12: How Middle Tennessee State University Prepares Students for Gainful Employment Prior to Graduation w/ Dr. Colby Jubenville

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Dr. Colby Jubenville, Director of the Center for Student Coaching and Success at Middle Tennessee State University, discusses how their coaching strategy effectively prepares students for gainful employment PRIOR to graduation.

Really quick before we get into theshow today. I wanted to share something fun with you. At Helix werecently turned our enrollment growth playbook into a video game. Enrollment growth hero isa quick, ten minute dialog based game in which you, the hero,work with other campus leaders to put together an enrollment growth strategy for your institution. If you ever shared the enrollment growth playbook with a colleague who never readit, tell them about enroman growth hero instead. It covers very similar contentand all actually learn a lot. There's also a secret prize inside the gamefor curious explorers. So when you get to work today, visit Helix Educationcomslash hero to play. You're listening to enrollment growth university from Helix Education,the best professional development podcast for higher education leaders looking to grow enrollment at theircollege or university. Whether you're looking for fresh enrollment growth techniques and strategies ortools and resources, you've come to the right place. Let's get into theshow. Welcome back to enrollment growth university. I'm miracles, AVP of marketing atHelix Education, and we're here today with Dr Colby Juban, Bill,director of the Center for Student Coaching and success at Middle Tennessee State University.Dr Jupan Bille, thanks so much for joining us today. They are thanksfor the opportunity to be with you and thanks for the time to spend withyour audience and hopefully we can share some insights from your perspective, my perspectivethat will be valuable to them. So thank you. I think we're goingto have a great conversation today about you and your team of success coaches reallyfocus on preparing students per gainful employment prior to graduation. But before we gettoo deep into that, Colby, can you give the listeners a little bitbetter understanding of both Middle Tennessee state and your rule there? Yeah, so, so mtsu is it continues to grow in both sides and scope. We'reled by a guy named Sidney mcphee, Doctor Sydney mcphee, and we bothSydney, I, Dr mcphee, and I came to him Tsu about thesame time. And you know, I think if you really look at itshistory, it grew up much like where I did my phd down at SouthernMississippi as as a teacher's College, and I think in the history books welook back at Dr mcfee. I think he truly woke that university up tohis potential. And so mtsu as the largest comprehensive undergraduate institution in the Stateof Tennessee and we are right there in Murphy's borough and I tell people,you know, wherever I go you can sell use chewing gum and Murphy's borrowand make money. And so we've got this unbelievable economic landscape. And soI believe that Dr mcphee has really positioned Mtsu for long term success, notonly with his vision of the kind of facilities that are needed to grow theexperience for the student, but also a true focus on student success. Andso the success is not just about retention and persistence and graduation, but myfocus is on the success of moving off the campus and moving into to gainfulemployment prior to graduation. And so you know, you made that statement justto kick this thing off. But but when I say that to other people, what I find is sort of sort of funny is they shake their headlike yes, this is that, that's a great idea and it's not anew idea to me. That's what we should have been doing from day oneand and I think parents and students bet their time, their money, theirenergy, their resources that somebody on that campus has the knowledge, the skill, the desire, the confidence, the likability, that network something that's goingto give them a competitive advantage in this marketplace of ideas. And so that'swhat drives me every day to wake up and do the kind of meaningful activitiesI do, in both one on one peer and in Group coaching, todrive the success that we want to create for the student. Awesome, awesome. Yeah, let's start there. Actually,...

