Arrive and Thrive: Who to Ask, How to Ask, What to Ask

For this class, I adapted some of the excellent work from my colleague Smiti Nathan’s blog, Life Design Log. Smiti is a big proponent of the use of stakeholder maps (as well as the Rose, Bud, Thorn exercise) and uses them regularly in her own courses and presentations. For my students, who are imagining lives that pull together a range of often disparate themes, I liked the quadrant map as it helps students to identify these themes and then brainstorm possible stakeholders or people to interview, rather than trying to find the exact senior or alumni who has pulled together all of their specific interests during their time at Hopkins.

At the same time, the process of identifying potential stakeholders around several themes, formulating strategies for finding these stakeholders and connecting with them virtually, and articulating the questions that you hope they can answers is a time-consuming process. We barely were able to complete these activities this summer (when we had 90 minutes rather than 50), during our Life Design Summer Institute, so I had to cut out some material and discussion. I realized too late that this was a mistake. What my students value about this class is the opportunity to talk with each other, not to engage in solitary guided reflective exercises. Going forward there will be less content from me and more focus on discussion and guest speakers.

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