A Look at How and Why CICS Develops Generalists

Feb 26, 2021

Ball State Center of Information and Communication Sciences Professor and Founder of the Program Dr. Ray Steele believes that CICS’ uniqueness lies in its hybrid and nimble nature. “We are not about narrow specialization because it changes very often. We teach our people how to learn in a frenetic world, how to look at problem solving with people/organizations—not just tech—in mind, and in a context in which an entrepreneurial mindset with a leadership sense is so important to overall success.

Dr. Dennis Trinkle, current CICS Director, follows up with what he calls the ethos of CICS; to prepare students as agile, adaptive generalists to lead in the dynamic world we will all inhabit. He goes on to say, “Epstein and others recognize generalists are better suited for the world we are headed towards. We have always understood this, we’ve been doing that for 35 years, and continue to hear from our alumni and industry that this is what helped change their lives.”

The book Dr. Trinkle mentions is David Epstein’s best seller, Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World. In Range Epstein illustrates that having a broad spectrum of skills and interests and taking your time to figure them out is better than specializing in just one area. Epstein says: “Generalists often find their path late, and they juggle many interests rather than focusing on one. They’re also more creative, more agile, and able to make connections their more specialized peers can’t see.

We in CICS relate to Epstein’s approach. Not just the faculty, but our students as well; current student, Daniel Tasson, sums this up in a recent online discussion in one of his classes:

Tasson Quote
Quote Provided by CICS Student Dan Tasson

Scott Young, as Dan referenced above, is the author of Ultralearning: Master Hard Skills, Outsmart the Competition, and Accelerate Your Career and serves as another example of the type of material used in CICS’ professional masters program. We absolutely do cover more traditional academic material, but we consistently weave in best practices for creating life long reflective learners.

One final similarity between CICS and Epstein’s Range. In a fourminutesbooks.com review of the book, the final question is “Who would I recommend the Range summary to?” The response?

The 43-year-old who has been working in the same field for much of their adult life and wants to try something new, the 24-year-old college graduate who is wondering how to find their purpose, and anyone who is looking for a more unique path to success.

Guess what? We would say the same about CICS. We are for anyone looking to lead in technology, regardless of what they are doing right now. Learn more about the online or campus programs.