Kenyon Compass is a web-based system that is designed to integrate information about diverse aspects of the Kenyon academic and co-curricular experience into a single, interactive platform. With it, students can find information about everything from courses to take for their areas of study, study abroad programs, internships, and even Kenyon alumni in related fields. The system integrates this important academic, co-curricular, and vocational information so that students can more efficiently manage their academic and career goals, and it serves to unify these diverse elements of the Kenyon education.
In 1892, Rudyard Kipling devoted a poem to the importance of the compass. “In The Matter of One Compass” details the voyages of an ocean adventurer, guided by his northbound needle. The most famous lines of this poem capture the importance that lies in the power of direction: “We go, but we return again!” The compass offers you guidance in the face of doubt, provides you reference in the midst of ambiguity, and ultimately delivers you, transformed anew with an adventurous glow. The Kenyon Compass furthers, honors, and modernizes this definition.
The Compass is a gleaming facet of President Decatur’s 2020 plan. The project receives its funding from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundation, a philanthropic organization dedicated, in part, to providing financial aid to private higher education institutions that focus primarily on arts and sciences. Coined as a digital mapping program, the website’s objective is to help students connect their personal areas of interests to other customized resources. It will be particularly helpful for both incoming freshmen and students preparing to travel abroad; both groups of students require personally tailored resources, and Compass provides a plethora. The site will thrive as an "online advisor," as students can endlessly peruse customized opportunities, both academic and extracurricular. Ron Griggs, Vice President for Library and Information Services, speaks to the ambition of The Compass: “Kenyon is a place that is rich in resources for students. There are classes. There are organizations and activities. There are jobs and internships. There are people you should meet: alumni, faculty, librarians. Kenyon Compass compiles all of the different things you have available to you as a student.” And even better, the site narrows your results to your specific preferences --your own personal compass.
How It Works
Let’s use an example student, to demonstrate how the site functions. Student Z is an admitted student for Kenyon’s 2020 class. She is interested primarily in Psychology, but she has always wanted to learn French, as well. After first logging in to Kenyon Compass, and indicating an interest in either Psychology, French, or both, she is offered a vast expanse of resources. Perhaps the most important of these are the site’s streams: groupings of information that contain all relevant assets, resources, and explanations regarding specific topics. For example, Student Z will find streams from previous Psych/French majors, detailing their schedules. She will find streams that focus solely on study abroad opportunities for Psych majors, perhaps in France. Beyond streams, though, Student Z will also be offered information about upcoming speakers at Kenyon, faculty advisor suggestions, job and internship opportunities, and so much more. All related to either Psychology, French, or both. And if she’d like, Student Z is always welcome to revise her areas of interest, which will in turn provide new and relevant resources. With just a few clicks and the Compass’ guide, students can begin to shape the direction they’d like their lives as college students to take.
Kenyon Compass lives within Pragya Systems, which has been deemed the “‘LinkedIn’ for learning.” Pragya is a startup company based in Cambridge, MA, that seamlessly blends a complex, technological knowledge with intent consumer awareness. Both founders, Ramji Raghavan and Ajay Sharda have been critical players in the creation of Kenyon Compass. The staff at Kenyon consists of Ashleigh Zarley, Steve Martin, Ron Griggs, as well as several student workers: Thabo Kasongo, Maggie Griffin, Jack Zellweger, and Char Dreyer. Many faculty members are also involved with the project including Brad Hartlaub, Pierre Dairon, Kathryn Edwards, and Harry Itagaki, to name a few. Kenyon Compass would not be where it is today without the unyielding effort of the team behind it.