How to increase enrollment through creative solutions.

Episode 6 November 14, 2022 00:42:24
How to increase enrollment through creative solutions.
College Is Worth It
How to increase enrollment through creative solutions.

Nov 14 2022 | 00:42:24


Hosted By

Vi Nguyen Justin Gillmar Drew Melendres Jonathan Shores, Ph. D.

Show Notes

The College Is Worth It podcast welcomes to the show Dr. Bill Carroll former president of Benedictine University who currently serves as president of Hunter Global Education, working with American and Asian educational institutions. Drew and Dr. Carroll discuss the higher ed landscape from the perspective of his former presidency, and creative ways to improve enrollment.

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Episode Transcript

Speaker 1 00:00:04 You're listening to the College Is Worth It Podcast, Learn from leaders who are transforming higher education to ensure that a college degree will pay off for this generation. And the next by exploring innovations in education with us in each episode. And now your host, Vi Nguyen. Hello Speaker 2 00:00:21 Everyone. This is Vi and you're listening to the College Is Worth It Podcast today, Drew Melendres, who has served in many enrollment positions for many years and is currently the Chief Client Service Officer at Ardeo Education Solutions will be interviewing Dr. Bill Carroll, former president of Benedictine University, who currently serves as President of Hunter Global Education, working with American and Asian educational institutions. Drew and Dr. Carroll discussed the higher a landscape from the perspective of his former presidency and creative ways to improve enrollment today. So let's get to it. Speaker 3 00:01:00 Well, Dr. Carroll, thank you for joining me here on our College Is Worth It podcast. For those of you listening, I am Drew Melendres. I'm our Chief Client Service Officer at Ardeo education. I wanted to an invite to special guests, it's someone that I've known for years now and has given me lots of great advice and guidance over the years, whether I've listened to it or not. Dr. Bill Carroll, who I look forward to having just some back and forth and hearing his take on why college is still worth it, uh, along with his journey throughout the year. So, Dr. Carroll, thank you so much for joining me. Speaker 4 00:01:32 And Drew, thank you for inviting me. Speaker 3 00:01:34 Yeah. Well, let's start with, at the start of this, tell us a little bit more about yourself and your background in higher education. Speaker 4 00:01:42 Well, I started out as a student, like most of us, in my early days of college, I was studying to be a priest in Roman Catholic Church. I got within months of that goal and realized that I really enjoyed philosophy and theology and was not ready to move to level of priesthood. So, I stepped out of the seminary and luckily got a nice fellowship to Catholic University in philosophy where I got my master's degree and I got my doctorate degree and my specialty, a Pseudo-Dionysius. Speaker 3 00:02:17 I'm sorry, what? What does that mean? Speaker 4 00:02:18 Pseudo-Dionysius, the Areopagite was a sixth century Syrian monk, we believe, and pseudo means unknown person, who pretended he was a disciple to St. Paul and ruled a whole lot of text based on Platonism and put them into the Christian, scripture Christian philosophy, and became a highway for Christian philosophy and theology until today based on a fake name. Scholar who saw the importance of Platonism for Christianity. And he didn't put his own name in because he knew no one would read him. Speaker 3 00:02:56 Interesting. Wow. Speaker 4 00:02:57 Okay. And Dionysius, the name Dionysius the Areopagite was a person baptized by St. Paul, on the Areopagite at a small mountain. Yeah. So this, this person thinking, Well, if I fake his art work, people are going to say, This is a disciple of Paul. They're going to read his readings. And it went through all of the Christian tradition up until around the 15th century when it has finally figured out he wasn't the real thing really. But his impact has been huge. Huge. Wow. But that was my academic specialty. And I started my career at Coppin State College now University in Baltimore City, historically black institution. And I was hired to be a philosophy professor, instructor, and, I enjoyed teaching. I enjoyed teaching, the students at Coppin and I enjoyed teaching so much that I was always afraid of running out of students. Speaker 4 00:03:51 So I started developing programs. I started a weekend college. We started an inmate extension program at a Baltimore maximum security prison in downtown Baltimore. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Okay. It became one of the largest inmate programs in the country. We had inmates in prison for life and long sentences going to college. Okay. And that was funded by the government for a while. They stopped it. And in the last couple of years, it's picked up again that students in prison who are educated are less likely to return to prison because of that education. So I began building all kinds of programs. When computers first came out, we had a thing called Commodore 64, which is probably before your time. True. Right. But it was early on, and we had a lab full of Commodores, and I put out a bid to the state of Maryland that we would do the training on computers for state employees. Speaker 4 00:04:44 So we won the bid, and the Baltimore Civic Center was the venue. So every weekend, a friend of mine would go in our computer labs at Coppin, remove all the computers, and take him to the Civic Center to teach state employees how to use Commodore 64. And at one point, the dean and or the president said, you know, Bill, we're going to