Notes from the ARC: Musings on “Future Perfect”

The 2018 WSCUC ARC theme FUTURE PERFECT (FP) suggested two possible meanings, and I look forward to learning what the organizers will have correctly taught me. 

My first musing about FP was to dream of a “perfect future” for higher education, specifically for my health sciences institute, Loma Linda University. The second thought was the grammatical meaning of FP: to project myself into the future and look back at an action that will be completed later. Arguably, this tense is central to assessment planning in which one commits to accomplish strategic goals by a specific future date.  

The challenge is that we often allow only future tense thinking and not enough past tense accomplishments to be completed, analyzed and used in new rounds of improvement.  If FP is the upside of assessment cycles informing educational improvements, then we will reach more “perfect” goals and accomplishments. 

Past themes of “Serving the Public Good” (2016) and “Mission Possible” (2017) frame the San Manuel Gateway College (SMGC) project for Loma Linda University Health. This, our newest educational experiment towards creating a more perfect future for health sciences education, is designed to maximize vertical and horizontal partnerships.  

Our partners are private and public institutions and our educational focus is on workforce development, immersed in a uniquely rich learning environment featuring Interprofessional Education (IPE) blended with purposeful approach to providing needed “21st century soft and life skills,” along with experiences that build self-confidence, dignity, meaning in life and transforming hope. 

In our #2018ARC session, "Gateway College: A Model for Workforce Development and Higher Education," we explore the vertical and horizontal IPE learning environments that SMGC provides.  We describe the interaction that medical students, medical residents, primary care physicians and specialists have in working with nurses, pharmacists, and dentists in real-life team settings.  

This rich environment, housed in a state-of-the-art building, is uniquely provided to a group of students from the Inland Empire of Southern California who are in the gap between high school graduation and community college. 

By embedding our career college-like students into a learning environment with an advanced medical team. SMGC aims to blend career college-like certificates with college credit courses, thus filling an important step missing for some students in the higher education ladder. 

Dr. Ronald Carter is the provost of Loma Linda University. He will present at the #2018ARC on Friday, April 27, in a session entitled, “Gateway College: A Model for Workforce Development and Higher Education.” Learn more here. 

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