Utah Tech University

Polytechnic Summit Speaker Topics

Dr. Tom Rosenbaum

Future of Technology Education

This session will present a futuristic approach to educating students in technology professions, likely involving the integration of cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality, and machine learning, while emphasizing project-based learning, collaboration and online learning communities. The use of AI-assisted learning could provide personalized and adaptive instruction to students, while AI-powered learning management systems could provide real-time feedback and assessments. Virtual and augmented reality could be used to provide students with immersive, hands-on learning experiences, allowing them to visualize and interact with complex concepts and systems in a way that would be difficult or impossible in a traditional classroom setting. Machine learning could provide students with the opportunity to learn about and work with the latest technologies and techniques in the field. Project-based learning provides students the opportunity to work on real-world projects and apply their knowledge and skills in a professional setting. Collaboration and online learning communities could be promoted to facilitate knowledge sharing, networking, and mentorship among students, professors, and industry professionals.

Dr. Richard Wells

International Partnerships for Education

Despite the impact of the pandemic and deglobalization on international education, especially student and faculty mobility, there is a renewed importance of internationalization in higher education and an increasing need for students to have an international perspective in order to succeed in a globalized world. Mobility is rebounding and the number of students studying abroad is increasing, with many students choosing to study in countries other than their own to gain a global perspective and to experience different cultures. New partnerships and collaborations with institutions in other countries that facilitate the exchange of students, faculty, and research are growing. Universities are also placing a greater emphasis on internationalizing their curriculum, by including more global content and perspectives in their courses and by encouraging students to study abroad. Universities are emphasizing the preparation of students for the global workforce, by providing them with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in an increasingly interconnected world. Universities are becoming more aware of the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in international higher education, and are taking steps to recruit and retain diverse students, faculty, and staff and to create more inclusive and equitable learning environments.

Dr. Eric Pedersen

State of Technology Talent Development

The current state of technology talent development is characterized by a high demand for skilled professionals in a wide range of fields, including computer science, data science, artificial intelligence, and software development. Companies and organizations are actively seeking individuals with these skills to help them stay competitive and meet the demands of a rapidly changing technological landscape. To meet this demand, there are a variety of educational and training programs available, including coding bootcamps, online courses, and traditional academic programs for STEM and non-STEM majors. Additionally, companies are investing in employee training and development programs to help current employees acquire new skills and stay up-to-date with the latest technologies. This session will explore the rapidly evolving global ecosystem for technology talent development, including increased resources for upskilling and reskilling incumbent workers and opportunities in building public-private partnerships for post-secondary technology education.


International Partnerships for Science

The National Science Foundation (NSF; United States) has implemented strategies to expand international partnerships and foster mutually beneficial international collaborations that advance science and engineering research, education, and innovation and promote economic growth and global understanding. Representatives from the NSF will discuss these strategies, including: 1) supporting collaborative research between scientists and engineers in the U.S. and other countries by providing funding for joint projects, workshops, and conferences; 2) funding for international research experiences for students, allowing them to gain hands-on experience working with researchers from other countries and to gain a global perspective on their field of study; 3) funding for international partnerships between U.S. and foreign institutions, organizations, and government agencies to support joint research and education activities; 4) funding for international capacity building activities that support the development of science and engineering research and education in other countries; 5) supporting international outreach activities that promote the exchange of information and ideas between the U.S. and other countries, and that increase public understanding of science and engineering; 6)  supporting the establishment of global research networks that connect scientists and engineers from different countries and promote collaboration and knowledge sharing; 7) active participation of underrepresented groups, including women and minorities, and encourages the inclusion of them in international partnerships.

Miles Hansen

International Partnerships for Trade and Business

The World Trade Center Utah (WTC Utah) aims to promote international trade and economic development in the state of Utah. The organization’s mission is to increase exports and foreign investment in the state, to create jobs and to diversify the economy. This session will present opportunities for universities from across the globe to engage with WTC Utah to gain access to international market intelligence, trade missions and trade shows, connect with potential partners in Utah, provide information about the state’s business climate, connect with Utah companies and potential strategic partners through business matchmaking events and online platforms, provide educational opportunities to learn about international trade and business practices, conduct research and analysis on international trade and economic trends to inform educational activities, and promote diversity and inclusion in international trade. Overall, the World Trade Center Utah is an important resource for Utah businesses and organizations looking to expand their international trade and collaboration with foreign companies and organizations.