make you the dean of continuing education. I said, What's that? And he said, I don't know, but you're going to find out. And that kind of left me from teaching, going into administration and my driving thing. There was the fear of running out of students mm-hmm. <affirmative> and at Coppin. I stayed there 19 years. It was a great educational for pro grounding for me. Uh, everything I think I learned for later in my career was taught to me at Coppin. And I have a great affinity for the HBCUs because it's a great place to learn to work, great students and wonderful opportunities. Speaker 4 00:05:40 At one point I decided at Coppin, it was time to move on and go back to the private colleges where I had my beginning. I wanted to have a chance at a private college that was known for diversity, because I could not understand why HBCUs still need to exist when there's so many opportunities in other institutions. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, and that's a question I think we still need to ask. HBCUs are the primary feeders of people of color into our society in terms of higher education, wonderful purpose. Why don't they do well at white institutions? So I went to Ohio, Dominican, I became, I was the academic dean there. The provost spent five years there and decided that after five years, it was time to move on to my own presidency. And ended up at Benedictine University in 1995. Speaker 4 00:06:33 And, it was Illinois Benedictine College then, they were in the middle of a racial war. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And I think that's probably why I was hired. And I spent 20 years at Benedictine. We expanded all over the world. We were known as one of the best places for diversity in the country. We were 30% Muslim. We went from 1400 students to approximately 11,000 students. Wow. I had sites in Mesa, Arizona. I had sites in Springfield, seven sites in China, similar numbers in Vietnam. And those programs are still alive and well. And all of what was driving me was my fear of running out of students from, you know, being a teacher loving, you know, the art of teaching to I got to find some students, or I'm not going to be able to do this as an administrator, so I still need to find some students. Speaker 4 00:07:20 And today, after 20 years at Benedictine, that's long enough for anybody to be president. I knew that many institutions wanna go to Asia. And over 20 years at Benedictine, I had developed significant relationships in Asia. And Asia runs based on relationships. You can't go in there yet tomorrow and start a program the next day. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, there's a level of relationship building that has to happen. I have 20 years of that. So I started, started Hunter Global Education that specializes in taking American universities and colleges and developing joint income producing programs with Asian institutions. And that's what I'm doing today. I'm also a consultant, some it companies in the country. And I'm also running St. Joseph's College in Rensselaer, Indiana, which in 2017 went out of business. And the board called me and asked me to bring it back. So we're bringing St. Joseph's Rensselaer back, and we'll talk more about that probably a little bit later. So that's kind, quick overview of what I do. Speaker 3 00:08:16 Love. Thank you. That's already compelling from, to hear just that, all that varied experience, in such a unique perspective. So let's go back to the start. What made you choose to want to go in the seminary and almost become a priest? What drove that? Speaker 4 00:08:32 Irish Catholic first born, I think was a big driver. Okay. Although I never felt pressured. The desire to reach out and work with people and help people, was big. And, uh, you know I think that, um, when I was in the seminary, the Vietnam War was going on, and I reached a point that I realized I was being protected from the draft mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Uh, and then my best friend was killed in Vietnam. And I said, I can't stay here anymore, even though I want to study. I need to leave and make myself subject to the draft like any other person, any other male in this country. And what's funny about that, my best friend was killed in Vietnam. And some of my best relationships now are people in Vietnam who were on the other side of that battle. Yeah. Um, strange world, Speaker 3 00:09:22 Very strange. Speaker 4 00:09:24 I don't know whether there's an answer to why do you want to go to the seminary or do you want to work with people? Okay, Yeah. Speaker 3 00:09:29 Call to do that. Yeah. Absolutely. Well, then, what made you take the hard turn to not become a priest? Was it what happened with your friend or? Speaker 4 00:09:38 No, the calling hasn't changed, but I just I, you know, people say, well, I major you majored in philosophy. Why? Philosophy chose me. Okay. I really had no choice but to major in philosophy. I was not ready to stop my studying and go to a parish somewhere in Pennsylvania to be an assistant pastor or whatever. Right. I planned to do that someday. I've never gotten back there, by the way. But I went on to philosophy and I had that opportunity for the doctor's degree and, you know, a lot of unsurety, That's a hard decision. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And it was, I love the life. It was a great life. Many of my classmates have become bishops. Okay. