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 that did not quite make it to graduation but have some college degree. There's a huge market place for individuals to potentially re engage with the institution. 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 Evu podcast network. I'm Eric Olson with Helix Education, and we're here today with Dr Matt Berkman, Associate Professor at the University of Louisville. Matt, welcome back to the show. Thanks for having me. Great to see again. Eric. Really excited to see you again and talk with you today about using stackable credentials to help re enroll stopouts. Before we dig into that,...

...can you remind the listeners about both University 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 and we have adapted awfully well with a lot of online and hybrid opted options for our students and we've actually seen enrollment growth. So we're really thankful and grateful for the 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 were in a fortunate position because of the online and hybrid groundwork that you had already laid out and that leads you into getting to experiment with different types of modalities and 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 term credentials maybe an effective lure to help re...

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

...thinking of how do we get these individuals to reconnect with the institution and have a fairly quick win that maybe can stack 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 in and do specifically as just a continuing education student. They can use work ready scholarship through the state of Kentucky to potentially pay for the credits and get to certificate. The kicker and all this is that all of these classes, the four courses that they take, will go directly towards their major if they so choose to move towards of Ashler's degree and organization leadership at the University of Lovel Yeah, 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 stackable credential and then who you're actually seeing interested in it. So this credential stacks into that or leadership and Learning Bachelors?...

Have you found that that's your sole audience? Those who have that specific bachelor's degree as their next step in this feels like a next ladder wrong in that path? Or are you getting independent learners who that may be their end game for potentially now and forever? So we are in our infancy. So we're just seeing a range of individuals plug in and it has not launched to a broad swath of individuals. But originally conceived it was for those individuals, individuals in industry with some college in no degree, and to find pathways for them to get quick win so that they can move forward. But what we're finding is that there are individuals already with credentials like a baccalory degree or potentially in associate or even a master's degree that want to skill up in a specific focus, human resource or human capital type of Dis yeah, I love that, Mat so talk about this, this programs in this infancy, but you're excited about the potential. What is that potential? 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 think the long game for the University of Louisville is very similar to that of so many institutions across the country, and that is we are trying to find a way towards greater prosperity as an industry and I believe that connection with industry via a formal reciprocal partnerships, will we send graduates out that they also send individuals back in that are income. That works. It's to skill up with shorter term credentials will create the the pathway to, you know, health and prosperity as an industry and higher education and it will give us this kind of love and 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 quality of higher education, they may have some skepticism. But if you ask them, do you want your kids to go to a quality school at the university, everyone's saying yes, I want...

...every kid or every nephew, every person 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 disconnect through this reciprocal partnership and that and specifically happen with some of these shorter term credentials that are really intu with and tailored to the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary for specific industry needs. I love a Matt maybe can you help picture a scenario, like give me a student lifetime scenario here, where one of these 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 look like for that student? When might they dip back into you? When might her jobs, you know, recommend that...

...she comes back to you? Can you just kind of help us imagine that picture of what that next thirty years for that student looks like? Yeah, so it seems like there wouldn't be that big of a drive to get these types of programs in place, but with so many people with some college in no degree, at some point these individuals plugged into higher education and something happened along lines, whether it was a deployment or a child that was unexpected, a great job opportunity. The vast majority of these individuals did not separate from higher education because they couldn't hack it or they failed out. The more true story is that life intervenes and that is where we plug in as institutions to say, well, we're ready for life 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 already finished your career and you want to finish...

...a longheld dream of getting to a backloord degree. And we have pathways for every individual at every stage of their career 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 online or evening or weekend options. Those are becoming more and more prevalent, accelerated by the pandemic as well, and now we are creating pathways that show short term wins for individuals that can stack onto broader and more robust educational tainment at the Bachelor's, at the Masters and even at the Dr a level that I know some of your colleagues from other institutions are in the similar standpoint of trying to figure out ways to re enroll the stop out. They found that now for 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 former stopouts 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 were trying 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 as well? 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 colleagues to other institutions? Yes, you know, I've seen a great deal of institutions that are now becoming way more adult friendly and wait or online focused than they 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 that we do in the classroom are complemented by additional hybrid and online evening options to incorporate individuals that would not otherwise be able to attend the institution from eight to five. So I think I want to say something along the lines of you know, we it's a tough sell a...

...bit because we have not seen a great 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 it more likely that they could come back and they should come back. So Eric Nationally what we've seen is actually a dip and adult Roman enrollment over the past ten 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 as college universities to make them aware, these individuals that could likely come back to 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 an online 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 that we are need to ask adult students to...

...give us a second chance rather than the other way around. Similarly, you you are always been a good reminder for me on how institutions need to not only take pla more seriously but utilized it and the the win win nature of this. Can you just give us a quick side car reminder of that? Yeah, so, prior learning assessment is an amazing it's a tool that universities and colleges across the country should be using, 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 ten years ago. What we see ten years from now about plas the way we believe 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 by Kale and whichy of seventy plus institutions that show a person that has access to PLA is more likely to graduate, a...

...higher graduation rate and their paste to graduation improves. Not only that, but they actually take more college credits with the 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 we give 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 as far as tuition to revenue. So administrators that might be skeptical about offering PLA because it might take away from tuition revenue, but that's not it's just empirically not the case. We're improving retention. Therefore, we're actually gaining more tuition dollars from these folks that are retained a much higher level. mattness team have it all figured out, folks. He's got a peek over your field and see 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's pretend they're slightly behind you. What are...

...those conversations that need to happen on campus? Why should they be so excited about these possibilities? Because these possibilities present a doorway into your university that would possibly retain these individuals through greater levels of educational entertainment. What I see from an individual that walks in only once a bachelor's degree and says, tell me how to get there as quickly as possible. 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 gown on, they say, oh my gosh, I really love learning. Again, tell about a master's degree, and that can that can be across any 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 individuals moving 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 curriculum that really ties in with industry in a way that didn't happen many, many years ago. I know many of us have been forced to be playing the short game this year by necessity. I love you came on and gave us a rate reminder both of the long game that we need to be playing institutionally as well as missionally. Matt, thanks so much for time today. What's the best place for listeners to connect with you? If they have any follow up questions? Feel free to find me on Linkedin, on twitter, on facebook and at my university. You can email me at Matt Dot Birdman at Louisville Dot eed. You or find any contact information on the website. Awesome. Thanks so much for joining us today, Matt. All right, thanks again for having me. 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 Educationcom. Playbook. You've been listening to enrollment growth university from Helix Education. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the shown itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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