Institutional Sustainability

This session will present ways in which universities can take a variety of steps to promote sustainability on their campuses, benefitting both the environment and the community, as well as providing students with an education that prepares them to be responsible citizens in a sustainable world. Examples of institutional sustainability that will be discussed include: 1) upgrading building insulation, installing energy-efficient lighting and HVAC systems, and promoting the use of alternative energy sources such as solar or wind power; 2) encouraging the use of public transportation, bicycles, and carpooling, and providing amenities such as bike racks and car-sharing programs; 3) new building construction using sustainable practices, such as using renewable materials, incorporating green roofs and solar panels, and designing buildings to maximize natural light and minimize energy consumption; 4) use of water conservation measures, such as installing low-flow toilets, faucets, and showerheads, and promoting water-saving practices among students and staff; 5) sourcing local and organic food, reducing food waste, and offering vegetarian and vegan options in campus cafeterias; 6) including sustainability in the university curriculum, including research centers or initiatives that focus on environmental and sustainability issues; 7) creating green spaces on campus, such as gardens, parks, and wetlands, which provide natural habitats for wildlife and improve air quality; and 8) engaging in the local community by promoting sustainable practices, and organizing volunteer and outreach programs that focus on environmental and sustainability issues.

Dr. Gary Bertollini

Future of the Polytechnic Model

This session will focus on the increasing value of a polytechnic education for career readiness and technology talent development, as well as the fit between the learn by doing instructional approach and technology innovation. A polytechnic education is a type of higher education that focuses on providing students with practical, hands-on training and skills in a specific field or industry. It typically emphasizes applied science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and the focus is on providing students with the technical knowledge and skills needed to succeed in a particular profession or industry. A polytechnic education typically includes a mix of classroom instruction, laboratory work, and practical training in real-world settings. The curriculum is often designed to be closely aligned with the needs of industry and students may have the opportunity to participate in internships, co-op programs, or other forms of experiential learning. Many polytechnic institutions are also research-active and they conduct research and development projects to support the local and regional industry. They also offer continuing education and professional development programs to help working professionals stay current with the latest technologies and trends in their field. Overall, a polytechnic education is designed to provide students with the specific skills and knowledge they need to succeed in a particular field or industry, and to prepare them for the workforce with a practical and hands-on approach.

Emma Lanners

Open Education in a Polytechnic University

Open polytechnic universities are universities that are open access to the public, and that offer a wide range of vocational and technology education programs and academic credentials. Most polytechnic universities are characterized by restricted access, proprietary curriculum, and the retention of intellectual property rights created through faculty research.  However, there is a small, but growing, number of polytechnic universities around the world that have chosen to be “open,” such as The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand, Open University of the Netherlands, The Open University in the UK, The Open Polytechnic of Australia, The Open Polytechnic of Singapore, and the Open Polytechnic of Russia. Overall, these open polytechnic universities offer a wide range of vocational and applied science education programs, as well as degree programs in fields such as business, technology, and health, which offer open, distance, and flexible learning approach. This session will discuss challenges and opportunities in an open polytechnic university. The OpenEdu Framework, recently created by the European Commission, defines six primary characteristics of an open education university: 1) open access; 2) open educational resources; 3) open educational practices; 4) deep industry collaboration; 5) recognition of learning in diverse circumstances; and 6) open science. This session will discuss emerging practices in integrating the tenets of the OpenEdu framework with the polytechnic education model.

Mollybeth Kocialski

Open and Closed Science

Open science refers to the practice of making scientific research, data, and methods freely accessible to the public. This can include open access publishing, sharing data and code, and using open-source tools and software. The benefits of open science include increased transparency and reproducibility of research, as well as greater accessibility and collaboration opportunities for scientists and the public. Closed science, on the other hand, refers to the traditional model of science where research is often only available to those who can pay for access, and data and methods are kept proprietary. The main drawback of closed science is that it can limit the ability for others to verify and build upon the research, which can slow down scientific progress. This session led by the United States Patent and Trademark Office will discuss the strengths and limitations of open and closed science, as well as the process for securing intellectual property rights domestically (US) and internationally.

Dr. Jordon Sharp

Marketing and Communicating about a Polytechnic University

The polytechnic university mission and specialized characteristics are not well understood by the general public.  Misunderstanding of the mission and characteristics creates confusion in the student marketplace and may reduce student demand. This session will explore strategies for effectively communicating the benefits of a polytechnic education and for marketing the value proposition of a polytechnic university.  Strategies discussed will include: 1) highlighting success stories of alumni and current students; 2) emphasizing the job-ready skills and real-world experience that students will gain from attending the institution; 3) building relationships with local businesses and organizations to demonstrate their relevance and value to the community; 4) utilizing social media and digital marketing: Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn; 5) hosting open houses and campus tours and speaking with current students and faculty; and 6) leveraging events like hackathons and industry networking events to showcase the skills and knowledge of students and faculty, and to attract potential students and employers.