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. But I started realizing I'm called in a different direction still to serve, but in different ways. Speaker 3 00:10:20 Very good. Well, philosophy. Let's take a turn there. You know, today I think parents hear that term and they can say, Oh no, my child may not have a job. Uh, as you thought about that as a major, did cost or return on in your investment factor in your college choice or anything like that? Or was that not even a thing students thought about then? Speaker 4 00:10:37 Well, you know, I was fortunate enough to give scholarships. Okay. I had an in it when I was leaving seminary. My father was a civil engineer, All right. Big time construction type guy. And he said,well, philosophy feeds your family. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And after 20 years as president, I said, Dad, philosophy fed my family quite well. Feeds them quite well. And I think that anybody who majors in something like philosophy or history or whatever, is going to hear that. Right. And it may not be that I become a philosophy teacher, but I use philosophy more as in management as a president. It's more of a, this is for real philosophy, All right. Teaching students, you know, Aristotle, Plato Confucius. Okay, that's fine. But when you're in the workplace and you have decisions to make, all right. Speaker 4 00:11:28 That critical thinking you pick up in these liberal arts areas is crucial. And I think you'll still find most employers say, liberal arts people are the best critical thinkers, but we need to have some other skills other than just liberal arts. So you're seeing an onslaught now, certificate programming and management to add on to these majors. So, you know, I love philosophy. I don't ever have to teach each again, I enjoy the back and forth, the comradery, focusing on topics. Uh, but your child, if they go into liberal arts, who always here, you're not going to be able to get a job that should never deter a person. Okay. Don't let people tell you what you can't do. And matter of fact, my own mantra was, if you tell me I can't do it, I'm going to show you I can. And so, I mean, that, that's a great question. But, I'm sure every student, whoever went into a liberal arts area, got that same thing. Why don't you go into something like medicine or nursing. Yeah. There's a role for liberal arts. Speaker 3 00:12:26 Absolutely. Well, I think I know the answer to this then, but if you had to do it over again, would you change anything in your higher education experience? Speaker 4 00:12:34 Absolutely not. I go right back into seminary and start it all over again. Good. Okay. Because in, in a sense, you're learning about yourself Yeah. In this kind of study. And, you know, I think one of the lessons I pull out of there is to be willing to make significant decisions about yourself. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, Right? When I used to teach, moral philosophy, you know, if a person can't decide whether to do A or B, they've decided, okay. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> not making a decision is to make a decision. If I couldn't decide okay, to leave the seminary, then I was staying in the seminary, and I probably would've been a fat and very unhappy clergyman. Okay. You've got to be willing to have the courage to make tough decisions. The hardest thing about leaving the seminary was telling my Irish Catholic parents mm-hmm. <affirmative>, but then they embraced me. They said, Fine. Okay. Really, we're with you. So it's just a, it was a wonderful experience. Uh, my class consisted of 13 guys who wanted to save the world. Yeah. What better environment is that? Now? None of us did, but what a great camaraderie that was. Yeah, Speaker 3 00:13:40 Absolutely. And you keep in touch with many of them today? Speaker 4 00:13:42 None of Speaker 3 00:13:43 Them. None of, Okay. Speaker 4 00:13:44 No. Institutions cut you real fast when you leave. Speaker 3 00:13:48 <laugh>. Oh, okay. Speaker 4 00:13:49 Um, there's one or two, I know where they are and what's going on. A lot of them left. I think about eight of us left, eight of them made it. Uh, it's a pretty high attrition rate. Yeah. Uh, but it's just, the experience. I mean, it's, you talk about a well oil machinery is ministry is studying to be a minister. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I mean, step lock, step lockstep, and has a natural outcome. But sometimes students go in different direction. So I heard philosophy and what in that direction. Very Speaker 3 00:14:14 Good. Is that, is a path you took still achievable today for students? Could the student today still go that path of, um, that you needed? Or has higher education changed so much that they couldn't follow a similar path? Speaker 4 00:14:27 I think so. I think so. I mean, you know, seminar education is open to everybody. I hope at some point we change that women can become Catholic priests. But I mean, that avenue is open, but you'll find a lot of students. Um, when I was president, I used to ask incoming, uh, students, parents, we have a parent meeting. I'd say, How many of you know what you want to be when you grow up? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, very few of them raise their hands. Right. And then I would say, Well, why are you putting so much pressure on your kids back? Yeah. Okay. Because they're going to change their career five or six different times mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And with me, I still don't know what I want to do. Yeah. Okay. I'm open to new things, and you just need to be able to go with the flow. I mean, jobs are important, I understand that, but happiness is more important. Yeah. And it's not a matter necessarily of making all the money in the world. It's being service. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> being in service. Speaker 3 00:15:22 Very good. Let, let's go to your time as a faculty member teaching philosophy. And you've talked about this idea of a fear running out of students. That's not something I've heard from faculty member. I guess as an enrollment manager, I'm told, well, your job's to give us the students and they should never run out. So tell me why the faculty member that was a peer of yours. Speaker 4 00:15:43 The love of teaching mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Okay. You know, look what's happening today in a lot of colleges across the country mm-hmm. <affirmative> cutting programs. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, one of the first areas cut philosophy mm-hmm. <affirmative>, Okay. English. Okay. They're keeping the, the business management type courses, but the fluff courses, they call, you know, philosophy in that are disappearing. Right. My whole career, I've heard nothing but the mantra that the liberal arts are going out of existence. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, well, they still haven't, and they won't, but they're changing dramatically. So I'm in a school Okay. That, that didn't have a lot. I think we had 1200, 1500 students, at Coppin, maybe 3000, but it wasn't at the premier level of, of the big guys in the University of Maryland system. So we were always on the verge of being merged into someone else mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And the only way we could stay whole in my mind was get more students. So that fear, I most, So at some point I had to step out of teaching and move into, you know, development program development. Yeah. And, you know, there's an old maximum out there that your enrollment is a byproduct of your academic program. If you're not getting new academic programming, you're not getting new enrollment. And that's the symmetry. And that's really, really important. Yeah. Speaker 3 00:17:02 What was your favorite part about being a faculty member? Speaker 4 00:17:07 The light going off in people's eyes. Okay. To see student finally understand an argument or to see a student, realize they finally get it mm-hmm. <affirmative>, and they start asking the questions to see the students taking a second and third philosophy class. Okay. You know, we build a philosophy major at Coppin mm-hmm. <affirmative> because of the student interest. So I think it's the reaction is student, and I'm still in touch with two or three students from Coppin. Okay. Who became superintendent of Baltimore City Schools major lawyer and principal. I mean, it was just a great, a great Coppin student did more for me than I ever did for Coppin. Speaker 3 00:17:45 Oh, very neat. So tell us about, about this transition to somewhat of administration in terms of developing curriculum. How did that, what new skill set or appreciation did you have as you move from just faculty member to curriculum and program development? Speaker 4 00:18:00 You know, there's a tradition in this country that presidents should come out of the faculty. And I wholeheartedly agree with that because there, you learn the nuts and bolts of the academic side of the house, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative> the faculty. And sometimes it frustrates the tar out on me because it tends to be a slow cross. But the faculty are in charge of the curriculum. That's their baby, that's their expertise. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, and they know how to build and design courses. I went through that process. I built majors and things like that. The next level, that advancement is developing programs that then I turned to the faculty and asked for courses to support it. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So, for example, I developed a Benedictine, uh, senior center Okay. Senior university. And it was open only to retired people. And I asked the faculty to give me curriculum. Now they had a program that I'm asking courses for to teach retired people, doctors, lawyers, whatever, teachers. Speaker 4 00:18:52 Okay. Huge program. But by becoming a faculty member and going through that process, I was ready to go to the next process of program development as a dean. So say at Coppin, and I formed the weekend college and work with faculty to take their 15 week course and make it a five week course. But we had the components, you had the leadership, the dean who saw the vision, got the faculty involved to realize that vision. And again, an old max is, you know, if you have a vision and no one buys into, it's called hallucination. Right. so I have lots of visions. I got to make sure people buy into them. Yeah. And, and, and one of the guiding things that when I went from a faculty member to a chair, to a dean, to a provost, and then the president, I started hearing another voice. Speaker 4 00:19:42 When I was a faculty member, I heard my comrades, the faculty mm-hmm. <affirmative> in all the disciplines, chatter chattering about when I became a dean, I started listening to another voice. It was very weak. All right. But it wasn't the faculty anymore. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, it was something else. As I went up the ladder and became, um, a president, I realized it was the voice of the institution. Right. When I went to Benedictine, they were struggling. Okay. It was a place about to go out of business, and the voice I heard was very weak. And we had to develop programs, again, that program, faculty background. Okay. That would support the mission of that institution and make that voice stronger. So I went to Benedictine. We had 1400 students. When I left, we had 11,000. The voice was very strong. We were the fastest growing university in the country. Not for traditional programs, even though they're important, but for developing new programs. Okay. That would foster a bigger and larger enrollment. So, you know, going from faculty to a president is simply, to me, a seamless fabric. All right. Okay. And if I come in as a president who do not have that experience, does not have that experience, then it's gonna be a hard road. You need to get some faculty mentors to help you with the process. Speaker 3 00:20:59 Very good. Okay. So let's maybe tell me more about this, um, transition as a, now that you're an administrator, um, did you ever feel like you had to betray faculty along that process? Or you had to just, did it give you a different perspective that I oftentimes see this us versus them mentality of, uh, that faculty versus administration? How did you bridge gaps like that? Speaker 4 00:21:23 Um, there's a saying among the faculty, when a faculty person becomes an administrator, whether it's a chair or a dean mm-hmm. <affirmative>, the faculty saying is, Oh, you've gone to the other side. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Okay, great. There's a natural divide. Right? Yeah. It's a healthy tension because you have the faculty keepers of the academic resource, but the me, the administration keepers of the institution, which forces us into a dialogue that may not happen if that was not there. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, of course, I made a lot of faculty angry. Okay. Over the years. And if I didn't, I wasn't doing my job. You can't make everybody happy. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And so, you know, I interacted with faculty in an open and honest way. Uh, I never lied to them. I always made them think I was a little bit crazy. Okay. Not that I really was mm-hmm. Speaker 4 00:22:18 <affirmative>, but I said, He's liable to go off in the wrong direction. Be careful. Okay. Which got them to work with me. Okay. In a constant basis. I also would always find, when I call the faculty flags, these are faculty who speak for the faculty, who the other faculty look up to for guidance. So I would empower the faculty flags around my vision, and they would bring the rest along. So, for example, when we decided to start a campus of Mesa faculty, were against it, or we started adult education, faculty were against it. I got the flags, got then invested in those programs, The rest of the faculty came on. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So there's a natural tension there. As administrator, you've gotta make tough decisions. Again, not to make a decision, is to make a decision. Right. And, um, we had a lot of tough questions, a lot of tough decisions to make. But the president is charged with doing that, with doing that. Speaker 3 00:23:12 So, especially at Benedictine, you know, to be, to start such growth in the nineties, this is before online education. You start a senior college, you start all at all these satellites. What I mean, the fear of running out of students is there. But I meet lots of campuses where the president says, No, we're 2000 students. We like being 2000 students. And we're okay with that. What, Why at Benedictine did you say, No, we got to do something different. We really need to go into new markets Speaker 4 00:23:37 Because we transformed Benedict from being an academic institution to be in a business. Speaker 3 00:23:42 Okay. Speaker 4 00:23:42 Okay. That income has to equal expenses. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. All right. And what you're seeing now is you're seeing discount rates over 50%. That's a death now. Okay? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, our discount rate was maybe 20%. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, when I left student loans was $19,000. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I would freeze tuition against the competition knowing that I would attract many more students that I would if I didn't. So by running, and I had a board member, he just died a couple days ago. Uh, will Gillette, you know, he said, We're gonna run this like a business. And I had to learn from him how to do that. But income equals expenses. And faculty will argue, we are not a business, we're scholarly institution. Am I gonna get a raise this year? What about cost of living? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, those are business questions for your scholarly side of the house. Speaker 4 00:24:33 Of course you are, because we're running like a business. So, um, I look at enrollment as a tabletop. Okay, that's your enrollment. But your tabletop is only as strong as individual leagues. So one in one leg is traditional students, another leg is adult students. Another leg for us was Asia. Okay. Another leg is online. Another league is a senior university. All these legs together made us the fastest growing university in the country. So, you know, a person who wants to stay at $2,000, unless their endowment is humongous. And I've had a couple presidents say to me that we can actually stop tuition tomorrow and live off our endowments. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> pay for all the students. Wait, that's wonderful. But very few institutions are there. You take the 2000 student institution, we like the small, I know that. Okay. Uh, the small scholarly thing. But I got all these buildings out here that have deferred maintenance, millions and millions of dollars. All right. What are you gonna do with that? That's eating into your $2,000 income? And to keep those 2000 students, How much are you having to discount mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And, and most of the time when students give a, when faculty, excuse me. When colleges give a scholarship, it's not money out of the endowment. It's reduction in the tuition, which is called the discount. