“Learning is what most adults will do for a living in the 21st century.”
April 13, 2010
“Learning is what most adults will do for a living in the 21st century.”
March 29, 2010
Some have asked, “why did we take the actions we took in order to brand the school?” The answer boils down to establishing a unique niche leading to a competitive corner amongst the hundreds of choices potential students have when considering higher education. It used to be that a community college could count on its local residents to attend the local institution. Those citizens who needed retraining or were planning on spending their first two years of a baccalaureate program at a community college naturally found themselves gravitating towards the local community college, primarily because of cost and accessibility.
Today, however, all that has changed. While some students will attend the local institution due to ease and price, no longer does any one institution has a market niche based on these two variables. With distance learning and niche programs sprouting up all over the country, students today have more choices than ever and it is no longer feasible to sit back and count on local students to register at their local community college simply because it is in the same region or, even the same town. This is especially true if the college itself has not established its image as a premier institution where one’s cost equals the value one will derive from the educational experience offered.
To believe that an institution can depend upon its local citizenry to be its lifeblood, regardless of its image, is to be foolhardy, at best, and negligent at worse.
March 17, 2010
Last week I wrote about how we “set the stage” for establishing a “brand identity” for Florida Keys Community College (FKCC). We did so by soliciting feedback and determining how our constituents (and potential constituent groups) perceived the college and its accompanying logo’s (letters quite literally in boxes of primary colors), taglines (Start here, go anywhere), and services. We then set about determining consensus on a shared vision and mission statement. Those statements were defined as follows:
Enriched by its unique island location, Florida Keys Community College provides student-centered post-secondary degrees, life-long learning opportunities, and workforce development initiatives which enhance the educational, recreational, economic, and cultural environment of the Florida Keys .
The college will be the premier educational and cultural center of the Florida Keys.
With this focus on the islands, the tagline was clear: Island Living, Island Learning. Unlike the former tagline, this statement elicited a unique concept that fit the college’s program mix, which follows and contributes to the island economy.
The island concept lent itself naturally to new colors – we moved away from the primary red, blue, yellow, and green blocks to vivid aqua blue and bright, tropical green.
The new branding image was received from Students, Faculty and Administrators alike and our enrollment numbers soared.
March 5, 2010
Before we could undertake a full and effective branding process at FKCC, we first had to step back, take a long hard look at how we were perceived and who we wanted to be.
To do this necessitated numerous focus groups, facilitated by objective third-party consultants. In all cases representatives of the college participated although they remained in the role of observant listener rather than actively engaging in the dialogue. This allowed our consultants - everyone from business leaders to students, to potential friends of the college, to freely communicate. As for the representatives, by listening with an open mind they were able to learn much of which they were previously unaware.
A primary, recurring themes was the lack of awareness of opportunity at the college. Indeed, one person commented he had never been to the campus and wouldn’t have come expect for the that the president had followed up each invitation with a personal phone call.
Many people, especially students and prospective students felt the exiting primary colors (red, yellow, blue, and green) appeared to be more representative of a preschool than a college.
After hearing all this, we ran a session to define our mission, vision, values, and strategic plan. leveraging our unique island locale, we appropriately entitled the plan – Island living / Island Learning. The branding began….
Stay tuned next week for more on how we move a college from a 10 year enrollment decline to the fastest growing school in the Florida State College System. Branding was a critical component. which I will describe in more detail next week.
February 25, 2010
In 2009 I was presented with an award for “excellence” from the students representing The Keys Center (formerly PACE). A year prior to this award, the PACE program in Key West was one of two programs in the state of Florida whose funding was completely pulled. Immediate steps had to be taken to save the program. FKCC was able to offer a home to the program on the West campus.
The program, now called Keys Girls, serves underprivileged and at-risk girls in the community and was able to put 35 homeless students ages 18-24 into higher education.
I believe being able to provide these services and real opportunity to the less privileged in our community is a fundamental calling for community colleges.
February 6, 2010
More and more we are seeing trends that foretell what is next on the horizon in terms of recruitment practices. The savvy enrollment manager understands that examining today’s trends not only provides a glimpse into the future of enrollment management, but also can help to shape current practices to get a jump start on what can make a difference for his or her institution.
For better or worse, and I believe most of us would agree it is the latter, most schools find it easier to enroll new students, than to change retention rates, a much more complicated, multi-faceted issue to tackle and one which a college usually has less control over (students who are enrolled leave the school for many reasons, not all of which have to do with the school itself). Therefore, while retention also helps with the overall enrollment management picture, it is still more likely that we in the profession see vice presidents of recruitment or enrollment and marketing, than we see vice presidents of retention or enrollment and retention. Having said that, one of the first trends that one might notice is the transition from a Vice President for Student Affairs to a Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs (or in some cases, a Vice President for Enrollment Management in addition to the Vice President for Student Affairs). I believe this trend is in response to the more prominent role tuition revenue plays in balancing the budget, particularly at state institutions where budget cuts continue to decimate institutional finances. As states tighten their belts and restrict the operating revenue appropriated to public institutions of higher education, cash-strapped schools have two choices: (1) cut costs, which may mean limiting the number of new students they enroll, or, (2) raise revenues. If the institution is a private institution that can set its own tuition or if the college’s state funding formula is based on FTE, they can look to student enrollment to help close the budgetary gap. Many states strictly limit tuition raises at their public colleges. Therefore, the only way to increase tuition revenue is through increasing the numbers of students who are enrolled to optimize an economy of scale without over stressing the institutional resources.
