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Welcome Message from Director

Prof. Stephen Lu – Director of Viterbi iPodia Program

Welcome to the USC Viterbi iPodia (ViP) Office, a place you can witness and participate in a revolution of higher education in the 21st century.

Rapid globalization and technology advancement have fundamentally changed the landscape of global competition, leading to many “over-supplied” technology markets. Consequently, the engineering mindset must transform from “production-thinking”, to “design-thinking”, from “technology-focused” to “demand-driven” and from “do-the-thing-right” to “do the right thing”. In other words, the engineering discipline must become a powerful “enabling tool” for human civilization. This is what our Dean, Dr. Yannis Yortsos, calls the “engineering+” vision. Under this engineering+ vision, engineering education must expand from a purely technical subject to become a socio-technical discipline.

The invertedinteractive, and international iPodia program is an education initiative under Viterbi’s engineering+ vision. It enables teachers to instruct together through joint lectures and learners to study together with direct interactions. This new pedagogy will change the present-day university system in very significant manner. First, by bringing multiple classrooms and separate instructions together, it transforms the ecosystem (or value chain) of the University from the “vertical integration” paradigm of doing everything in-house to a horizontally coordinated paradigm, like the “foundry” model that revolutionized the semi-conductor industry. Second, by collocating learners from multiple schools with diverse cultural and social backgrounds as cohorts, it revitalizes the downward value proposition of today’s university education, shifting the focus from lecture-based knowledge “contents” presented by teachers to co-constructed knowledge “contexts” and mutual understanding among a global body of students. The resulting global learning network represents a virtual “world-classroom,” in which collaborating institutions retain their independent identities and unique curriculum designs but work together in courseware development and classroom instruction. This borderless global contextual learning community represents a new frontier of higher education in the 21st century in the post-recession world.

We believe that in the new century, the physical campus and learning environment of a world-class global university will take a very different shape and form than what we know today. Rather than being a physical campus where everyone strives to come to study, a 21st-century global university will be “a borderless learning community where any students anywhere can study any subjects interactively and collaboratively on their own campus with the best classmates from any leading institutions around the globe anytime.” As one of the most globalized university in the 20th century, USC is determined to lead this transformation of global university in the 21st century through the iPodia program.

“What you learn depends on with whom you learn” – to become a global leader tomorrow, students must study together with the best global leaders today. iPodia, as part of our new global focus, not only brings USC to the world, but more importantly, brings the world to USC so that everyone can study with the best of the best now to become the best in the future.

I invite you to visit this website to understand how you and your university can become part of the ViP Program. If we can provide you with any further information or answer any questions you may have, please feel free to contact us anytime.


Stephen C.-Y. Lu

Director of Viterbi iPodia (ViP) Program