University of Louisville Uses Stackable Credentials to Re-enroll Stop-outs

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Dr. Matt Bergman, Associate Professor at University of Louisville returned to the podcast to talk about their short-term stackable credentials, and why they may be the most effective program offering to help re-enroll the stop-out student.

Look roughly thirty six million people thatdid not quite make it to graduation but have some college degree. There's ahuge market place for individuals to potentially re engage with the institution. You're listeningto enrollment growth university from Helix Education, the best professional development podcast for highereducation leaders looking to grow enrollment at their college or university. Whether you're lookingfor fresh enrollment growth techniques and strategies or tools and resources, you've come tothe right place. Let's get into the show. Welcome back to enrollment growthuniversity, a proud member of the connect Evu podcast network. I'm Eric Olsonwith Helix Education, and we're here today with Dr Matt Berkman, Associate Professorat the University of Louisville. Matt, welcome back to the show. Thanksfor having me. Great to see again. Eric. Really excited to see youagain and talk with you today about using stackable credentials to help re enrollstopouts. Before we dig into that,...

...can you remind the listeners about bothUniversity of Louisville and your role there? Yes, my name is Matt Bergman. I'm at the University of Louisville, coming up on fifteen years now.That's and we we've had a dramatic change here at the university with covid andwe have adapted awfully well with a lot of online and hybrid opted options forour students and we've actually seen enrollment growth. So we're really thankful and grateful forthe adaptation that has happened as a result of our leadership at the university. Yeah, I think a super helpful contact for this conversation because you werein a fortunate position because of the online and hybrid groundwork that you had alreadylaid out and that leads you into getting to experiment with different types of modalitiesand programmatic opportunities for students because of it, which I'm excited to get into today. To kick that conversation off, why do you think that short termcredentials maybe an effective lure to help re...

...enroll the stopout student? With theadvent of more and more adult learners being out in the market place, withroughly thirty six million people that did not quite make it to graduation but havesome college degree, there's a huge market place for individuals to potentially re engagewith the institution. With the stackable credential approach, we have pathways that basicallyhave a short term when for those individuals to reconnect and stop out as theyneed, based upon tailoring an approach of learning that connects directly with the relevantneeds in their workforce. A lot of super helpful feedback and contacts, Mattand now can you give us a high level overview of what you've designed specificallyto meet this use case, this twelve credit human resources leadership certificate you recentlylaunched? Yeah, so we have just fallen in line with so many ofinstitutions that have tried to be innovative and...

...thinking of how do we get theseindividuals to reconnect with the institution and have a fairly quick win that maybe canstack on and move towards back loreate a team with a human resource leadership certificate. It's just a twelve credit our for course certificate that students can come inand do specifically as just a continuing education student. They can use work readyscholarship through the state of Kentucky to potentially pay for the credits and get tocertificate. The kicker and all this is that all of these classes, thefour courses that they take, will go directly towards their major if they sochoose to move towards of Ashler's degree and organization leadership at the University of LovelYeah, let's talk about that, if you so choose. Used case,I'm curious about better understanding kind of your exact target with this short term stackablecredential and then who you're actually seeing interested in it. So this credential stacksinto that or leadership and Learning Bachelors?...

Have you found that that's your soleaudience? Those who have that specific bachelor's degree as their next step in thisfeels like a next ladder wrong in that path? Or are you getting independentlearners who that may be their end game for potentially now and forever? Sowe are in our infancy. So we're just seeing a range of individuals plugin and it has not launched to a broad swath of individuals. But originallyconceived it was for those individuals, individuals in industry with some college in nodegree, and to find pathways for them to get quick win so that theycan move forward. But what we're finding is that there are individuals already withcredentials like a baccalory degree or potentially in associate or even a master's degree thatwant to skill up in a specific focus, human resource or human capital type ofDis yeah, I love that, Mat so talk about this, thisprograms in this infancy, but you're excited about the potential. What is thatpotential? What's the long game for stackable...

...credentials in General University of Louisville?What scenario would you love to see in ten years? Well, I thinkthe long game for the University of Louisville is very similar to that of somany institutions across the country, and that is we are trying to find away towards greater prosperity as an industry and I believe that connection with industry viaa formal reciprocal partnerships, will we send graduates out that they also send individualsback in that are income. That works. It's to skill up with shorter termcredentials will create the the pathway to, you know, health and prosperity asan industry and higher education and it will give us this kind of loveand appreciation that we had back in the day and we've lost of it.So as you hear individuals say, well, what do you think of the qualityof higher education, they may have some skepticism. But if you askthem, do you want your kids to go to a quality school at theuniversity, everyone's saying yes, I want...

...every kid or every nephew, everyperson that I know, I want them to go to a great college university. So there's a disconnect there and I think we need to fix that disconnectthrough this reciprocal partnership and that and specifically happen with some of these shorter termcredentials that are really intu with and tailored to the knowledge, skills and abilitiesnecessary for specific industry needs. I love a Matt maybe can you help picturea scenario, like give me a student lifetime scenario here, where one ofthese current students that has enrolled in that stackable credential in your ideal world,in this you know, symbiotic relationship with your current students, the University,Local Industry Within Louisville, what does that next thirty years educational work journey looklike for that student? When might they dip back into you? When mighther jobs, you know, recommend that...

...she comes back to you? Canyou just kind of help us imagine that picture of what that next thirty yearsfor that student looks like? Yeah, so it seems like there wouldn't bethat big of a drive to get these types of programs in place, butwith so many people with some college in no degree, at some point theseindividuals plugged into higher education and something happened along lines, whether it was adeployment or a child that was unexpected, a great job opportunity. The vastmajority of these individuals did not separate from higher education because they couldn't hack itor they failed out. The more true story is that life intervenes and thatis where we plug in as institutions to say, well, we're ready forlife to intervene again in a positive way to improve your knowledge and skills,whether you are a early, mid or late career person, or you've alreadyfinished your career and you want to finish...

