The Learners First Framework

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Dr. Peter Smith, Professor of Innovative Practices in Higher Education and Sr. Advisor to the President at University of Maryland Global Campus, joined the podcast to discuss The Presidents Forum’s Learners First Framework and what will be necessary to expedite its acceptance across higher ed.

Go back seven years, take those datapoints and run them to the present for the last seven years and then assumethe same progression for the next seven years and where are you as aninstitution you're, listening to enrolment growth,university from helic education, the best professional development podcastfor higher education leaders looking to grow enrolment at their college oruniversity, whether you're looking for fresh and Roman growth techniques andstrategies or tools and resources? You've come to the right place. Let'sget into the show, welcome back to unromantic ty, a proudmember of the connect Edu podcast network, I'm Eric Olsen with heliceducation and we're here today with Doctor Peter Smith, professor ofinnovative practices in Higher Education and senior adviser to thepresident at University of Maryland Global Campus Peter welcomed to theshow. Well, it's great to be with you ark and thanks for thanks for asking mereally excited to talk to to today about the learners first framework andyour beliefs on its inevitability in higher at. But before we dig into that.Can you get listeners a little bit of background on University of MarylandGlobal Campus and your role there sure Evers Maryland global campus umgiswe aseparate free standing member of the university system of Maryland with allthe other institutions. People are aware of fully accredited public hasbeen in operation since one thousand nine hundred and forty seven thenstarting after the Gi Bill. We main constituents in a continuing headprogram where military people, unlisted men and women, their families andveterans, and that has been a core of our history due to the current day,became a separate, independent college. I'm going to say thirty five years ago,accredited and all of that and and now have diversified and serve about ahundred and a hundred and twenty...

...thousand students a year all in on fourcontinents. Most of the overseas students are, in fact military spouses,family or vets, but they now are probably half of our student body as weoperate clovelly mother Peter. To kick US off today. Can you give us a highlevel over view of the President's Forum from which this Learner's firstframework originated from? Well, just understanding or that I'mgiving my perspective as a great advocate for it and proponent. It's oneof those groups that, if it didn't exist, you want to invent it. Thepresident's for him is, as I believe, as you want to be a member you canbecome a member you have to join. I think there's a financial consideration,but all of that, but the notion is progressive institutions and presidentsthat are looking into the future and are word about public policy, bothgovernmental and other, the accreditations or whatever interstatestandards that are now overseen by N C, Sarah, whatever it might be that butthe notion that there is a future coming that is disruptive to thetraditions of higher education, that I grew up with any way and most of us didand that we need to get together identify best practice as identify thevalues, the pitfalls, the opportunities and then articulate them to theDepartment of Education to the United States Congress, the United States,Senate and other public agencies. And I think the same would be true at thestate level, where that is pertinent as well, but really aimed at having coming to understand betterthemselves. But then having other people understand that. What we're inis not a momentary, passing thing that...

...the world is changing around us andthat if we want to be a leader the leader in ten years from now that wewere twenty years ago and are today still, we need to think freshly abouthow to serve learners in America. So we have this really really strong group ofpresidents and Chancellors who are trying to think through theinevitability of the future and make sure that we are are getting out aheadof that puck. Can you give us a high level overview of this learnersfirst framework and perhaps the most critical differences where institutionscouldn't look at this and say Yeah Peter? We already do all that. Well,some people may be beginning to do all that, and that has been the the answerthrough much of my professional career. Is We already do that or moreimplicitly, if we just hold our breath and wait a while, it will go away andthings will return to normal yeah. But I think he, I think I this situation isvery different, that the correct of it is Clayton Christian, some theory ofdisruption and how how the world around us. If we are a campus pasedinstitution, is changing and what it takes to respond to the changes in thatworld, and I think one of the core ings and there are many institutions doingsome of these things. But the fact of the matter is that what is needed isnot reflected in policy and many policies and in fact the changes weneed are g going to become more evident and more serious and clear as timepasses. But I think, if I were to say one one statement, it would be: How dowe wrap the resources of the institution around the needs of thelearner so that we're in it for them and with them to deliver theconsequence of the outcome that they...

