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 the show today. I wanted to share something fun with you. At Helix we recently turned our enrollment growth playbook into a video game. Enrollment growth hero is a 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 read it, tell them about enroman growth hero instead. It covers very similar content and all actually learn a lot. There's also a secret prize inside the game for curious explorers. So when you get to work today, visit Helix Educationcom slash 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 their college or university. Whether you're looking for fresh enrollment growth techniques and strategies or tools and resources, you've come to the right place. Let's get into the show. Welcome back to enrollment growth university. I'm miracles, AVP of marketing at Helix 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 thanks for the opportunity to be with you and thanks for the time to spend with your audience and hopefully we can share some insights from your perspective, my perspective that will be valuable to them. So thank you. I think we're going to have a great conversation today about you and your team of success coaches really focus on preparing students per gainful employment prior to graduation. But before we get too deep into that, Colby, can you give the listeners a little bit better 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're led by a guy named Sidney mcphee, Doctor Sydney mcphee, and we both Sydney, I, Dr mcphee, and I came to him Tsu about the same time. And you know, I think if you really look at its history, it grew up much like where I did my phd down at Southern Mississippi as as a teacher's College, and I think in the history books we look back at Dr mcfee. I think he truly woke that university up to his potential. And so mtsu as the largest comprehensive undergraduate institution in the State of 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 borrow and make money. And so we've got this unbelievable economic landscape. And so I believe that Dr mcphee has really positioned Mtsu for long term success, not only with his vision of the kind of facilities that are needed to grow the experience for the student, but also a true focus on student success. And so the success is not just about retention and persistence and graduation, but my focus is on the success of moving off the campus and moving into to gainful employment prior to graduation. And so you know, you made that statement just to 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 head like yes, this is that, that's a great idea and it's not a new idea to me. That's what we should have been doing from day one and and I think parents and students bet their time, their money, their energy, their resources that somebody on that campus has the knowledge, the skill, the desire, the confidence, the likability, that network something that's going to give them a competitive advantage in this marketplace of ideas. And so that's what drives me every day to wake up and do the kind of meaningful activities I do, in both one on one peer and in Group coaching, to drive the success that we want to create for the student. Awesome, awesome. Yeah, let's start there. Actually,...

...let's talk definitions. How would you define the difference between the skills required for student to merely graduate college versus the skills required to actually succeed in a career? You know, that's that's such an interesting question and I think if you go to all these different camps and factions of people that believe they have the answer, they'll give you all different 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 goes back to this idea of understanding yourself. And so, Eric, we're taught that if you have more education, if you have more relationships, if you have more opportunity than you can be more successful, when in reality it's if you have more of yourself you can be more successful. And so I think the greatest skill that you can develop is self assessment and truly understanding yourself and who you are, what you do and why you matter to the world and being able to articulate that and then intentionally building a plan and a path based off those ideas. It's what does that look like when you and your team sit down for the very first time with a student you're coaching? What are some of those very first questions you ask them to to get from where they are 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 conclusions up come through by going through this process. Here's the first. Students don'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 that sounds really good, but tell me what that means. And here's what it means. I don't think anybody today can encapsulate and truly define and understand in simple terms what it means to personally develop someone else. But I think we can define change and the change that I think has to happen if you truly want to impact a student. The change that has to happen as you have to change the narrative, and the narrative looks something like this. Eric hasn't narrative, Colby hasn't there ative. That narrative has been written by Colby or someone has written it for Colby. If you don't know the narrative, if you don't get inside that narrative, if you don't help them understand and make sense the narrative so that they can create a new narrative based on the experiences they're going to have at this two year, four year, whatever formal level of education they have, then you do you truly can't create the change that you want to create or they want to create for themselves, and so I think that's what really has to happen. We've built a very simple process that looks like this. Personal change happens in two very simple steps, personal assessment and personal coaching, and so we've partnered with Harrison assessment that we believe to be the greatest assessment provider in the country around behavioral assessment, and then we've also 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 Narrative Base coaching and that drives a personal change. Love it and talk about how that Personal Assessment and that personal coaching in a grate or interact with this five to 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 met but I've certainly listened to a lot, and it's Jim Ron. And Ron said this. He said the same wind blows on all of us, the wind of opportunity, the wind of failure, the wind of success, and he said 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 what Rome says is you correct the errors of your past and you set new disciplines for your future. Well, the new disciplines for the future are in fact the skills that we're talking about, and...

