60: How to Launch New Programs at Spalding University w/ Paul Bolton

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Paul Bolton, Director of Adult Enrollment at Spalding University, and host of the podcast, “Reboot, 21st Century Enrollment Management” discusses all the steps necessary to successfully launch a new program at your institution.

It. Farmers can use AI topredict when's the best time to grow crop or with their livestock and being moresuccessful it. Higher Ed institutions we can do the same thing and really usetechnology that's out there and testing that mark it out so we can even seeif there's a pipeline. 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, a proud member of the connect ETUpodcast network. I'm Eric Olson, AVP of marketing at Helix Education,and we're here today with Paul Bolton, director of adult enrollment at Spalding Universityand host of the podcast reboot twenty one century enrollment management. Paul, welcometo the show. Thanks for having me. Are Really excited to talk with youtoday about the steps necessary to successfully launch a new program at your institution. But before we dig into that, Paul, can you give listeners alittle bit better understanding of both spaulding university and your role there. Yeah,sure, most all the university is located here and downtown Louible, Kentucky,and we've been down here almost in Louible, almost a hundred years and we I'lltell you we actually were founded in one thousand eight hundred and fourteen bythe sisters charity of Nazareth. We were out out in Bardstown Kentucky and movedin here and the sister started this school. It's that we've been changed agents inthis community, graduating critical figures through a leberards education and we are acompassionate university. We are a very diverse community of the learners here in thegoal to not just graduate alumni but serve...

...and peace and justice and things withinthe community and be it, really be a part of the community, andI think that we've we've done that. I'm actually a graduate as fall ofthe university, so I'm an alumni as well and I'm grateful to be backhere on the other end to grow our university moving forward into the next hundredyears. So love it. Paul. Let's have you walk us through yourprogram launch process kind of chronologically and start with talking about how important it isto gage market demand and student interest before launching a new program well, yeah, and that's what really like the focus on because, you know, therewere, we are even in I think it's universities, were constantly evaluated inour programs and thinking about what are the new academic programs that we need toneed to have, and I think that if you go around the university,you're going to get a lot of different answers. So figuring that out,one of the key indicators of that is yeah, so what's the demand?And I think one of the things that I have found, and this isa work of progress here, it's fold into it's nothing that, you know, I would say, Hey, I've got this all figured out and I'mgoing to have a book that's kind of Conton next month on how to launchnew programs. I think it's it's an ongoing thing because the we're launching newprograms into, into the world, which is on just constantly changing. What'sin demand and what's not, and it's kind of like those best by commercialsthat used to see, or the guy would leave with the new TV andthen next thing you know, the neighbors got the brand new one. SoI think we're all looking at each other, to university, university, going hey, look at that academic program why do we have that right? Butin each part of the United States, even in within little metrolobile, there'sgoing to be specific niches that are out there that we can fit and Ithink in order to find those the key element is is bringing the stakeholders withinyour university together those program shares, your provost President, of course, havingeveryone on board, but looking at okay,...

...so what do we have here?And then what's not, what does not exist in our area. Butbefore we do that, shouldn't we probably bring more of the community to theuniversity to have some of those discussions? A lot of things can exist insilos of the university and they can also exist in silence in the corporate world. So if those aren't coming together, how would one know the demand?I'm not so long ago speaking to a group about, you know, developingcertificate programs for instance, and you know, shared with them the a certificate programis only a valuable with the organization puts value into it. Right.So if you have to wish and reinversement or certificate program for leadership, foryou know, our post bachelor's certificate or graduate certificate for leadership. If theorganization doesn't embrace it, they're not going to come through our university front doorsor through the virtual doors. So now, if you all embrace it, evenhelp us build it with maybe, e. even existing curriculum, thatis something that you could put value on. And really it's all about the delivery, and I mean that in more of just the not just the seateddelivery versus online, how it's delivered to the community and who's embracing it andwho was part of the process. I think then you develop stakeholders with theuniversity also within the community, and I think that pipeline that you're trying todevelop is built more on concrete than sand. I don't know if I answered thatquestion as it's I think it's, you know, figuring out the marketingdemand means that you got it. You can't just create the program because,let's say, let's say you have a grant or let's say that you havesome faculty that are together and they really think this is going to launch andbe great, if you don't test the market and don't check interest with thecommunity and who's actually going to be going into this program I think that youcould be setting yourself up for maybe some instant success, but maybe failure soonafter because the pipeline wasn't big enough.

