, we have worked hard over the Summer installing new furniture and reconfiguring all the different spaces on campus to create 95% more study space on campus! What this means in practical terms – in case it is not obvious as you walk around campus – is that some of the library books are being moved to shelves just outside the library; there are more areas around campus where you can study in small groups or individually, and it means that you will also now find a more ‘consolidated’ social area in the basement so that those enjoying some table tennis or table football (some call it foosball apparently, I cannot understand why) will not disturb those focusing on their books. The class schedule re-jig we did also means that you should find fewer bottlenecks for space, with demand now spread over the entire day and the entire week.
Another important piece of feedback we have been studying is going through all the course evaluations for each and every one of the 268 sections of courses we ran in 2018-2019, and me personally sitting with each faculty member to go over the comments and see in what ways they are amazingly engaging professors, and where they could increase engagement and the level of challenge. What this has meant is most faculty are moving more towards the concept of the ‘flipped classroom’. This is not a new concept and many professors already did it. In short, it is about the ‘content delivery’ taking place before the class, through readings, videos and other work students do at home, so that the classroom time can be better used to discuss the issues, go through practical examples or perhaps work on problems and case-studies in small groups, with the professor there to help.
Apart from making your classroom experiences more engaging, what does it mean for you? The biggest single thing some of you might notice is that you have to do your reading before the class, not at some distant time in the future. Professors are setting small quizzes at the start of classes to check you have done the readings – and of course it means that if you have all done the reading, you will be better placed to contribute to classroom discussions, you will know what the professor is talking about and you will also be able to take more part in your group projects.
Why do I mention this now? For two reasons: firstly to remind you that we are always striving to improve your learning experience; and secondly to remind you about the importance of getting started with all your coursework now. Remember that for every hour in class, you should be doing two hours outside the class of preparation, homework, research and reading. That adds up to approximately 45 hours per week including your classes. Make sure you do a timetable so you know when you should be in the library (or studying at home), make sure you give yourself enough time to do all the readings before your classes, make sure you write notes on readings and classroom activities at the time and then type them onto your computers afterwards so that you review your learnings while they are fresh and so that they are easy to search when you need to revise.
And then make sure you have timetabled some time for the fun stuff. Make sure you belong to at least two or three Clubs or Societies (go to the 3rd floor and talk to Student Services if you missed the Fair in September), make sure you get engaged with your Hult community, make sure you mix with colleagues from other countries – not your own – and make sure you have the best possible time.
Is it a lot to ask? I don’t think so, but we are helping you prepare for the big, wide world of work after Hult – and we want to help you get the best possible start in life. This is how you can help us help you. Work hard. Play hard. Have fun.