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 to predict when's the best time to grow crop or with their livestock and being more successful it. Higher Ed institutions we can do the same thing and really use technology that's out there and testing that mark it out so we can even see if 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 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, a proud member of the connect ETU podcast 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 University and host of the podcast reboot twenty one century enrollment management. Paul, welcome to the show. Thanks for having me. Are Really excited to talk with you today about the steps necessary to successfully launch a new program at your institution. But before we dig into that, Paul, can you give listeners a little 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'll tell you we actually were founded in one thousand eight hundred and fourteen by the sisters charity of Nazareth. We were out out in Bardstown Kentucky and moved in here and the sister started this school. It's that we've been changed agents in this community, graduating critical figures through a leberards education and we are a compassionate university. We are a very diverse community of the learners here in the goal to not just graduate alumni but serve...

...and peace and justice and things within the community and be it, really be a part of the community, and I think that we've we've done that. I'm actually a graduate as fall of the university, so I'm an alumni as well and I'm grateful to be back here on the other end to grow our university moving forward into the next hundred years. So love it. Paul. Let's have you walk us through your program launch process kind of chronologically and start with talking about how important it is to 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, there were, we are even in I think it's universities, were constantly evaluated in our programs and thinking about what are the new academic programs that we need to need 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 is a 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'm going to have a book that's kind of Conton next month on how to launch new programs. I think it's it's an ongoing thing because the we're launching new programs into, into the world, which is on just constantly changing. What's in demand and what's not, and it's kind of like those best by commercials that used to see, or the guy would leave with the new TV and then next thing you know, the neighbors got the brand new one. So I think we're all looking at each other, to university, university, going hey, look at that academic program why do we have that right? But in each part of the United States, even in within little metrolobile, there's going to be specific niches that are out there that we can fit and I think in order to find those the key element is is bringing the stakeholders within your university together those program shares, your provost President, of course, having everyone on board, but looking at okay,...

...so what do we have here? And then what's not, what does not exist in our area. But before we do that, shouldn't we probably bring more of the community to the university to have some of those discussions? A lot of things can exist in silos 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, developing certificate programs for instance, and you know, shared with them the a certificate program is only a valuable with the organization puts value into it. Right. So if you have to wish and reinversement or certificate program for leadership, for you know, our post bachelor's certificate or graduate certificate for leadership. If the organization doesn't embrace it, they're not going to come through our university front doors or through the virtual doors. So now, if you all embrace it, even help us build it with maybe, e. even existing curriculum, that is 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 seated delivery versus online, how it's delivered to the community and who's embracing it and who was part of the process. I think then you develop stakeholders with the university also within the community, and I think that pipeline that you're trying to develop is built more on concrete than sand. I don't know if I answered that question as it's I think it's, you know, figuring out the marketing demand 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 have some faculty that are together and they really think this is going to launch and be great, if you don't test the market and don't check interest with the community and who's actually going to be going into this program I think that you could be setting yourself up for maybe some instant success, but maybe failure soon after because the pipeline wasn't big enough.

No, I think it's a great way to look at it, Paul, rather than a build it and they will come philosophy. It is a build. It's alongside and in conjunction with the employers that you are counting on and expecting to hire these graduates of this program and the yeah, they might come. I love that way of looking at it, Paul. Next, why is it so important to get your marketing 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 then also the bandwidth of the marketing department. They're constantly being pulled in many different directions. 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 on said 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 to launch and then really figuring out, and you utilizing their expertise, of the messaging and the branding and everything behind it that you want to so there's time that you're going to have to put in and I think that you're going to have to look at this like if you're going to pull from you're going to pull from the marketing department, if some of the smaller schools out there that we're trying to compete and launch new academic programs realize that the one or two individuals that might be working on that or not going to be pulled away for maybe another project. So you got to get it on their content calendar and you got to get it on their radar. And then I'm I want to add something to this. It's one of those it's like developing an amazing like Youtube video that you want to go viral and you post it but you don't really effectively know the channels to share it, so you don't get anybody looking at it. Academic programs, that's it's no different. It's an intangible product that's out there. That's you know,...