No, I think it's a greatway to look at it, Paul, rather than a build it and theywill come philosophy. It is a build. It's alongside and in conjunction with theemployers that you are counting on and expecting to hire these graduates of thisprogram and the yeah, they might come. I love that way of looking atit, Paul. Next, why is it so important to get yourmarketing division on board early, well in advance of your launch? Well,I work at a small nonprofit private university and maybe some listeners out there,due to funds, marketing budget and there's the budget that we have and thenalso the bandwidth of the marketing department. They're constantly being pulled in many differentdirections. So if this isn't a time launch and they're the last to know, I think you're going to find that the work that might be accomplished onsaid program launch might not be as good as you want it. Also,there's just might not be the resources available at the time that you're looking tolaunch and then really figuring out, and you utilizing their expertise, of themessaging and the branding and everything behind it that you want to so there's timethat you're going to have to put in and I think that you're going tohave to look at this like if you're going to pull from you're going topull from the marketing department, if some of the smaller schools out there thatwe're trying to compete and launch new academic programs realize that the one or twoindividuals that might be working on that or not going to be pulled away formaybe another project. So you got to get it on their content calendar andyou got to get it on their radar. And then I'm I want to addsomething to this. It's one of those it's like developing an amazing likeYoutube video that you want to go viral and you post it but you don'treally effectively know the channels to share it, so you don't get anybody looking atit. Academic programs, that's it's no different. It's an intangible productthat's out there. That's you know,...

...an intangible products is hard to sellas it is. So letting marketing join with you in those efforts and thengetting on their calendar like this is when it's going to be best to launchthis. I think adds a lot want. It brings more people to the tablethan need to be involved, and then they're also not acting in areactive mode that hey, you all, go work on this and then giveit to us, and then sometimes the messaging isn't what the let's say theprogram chair wanted. But if they were both working along that process together,I think that you can make small changes and then develop a launch time.You know, and I think are got put that in. They need tobe a part of the demand to just to get those involved out there andthen testing some things out there and seeing the community's response. Marketing need tobe involved in that, because we all can't do everything we have to.We have to trust each other and the other departments, and I think theonly way to do that is to to invite them to be part of theprocess. So you've vetted your program with local employers. You have marketings helpwith this. You're on their radar, you're on their calendar. They've helpedwith messaging. You're getting closer and closer to launching, but you have absolutelyno students in the enrollment pipeline because they aren't yet aware the program exists.How do you start to build out a pipeline in advance of a new programlaunch? One of the things is, I think you have to go inwith what I think it's your expectations that you're going to have, that you'reeven looking at that pipeline, that you're that that's even a consideration. AndI can't speak for every university out there and I know none of us areperfect. We're all trying to get better at all of this. But ifwe're going to launch a new amazing program and the pipeline isn't considered, againit's going back to what we already discussed. You just think people will come becauseyou have a great ad or a great commercial, you know, justyou're doing postcard drops. If I think it's all in the pre work andthe pipeline and what that pipeline should look...

