Cosmos: Experimentation, Disruption, and Innovation

Cosmos is a subversive television show...and I love it.

April 17, 2014
Looking out into the cosmos

Cosmos is a subversive television show...and I love it. The host of Cosmos is astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. He dares us to learn, question assumptions, and think critically. It's a radical show. Scientific discoveries from the past are presented with amazing clarity. Subversive ideas from centuries ago are brought to light in an exceptionally educational manner. Early innovators were often punished for asking questions and seeking answers that were outside of traditionally held beliefs. It's almost as if Cosmos, with Tyson at the helm, introduces us to our galactic history as a way to prepare us for our future. Innovation, at least in the sense of scientific discovery, can be a struggle. Reflecting on the subversive nature of Cosmos, I can't help but think about how the student affairs profession treats experimentation, disruption, and innovation.

One of the topical areas that I've written extensively about is the challenge of taking historical student affairs practice (and practitioners) into an online-only space. I've shared resources, asked questions, and offered up ideas for what we can do to support all students. It's almost always been about nudging those who work in brick-and-mortar spaces to consider the needs of online-only students. Additionally, I've pushed for student affairs masters programs to be more holistic with their curricula. Graduating a cohort of student affairs grad students who are ready (and willing) to work with online-only students would be a major shift.

However, maybe it's not about nudging our existing cadres of student affairs practitioners. Perhaps the shift that is needed revolves around those professionals who already work with online-only students. Finding those individuals and figuring out what makes them tick. A reorientation of sorts...not asking current student affairs professionals to see a new cosmic light, but to make discoveries outside of the traditional canon.

Looking outward as a way to dream, discover, and evolve.


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