ASP 2019-2022: Paths of strategic development and milestones

Emilio Paolucci, as outgoing director of Alta Scuola Politecnica, describes the evolution of the positioning of ASP as a unique international honour program, and the transformations of the ASP didactic organisation and training path in the last three-year term, according to the guidelines defined by Rectors Resta and Saracco.

During the last 3 years, the ASP Board worked to better define the distinctive role and specificity of ASP towards institutions, companies, and external stakeholders, as well as towards the Politecnico di Milano and the Politecnico di Torino. ASP’s reputation of being a unique honour program in Europe, aimed at developing innovation skills needed to face “wicked problems” from multiple viewpoints, in addition to those acquired by students during the master’s degree courses in Engineering, Architecture and Design, has grown nationally and internationally, both among students and companies.

Uniqueness also distinguishes the ASP students, who, during their path within the Alta Scuola Politecnica, have the opportunity to develop and refine personal aptitudes of mental openness, intellectual curiosity, conscientiousness, as well as pivotal skills related to cooperation, teamworking, and positive stress management in conditions of uncertainty.

The innovation of the training path and a new offer of personalized training are among the work tracks followed by the Board, also driven by the “lessons learned” from the Pandemic, which evolved and consolidated as new opportunities in the didactic organization.

In particular, the didactic model of residential School was revised with the introduction of courses delivered in a hybrid mode: onsite group activities – aimed at creating team spirit, learning through the observation of peers, developing soft communication skills, and promoting cultural enrichment – and online lessons, which facilitate the involvement of international professors and make it easier the management of learning times for the students.

Moreover, the development of a training model, based on the collaboration between talented students of international honour programmes, is another important aspect of the innovations of the ASP training path.

Within the context of these didactic innovations, the one-to-one mentoring programme was also reinforced foreseeing the participation of managers and CEOs of industrial groups and national and international experts.

The specificity of the ASP advanced interdisciplinary training is confirmed by the fact that almost all the former ASP students work in the field of innovation, with a noteworthy number of relevant start-up founders and 25% of Ph.D. students.

The Politecnico di Milano and the Politecnico di Torino will attempt to incorporate in their training paths these didactic innovations,in the coming years, confirming the fact that ASP has always been a place for experimentation for the two Universities.

Finally, in the last three-year term, agreements have been activated with large companies to facilitate the connection with ASP students and to finance Ph.D. scholarships, with the aim of attracting and retaining talents, and it is noteworthy, in this sense, that the number of the ASP students who enrolled in a Ph.D. programme is growing strongly. Moreover, important fundings were obtained by companies involved within the ASP projects and by the MIUR, besides several scholarships for ASP students.

ASP students describe the ASP experience as distinctive within their course of study, as professional development goes hand in hand with personal growth, thanks to the teamwork and collaboration among students with different origins and backgrounds, with whom they have the opportunity to share not only the training path, but also their free time, thus having the opportunity to deepen mutual knowledge and establish relationships that will probably continue even beyond the duration of the honour programme.