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Speaker 3 00:25:53 Very good. Let's talk about challenges. So I'm going to give you, since you've had such, um, a very career, and you can answer this for all, for three different ways, uh, at Bening, this president, what was your greatest challenge and, and how did you address it? And I think I have some insight to that. Uh, and now at Hunter Global Education and what's going on in the world and the economy, and, uh, a little bit about some of your challenges there. And then at St. Joe's, um, that, that also seems like a particularly, um, interesting place now that you have to bring back to life. So what challenges are you seeing and, and how has your career kind of helped you be the right person for each one of those places? Speaker 4 00:26:30 I see my answer is they're all the same thing. No. Okay. At, at Benedictine, I was Benedictine focused. Okay. Laser focus on Benedictine. And the initial challenge was stop the racial strife. Alright. We did that. Wonderful. Became a model of diversity. All right. Stop the, uh, student decline. All right. We did that through new programs, constantly doing that. The fact that we actually turned it around and we're growing the place. I think we built like 17 buildings when I was there. Okay. Wow. The idea of the business income model. So by being singularly focused, I could take those skills and really zero in just on the Benedictine campus, because we obviously expanded. Okay. At the end of, uh, my presidency and I got, frankly, I knew I was getting bored, and that's very dangerous. Okay. So I knew I had to leave, um, and decided that what I want to do is I'm going to continue always working with college. Speaker 4 00:27:28 And I do that through Hunter. I do it on individual consultancies. Um, I found in Hunter, because I see the future enrollment pattern in higher education is huge. International international's going to be bigger than we've ever imagined. And the biggest source of students has been and will continue to be China. Vietnam's going to pass China someday. India, many of our, most of our private not for profit institutions have no idea how to get into those countries. I've built a template. Okay. I have one institution this year that just, you know, has started two new programs. They almost have a half a million dollars just this year for that program. You know, So I took the singular focus at Benedictine, and now I represent colleges who want to go to Asia and develop income opportunities, joint income opportunities. I mentioned the programs at Benedictine income from Asia was seven figures, and it's 20 years old. Speaker 4 00:28:29 And still, I think way up there in terms of seven figures. So these are long term income producing that I have the highway relationships over there. You build on my experience and you get a partner within months. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> develop income producing activities. St. Joseph's was a little different venture. Um, Benedictine is located across the street from Benedictine Academy, and a board member at Benedictine Academy saw what we were doing at Benedict, and he was a St. Joseph's graduate and also a board member. He, um, saw what we did at Benedictine, was there when they closed St. Joseph's and St. Joseph said, They're going to come back. They got to secure the debt, and then they're going to bring it back. And he called me and said, I want you to be the new president of St. Joseph's College in Rensselaer, Indiana. I said, No, thank you. Yeah. Speaker 4 00:29:23 Okay. He called four other times. I said, I don't wanna be president again because of that. I don't wanna just singular focus. I think there's, there's too much work out there to do with all these institutions. I said, But what I will do is I will help you bring it back. So I'm temporarily now executive director. We have a small staff, and Josephs gave up their accreditation. Getting accreditation back is a very long and arduous process. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, we have started in St. Joseph's Career college, which focuses on short-term income producing certificates for students. For example, healthcare industry, CNAs, certified nursing assistant, medical assistants, billing and coding people, EMTs. We had these certificate programs going on that the students take a state test, they're certified, and they can, those certificates are usually transferable around the country. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, we've had people leave short-term programs and they get $65,000 a year jobs in a year. Speaker 4 00:30:24 We have a couple hundred graduates of those certificate programs. We are also working with a select group of colleges to bring their credited programs to Rensselaer, Indiana. So we have a, you know, University of St. Thomas is bringing in five associate degree programs, and they have to be, you know, in and out fast. And the tuition has to be extremely reasonable. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, and they're on campus and run in Rensselaer where they had no credit programs. We're also working with several other colleges about bringing in nursing. We have a couple hundred graduates now in our healthcare programs. That's a natural feeder for a nursing program. So we're bringing in like-minded accredited institutions in the Rensselaer institution in Indiana. It's not about St. Joseph's accreditation. They can still get a college degree in that little town. And, and one of the things that I've learned with some of these colleges, many of our rural institutions play like they are urban institutions. Speaker 4 00:31:21 Right. Okay. We're now taking advantage of the rural setting of Rensselaer and focusing on, for example, vet assistance who can go out in, in the farmland and, and work with farmers to better care for their animals, for their crops. So it's a unique transition from being president of 11,000 to going, starting all over. It's a beautiful campus. The debt will be paid off in short time, and they're open and doing business. That's a model I think that can be copied all over the country. One of the issues I'm having with our colleges is we get into a sense that we all have to be all things to all people. Small liberal arts institutions who are struggling need to learn how to partner with each other. All right. You don't have to be all things. Let's develop unique partnerships to produce income and also really serve your bottom line. Mm-hmm. Speaker 3 00:32:17 <affirmative>. Good. We talked, just talked about bottom line. Let's talk about that from the student perspective. How much did you hear from students when you were president at Benedictine around, you know, ROI of my degree program? Or did that not matter? Do you hear that from your international partner partners with, with Hunter, um, and students coming over? Is that important to them? And, and then the same thing at St. Joe's. You talked about tuition must be reasonable. Does that factor into that? How does this idea of ROI on an education play up to today versus the back when you started in higher ed? Speaker 4 00:32:52 For me, frankly, it's never been, I've never went into that thing where I spent all this time. I remember I said Benedictine's debt when I left was $19,000 for four years. Right. Not 225,000. All right. And at Benedictine, uh, one of the things we did there is they have a history of focusing on the science mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So, for example, in the forties, um, the Manhattan Project, we had two or three months working on that. And my first week at Benedictine Atomic Energy Commission called me and said, Dr. Carroll, we think there's radioactive waste buried on the campus. And said, What? Yeah. They came out and they found it because in those days, they didn't know what to do with it. Right. So the monks built uh, concrete vault and put it in there. And, um, so they come, energy commission came out. Speaker 4 00:33:42 I saw the skull and crossbones truck leave. The next day it came back. And this time we have dirt from Chernobyl. Mm-hmm. Okay. So a lot of the radioactive devices you see in laboratories were developed up, been addicted. It was known for sciences. As the liberal arts began to take hold, the science funding went down. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Right. And you can't take $10 and spread it evenly over 20 new programs and not hurt the older programs. Right. What we realized in 95 was, we have to bring the sciences back. It's still our brand. And we put a lot of money into sciences new buildings in that. So those students left and became researchers. They became doctors. It really wasn't their issue in terms of, uh, return on investment. Are liberal arts people the same thing? You may not get a degree, a job teaching philosophy, but, you know, the at and t studies Okay. Speaker 4 00:34:34 Show that people with liberal arts degrees are dynamite in terms of critical thinking. And they actually rise in, manage quite fast, hooked them up with certificate programs, and then they have skills to offer. So I've, I've heard that. I mean, I think that's a, a counter argument to going to college. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, my advice to students is be aware of what you spend on college. I mean, you can go to a $50,000 a year school Okay. And end up with a huge debt. Or you can go to a $20,000 to your school accredited by the same higher education commission, let's say, for example, and not have the debt, you know, don't spend the money on the big names when a smaller institution might serve you better. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> or your community colleges excellent sources. We accept all the credits from a community college, take two years there and transfer over a junior and senior. Speaker 4 00:35:26 So, um, the return on investment, you know, college is still important. I think that is, there's a movement going on now. I really like, and that's that year off. Go get a certificate, become a nursing assistant. Maybe you might wanna go on and become a nurse or a doctor. We don't have to stop 18 years old and I gotta start college and finish by four years. You know, take some break years, You know, get some other kinds of, other kinds of experience. Because remember, you're gonna have a job, five or six different jobs in your career. Prepare yourself. Speaker 3 00:35:56 Yeah. Absolutely. Well, looking back now, is there anything that you would do differently as a college president, knowing what you know now? Speaker 4 00:36:09 I probably would've pushed even harder. Okay. Okay. I would've developed more programs mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, you know, they used to call me the popcorn president cuz for some reason I'm blessed with ideas and, um, you know, you know, technology now, um, I would've prepared Benedict better for technologies. Technology's the future. Right. Forget your old buildings. Don't put the money in them. They're not coming back. Right. You know, technology is, is the white board of tomorrow today. And, you know, covid has been tough, but it's changed us forever. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So I would've made us much better prepared, uh, for the internet. Uh, we spent a lot of money on technology, but we never really used it to the best of its ability. But I would also push harder for a breakdown of majors. We don't need English history, philosophy majors. Okay. We need those ma those disciplines integrated into the study of business and management and international. Cuz you don't find philosophy out on the street corner. It's integrated in the boardroom in conversations. Okay. We set it alone like a silo in an institution. I would've worked hard drew to break those down. I think they're damaging. Speaker 3 00:37:26 Very good. Well, there's, I got two questions for you left. Um, tell me about where do you think higher ed is going now, next 10 years? What, what big trends do you think are gonna continue to happen in higher education? Speaker 4 00:37:37 I said, I said earlier, my whole career has been characterized by the threat that many of us are going out of business. Yeah. I think that's actually gonna happen. Okay. Okay. I'm seeing, uh, a lot of colleges going. The road of St. Joseph's, St. Joseph's had a vision to come back. Okay. And try and stop the bleed before it got too bad. They did. And they are coming back. There will be a new American college that does not look like the colleges of the forties, fifties, sixties, eighties, nineties, whatever. Okay. It's gonna be fleet of foot. It's not gonna be a building focus necessarily. It's gonna be international. Okay. With students attending from around the world, a faculty from around the world. Um, it won't be buts and seats. Totally. It's gonna be probably hybrid type models where you do some and on others, uh, your majors and disciplines, Your, your your, your majors will disappear. Speaker 4 00:38:29 Okay. Per se. New kinds of majors will emerge. And, um, the colleges that respond to that will be successful. Those who don't, they're gonna have a problem. And that's why I suggest we also look at colleges don't have to be all things to all people. They can partner in unique ways. And I once, uh, invited a local college president, um, Benedict's gonna build a library. I said, Hey, why don't we build the library together? And the president said, No, we gotta compete. Okay. So I called him a couple years later and said, you know, why don't we buy toilet paper together? Nope. We gotta compete. And that mindset keeps institutions siloed. We have to realize we are a business and we have to work our institutions like they are a business. I don't think a lot of us do that. And we give more money out than we take in. Speaker 4 00:39:21 And, you know, it's kinda like the Grim Reaper is coming to, to collect the product. So it's gonna be dramatically different. A lot of institutions are gonna go out of business. I think a lot are gonna partner in new ways. International is gonna be a source of huge number of students. If some of these colleges do not wake up and get involved, it's gonna be too late. Uh, you know, Vietnam is a great thing. Vietnam is just opening up now to American institutions. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> don't wait too long because they're gonna have all America. They want China's saturated American institutions. And China's saying, We don't need another MBA from America. We got thousands of them. All right. So we're looking at other opportunities there, but I mean, you need visionary leaders and, and the role of, of a president is to pick out a spot on the horizon. Speaker 4 00:40:04 Like you're a ship. Get the rest of the institution behind you and steer the ship to realize that spot. And the beauty of that spot is it never, you never catch it on the horizon. You know, it keeps moving ahead and moving ahead. That's right. That's the beauty of the presidency. Part of me would love to be a president again, because there's so many opportunities out there. Sure. And we just need to take advantage of them. You know, another piece that is industry needs us more than ever. Okay. And there's, it's at Rensselaer, at St. Joseph's, we're beginning industry training. They're reaching out and helping us with resources to be able to train their workers. Whole different mindset. We're at Rensselaer, we're gonna be adding welding. Okay. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, probably boat maintenance just to show we're, we're in the field of education plus the ac traditional academic mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Dramatic change. Dramatic change. Speaker 3 00:40:56 Very neat. Well, here's your final question. In your opinion, Dr. Carroll, is college still worth it? Speaker 4 00:41:04 I do it all over again. Absolutely. Okay. Absolutely. You know what, um, the skills, I mean to me, are you going to college to learn specific skills like management or, you know, nursing maybe. But there's also the whole critical thinking side. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, there's also how to interact with people. Okay. Side, uh, that's invaluable. So I think college is absolutely worth it. And you know, if you go to the traditional surveys, college graduates still make more money than other people. Speaker 3 00:41:37 All right. Dr. Carroll, thank you so much for your time. Really appreciate it. Really enjoyed our conversation. Um, always appreciate hearing your cool stories that you got to share. And look forward to watching what you continue to do. Great things. Okay, Speaker 4 00:41:48 Drew, Thank you. Speaker 3 00:41:48 Take care. Byebye Byebye. Speaker 1 00:41:51 This podcast is brought to you by Ardeo Education Solutions. Ardeo Education Solutions provides loan repayment assistance programs known as LRAPs to increase access and enrollment at higher ed institutions. Ardeo's LRAPs help graduates with modest incomes repay their federal student parent Plus and private alternative loans. The powerful promise they provide gives students the confidence they need to enroll. To learn more about Ardeo, visit us on the web

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