1. Globalization and vastly improved communications technologies have increasingly led to winner-take-all markets. Those who are recognized for being the best at what they do can sell their services anywhere and everywhere at top dollar, whereas those who lack such recognition find their knowledge and counsel valued less and less – if they are valued at all.
2. With a coherent program, graduate students at the University of Pennsylvania have an opportunity to become the leading expert in a given domain in a few short years, maybe less. But you need to:
- understand knowledge work, establish a sphere of interest, and identify your area of expertise;
- understand the production of knowledge;
- come up to speed on what's known in your field; and, ultimately,
- push beyond the boundaries of current knowledge application and carve out a niche in which you are the authority .
3. Creation of expertise and conference of authority really are the specific competencies of the University of Pennsylvania and other top research universities. Faculty here are smart, but not necessarily the smartest people around. We're certainly not the wisest. Or the best mentors. But we are experts in knowledge creation and the creation of expertise; and all our systems from the awarding of grades, credits, certificates and degrees to the signing off on papers, articles and theses are carefully designed to discriminatingly confer authority in a given domain.
4. I myself have become expert in many areas -- too many for my own good (see reason #6) -- and know how to do it. Maybe my overarching expertise is in developing expertise.
5. As best I can determine, no course like this exists anywhere. So maybe it's sort of an entrepreneurial educational opportunity.
6. Although I have become expert in many areas, I have not for the most part been successful in realizing the benefits that expertise can provide. I'm determined to not continue to miss opportunities. So I'm actively trying to think through and understand the strategic aspects of developing expertise, the items on the right side of the topic page.