I believe it is urgent and important that we recognize the…mutually reinforcing elements of formation, scholarship and a commitment to the common good—this is the work of the university.

– President John J. DeGioia

What might a Georgetown education look like 5, 10, or 15 years from now? What sorts of challenges could we anticipate facing down the road, and what strategies might we begin implementing today in preparation? What kind of student-centered university could be envisioned today that we could only create at this moment?


Future(s) engages with research projects across Georgetown’s campus that address the future of higher education and student-centered universities. Undergraduates can participate in the 21st Century Skills Challenge, a pilot that explores micro-credentials as methods of measuring skills that are otherwise unacknowledged on the traditional college transcript. The “Catalyst” micro-credential seeks to capture a student’s capacity to “embrace challenges, demonstrate initiative, pursue positive social change, translate ideas into actions, and persist toward the completion of goals, all from a thoughtful and reflective place.” At the graduate level, The Deloitte Data Analytics Fellowship supports projects that address the value of pedagogical innovation as well as the relationship between higher education and success in the workforce.

Methods and Principles

A central premise of Future(s) and the Formation by Design research agenda is the belief that wider formational outcomes of learning and development—those that address the broadest purpose of higher education—should live at the center of our learning designs. We define these formational outcomes, also called the Magis Measures, as Learning to Learn, Empathy, Resilience, Wellbeing, and Integration. Together, these principles encapsulate the broadest purpose of a Jesuit approach to higher education: the sustained commitment to developing the whole person throughout one’s educational experience. Across Georgetown, individual units have used the Magis Measures for both course- and program-level evaluations.

In 2017, Future(s) will continue to explore the boundaries of learning assessment and institutional measurement by synthesizing three sources of information:

  • Institutional surveys that measure student learning;
  • Learning assessments that link theory to practice in a justice-focused, project-based context; and
  • Sensemaker, a cutting-edge, qualitative analysis tool that empowers subjects to critically reflect upon their own experiences while providing researchers with the capacity to understand complex attitudes and dispositions.

We hope to use these data to better address questions of formation in our learning designs and practices.