Northwestern J-School dean takes the long view

In this Q & A, John Lavine lays out “Medill 2020,” a plan to develop the Medill J-School at Northwestern University.

Medill seems to be doing all the right things: Planning to get students out of their silos and into classes that teach them storytelling, ethics, and basic journalistic principles, regardless of their medium of choice.

Lavine also mentions “faculty classes”…

“Some key portions of the faculty class are still being developed, but I can tell you that for 10 weeks in the spring term, I am facilitating a required four-hour class for faculty. (The staff also has a weekly in-service session.) Instruction comes from Medill faculty, other professors on campus and experts from leading media companies. The course also has eight hours of weekly homework and two hours of digital media training…This faculty class is the first of what I suspect will be an annual class for the next three years — 10 weeks of all of us going to a demanding course. In the quarters when we are not in school, there will a couple of deep in-service sessions. We are serious about increasing our knowledge as a way of life at the school.”

…although he also alludes to students-showing-faculty-how-to-use-an-iPod situations.  But that’s bound to happen as the teenage early adopter crowd picks up new gadgetry before it pops in the mainstream.

The Medill J-School’s whole idea here is to picture its incoming 2006 class 10 years after graduation.

What will an everyday professional journalist of 2020 carry in her briefcase?  A notebook?  A Tablet PC?  A video camera?  Which of those tools will be the most relevant 14 years from now?