Ep 09 - Lucian Cosinschi - Minerva. The Intentional University

Brief intro

Show guest - Lucian Cosinschi - the regional director at Minerva Schools Europe. Lucian grew up in Romania and went through the schooling system right after the revolution when he witnessed the creation of several new universities. That experience also continued when he moved to Berlin, which got him deeply engaged in education space. His career evolved from Pomegranate - a high-quality internship program - to becoming Minerva’s Director for Student Experience and Partnerships in Berlin.

In this episode, we focused on a recent book published by Minerva Schools which is called “Building the Intentional University” - basically the story and the philosophy behind the initiative to completely rethink elite higher education.

Minerva School is a very brave and a much-needed experiment to fix higher education and to cover the skill and competency gaps young people face today. Even though Minerva can make some people uncomfortable because of their highly selective, hyper-rational and super quality-driven culture, I found their transparency and courage to be worthy of respect and support.

Because Lucian needed to jump on a train to Cambridge, we did not manage to go as deep into the book as I wished, but I hope you will get some great insights out of this conversation. Without further ado, please enjoy episode 09 recorded on February 1st in London, UK.

P.S. Special thanks to Jessica from Hundred.org for making this episode possible.


About the guest

4:38 - My story in Romania

5:48 - Why education?

6:38 - Designing learning experiences (not a product you deliver)

8:50 - Projects. Find out what a career was by looking back.

12:30 - Discovering and joining Minerva.

Minerva - The Intentional University

17:30 - An intro to “Building the Intentional University” 

19:50 - Defining Minerva Schools

22:10 - Design questions for a new university

24:00 - Taking the system apart

25:00 - Timing. Why creating Minerva now? 

27:40 - Leading the dialog for change in Higher Education 

29:00 - What do Minerva and Tesla have in common? 

31:50 - The financial aid model and keeping the costs down.

34:20 - The concept of city rotation.

38:05 - Mixing courses (interdisciplinary studies)

39:00 - Habits of mind / Fundamentals and Skills for the future.

43:50 - Students coping with change.

47:40 - Designing learning situations.

50:30 - Key milestones for students. From application to graduation

Growth scenarios

56:40 - The future of Minerva

58:40 - Spreading Minerva tools and knowledge

1:00:10 - Using science to rethinking national education. A debate between Inclusive (mass education) vs passionate elite individuals?

1:04:40 - Mixing innovation with classic system. Interfaces  with the rest of the world

Episode summary

1:08:00 - Recommended resources 

1:09:40 - Advice for educators

1:11:20 - Learners - Don’t stop at the minimum required 

1:13:30 - Becoming the Minister of Education.

1:15:10 - Life on a bumper sticker