...so just here recently I brought in a group of students in a particular major whose challenge was to write a compelling letter of interest and complete the interview process in a way that not only got them into the school they wanted to get into, but also gave them the opportunity to capture scholarship money. And so, through this process we get to the end of a ninety minute coaching session. So I said, who wants to to take on this challenge after everything we've talked about today? Who wants to tell me what the first sentence looks like? And this is this is beautiful. 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, tell me 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 hard I'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 matter to not only this industry or both. The opportunity at this institution is the struggle that I've been through, and so what I would like to do in 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, for the first time, that student creates a new narrative for themselves, that walks out of that struggle and that walks into a new narrative based on their life, 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 slow down and complete that personal assessment. and that's a hard skill to communicate in an 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, but talk about your formula for graduation success, the three things that you and your coaches look to instill in a student to make sure Su're not just coasting by but they're truly prepared for gainful employment. Well, and I think you got to and I didn't answer your question all the way. It's I want to back up first and talk about the five to arrive. The five to arrive 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 this together, delivering it, figure out what works and what doesn't work. I believe it's those key things, reflection, knowledge, assessment, coaching and change, that really are the key pieces to driving the success that these students desperately want. And so you know the I always go back to that one study out of the Wall Street Journal where it looks at and I'm going to get it wrong, but it's Thirtyzero or fortyzero graduates the studies out of Georgia Tech and it looks at well being after graduation and it looks at social, physical, mental, spiritual, financial, career wellbeing and it tries to isolate what is 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 to two educators who taught me the way you take on the world is to become an educator, Marin educator and educate other people. She sends me this this newspaper 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 you need to create an Mtsu, a place that creates meaning for students. And that's really to me, what it's about is, can you create meaningful experiences that change the narrative so that they can...

...go and create a bigger future for themselves? and to me that's the formula. I mean we you know in the article and that we talked about values and perseverance and I think all those things are important. But if you really get down to how change happens within people, change does not happen in think field. Change happens and do feel think. And so the do is based off the one conclusion that they have in 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 look at me like I'm supposed to give them the answer and I'm not going to give them the answer. I'm well, is that what you think the most important conclusion? And so, once they give you that conclusion, then I'll say, 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 incremental change and their own life, then that's when we really start to see the success that we want to see. That's how you created your success, that's how I created my success. Three years ago I could have never gotten on this poc cast and and done what I've done, but it's because I incrementally got 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's get back a definitions per second. Can you elaborate on that distinction you see between yeah, gainful employment and just mere employment? Yeah, employment. To me it's trading time for money. I try to keep things simple. Employments trading time for money. Gainful employment is where you get some kind of psychological benefits, 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 first report is a traits and definitions report that pulls your life themes. If I can understand Eric's life themes and I can understand how to help Eric create a new story based on those life themes. The second report that we pull is your 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 the new 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 on emotional intelligence and it looks at you better understanding your emotional in telligence, because we 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 longest will go faster if they want to, depending on how fast they want to go, and then we use that model of do feel thank to drive change, love, Kobe the model, the center, the resources. You have a middle Tennessee state are incredibly impressive and I'm sure making many listeners more than just a bit jealous. How did you get the level of buying from your university to make something like this happen? How do you continue to prove the results? And from the university's perspective, is their primary goal of the center, in your rule, to improve retention and completion rates, or is it to better prepare students to be more successful and therefore become more effective brand ambassadors and 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. Innovation means 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're going 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's this thing, here, here's what we teach people. They say this, Hey Colby, at eight years old,...