...a longheld dream of getting to abackloord degree. And we have pathways for every individual at every stage of theircareer at the vast majority of institutions across the country where we as institutions,even is as early as five years ago didn't have as many hybrid or onlineor evening or weekend options. Those are becoming more and more prevalent, acceleratedby the pandemic as well, and now we are creating pathways that show shortterm wins for individuals that can stack onto broader and more robust educational tainment atthe Bachelor's, at the Masters and even at the Dr a level that Iknow some of your colleagues from other institutions are in the similar standpoint of tryingto figure out ways to re enroll the stop out. They found that nowfor the first time, but they offer online pathways to more of their programs. Because of the pandemic, this has been that attractive option for those formerstopouts like you mentioned, who it wasn't...

...that it was too big for them, it was, it's that it was too busy for them. They weretrying to balance work on an education, and now they're realizing that, oh, the modality alone was all that it took. Have you seen this aswell? I Know University of Louisville has been online friendly for for so long, but have you seen any instances of this on campus or through your colleaguesto other institutions? Yes, you know, I've seen a great deal of institutionsthat are now becoming way more adult friendly and wait or online focused thanthey had in the past and that is not a change, dramatic change,from this to that. It's more an integration of both and these things thatwe do in the classroom are complemented by additional hybrid and online evening options toincorporate individuals that would not otherwise be able to attend the institution from eight tofive. So I think I want to say something along the lines of youknow, we it's a tough sell a...

...bit because we have not seen agreat deal of growth in the on adult population across the country. Nationally,adult enrollment is down. However, we've adapted in a way that makes itmore likely that they could come back and they should come back. So EricNationally what we've seen is actually a dip and adult Roman enrollment over the pastten years. We've seen a decline in the individuals that plug back in,and partly because the economy has been good. So we've got a tough cell ascollege universities to make them aware, these individuals that could likely come backto US know that we've changed, we've adapted and we were ready for them, at whatever stage of their career they're in, to plug in and anonline and evening, a hybrid way that meets their competing responsibilities in their lives. Now, I love how you are always my conscience about reminding me thatwe are need to ask adult students to...

...give us a second chance rather thanthe other way around. Similarly, you you are always been a good reminderfor me on how institutions need to not only take pla more seriously but utilizedit and the the win win nature of this. Can you just give usa quick side car reminder of that? Yeah, so, prior learning assessmentis an amazing it's a tool that universities and colleges across the country should beusing, and a great number are, but we need to expand that.The way I see prior learning assessment is the way we saw online learning tenyears ago. What we see ten years from now about plas the way webelieve online learning today. So much of that skepticism that exists today will vanish, because what we have now as a national study that just was published byKale and whichy of seventy plus institutions that show a person that has access toPLA is more likely to graduate, a...

...higher graduation rate and their paste tograduation improves. Not only that, but they actually take more college credits withthe institution. Now that may seem counterintuitive, but if you look at in aggregate, the retention level for adult learners is so abysmal that the minute wegive them access and acknowledge what they bring college level and credit worthy learning,they are more likely to graduate. And then we're seeing in net positive asfar as tuition to revenue. So administrators that might be skeptical about offering PLAbecause it might take away from tuition revenue, but that's not it's just empirically notthe case. We're improving retention. Therefore, we're actually gaining more tuitiondollars from these folks that are retained a much higher level. mattness team haveit all figured out, folks. He's got a peek over your field andsee what he's doing. Matt again, and thanks so much for joining us. Any last next steps? Advice for institutions considering stackable currential programs? Let'spretend they're slightly behind you. What are...

...those conversations that need to happen oncampus? Why should they be so excited about these possibilities? Because these possibilitiespresent a doorway into your university that would possibly retain these individuals through greater levelsof educational entertainment. What I see from an individual that walks in only oncea bachelor's degree and says, tell me how to get there as quickly aspossible. Yeah, and you show them a pathway and with no frills,no extra steps, and then upon graduation, when they've got that pretty cabin gownon, they say, oh my gosh, I really love learning.Again, tell about a master's degree, and that can that can be acrossany level, whether it be the associates or certificate, any stackable piece,baccalory degree, or even in our master's program we see more and more individualsmoving toward doctoral studies just because they absolutely love the content that they're in,and that's because universities are committed to developing...

...relevant, rigorous and research based curriculumthat really ties in with industry in a way that didn't happen many, manyyears ago. I know many of us have been forced to be playing theshort game this year by necessity. I love you came on and gave usa rate reminder both of the long game that we need to be playing institutionallyas well as missionally. Matt, thanks so much for time today. What'sthe best place for listeners to connect with you? If they have any followup questions? Feel free to find me on Linkedin, on twitter, onfacebook and at my university. You can email me at Matt Dot Birdman atLouisville Dot eed. You or find any contact information on the website. Awesome. Thanks so much for joining us today, Matt. All right, thanks againfor having me. Attracting today's new post traditional learners means adopting new enrollmentstrategies. Helix educations data driven, enterprise wide approach to enrollment growth is uniquelyhelping colleges and universities thrive in this new...

...education landscape, and Helix has justpublished the second edition of their enrollment growth playbook with fifty percent brand new contenton how institutions can solve today's most pressing enrollment growth challenges, downloaded today forfree at Helix Educationcom. Playbook. You've been listening to enrollment growth university fromHelix Education. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to theshown itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening.Until next time,.

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