The subcommittee recommends that praxis—the act of engaging, applying, exercising, realizing and practicing ideas—be considered a crosscutting goal for all university graduate curricula. That is, university graduate offerings should uniformly not only equip students with relevant knowledge, but also with the reasoning and analytical capabilities that will enable them to employ that understanding to map and address complex social, scientific or technological problems collaboratively in the dynamic environments in which they occur. Much like the philosophy of entrepreneurial engagement intended to foster social change that informs TED Fellow Juliette LaMontagne’s Breaker project, contemporary graduate education at Virginia Tech should increase future professional’s opportunities to put their research to use to address complex issues and problem-solving, to design change as part of their praxis.
In our view, those contexts are likely to be unprecedentedly complex and will therefore be increasingly unlikely to yield to single-discipline perspectives. Instead, graduates will need to bring equally exceptional intellectual and communications capabilities to bear to make sense of these new environments; they will need to be able to use their knowledge in concert with others, quite literally, to make collective sense of their world and its pressing challenges. The subcommittee recommends all university graduate curricula prepare students to practice this complex art of knowledge application or contextual sensemaking.