...let's talk definitions. How would youdefine the difference between the skills required for student to merely graduate college versusthe skills required to actually succeed in a career? You know, that's that'ssuch an interesting question and I think if you go to all these different campsand factions of people that believe they have the answer, they'll give you alldifferent answers about what what are the hard skills and soft skills that drive success? And and to me, before you can answer that question, it goesback to this idea of understanding yourself. And so, Eric, we're taughtthat if you have more education, if you have more relationships, if youhave more opportunity than you can be more successful, when in reality it's ifyou have more of yourself you can be more successful. And so I thinkthe greatest skill that you can develop is self assessment and truly understanding yourself andwho you are, what you do and why you matter to the world andbeing able to articulate that and then intentionally building a plan and a path basedoff those ideas. It's what does that look like when you and your teamsit down for the very first time with a student you're coaching? What aresome of those very first questions you ask them to to get from where theyare today to what it means to be super prepared for gainful employment? Well, so let's unpack a couple things there. I think that here's a couple conclusionsup come through by going through this process. Here's the first. Studentsdon't want personal development, they want personal change. They don't want personal development, they don't they want personal change. And you go man cold we thatsounds really good, but tell me what that means. And here's what itmeans. I don't think anybody today can encapsulate and truly define and understand insimple terms what it means to personally develop someone else. But I think wecan define change and the change that I think has to happen if you trulywant to impact a student. The change that has to happen as you haveto change the narrative, and the narrative looks something like this. Eric hasn'tnarrative, Colby hasn't there ative. That narrative has been written by Colby orsomeone has written it for Colby. If you don't know the narrative, ifyou don't get inside that narrative, if you don't help them understand and makesense the narrative so that they can create a new narrative based on the experiencesthey're going to have at this two year, four year, whatever formal level ofeducation they have, then you do you truly can't create the change thatyou want to create or they want to create for themselves, and so Ithink that's what really has to happen. We've built a very simple process thatlooks like this. Personal change happens in two very simple steps, personal assessmentand personal coaching, and so we've partnered with Harrison assessment that we believe tobe the greatest assessment provider in the country around behavioral assessment, and then we'vealso partnered and create with that, along with that and created narrative based coaching, templates and sessions, and so we marry the personal assessment with the NarrativeBase coaching and that drives a personal change. Love it and talk about how thatPersonal Assessment and that personal coaching in a grate or interact with this fiveto arrive model that you're centering your coaches focus on with every student. Yeah, so the five to arrive really really comes from somebody that I've never metbut I've certainly listened to a lot, and it's Jim Ron. And Ronsaid this. He said the same wind blows on all of us, thewind of opportunity, the wind of failure, the wind of success, and hesaid it's the difference in arrival is not the blowing of the wind,it's the set of the sale. It's how do you set a better sale? And so to me, the way you set a better sale and whatRome says is you correct the errors of your past and you set new disciplinesfor your future. Well, the new disciplines for the future are in factthe skills that we're talking about, and...

...so just here recently I brought ina group of students in a particular major whose challenge was to write a compellingletter of interest and complete the interview process in a way that not only gotthem into the school they wanted to get into, but also gave them theopportunity to capture scholarship money. And so, through this process we get to theend of a ninety minute coaching session. So I said, who wants toto take on this challenge after everything we've talked about today? Who wantsto tell me what the first sentence looks like? And this is this isbeautiful. This is when you know it's worth and the student goes doctors,you can go out to take the shot. and So said, okay, tellme what would you write? And she goes, here's what I'd write. She said, I could easily tell you about why I chose Mtsue,I could tell you about my major, I could tell you about how hardI've worked, I could tell you about my volunteer hours, but instead,what I think truly captures who I am, what I do and why I matterto not only this industry or both. The opportunity at this institution is thestruggle that I've been through, and so what I would like to doin this letter is share with you three defining moments that capture who I am, what I do and why I'm matter, and see in that moment, forthe first time, that student creates a new narrative for themselves, thatwalks out of that struggle and that walks into a new narrative based on theirlife, themes that was borne out of the Harrison assessment that they were able, for the first time, to capture because they took the time to slowdown and complete that personal assessment. and that's a hard skill to communicate inan emotional way, because people make buying decisions based on emotion. Will Sir, separate her from those other people that apply for these opportunities? That's awesome. That's awesome, such a good story. We've been teasing about this, buttalk about your formula for graduation success, the three things that you and yourcoaches look to instill in a student to make sure Su're not just coastingby but they're truly prepared for gainful employment. Well, and I think you gotto and I didn't answer your question all the way. It's I wantto back up first and talk about the five to arrive. The five toarrive is based on five key pieces and its personal reflection, personal knowledge,personal assessment, personal coaching and personal change. And I am convinced are now,more than ever, after having the vision to build this, putting thistogether, delivering it, figure out what works and what doesn't work. Ibelieve it's those key things, reflection, knowledge, assessment, coaching and change, that really are the key pieces to driving the success that these students desperatelywant. And so you know the I always go back to that one studyout of the Wall Street Journal where it looks at and I'm going to getit wrong, but it's Thirtyzero or fortyzero graduates the studies out of Georgia Techand it looks at well being after graduation and it looks at social, physical, mental, spiritual, financial, career wellbeing and it tries to isolate whatis the factor, what is the one thing that led to that wellbeing?And that one thing was did the student have a meaningful relationship with a coach, teacher, Mentor advisor? And so my mom, I was going totwo educators who taught me the way you take on the world is to becomean educator, Marin educator and educate other people. She sends me this thisnewspaper article, and she writes there on a on a yellow sticky note,she said, you've been doing this your entire career. This is what youneed to create an Mtsu, a place that creates meaning for students. Andthat's really to me, what it's about is, can you create meaningful experiencesthat change the narrative so that they can...