A second trend that has been around for some time, although is now becoming even more important in the strategic enrollment plan, is the recruitment of out-of-state and international students. While in some states schools are not individually induced to attract students from outside the state because all tuition dollars collected go back to the state, in many other states the opposite is true. In addition to the state appropriation, public schools hold their tuition revenue individually and can even roll over excess revenue from year to year. Indeed, that is quite an enticement to recruit and attract these students who pay a much higher rate of tuition. For example, at a Florida community college, about ten full-time, out-of-state students who pay roughly $8,000 a year, can produce enough revenue to pay for a full-time staff or faculty position. On the other hand, it would take an unbelievable thirty-two in-state students who generate about $2,500 per year (this assumes that the state in which the school operates subsidizes all FTE without distinguishing between in-state and out-of-state students, such as is the case in Florida and many other states).
A third trend is the increase of students entering community colleges. Many of these students are Associate of Arts students (as opposed to workforce development and vocational students) who are approaching their education with a plan to move on to the university level after two years at a community college. This rise of Associate of Arts students has been heavily influenced by two factors. One of these is the increasing cost of the university tuitions. Private colleges are less attainable for many Americans because of the absorbent cost of tuition. Consequently, there is more competition to get into public universities. To complicate matters, states typically have allowed public universities to increase their tuition rates at a higher level than the community college counterparts in their state. The result? In many cases, Universities are actually closing their doors to first and second year students to relieve the stress on resources and budgets. Bear in mind, that universities do not have a “open access” mission as is the case with community colleges. Therefore, unlike the community colleges, the universities can choose to be more selective as a means of cutting costs.
The other role the community colleges play is in workforce development. With the recession, workforce development and its consequential ties to economic development have become more and more prominent in recruitment efforts. A brief (and non-scientific but anecdotal) review of president jobs at community colleges has revealed that most presidential profiles are stressing the need for a leader who embraces the role of the community college as an institution that can respond to industry trends for workforce and is willing to lead the development of additional workforce programs. It is easy to see how this emphasis has evolved; the bulk of jobs predicted to open are not in high-paying, executive positions – rather growth lies in workforce and vocationally-oriented jobs.
This leads me to a final trend, which is the proliferation of private, for-profit schools, most of which are oriented towards workforce development, e.g. DeVry Technical Institute, New England Technical Institute, Gibbs, and others. These schools practice recruitment techniques in ways that most public schools never have even considered. Their success has led to their growth and, subsequently, their need to hire executives, staff and faculty. While ten years ago it was very rare to see for-profit institutions hold such prominence in the job market, today it is commonplace. This tells us that the growth in that industry is significant. There is no doubt that at least some of the ideas and practices for-profit schools use to recruit will begin to seep into the public arena and shape our future approach to recruitment. For example, student recruitment phone banks have historically been commonplace at for-profit institutions but extremely rare at public institutions. Yet, we now see that telephone banks are being used at public institutions. In some cases these are even outsourced in much the same fashion as most for-profit institutions outsource their marketing callers.
There are many new trends in recruitment and my sense is that even when the economy stabilizes, the trends that are emerging and the practices that are acquired during the next few years are here to stay. While we have already begun to see new federal emphasis on retention and completion, I believe that these critically and ethically important roles, for reasons stated above, have not and will not be addressed as vociferously as the recruitment efforts taking shape.
December 17, 2009
After a small college (us!) began discussions with the federal government about bringing a large and very important special appropriation to the Florida Keys, working diligently and with full energy with all our partners, Director of the John E. Lockwood, Jr. School of Diving and Underwater Technology Bill Chalfant, Dr. Patrick Rice and Dr. Jill Landesberg-Boyle (me) were notified by Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen that the funding they had proposed to receive with Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen’s full forward charge was approved!!
As the college’s director of the James E. Lockwood Jr. School of Diving and Underwater Technology, Chalfant will be one of those in charge of developing a training program the Navy could adopt for its scuba divers, port security and other defense or Homeland Security personnel who perform military and civilian security on the water. “It involves three-dimensional underwater imaging, inertial guidance systems, and developing training procedures for the Navy Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command and other government agencies,” he said.
According to a project summary, the college will take part in:
- Modeling and simulation of natural subsurface environments;
- Diver training with simulated real-world scenarios; and
- Creating a training quality-control process in which new technologies, training methods and simulated environments are continuously upgraded and improved.
Never mind all that. It’s simply unheard of that a small community college should get such a big piece of the defense pie, especially on its first request to the U.S. Govenment Chalfant said.
“It’s an unprecedented amount for a small community college.
