HIGH POINT, N.C., Aug. 18, 2016 – Dr. Nido Qubein, president of High Point University, brought two impactful leaders to campus today to discuss the changing landscape of higher education and how an entrepreneurial spirit can transform colleges and universities.
Dr. Carol Folt, chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Stanford University professor Dr. Carol Dweck joined Qubein on stage for two events and a full audience in the Hayworth Fine Arts Center. Both events were recorded by UNC-TV and will air on public television in the future.
Folt, the first woman chancellor at UNC-Chapel Hill, knows the challenges today’s educators face, including a national conversation about access to college. Yet she holds tight to a belief she expressed in a recent speech: “This is the best time to be a president at a college or university.”
“We’re sitting here at a beautiful university that has rapidly changed and reimagined itself in 10 years,” Folt told Qubein. “From what I see, every decade has a moment when change is at your fingertips, and you either embrace it or you don’t. I think for higher education, it’s our moment.”
Qubein and Folt both pointed to an entrepreneurial spirit as crucial to an evolving college campus.
“What’s so exciting about this is there are faculty who have a different sort of entrepreneurship – an entrepreneurship about ideas. They’re people who’ve spent their whole life looking for things not created… Our students, on the other hand, come in more ready. Some of them are already coming in with ideas. But they don’t have knowledge or ideas or content that’s important. Finding the blending side – that’s what we’re looking for.”
“That’s a wonderful take,” Qubein said. “You can have an entrepreneurial mindset that stems from a variety of sources, that’s focused on a variety of applications, and you don’t have to be a business owner to be an entrepreneur or invent something. You can do it with ideas and other avenues.”
“It’s about being curious and staying curious,” Folt said. “That’s part of this nimble, agile entrepreneurial university which you’ve clearly achieved – having multiple paths to achieve things.”
In the second discussion, Qubein and Dweck, author of the breakthrough book “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success,” spoke about the importance of developing a growth mindset instead of a fixed mindset.
“When people have a fixed mindset, they believe their basic talents, abilities and intelligence are fixed traits – that you have a certain amount, and that’s it,” Dweck said. “But, in a growth mindset, you understand that your talents and abilities can be developed through hard work, through learning new strategies, and through help and input from others. You’re more excited about learning and accomplish more. This is an empowering belief.”
Qubein said that at HPU, students are encouraged to believe in the art of the possible and develop a growth mindset. It’s the theme for the university’s Quality Enhancement Plan.
“Even when we were not really informed about your work, somehow, we understood the concepts of which you speak,” Qubein said. “We employ them in great measure here, including disciplines of risk management, personal initiative, solution finding, intentional congruence and value interpretation. We use different terms, but all of these things are really supported tremendously by your research. I so deeply believe, as president of this university, that we have a duty to plant seeds of greatness in the minds, of course, but also the hearts and souls of students. And to allow the student to believe that they were created for a purpose.”
“Life can be extremely difficult,” Dweck said. “I know we’ve all had our fair shares of trials. But in a growth mindset, you say ‘What can I learn from this?’ You have to be willing to look within. It doesn’t mean you can’t be sorely disappointed or crushed for a moment when something doesn’t work out. But you learn from it and use it as a springboard for your next attempts.”