...go and create a bigger future forthemselves? and to me that's the formula. I mean we you know in thearticle and that we talked about values and perseverance and I think all thosethings are important. But if you really get down to how change happens withinpeople, change does not happen in think field. Change happens and do feelthink. And so the do is based off the one conclusion that they havein each coaching session. What is the most important conclusion that you've come to? You know, when I ask that question, I turn that they lookat me like I'm supposed to give them the answer and I'm not going togive them the answer. I'm well, is that what you think the mostimportant conclusion? And so, once they give you that conclusion, then I'llsay, then, what are three things that you're committed to doing and see? That's incremental change, and if you can teach people how to build incrementalchange and their own life, then that's when we really start to see thesuccess that we want to see. That's how you created your success, that'show I created my success. Three years ago I could have never gotten onthis poc cast and and done what I've done, but it's because I incrementallygot a little bit better every day. Love it, love it. Kobe, we've talked about the phrase gainful employments a lot today, and then let'sget back a definitions per second. Can you elaborate on that distinction you seebetween yeah, gainful employment and just mere employment? Yeah, employment. Tome it's trading time for money. I try to keep things simple. Employmentstrading time for money. Gainful employment is where you get some kind of psychologicalbenefits, some meaning, purpose and contribution through the work that you do,and so that's why, again, we go back and use that personal assessment. If you look at the key pieces that we use with hairs and assessment, the reports that we pull they look something like this. The very firstreport is a traits and definitions report that pulls your life themes. If Ican understand Eric's life themes and I can understand how to help Eric create anew story based on those life themes. The second report that we pull isyour greatest strengths. I really don't believe in spending time and developing people's weaknesses. I will only spend time in helping people use those strengths to create thenew narrative that they want to create. The Third Report is summary and keywords, and that's focused on building your personal brand. The fourth report is onemotional intelligence and it looks at you better understanding your emotional in telligence, becausewe know that emotional intelligence is the number one predictor performance in the workplace.The fifth is career development and then the sixes career options based on enjoyment theory. And so we take those six key reports, build six foundational coaching sessions, build thirty day windows in between each one of those. At the longestwill go faster if they want to, depending on how fast they want togo, and then we use that model of do feel thank to drive change, love, Kobe the model, the center, the resources. You havea middle Tennessee state are incredibly impressive and I'm sure making many listeners more thanjust a bit jealous. How did you get the level of buying from youruniversity to make something like this happen? How do you continue to prove theresults? And from the university's perspective, is their primary goal of the center, in your rule, to improve retention and completion rates, or is itto better prepare students to be more successful and therefore become more effective brand ambassadorsand referrals out in the workplace? Well, there's a lot of questions wrapped up, is there? And so let's go to the foundational pieces. Innovationmeans you go first. I think we're to cross roads in higher education.I think that if we don't bring tremendous value to these students, that they'regoing to look to go other places to find a way into the system.The system is built on the fact that we believe. You know, here'sthis thing, here, here's what we teach people. They say this,Hey Colby, at eight years old,...

