Q&A: Walsh's Jackie DeGarmo Explains What it Means to be an Intelligent Community Forum Institution
DeGarmo, director of the Walsh ICF Institute, explains what comes next in continuing on with the ICF (hint: there's a dynamic new “Transformative Learning Center” on the way)
We checked in with Jackie DeGarmo, director of the Walsh ICF Institute, about her participation in last week's Inaugural ICF Global Symposium.
Below, DeGarmo explains exactly what it means to be an ICF Institution and what's next for the Walsh campus (hint: there's a dynamic new “Transformative Learning Center” on the way).
North Canton Patch: Walsh University plays a huge role in the ICF being an ICF Institution. Can you explain what that means for some of our readers who aren't familiar with the term yet?
Jackie DeGarmo: The ICF (Intelligent Community Forum) is a non-profit international think tank that studies and celebrates cities, counties and regions from around the world who have re-energized and empowered their communities in the broadband economy. The Walsh University Institute for the Study of the Intelligent Community will provide a resource for local and regional communities interested in this movement to connect to 114 partner communities, a venue for thought leaders from around the world to share ideas and solutions, and an exploration of new models for the preparation of educators for the knowledge economy.
North Canton Patch: You recently attended the ICF symposium at Walsh University. What was one highlight or take-away that you can use to improve Walsh and thus improve the city of North Canton?
DeGarmo: As Insititute director I am responsible for planning and executing the events. We were steadfast in our belief that we need to include and value all voices in the room when we rethink our learning business and make plans to thrive and lead in a new economy. We included civic and business leaders, educators and students and provoked them with cutting edge thinkers and champions of progress from successful ICF communities. We also designed the day so that we began in a dynamic workshop of what could be done, then gathered for a message from a CISCO international leader who insisted why it must be done, and we concluded with leaders from education, business and government who described in practical terms how it is being done in their communities. This has strengthened our belief that we need to dissolve our silos to create a plan for our children to be globally competitive and for our community to be attractive and sustainable in the very near future.
North Canton Patch: The city recently applied to be one of the ICF's Smart21 Intelligent Communities, and Walsh is a strong player in this as an ICF Institute. What do you think puts the city above others in terms of being a "smart community?"
DeGarmo: North Canton has the advantage of already enjoying a proud history and a strong sense of community. Its size and demographics suggest that it can be agile and quick to adapt to the promise of “the new railroad.” Ensuring robust connectivity and accessibility will empower all North Canton citizens, attract new entrepreneurial investments, create a sustainable economy and protect the quality of life we want for our children. This is “Smart.” The Walsh University ICF Institute will be a strong partner and resource for the city of North Canton as we move forward together.
North Canton Patch: What kinds of things has Walsh been doing in regards to the ICF since it was designated an ICF Institute?
DeGarmo: We have been blessed to attract a very distinguished international advisory board who have committed to developing our institute as a global magnet for thought leadership in this arena. We are having conversations with hi-tech businesses; community leaders; North Canton City Schools; the Stark County Educational Service Center; the Cleveland Public Library; our ICF partners including Stratford, Ontario; Dublin, Ohio; Oulu, Finland; and Riverside, CA.
We will be developing a pilot project with TED-Ed, and enjoying support and inspiration from the Herbert W. Hoover Foundation. We are already planning for the ICF Summit in New York City in June, and are outlining the opportunities for our 2013 Institute Symposium next October. Very soon we hope to offer a “Master Class” in the ICF principles. And finally, a dynamic new “Transformative Learning Center” is being designed for the Walsh campus as a laboratory for interdisciplinary solutions-driven work, a community resource for entrepreneurial idea generation, a center for global literacy and connectivity and a base for the Institute’s outreach.
North Canton Patch: After attending the symposium, what do you see as your next steps in continuing on with the ICF?
DeGarmo: We have been overwhelmed with positive responses from our Symposium. Many have said that their only criticism is that the event wasn't long enough. Some North Canton leaders think there would be an advantage for them to engage in conversation as a team right there on campus when the ideas and inspirations were fresh and motivating. We will incorporate this in our plans for the 2013 Global Symposium and provide opportunities to learn more about the ICF movement in the interim. With respect to our mission to explore new models for the training of educators, we will continue in our conversations with ICF partners like Oulu, Finland, and will be launching an i-learning/hybrid project with Logan Smalley, founder of TED-Ed.
North Canton Patch: Jackie, is there anything that I didn't ask that you think it's important for our readers to know?
DeGarmo: ICF Co-founder Lou Zacharilla often uses the tag line, "giving a new voice to old truths." The university as the center of a community's intellectual growth, economic sustainability and grounding faith is an old truth. Walsh University is mindfully becoming a better version of itself by inviting the dialogue, convening the thought leaders and collaboratively planning for the critical resources that will support a life-long learning community in the knowledge economy. We now have 114 partner communities around the world.
In short, the ICF Institute, driven by the Walsh University mission of servant leadership, will offer the global advantage.
Editor's note: Jackie DeGarmo's Q&A ends this series of Intelligent Community Forum Q&As on North Canton Patch. Looking for more about the ICF? Check out our new topics page, where you can find ICF-releated stories and announcements.
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