The college will share the $2.24 million. The Defense Department and the Navy receive part of the funding which is partnered with the college, as well as Stanford Research Institute and other partners.
Stanford Research Institute was part of Stanford University but is now independent of the school.
“We are especially grateful to Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen for her continued support of the college and the Florida Keys.”
December 16, 2009
Witness to Success in Involvement in Student Government
In working in higher education, surrounded by gifted and talented minds both young and shall we say… “not so young” I have had the opportunity to cross paths with very impressive student, staff and faculty members.
I remember one student Erin, who was a shy young woman from a small rural town in Louisiana. Erin was someone at that point in her history that you might be just unfortunate enough to not even notice, She sat in the back of the room, never seemed to raise her hand (maybe like someone reading this post) and in general just wanted to blend in, just blend into the background. But, during her orientation with my student affairs staff at the college, I think (no I know) this young woman took Miss Jackie Dale’s words to heart. She mustered the courage and she went after college head-on and she joined The Student Government Association!! The first year Erin was elected as a Student Representative where I noticed this young woman again as I was the SGA advisor. That first year she wasn’t very vocal, but I watched and prompted when I could as she continually challenged herself to meet new friends, connect with more people and get more involved.
The next year, she was back to SGA again and this second year Erin volunteered herself as SGA Secretary. (she sat and quietly took notes, learning and listening, occasionally asking for clarification) By now she was beginning to get noticed more and more and upon returning the following year… Erin became Vice President of the SGA and I witnessed this young woman progressively becoming more and more of a leader. She began to meet other students from around the state networking, learning and leading and when she graduated (yes that completion thing again) she began to work for the state’s department of education a job that was due in no small part to her determination to GET INVOLVED. Before very long at the Department of Education Erin got recognition from the Secretary of Education, the Secretary then Mr. Bobby Jindal went on to become a Congressman and is now sitting Governor of the State of Louisiana. Our student who reached out, got involved and graduated college, she did get the attention of that Secretary of Education who went on to become Governor of Louisiana, she followed that rising star to Washington, D.C. and then back to Louisiana where the girl who sat in the back but decided to get involved was named to Gov. Jindal’s staff as Assistant Deputy Director of Education for the State of Louisiana. SGA rocks!!
December 15, 2009
Did you know that only 35% of high school students ever go on to attend a college or university? Again, that number is only 35%. Think about that a minute… and on top of that statistic, unfortunately, not all of those students who attend will see graduation day.
College is an amazing opportunity. Through this incredible program, Take Stock in Children and your hard work and determination you have been given this amazing gift, set out in front of you, a chance to go to college.
Now, I have been working in higher education for a very long time, and I think that there are a few secrets I have learned along the way. The secrets that make the difference between those who do and those who don’t.
SECRET #1 – Ask for Help. If you find yourself in a situation or facing an issue that you are struggling with, if you need academic help or any other help, look for someone at the school who can help you!! There are so many people at the colleges I have worked for and my colleagues at every college and university that live for you asking them to help. They have built their lives around making students successful. It is what they wake every morning hoping to do. All you have to do is ask.
SECRET #2 – Get involved!! Research shows time and time again that those students who are involved in their education, those students who take advantage of ALL they can offer and what is offered to them are many more times likely to graduate. Many more times more successful at completing their degrees than those students who do not make the effort or take advantage of what is offered to them.
Being involved means being involved at all levels both academically and socially. Spending time on your studies, getting connected with study groups, spending time on campus connecting with other students, faculty and staff… these pieces are all connected to success.
When I worked at a large university in Louisiana, I had a colleague, Miss Jackie Dale Thomas, who used to say: “You can go to class, go home, study and get a degree… or, you can go to school (still study), and get involved in campus life and GET AN EDUCATION!! The choice is yours? Which would you rather do?
Good Luck, Jill Landesberg-Boyle!
November 23, 2009
In my first year as president, I recognized our faculty salaries were the lowest in the state. We eliminated a system of supplements, retained a salary consultant, and increased faculty salaries, on average, an unbelievable 17%. This year, in addition to giving out equity adjustments, we provided 4% across the board raises to all employees— one of only a tiny number of community colleges that were able to give raises.
Our faculty salaries are now in the top half of the range of compensation for the state system, which means we have the resources to retain and attract professors and quality staff from all over the country. In fact, we have two national experts teaching in our marine sciences program. Our newest marine tech faculty member received his training at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
With the help of our Congresswoman Ileana Ros- Lehtinen, 2.8 million dollars has been approved by Congress for Department of Defense work that will be done at FKCC’s Lockwood School of Diving Technologies. In addition to this federal appropriation, we have earned our first federal grant— a grant of over $100,000 from NOAA.
We have a new Marine Technology Building in its design phase that promises to be the gem of the campus, new benefactors who have given approximately two million dollars over the last two years, and corporate partnerships with entities such as Raytheon Technical Services and Hollis Corporation.
Enrollment is through the roof! We have record numbers of new students and have earned ourselves the distinction of being the fastest growing community college in the state—and no longer the smallest! All this, in just two years!