Introducing the K&A Blog By Alex Emmanuele

AEWelcome to the K&A Blog: a place where the K&A team members share individual ideas, thoughts, opinions, and lessons. As the K&A Fellow, I get the explicit honor of writing the first post. Being an intern at a firm whose team members come from near and far to bring change to higher education, my day doesn’t normally consist of getting virtual coffee for our conference calls. For nine months I have been a part of one of the most interesting and hardworking groups of people I have ever worked with. Balancing this challenge with a full class schedule, another internship, and other commitments like sports teams and committee meetings, it is I who usually needs the coffee by the time I get started with my K&A work. However, it is when I sit at my computer, join a conference call, or drive out to have a face to face meeting with my mentors, that I feel most at home. 

Being a part of both sides of the equation—being a student, but also learning about how K&A and institutions work together to better the student experience—has helped me put a value on the education I am getting at Hampshire College, and allows me to take advantage of all the opportunities I find. Coming from a school where we design our own major, create our own experiences, and make happen for ourselves what others are given, I have been prepared for the challenges of working at K&A, from fitting in the work to my schedule, traveling when I need to, and collaborating with people who have even longer and crazier days than I do. The whole team is dedicated to bringing positive change to learning and helping institutions provide the best possible experience to their students. As the K&A video states, “…that is our mission, and it shapes every aspect of what we do, and who we are.” I have become just as dedicated to the team and their mission, and it has begun to shape every aspect of what I do and who I am.  

The core mission of K&A’s work is to promote learning as not just the marathon aggregation of raw knowledge, but as an experience in development, individual growth, and innovation. These are the tools that students will need in order to change the world, and the world is in dire need of some changing. Education involves exchanges of information, experiences, discoveries, and many questions, but there are more important things, much more difficult things involved in education than simply memorizing information. In my classes at school, this includes the integration of concepts and the application of those concepts to myriad problems and activities. Integrating these concepts often requires engaging multiple perspectives on the same event — multiple theories about the same concept, different ways to read the same passage, etc. It is this idea of growing students into adults capable of tackling challenges and adapting to unique situations that K&A strives to embolden colleges and universities to embrace. As a current student at a college trying to do the same thing, I can be both a lens and a sounding board, much like this blog can be for our staff and readers. Through the work that institutions ask of students, bit by bit, they will be a bit more creative, more critical, and will become the change that we want to see in the world.