Hey Colby, you can be anything you want to be. In at eighteen they go hey, kobe, we don't care what you do, just get the house and tell me that's not true. Then hits so colbe read from the script that everybody else wrote for him and said, Oh, I know what I'll do, I'll go to college, I'll get a job and everything will be successful, everything will be okay. You know that's not the case, especially in the noisy, blurry, distracted world that we live in. And so I truly believe innovation means you 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 to become gainfully employed. And so it first started. Higher Education will never change on 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 big rock 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 of the Times. The third is that these kids make a massive bet, they bet their time, their money, their energy, there resources, that somebody on 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 that narrative, because here's what I believe those kids, just like you and I in their twenties, they lay there, they let they lay their head under their pillow at night and the number one thing they worry about more than anything else is how can I create a bigger future? And I've spent my entire career doing that. And so you asked me a very specific question about how this 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 crossroads of 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 it needs to be, we can all prosper together, and I never forgot that. And that was about eight to ten years ago. And my passion is always been what I've always been naturally curious about is how does one person get to point a and the other person get to point B, if all things are equal, or maybe even not? How does that? What are the forces at work at make that happen? And then how can we build an intentional system where everybody can get a shot at being intentional about building the future they want to create for themselves. And so I went to him and I said, Hey, his name is John Floyd Young's old self properties are there the largest independent home building the state of Tennessee. And I said you remember when you said this to them? And he said Yeah, and I said I want it. This is what I want to do at mtsue and he said, well, what does that what is that going to take? And I said, well, I'll start that conversation at a million dollars and he 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 over to him and and he said I'll do it. And you know, you get a million dollar, seven figure private gift and that gets the attention of the president. Push and I'll say this. I know I don't have all the answers. 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 how they 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 whatever they want to do, but what I want to do is coach and teach those kids to become the people they're supposed to become in order to live a life they're supposed to live. And I think we built a system through the five to arrive that can do that and I'm going to spend the next twenty years my life doing it. It's awesome. And is the university still in the excited stage about the possibility, or have you been able to prove the efficacy of your model so far? Well, you know anything, anything I think in life, and that that that's meaningful requires relationships, and so I think every day we have a new opportunity...

...to build relationships with those kids that walk to the door. I don't mind sharing with you that it was fall break and today I had a student come in on a Monday of fall break and look, this truly captures, I think, the essence of what we're doing. So this student was one of the students that came over for the coaching on the hard skill set of how do I write a letter of attempt that's emotionally compelling? How do I develop a interview skill set that when they get done, not only do they offer me the opportunity, but they give me 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 a wall that's painted totally in whiteboard paint, and so I write love does and I 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 of him. And I don't know what that means, but if there's a and she said just so, we'll tell me. What does it tell me that the books about? She goes, let me, you know, there's a lot of things that the books about, but at the end he has his phone 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 and then he gives you a way to help you to be able to do what you want to do. I thought, you know it just that that right there 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 of moments that you say to yourself, what we're doing is working and we just need to keep working the system, refine the system and get a little bit better every day. It's awesome. I can back the recommendation for for love does and I think you and yeah, yeah, and I think. I think you and Bob Gotfer are very similar in that you believe people are magic and you believe the world is magic and you are just an optimist who believes that students can go on to do amazing things and they just need to believe it themselves. So I think, I think. Yes, I think you will 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 further than myself. I mean, I was I was born with something called remnants of 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 it wasn't for my parents persistence in my own success and all those great coaches and teachers at St Paul's and mobile, I would never be able to sit in front of you and be able to do what I do. You know, bring a brown, who is my favorite author, todate. She really has opened 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 goal is 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 like Sidney mcphee. He gets excited about student success. I think that he understands what matters most to these students and and and so I think we're just getting started on writing the story of the next chapter of Higher Education. I just finished BRANA's most recent book, braving the Wilderness, this weekend and can't recommend 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 leave our listeners with today, who are looking to improve the success coaching models of their own institutions. Well, I think success, is simply defined by Thureau, is advancing complay in the direction of your own dream, to endeavor to live 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 is and 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 handles a lot of the narrative base coaching stuff. That was she does, and she said, you know, Kelbe, you're just a natural at this and they're not interested in you being polite with them, they're interested in you telling them the truth. Because you know I and I was. I was sharing with 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 to figure 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 be polite and pat him on the back. And and I'm not. I think these 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 the quest for purpose. He said, Kobe, you got to serve it up in a way that people can get it, and that's that's a powerful lesson that if you're going to coach, you got to serve it up in a way 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 you and your team were doing for those students and thanks so much for joining us today. Well, what's the best place for listeners to connect with you if 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 a doctor. 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 Juman Bill as well. Awesome. Thanks against so much for joining us to day, Kobe, and and all you're doing for your students. Set at Middle Tennessee state. Hey, Eric, thanks for what you do and keep that podcast 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 you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show in Itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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