Hey Colby, you can be anythingyou want to be. In at eighteen they go hey, kobe, wedon't care what you do, just get the house and tell me that's nottrue. Then hits so colbe read from the script that everybody else wrote forhim and said, Oh, I know what I'll do, I'll go tocollege, I'll get a job and everything will be successful, everything will beokay. You know that's not the case, especially in the noisy, blurry,distracted world that we live in. And so I truly believe innovation meansyou go first. And so the question that becomes you go first towards what? To me it's you go first towards helping students build an intentional narrative tobecome gainfully employed. And so it first started. Higher Education will never changeon its own. I can say that publicly. I can say that privately. It won't. It takes outside forces to make a change. That's bigrock number one. Big Rock number two is our business starts in a bureaucracy, but it doesn't have to end there and it doesn't in there most ofthe Times. The third is that these kids make a massive bet, theybet their time, their money, their energy, there resources, that somebodyon that campus can help them. And and I take that obligation very seriously, that I am there because I've done this inform of my entire life.But I'm there to help kids walk out of that, walk out of thatnarrative, because here's what I believe those kids, just like you and Iin their twenties, they lay there, they let they lay their head undertheir pillow at night and the number one thing they worry about more than anythingelse is how can I create a bigger future? And I've spent my entirecareer doing that. And so you asked me a very specific question about howthis get started and how does the university continue see value in it? Well, it's got started because one of my clients that I helped at the crossroadsof his life said something to me that I'll never forget. He said,if you can help me get this thing, his company, back to where itneeds to be, we can all prosper together, and I never forgotthat. And that was about eight to ten years ago. And my passionis always been what I've always been naturally curious about is how does one personget to point a and the other person get to point B, if allthings are equal, or maybe even not? How does that? What are theforces at work at make that happen? And then how can we build anintentional system where everybody can get a shot at being intentional about building thefuture they want to create for themselves. And so I went to him andI said, Hey, his name is John Floyd Young's old self properties arethere the largest independent home building the state of Tennessee. And I said youremember when you said this to them? And he said Yeah, and Isaid I want it. This is what I want to do at mtsue andhe said, well, what does that what is that going to take?And I said, well, I'll start that conversation at a million dollars andhe said we'll write it up to me and we'll see what we can do. Well, I put it together about three days and I sent it overto him and and he said I'll do it. And you know, youget a million dollar, seven figure private gift and that gets the attention ofthe president. Push and I'll say this. I know I don't have all theanswers. I know I don't, but here's what I do know.Every student that comes through there walks away with a total different perspective about howthey can create a bigger future. And so I'm happy to let the academics. I'm happy to let the teachers, I'm happy to let anyone do whateverthey want to do, but what I want to do is coach and teachthose kids to become the people they're supposed to become in order to live alife they're supposed to live. And I think we built a system through thefive to arrive that can do that and I'm going to spend the next twentyyears my life doing it. It's awesome. And is the university still in theexcited stage about the possibility, or have you been able to prove theefficacy of your model so far? Well, you know anything, anything I thinkin life, and that that that's meaningful requires relationships, and so Ithink every day we have a new opportunity...

