Can Incubators Make Universities Relevant Again?
Jill Goebel in Academic Incubators, Education Design, SXSW2015

Vote for this SXSW Interactive Panel.

As headlines lament mushrooming student debt and a “higher education bubble,” Google—a choice employer and renowned innovator—says college degrees aren’t a prerequisite for the talent they seek. So why should young people invest in degrees? Is higher education still relevant? Universities must change to survive, and there is an interesting model that offers ideas for a new way of learning: the academic incubator.

I hope to facilitate a conversation and debate the role of incubators in education at next year’s SXSWInteractive, a conference that fosters innovation, creativity and professional growth. I’ll be joined by co-presenters Julia Kaganskiy, Director of the first museum-led incubator, NEW INC, and Mike McGee, co-founder of The Starter League, to debate what differentiates the incubators that work from those that fail, and consider whether incubators could indeed save (or transform) higher education.

We’ll need your support to get to SXSW, so please vote for our proposed panel here.

Find additional information on Gensler’s point of view on academic incubators, and how design supports incubators in connecting and transforming industry, learning, start-ups and cities.

Jill Goebel is a design director in Gensler's D.C. office and a regional practice area leader for Education & Culture. Contact her at
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