...need? Whether that is a degree or not,and we know that employers are beginning to take them a much moreclear and firm stand about what they want and what they need. They have avery differential point of view in terms of how prepared college graduatesare. This is how well we think our graduates are prepared, so there is agap between the perceived value by educators and the hope for value on thepart of students and the received value and part of employers, and we can makethis issue of wrapping resources around the needs of the learner as complex oras simple as possible. But, for instance, there are people that wouldsay. There's when you teach history, you teach American history. If you areHispanic American or an ACAN Arran or an indigenous American, your perceptionof the history you have experienced may be very different. Is there respect forthat history in the curriculum? Now I know that sounds political these days,but if I don't see myself in the things I'm being taught, I am one degreealienated from that that process again and again, there are they're just waysthat we have decided what it is important for people to know- and Ithink what's happening- is that other forces and pressures are flatteningthat feel that you will small deed democratizing it and saying what is itthat if I want to know something, but I also want to be able to apply it in avariety of circumstances? How do I learn that as opposed to just passing atest, so it gets to soon support services, career services, very cleardegree and certificate paths, learning outcomes result or in the assessmentsof learning each institution has to...

...decide for itself that's important, butthe market around us. You know the Christensen's definition of disruption.There are one of them anyway. The forces exist where the very thing thatyou have been good at the last you pick the time. Fra, thirty years no longerserves you well that the sources of your strength historically are nowsources of weakness going forward in terms of your ability to survive in achanging environment. So it's a very complicated situation and I institutionhas to decide for itself where it was to go and how it was to deal with it,but answering those basic questions that you saw in the the Ed dive article.How am I going to do this for our students online, friction, free, greatcareer information, etc, etc. These are things we just got to get better at canpeter some of the elements of the framework you mentioned. They do feelinevitable in the long term, they feel necessary if we want to align ourselvesto the current modern student and yet systemic change in high red seams toalways happen slower than we think or we wish it to be. What do you believeis actually going to be required for higher ed to restructure significantlyaround a framework like this? For instance? What stages is this frameworkat within the institutions of those members of the president's form whoconceived it, including you Mgwali, think, first of all, you're not goingto see a new one way. We do things yeah, you know and if you think about it,although our traditions are campus and faculty based with those dominanttraditions, in fact, community colleges are very different from each other fromstate universities which are different from landgrant privates and the IvyLeague. I mean so I you have this...

...overall way. We do. It quote unquote,but in fact, there's a whole variety of ways that that model is in fact playedout every day for learners. What I think you're going to see as abroadening of the spectrum of what is considered appropriate and acceptablehigre life long services and that you're going to see new providers andyou're going to have the elite colleges May in many wayschange less because they don't have to at the same time, they're going to benew providers and other colleges will change more as they see where theirlearners are coming from and what their learners actually need. So, forinstance, I think some will be willing to accept people into programs wherethey are not going to finish in a sustained one time: admission cycle orparticipation cycle by design they're going to come and go, but over a fiveto a seven year period they can accumulate with the support of theinstitution, the credit, the experiences and bringing some of thoseexperiences with them to assessment. A prior learning: apprenticeships,previous employment, etcetera that that they're able to accumulate a degree butdoing so in a very different way. Then we would see that what I just describedas an exceptional practice today, I think for some institutions it will bea more standard practice and expectation in seven to ten years, butI think you're going to see a whole spectrum of services when you haveplaces like crede and curser or straighter line, you know doing whatthey're doing that's going to change the landscape of what's possible, PeterSpeaking of of what's possible. Do you believe? Do you hope that the pandemicwas and is going to be a spear head...