...to build relationships with those kids thatwalk to the door. I don't mind sharing with you that it was fallbreak and today I had a student come in on a Monday of fall breakand look, this truly captures, I think, the essence of what we'redoing. So this student was one of the students that came over for thecoaching on the hard skill set of how do I write a letter of attemptthat's emotionally compelling? How do I develop a interview skill set that when theyget done, not only do they offer me the opportunity, but they giveme the scholarship. And so we get to the end and she goes,have you ever read the Book Love Does? This this happened to me this morning, and I said no, and so I have a little have awall that's painted totally in whiteboard paint, and so I write love does andI said who wrote that? And she she said guy named Golf Geoff,and she said you need to read that because you remind me so much ofhim. And I don't know what that means, but if there's a andshe said just so, we'll tell me. What does it tell me that thebooks about? She goes, let me, you know, there's alot of things that the books about, but at the end he has hisphone number and if you want to call him, you can call him.That day he puts in there and he answers the phone. And she goes, he's a lot like you. He actually says that he'll help you andthen he gives you a way to help you to be able to do whatyou want to do. I thought, you know it just that that rightthere encapsulates to me what I think is a challenging gap between approaching graduation,graduation and game for employment, and I'm you know, it's those kind ofmoments that you say to yourself, what we're doing is working and we justneed to keep working the system, refine the system and get a little bitbetter every day. It's awesome. I can back the recommendation for for lovedoes and I think you and yeah, yeah, and I think. Ithink you and Bob Gotfer are very similar in that you believe people are magicand you believe the world is magic and you are just an optimist who believesthat students can go on to do amazing things and they just need to believeit themselves. So I think, I think. Yes, I think youwill enjoy that book and you will see a lot of yourself in that.Well, and I do it, and here's why. I look no furtherthan myself. I mean, I was I was born with something called remnantsof the pupil arey membrane. I was born with spider webs over my eyes. The doctors painted this bleak picture the future to my parents. If itwasn't for my parents persistence in my own success and all those great coaches andteachers at St Paul's and mobile, I would never be able to sit infront of you and be able to do what I do. You know,bring a brown, who is my favorite author, todate. She really hasopened my eyes to what I think we're here to do. And she said, you know, the goal is not to create independent adults. The goalis to create adults that can depend on each other. And I believe,Eric, that these kids are dependent on somebody that can show them the way. And and I'm convinced we've got it. I think that you visionary leaders likeSidney mcphee. He gets excited about student success. I think that heunderstands what matters most to these students and and and so I think we're justgetting started on writing the story of the next chapter of Higher Education. Ijust finished BRANA's most recent book, braving the Wilderness, this weekend and can'trecommend it high highly enough. Before this podcast turns into a book club recommendation, which would also be awesome, call the anything else you want to leaveour listeners with today, who are looking to improve the success coaching models oftheir own institutions. Well, I think success, is simply defined by Thureau, is advancing complay in the direction of your own dream, to endeavor tolive a life that only you can imagine. And so if you're coaching other people, I think the very first thing is to understand what their dream isand how to help them have the confidence...

...to achieve it. You know,I was talking to my good friend Christen Taylor out of California and she handlesa lot of the narrative base coaching stuff. That was she does, and shesaid, you know, Kelbe, you're just a natural at this andthey're not interested in you being polite with them, they're interested in you tellingthem the truth. Because you know I and I was. I was sharingwith her about the last coaching session that I had and I said, you, do you really believe you that is the truth, because you do,you're telling yourself a lie and it's I don't know when it's you're going tofigure this out, but it's got to happen. And she just you know, she said, I love that you're willing to and not just simply bepolite and pat him on the back. And and I'm not. I thinkthese kids are starved for the truth. And I think that if you can. You Know Jim Hensel, who wrote a book called Briand your be thequest for purpose. He said, Kobe, you got to serve it up ina way that people can get it, and that's that's a powerful lesson thatif you're going to coach, you got to serve it up in away that people can get it, and I think that's what we're doing,or MTSU, and I'm excited about it. Kobe, thanks for all that youand your team were doing for those students and thanks so much for joiningus today. Well, what's the best place for listeners to connect with youif they have any follow up questions? Well, it's at Dr Juban Bill, D Rju be in Zell lcom at Dr Juban Bill, I mean adoctor. Dr Juban Bill is my is my twitter, and so you know, hit me up there and certainly I'm going on Linkedin at at Dr JumanBill as well. Awesome. Thanks against so much for joining us to day, Kobe, and and all you're doing for your students. Set at MiddleTennessee state. Hey, Eric, thanks for what you do and keep thatpodcast going. I'm it's a great resource and appreciate the opportunity with you.You've been listening to enrollment growth university from Helix Education. To ensure that younever miss an episode, subscribe to the show in Itunes or your favorite podcastplayer. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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