...like is I don't think it hasto be one of those. There should be less risk involved because of whatwe have through technology. My thing is if farmers can use AI to predictwhen's the best time to grow crop or, you know, with their you knowwith their livestock and being more successful it. Higher Ed institutions, wecan do the same thing and really use technology that's out there and testing that, that mark it out, so we can even see if there's a pipeline. If you're going to have a pipeline, that pipeline should almost be that shouldbe part of your like part of your discussion with marketing. Is We'regoing to do like a pre launch to gage interest so we can test thesepipelines out, which then will decide on when we're going to actually launch thisacademic program or before we get too deep into it, we might need tochange, we might need to back off. So let we jump and move allthe resources. Let's so it's it's like all one big process, youknow, it's like bullet point one, two and three, and it's almostlike a pre launch phase because you think you might decide that this isn't goingto work right. I'd rather find out then than during registration. So youmentioned gaging employers early in the process to understand the demand for this kind ofprogram or certificate. Talk about this approach to now approaching those employers in anexternal partnership relationship to find kind of feeder streams and new enrollment streams. Ithink that is almost a like the way to especially for the some of thesmaller universities out there, like like spoilding. That's I think that's how you begin, before you go and go public, even it's almost like a silent campaignon like an advancement and you want to make sure this is going tobe successful and you're almost giving yourself a an opportunity with local entities that areinvolved with your university or want to be involved in university. So you're loadingthat pipeline and then, as a university, if the interest is there with saidorganization, there might be interest outside...

...of just that organization where you canopen it up to two more in the market. So I think one isthen looking within the university and who has those relationships. Many of us havetrust board of trustees, we have subcommittees on different academic programs. Then weneed to get everyone involved and utilizing the resources that we have in the localcommunity, because most of those people are local. So where they working andthen who? What kind of introductions can they make for the enrollment team,for the marketing team, so we can discuss what opportunities are what did?What do they want for their employees to have that they're currently not getting thatwe could provide, and then showing them here's in and I think you goin there ark with existing curriculums. So you're not you're not reinventing the wheel. These are academic these are current classes that we already have and that theyyou know, and you can really take an interdisciplinary kind of approach that youknow, we could successfully build a leadership certificate program or degree for Leadership andnonprofit organizations, mixing in some of our school of business and School of ourSocial Work College at Ed and and allowing that local that organization to work withyou, to like yeah, that's and then they become stakeholders and then that'sa sustained pipeline and then you move on to the next and I think thatthat's you. You utilize the success of that, your first venture, toleverage other opportunities that could be out there as well pull terrific stuff. Finally, any next steps? Advice per institutions who have this idea in their headfor a new program and how they can start vetting that idea on the wayto a successful program launch? Get involved in the community and leave the university, like leave the university walls, get engaged or find find those, ifthe time does not allow, find those on your campus that are already engaged. Try to get some introductions. We...

...have to do more networking. Alot of the decisions and anecdotal views that we have need to also be backby data. So just if we were going to if we were going tobe launching any brand new tangible product, we'd want to test the market,we wanted to do the same for an academic program and really decide at thatpoint with the delivery systems going to look like, as it going to beseated or online, and, even more importantly, who are the major stakeholdersor the major decision makers that need to be involved here at the university,and that means the advising of the students, the financial aid of the students,the enrollment team, who all needs to be involved in this process tomake sure that when that pipeline is built and it's ready to come through,that it's a seamless process, great customer service, thus building a high demandfor, you know, great referrals from those individuals and professionals that are nowgoing through that said program that you now have out there. I think theonboarding of the new professional student into a new academic program it needs to bea fine tune process that's has testing demand and then also university wide buy inand support pulled. Thanks so much for your time today. What's the bestplace for listeners to connect with you? They have any follow up questions,they can look look me up on Linkedin. Paul Bolton, a director of adultenrollments faulding, or just put Paul Bolton. You'll find me. Youcan also reach me at p Bolton at spaulding dot Edu, and those wouldbe the two best ways to communicate with me, and then also that youare actually my podcast is reboot higheredcom. You can actually reach me by thatas well. Awesome. Thanks against so much for joining us today, Paul. Thanks. Are Attracting today's new post traditional learners means adopting new enrollment strategies. Helix educations data driven, enterprise wide approach to enrollment growth is uniquely helpingcolleges and universities thrive in this new education...

...landscape, and Helix has just publishedthe second edition of their enrollment growth playbook with fifty percent brand new content onhow institutions can solve today's most pressing enrollment growth challenges downloaded today for free atHelix educationcoms playbook. You've been listening to enrollment growth university from Helix Education.To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show and Itunes oryour favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening. Until nexttime,.

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