Loyola Club Address: How Jesuit education gains relevance in an era of “collaborative intelligence.”

In my recent address to the Cleveland Loyola Club, I said that current liberal arts students and recent graduates are trying to “robot proof” themselves in order to thrive in the work of the future. While broadly true, the point needs to be explored a bit more deeply, and given some nuance.

Back in 2018, the Harvard Business Review introduced the phrase “collaborative intelligence” to describe how humans will employ A.I. and machine learning across a range of careers.

Even earlier, in 2014, the book and documentary The Human Face of Big Data, showed in dazzling detail the ways in which work in law enforcement, climate analysis, nursing, elementary education, and accounting had already begun to shift to this collaborative approach.

John Carroll University has begun to highlight recent graduates who are thriving in this collaborative environment, in fields ranging from physical therapy to oceanography. The variety underscores that no career path will be immune to the change.

I am proud to announce that John Carroll University will host the first ever Ohio Tech Summit on April 23, 2022. This gathering of business leaders and value creators signals a larger commitment we have made to helping each and every JCU graduate pursue Inspired Futures.

In my blog post from earlier this year, we highlighted Meredith Whitney, a program manager at Google. In a Boler College of Business Q/A, Meredith shared this insight about how humanities and social science graduates can thrive alongside engineers and data scientists in the work of the future: “Technology needs people who don’t know everything and who aren’t masters of a particular domain because it’s those folks who look at problems differently and involve others,” she said. “The non-tech techies are English majors, MBAs and sculptors: our views aren’t myopic because we’ve entered the field not knowing what we don’t know.”

A tool developed by the Brookings Institute allows anyone to gauge how readiness for the work of the future translates to value creation and earning power. As I said to the Loyola Club audience, we can’t fully be women and men for others unless we have agency and security at our core. Only then can we grow to become fully reflective and widely influential professionals.

In service of that goal, we hold a collective responsibility —  as Jesuits and educators — to embrace change and to articulate more fully why our 500-year-old values — an enlarged moral imagination — matter for students as they prepare to meet this unprecedented moment in human time.

It’s easy to look upon a world increasingly informed by ubiquitous sensors and algorithms and animated by tools that allows us to edit genes and synthesize biological molecules and conclude that technology needs a more vocal and resilient conscience to counterbalance its expanding reach and influence. Our work is to aim higher — and to see a role for Jesuit education that extends beyond remaining relevant and keeping the future honest.

John Carroll University is developing a vision of Jesuit higher education that does all of that, and imagines and builds a more equitable and just society for all.