24: How Eastern Washington University Spins Up New Programs in Record Time w/ Dr Scott Gordon

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Dr. Scott Gordon, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Eastern Washington University, discusses how they partnered with Microsoft to spin up a new business analytics degree program, in less than a year, to meet Microsoft’s demand for graduates with data analytics experience.

A lot of the communication that we'vehad with business industry, they want the same kind of things we want. Theywant highly educated, critical thinkers, those that have the ability work inteams, those who can communicate with spoken word written word: Etce, notjust the skill set needed for a particular discipline: You're listening to enrolment growth,university from helics education, the best professional development podcastfor higher education leaders looking to grow in Roman at their college oruniversity, whether you're looking for fresh and romant growth techniques andstrategies or tools and resources. You've come to the right place. Let'sget into the show. Welcome back to Anroman GrowthUniversity, I Meri Olson AVP of marketing at the helics education andwere here today with Doctor Scott, Gordon Proghost, and Vice President forACODEMIC affairs of eastern Washington...

University Scot welcome to the showwell. Thank you. Thank you for having me we're going to have a greatconversation today about how to spin up new academic programs fast and orderedmea growing and playered man, but before we get too deep into that Scot,can you get the listeners a little bit better understanding of both easternWashington University and your role there? Yes, I am the PROVOS, an vicepresient for academic affairs. Here at Eastern eastern Washington Universityis located just south of Spokhan. We have about somewhere between twelve and thirteenousand students. We are a regional, comprehensive institution. Studentscome from a diverse background. We have a lot of first generation collegestudents. We have a lot of students from undercerpopulations. We have abouta hundred and forty five areas of study that would include undergraduate andgraduate programs and we're located again just south of Spokana beautifularea in the inland northwest. So I really love the story and have been soexcited to chat with you about it. So...

...you learned that Microsoft, one of thelargest employers in your state, was going to be looking to hihe hugenumbers of graduates with data analytics experience talk to us aboutwhat you did next yeah, so that discussion occurred in the fallow twothousand and sixteen with an alum who has a twenty five year, history withwith Microsoft, and we had a good conversation and it was just kind of aa casual conversation about the field of data, analytic state of science andthe fact that Microsoft was developing a professional program in that areabecause of the lack of qualified data, scientists, data and Ol analysts. Andso we talked about wiltl. HMM, that's interesting. You know we are aboutthree three and a half hours away from Microsoft is in a lot of our studentswho come to Easter Washington University are actually from the westside of the state. How could we build a winwin situation where we could offerdata science as part of a degree...

...program or a degree programinet ofitself and utilize that curriculum that Microsoft has developed? So from that?We just started this brain sor of how might we develop this collaboration inover the course of the fall of two thousand and sixteen through spring oftwo thousand and seventeen? We began that process having meetings whereMicrosoft folks would would interact with our campus folks and finding wayswhere we connect in ways where we can develop something different than wewere successful in doing that, so follow two thousand and sixteen theideation starts. How long was it before you were able to start in rolling yourfirst students in that in that new degree program yeah? So it wasinteresting because it's that Startin August actually of two thousand andsixteen by October we had a group of about a half a dozen Microsoftprofessionals in a room with about two...

...dozen faculty and academic leaders hereat the institution and from that meeting we had several action items andwithin two or three weeks we had that team for Microsoft back on campus andwe really had the framework for how he would get started. So over the courseof the late fall of sixteen early spring of Seventeen. We really began alot of weekly conversations on the phone, because this was something wherewe had to establish our, not just the curricular relationship ut. We had toestablish the relationship with the technology, the ADX platform, whichthis Microsoft professional program is on with our platform, for course,management here, which is canvas we had to make sure systems interacted and soon. So that was the process and all the time the technical processes were underwwere being undertaken, the curriculum...

...was being developed, and so we actuallywere on a quarter system here, but by spring quarter of of two thousand andseventeen, we began to identify some of the students who were ready to beincorporated into this program so that this fall. We actually started theprogram in kind of the silent phase and we're going to be ready to gear up witha whole onslaught of new students for fallow of eighteen. It's incrediblyimpressive Scott. What is it about eastern Washington's culture that wasable to support such a quick spinup of a program like this? Well, you know, Ithink our culture is very similar to higher education culture around thecountry. I think you know one of the things that we did in order to get thebuying of the fatulty is to to really discuss the philosophy around the factthat we were partnering with Microsoft, but they weren't going to be drivingand dictating that the faculty would...

...still have the ownership and control oftheir curriculum of their courses that they could incorporate as much or aslittle of that, Microsoft, a professional program into their coursesand or curriculum. And so we had some faculty who incorporated modules hereand there throughout their their courses. But then we also had a programbusiness analytics. WHO said? No, we want to incorporate the entireMicrosoft professional program and allow our students to not only get thatdegree in business analytics, but to get that Microsoft, professionalcertification as well, and so we were very clear up front that you know we'rehere and I'm my office is here to expose you two possible potentialpartnerships and collaborations, but the key is not forcing those ratherletting them take. Take hold organically yeah to talk a little bitmore about that, so so, knowing that...