...an intangible products is hard to sell as it is. So letting marketing join with you in those efforts and then getting on their calendar like this is when it's going to be best to launch this. I think adds a lot want. It brings more people to the table than need to be involved, and then they're also not acting in a reactive mode that hey, you all, go work on this and then give it to us, and then sometimes the messaging isn't what the let's say the program 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 to be a part of the demand to just to get those involved out there and then testing some things out there and seeing the community's response. Marketing need to be 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 the only way to do that is to to invite them to be part of the process. So you've vetted your program with local employers. You have marketings help with this. You're on their radar, you're on their calendar. They've helped with messaging. You're getting closer and closer to launching, but you have absolutely no 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 program launch? One of the things is, I think you have to go in with what I think it's your expectations that you're going to have, that you're even looking at that pipeline, that you're that that's even a consideration. And I can't speak for every university out there and I know none of us are perfect. We're all trying to get better at all of this. But if we're going to launch a new amazing program and the pipeline isn't considered, again it's going back to what we already discussed. You just think people will come because you have a great ad or a great commercial, you know, just you're doing postcard drops. If I think it's all in the pre work and the pipeline and what that pipeline should look...

...like is I don't think it has to be one of those. There should be less risk involved because of what we have through technology. My thing is if farmers can use AI to predict when's the best time to grow crop or, you know, with their you know with their livestock and being more successful it. Higher Ed institutions, we can 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 should be part of your like part of your discussion with marketing. Is We're going to do like a pre launch to gage interest so we can test these pipelines out, which then will decide on when we're going to actually launch this academic program or before we get too deep into it, we might need to change, we might need to back off. So let we jump and move all the resources. Let's so it's it's like all one big process, you know, it's like bullet point one, two and three, and it's almost like a pre launch phase because you think you might decide that this isn't going to work right. I'd rather find out then than during registration. So you mentioned gaging employers early in the process to understand the demand for this kind of program or certificate. Talk about this approach to now approaching those employers in an external partnership relationship to find kind of feeder streams and new enrollment streams. I think that is almost a like the way to especially for the some of the smaller 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 campaign on like an advancement and you want to make sure this is going to be successful and you're almost giving yourself a an opportunity with local entities that are involved with your university or want to be involved in university. So you're loading that pipeline and then, as a university, if the interest is there with said organization, there might be interest outside...

...of just that organization where you can open it up to two more in the market. So I think one is then looking within the university and who has those relationships. Many of us have trust board of trustees, we have subcommittees on different academic programs. Then we need to get everyone involved and utilizing the resources that we have in the local community, because most of those people are local. So where they working and then 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 that we could provide, and then showing them here's in and I think you go in 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 they you know, and you can really take an interdisciplinary kind of approach that you know, we could successfully build a leadership certificate program or degree for Leadership and nonprofit organizations, mixing in some of our school of business and School of our Social Work College at Ed and and allowing that local that organization to work with you, to like yeah, that's and then they become stakeholders and then that's a sustained pipeline and then you move on to the next and I think that that's you. You utilize the success of that, your first venture, to leverage 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 head for a new program and how they can start vetting that idea on the way to a successful program launch? Get involved in the community and leave the university, like leave the university walls, get engaged or find find those, if the time does not allow, find those on your campus that are already engaged. Try to get some introductions. We...

...have to do more networking. A lot of the decisions and anecdotal views that we have need to also be back by data. So just if we were going to if we were going to be 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 that point with the delivery systems going to look like, as it going to be seated or online, and, even more importantly, who are the major stakeholders or 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 to make 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 demand for, you know, great referrals from those individuals and professionals that are now going through that said program that you now have out there. I think the onboarding of the new professional student into a new academic program it needs to be a fine tune process that's has testing demand and then also university wide buy in and support pulled. Thanks so much for your time today. What's the best place 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 adult enrollments faulding, or just put Paul Bolton. You'll find me. You can also reach me at p Bolton at spaulding dot Edu, and those would be the two best ways to communicate with me, and then also that you are actually my podcast is reboot higheredcom. You can actually reach me by that as 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 helping colleges and universities thrive in this new education...

...landscape, and Helix has just published the second edition of their enrollment growth playbook with fifty percent brand new content on how institutions can solve today's most pressing enrollment growth challenges downloaded today for free at Helix 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 or your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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