...that forces higher eds reinventiontoward this learner's? First Focus? Perhaps sooner than it may haveotherwise, absolutely I don't think I'm the inventor of that, but the notionthat we are hurtling or high jumping or pull vaulting over a period of timethat it would have taken us to do things much more slowly, preciselybecause of the conditions of the pandemic imposed on employment ofpeople's revealing people's vulnerability, the societal demand andneed to recognize the talent. That's out there that higher educationcorrectly doesn't recognize as well as it should. I see a much moreconfrontation with the social inequity that lack of access to higher educationpresents to the society as a whole as an economic, social, civic cost, andalso the exhibiting of that. The technologies can do things, make thingspossible, whether it's working from home or learning from home or whatever,and that may be tougher for a ten year old, that it is a thirty five year old,but opening the door to all those options of necessity. I think hasforced us to think differently about what is possible, what is affordable,what is effected and what is valuable, Peter, really really great stuff andany final next ept advice for hired leaders, they're trying to steer courseright now coming out of the pandemic, especially for those who may be lookingto salvage what they had and where they were versus. Try to find and claim thisnew green field space. Well, it's I don't pretend to thinkthat it's easy and you know I have been the founding president of twoinstitutions but and that's very hard and difficult work, but in many waysit's different than trying to change the culture of an existing organization.You're, building a culture when you...

...start something changing a culture ismuch more difficult. I would say for that latter group. I would identify theten most important data points that you pay attention to to determine, whetheryou're being successful or not, and whether you're, healthy or soadmissions rate drop out rate. Graduation rates budget number offaculty endowment, Whatever those seven to ten five to seven the data. You lookat enrolments, you name, it go back seven years, take those data points and run them tothe present for the last seven years and then assume the same progressionfor the next seven years, and where are you as an institution, and I said thatto one person he said: Oh, my God, I never did that. That would scare theheck out of my board and everybody else, and I said exactly so. If nothingchanges, here's where you are in s seven years, five years, ten years youpick the number. The most important thing is to create a rock solid clarity,as you have to change, or you will be either seriously compromised or out ofbusiness. Then you've opened the door to a constructive conversation aboutwhat can you do differently to attract more learners, to hold on to morelearners, to be more relevant to learners? I saw one place where they'rethey're, giving students internship their senior year and staying with them,reducing the tuition but staying with them and they graduate after they'veheld the internship for a year and the person gets the job in which they werean intern, so they're they're taking the last six months or whatever it isand saying. Okay, we've had you for three and a half years now we're goingto stay with her. It's part of our program we're going to get you thisyou're, going to make some money not as much as you would and then, when that'sdone, the company has said we'll hire...

...him very different, but talk about apay off you're working in the field you you are learning in. So there are allsorts of ways to think freshly community service, public service, etc,etc. That creates stronger connections between the Learner and the institution,the lunar and the community, and importantly, the lunar in their future,which is they got to see how it pays off, how it why they're doing it then they'll stick around Peter thinksso much of your time today. What's the best place for listeners to connectwith you if they have any follow up questions, idios, Peter Dot Smith at UmguerteSmith, at Young C D, Ed Ou, I'm solo operator, and I would say I welcomehonest discussion. If somebody wants to write me and be angry, I'm probably not going to spend a lotof time trying to assuage their anger and there may be a little delay, nomatter what, because I actually do have a job I book. So you know I've gotother things to do, but welcome dialogue, any tin, Peter Dot Smith atUm, Gcatya, awesome Peter thanks. So much for joining us today, Eric Mypleasure and keep on your doing a hell of a job. It's great, attractingtoday's new post, traditional learners means adopting new enrolment strategies.He looks educations data driven enterprise, wide approach to enrollmentgrowth is uniquely helping colleges and universities thrive in this neweducation landscape and he lox has just published the second edition of theirenrollment growth play book with fifty percent brand new content on howinstitutions can solve today's most pressing, enrolment growth challengesdownload it today for free at Helos Education Com play book,...

...you've been listening to enrolmentgrowth university from helic education to ensure that you never miss anepisode subscribe to the show in Iton or your favorite podcast player. Thankyou so much for listening until next time. I.

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