...you were specifically trying to cratgraduates with skill sets that that would also be a good match for exactlywhat Microsoft was looking for. How did you go about part Bering with Microsoftand your faculty to create this curriculum that would align to thatskills that they were looking for in new graduates yeah? So what we ended up doing wasagain throughout those you know. The basis of all of this is communication,collaboration and more communication. We outlined for the Microsoft folkswhat our curriculum is in what it isn't. We gave them a full curriculum withcourses and Syllabai Microsoft gave us their professional program syllabus andmodules. We were the faculty, Got Permission for Microsoft to go throughand analyze and even go through those modules inselves. So we were able totake the curriculum from both entities and essentially mapit to see how farpart or how similar the crricular were...

...to one another, and so that really wasinteresting because some factully said wow. This is exactly the kind of thingthat I'm doing in the class, or this is what I wanted to do. That's awesomesoon. So so it's a matter of you know, I kind of see myself and all this hasthe matchmaker to try and just bring people together to the table and havepeople be transparent about what they're doing nd what they want to doand find those natural alliances and matches. That's really fast aning,because I think I think a big question people, maybe asking perhaps thout ofjealousy- is that boy really seriously Scott Tell me: How are you LE to getfaculty buying, but but is it because the program that your faculty wanted tocreate was just so either, coincidentally or just from a skill,Tad alignment standpoint just so similar to what Microsoft was lookingfor? I think that's part of it, and I think you know, because microsot issuch a a global name and entity, and...

...you know they're right here within thestate, a good partner of the institution. I think that was kind of apeople didn't go into it with with as much skepticism as what they would for.Maybe some some entity that isn't as well known as that makes sense. Don'tget me wrong. I mean there are pockets of fatulty who are suspicious aboutthis. Is this industry and business kind of inputting themselves into thecurriculum of high education and and and that's again, why? I think it'simportant that that we bring folks together, but we don't force therelationship, love it, and I know it's a brand new program. But what are thethe plans for keeping this curriculum current moving forward to continue tomatch the evolving needs of Microsoft and other companies yeah? So I think the key to this isthat we continue the collaboration we have sessions to debrief about, what'sworking and what's not working where the field is moving and where it wherewe anticipatit going- and I think the...

...other thing too is establishing theculture of daring to try trying something new and if the're, if theyfail, there's no significant repercussions and- and one of thethings that I think highred has been criticized frequently about- is theinability to change with the times, and you know you hear all the the ideasthat you know the ivory tower and the curriculum isn't meeting the needs ofbusiness and industry and so on. I think you know. One of the things wehave to do is is really open ourselves up, but the businesses in the industryhas to open themselves up to communicate, to talk to see, what'sworking, what's not working, because you know a lot of the communicationthat we've had with business industry. They want the same kind of things wewant. They want highly educated, critical thinkers, those that have theability work in teams, those who can communicate with spoken word writtenword, etce, not just the skill set...

...needed for particular discipline, so Ithink we're we're not as far apart as what a lot of folks think. I think wejust don't have the opportunity to ust to sit down at the table and talk aboutthese types of things. So our idea to keep the curriculum of todate iscontinued interaction with with Microsoft, other business and industry,because you know- I don't know if you realize, but mackinzi Gobal Intdo putout a study that, by the end of this year, two thousand and eighteen we'llbe a shortage in the United States of one point: five million data scientistdata analysts- that's that's huge and that's something that you know highereducation needs to be aware of, and help to resolve that that issue so goodand Scott has has this process made other faculty or yourself excited totry and proactively work with other local employers to creator Itorate, newacademic programs or concentrations.

Yes, it has, and you know one of thethings that that were going to be constantly faced with is: Is it theright fit you because a lot of institutions and a lot of individualsthink that? Well, you know these employer relationship, centered, aroundskills and so on? Is a community college niche. Well, I would say it is,but it can also be a higher four year and higher niche as well,because a lot of the the folks that that are coming out of four yearschools and even graduate programs. If we can have this this marriage, wherethe curriculum meets the needs and the curriculum is also wbut, the facultyare interested in delivering that's a Linwin situation. It's got such goodstuff, any final advice for listeners looking to create a culture thatenables them to move with this sort of...

...speed at their institution. Patience. Don't try to force these relationships.Really let the faculty take what the time that they need to understand to realize that, from my experience,business and industry, isn't there to say here's the curriculum that you mustteach, but rather, if we can have this open dialogue to say you know, here'swhere we can have a win win. I think that's the key and not forcing theserelationships making them happen. Organic Sgot, great advice, what's thebest place for listeners to connect with you if they have any followupquestions, sure ID bi more than happy to answer questions or have furtherdiscussion? Probably the easiest way would be be an email and my emailaddress is s Gordon. THAT'S S! Gor Don at Ewu, DOT! Edu Awesome thanks againstso much for joining US today, Scott!...

Well, thank you attracting today's new post,traditional learners means adopting new enrolment strategies. Keelicseducations data driven enterprise, wide approach to enrollment growth isuniquely helping colleges and universities thrive in this neweducation, landscape and telex has just published the second edition of theirenrollment growth playbook, with fifty percent brand new content on howinstitutions can solve today's most pressing enromant growth challengesdownload it today for free at Heloks, Educationcom playbook you've been listening to enromantgrowth university from helics education to ensure that you never miss anepisode subscribe to the show in Itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thankyou so much for listening until next time.

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