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Elliot Felix      

Educational Consultant to 100+ Colleges and Universities, Teacher & Author of "How to Get the Most Out of College"

Elliot Felix is an author, speaker, teacher, father, and consultant to more than a hundred colleges and universities. He uses his background in design to make college work for all students by improving the spaces they learn and live in, the support services they rely on, and the technology they use.

Over the last 20 years, he has spoken at SxSW Edu, taught courses on innovation, and worked with top universities like Carnegie Mellon, MIT, NYU, NC State, and the University of Virginia. brightspot strategy, the education consulting company he founded in 2011, has improved the experience of more than 1,000,000 students and was acquired by Buro Happold in 2020. You can find his work in Fast Company, Forbes, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. His book, "How to Get the Most Out of College" was published in January 2022.

Elliot received his bachelor’s degree from the University Virginia and a master’s degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is a member of the Board of Trustees at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) and serves on the advisory board of the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative. He lives in Minneapolis with his wife Liz, their son Theo, and their daughter Nora.

As a consultant and advisor, Elliot has worked with more than a hundred colleges and universities to attract and retain students by improving their spaces, student services, and technology. In 2011, he founded brightspot Strategy and since then, his team has analyzed and improved the student experience, redesigned student support services, helped business and engineering schools grow, and reimagined libraries – and much more.

As a teacher, Elliot connects classes with careers. He has had the opportunity to be a guest lecturer in dozens of classes and to teach courses on innovation in the design and business program at Parsons. His focus is on helping students imagine what their future could be like by working on fulfilling projects and sharing my experiences as a consultant along the way.

As a father, Elliot is always helping Nora and Theo learn and is learning more from them about himself and what the future of education ought to be. Watching his kids learn and explore, fostering their curiosity and creativity, and making things together are the highlights of any day – and where Elliot thinks education should focus so that we are not training students to be machines but rather building the skills to succeed in the face of AI and automation.

As an author and speaker, Elliot provides insights about the college experience and he shares stories and stats about the future of education. Whether giving a talk, creating a tool, or writing a whitepaper, his goal is always to help students better find their place, people, purpose, and path – and do it in a way that levels the playing field so colleges and universities work for all students.

Speech Topics

Designing Your College Experience

How can students use design thinking to get the most out of college? Design is about understanding people, thinking holistically to make connections, trying things out, and learning along the way. With this mindset, skills, and tools, you can design a college experience where you feel connected and supported, find your program and career path, and take full advantage of what college has to offer.

You’ll learn evidenced-based tips and student stories from his book to help students and parents make better decisions about not just where but how to go to college – decisions about where to live, what courses to take, what to do a class project on, how to seek support, how to find belonging, what to major in, and how to explore career paths. This talk can also include an activity to create a college experience roadmap so that students can get the most out of it.

Designing for Student Success

Every college or university is continuously assessing and improving their student experience to enable student success. But amidst a sea of analysis and initiatives, few institutions create experiences that are remarkable enough to differentiate them or to move the needle on student attraction, retention, and completion. Communications are overwhelming, technology is hard to navigate, facilities are ineffective, and support services are underutilized.

You’ll learn how to design experiences for student success – and how to research and transform the communications, technology, student services, and spaces that shape these experiences. By sharing stories and stats, you’ll understand the key demographic, technological, and cultural trends, see the common pain points and highlights for students, and learn what colleges and universities are doing to improve and differentiate their student experience. This talk can also include an activity to assess your student experience and/or create the roadmap to improve it.

The Campus of the Future

What do shifts in technology, culture, and demographics mean for the future of college and university campuses? What will online learning, remote work, and industry partnerships mean for the campus? How will all this change the types and amounts of spaces needed? How will this change how campuses will be organized, operated, and used – and by whom?

You’ll learn trends reshaping campuses, the tactics different colleges and universities are using to respond, and the tools you need to create inspiring and effective places to learn, live, and work. You’ll also hear a vision for a more engaging and equitable future, one where campus is for creativity, collaboration, and community. Hybrid workspace. Flat, flexible classrooms. One-stop-shop student service hubs. Usable outdoor spaces. Inviting community and industry. This talk can also include an activity to analyze your campus experience for the future and/or create the roadmap to improve it.

Future Workforce, Future Workplace

Who are today’s students, how are they learning, and what does this mean for the future of work and the future workplace? How will students’ expectations for technology and support services shape their views on the workplace? What will today’s classroom/career connections through speakers, projects, and internships mean for their future employee experience? How will the spaces they learn and live in today inform where, how, and why they work in the future?

Based on Elliot’s work with 100+ colleges, national surveys he’s led, and conversations with 2,000+ students, you’ll learn about today’s college experience and how you can design tomorrow’s employee experience – and the workplace, technology, and services that will shape it. You’ll hear the trends changing how we learn, live, and work and see bleeding edge examples that provide a window into the future, a future that anticipates AI and focuses people on the creativity, collaboration, and community that complements it. This talk can also include an activity to assess your employee experience and/or create the roadmap to improve it in the short- and long-term.

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