The Higher Ed Marketer
The Higher Ed Marketer

Episode · 1 month ago

Student Success = Institution Success


Higher education is like marriage. Once you’re hitched, if you stop investing in the relationship, you can’t be surprised if it doesn’t last. 

Student success needs to be the constant, single focus of higher ed marketers to attract the right-fit students who will both stay and succeed.  

In this episode, we interview Nate Simpson , Senior Program Officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, about reprioritizing student success. 

Join us as we discuss:

- Reimagining the role of VP of Enrollment

- How to get colleges student-ready

- Recruiting students who will stay and succeed

- Helping students achieve what they want to achieve 

Related Episodes:

Ep. 21 w/ Mary Barr 

To hear more interviews like this one, subscribe to Higher Ed Marketer on Apple Podcasts , Spotify , or your preferred podcast platform.  

Listening on a desktop & can’t see the links? Just search for Higher Ed Marketer in your favorite podcast player.

My biggest tip is that student success achieving scene students that chievetheir goals is nine time at it. Ten is to get a better career, isn't somethingthat you can proxy to another department. Within your institution, you were listening to the Higher EdMarketer, a podcast geared towards marketing professionals in highereducation. This show will tackle all sorts of questions related to studentrecruitment, donut relations, marketing, trans new technologies and so much more.If you are looking for conversation centered around where the industry isgoing, this podcast is for you, let's get into the show, welcome to the High Red Marketerpodcast, I'm troy singer here with Bart Kaylor and every week we do our best tointerview higher Ed marketers that we admire that the whole higher edmarketer community can benefit. From. Today we have the pleasure ofinterviewing nate Simson, he's the senior program officer for the bill, amelon, the gates foundation and has a passionate role in regard to makingsure students are successful and working with institutions to make surethat their incoming students and all of their students are successful. Yeah. Ithink that it's a great conversation and as you're listening to the NATAS very passionate guy, and he has alot to share and I think that, as you start listening to, it start listeningto it through the perspective as a higher end barket or maybe somebodyenrolment. How can you take what he's talking about with students successwhich a lot of times I think enrollment sees? Oh, that's that's student life'sissue or that's somebody else's issue, because you know I once I hand them offduring the triculated, then we're done. I think he makes a really good argument.A really good, persuasive points about the fact that everyone on campus, andespecially US as marketers and enrolment folks, should be focused onthe success of the students, and so I think he really brings a lot of reallygood points to be sure to listen to that absolutely bark and I think,unlike a lot of our other guests, you can utilize him and the foundation as aresource. So please keep that in mind and may be ways that you can reach outto him or work with the foundation in the future. Without further ado, let'sbring a nate. It is my pleasure to welcome NateSimpson Senior Program Officer for the bill of millings foundation to thehired marketer podcast than nate. Before we get into our conversation. Ifyou could give our listeners what the mission is of the Gates Foundation andyour role within the foundation yeah so excited to be on the PODCAST and superglad that I was able to be a guest, and I'm excited that this is the chance toexplore and talk more where your audience so yeah the Bilibin AgateFoundation is a foundation that has must I a parts it has areas that aresupposed focused on parts of the globe and other countries across the world.But then, within the US we are very focused on supporting improvementsaround education, and so there are parts of that that goes from earlylearning. All the way up to post secondary and the team that I focusedin or sit on is our post secondary success team and I also sit on a teamthat is focused on importing the connection between education andemployment, and so I've been doing that for the past five years and the workthat I do is very focused on more or less in a very simple way on the post.Secondary Team is to help institutions, learn and discuss, or figure out waysto see improvements around to in success and make sure that racist, apredictor of completion at the same time so certainly interested as afoundation and seeing how that can be...

...done and we've seen work that it can bedone and see how we can get about over three hundred institutions to andpartners who help the institutions to make these type of changes to do it amat, a much broader scale, and so that's what we do. That's what Isupport as a team working on, and I'm super excited to talk more about whatwe've learned and just continue to just have this conversation, I'm a higher EdNerd at heart. I've worked in Hirad for many many years, and I have seen Ihaven't. I wouldn't say I've seen everything, but I have seen andexperienced it in super clad than I me went to bring it to the foundation andto talk about Arrano perspective as well. That's great thank you need toappreciate that introduction, and I know that you and I have known eachother for a few years, and I know that you know big part of that idea ofsuccess, for students is, like you, said, access t for them to highereducation, regardless of any issues that might typically be in the way, butthen also making sure that the the internal workings of the school areable to. You know be fostered for that success, and I know that in ourprevious conversation we talked a little bit about the idea of how howthe roles of vice president of enrollment have kind of you knowevolved over the years. I should say I mean I was actually presenting to aboard a College Board today on on some of their marketing, and you know triedto help them understand that you know historically marketing used to fallunder advancement and and now you know many times- it's moved over to theenrolment side because of just the nature of the competition of bringingand students and things, but I think, you've seen over your career and eveneven your time at the gates foundation of what you know. What do you thinkthis reimagining of the vice president enrollment, and sometimes in Roman andmarketing? How does that kind of play into all of this for access and success?Standpoint? Yeah, that's a good question, but I mean because, from whatI've seen working at the foundation- and even my time in at an institutionwas really fascinated about. Your question is the fact that yes hired hashad a history, and I would even argue a post war or to this focus so in justmaking sure that folks have access, and what we've learned from the foundationrecently in Menia stution across country, is that you know access isn'tenough and that's really about not only making it accessible but thenalso when they get in that you're, helping them actually to succeed andachieve what they're hoping to accomplish. And so we we have certainlymade a lot of effort around supporting movements and some call or completionagenda and stuff like that to get higher it to meet his commitment towhat it says that it does for its students. The point of all that, though, is likewhat what that implies, though, is that institutions have to do thingsdifferently right or make some modifications, and one of those is thereality that there's a lot of individuals and humans who work in theinstitution and even though you are, and even to yourexample, you could be working on marketing and not think that you knowthe student success or completion agenda has anything to do with yourrole. But what we've seen is that's just far from that being true, I meanit's intricately connected and it's because of the fact that it doesrequire an institution at the heart of what it does to re. Do Everything- andI think, even to your point, about like telling a board that you know. Yes, you probably have a marketingresponsibility, but that marketing you know capability or capacity, is in thewrong space and it's its intention should be connected to not only a Roman,the other part of Rona Rom and I've...

...seen it too within the Roman space. Isthat many VPS, I would argue, are realizing that their enrollment isn'tjust about getting them in is also gain them in and set up for success so thatthey can actually complete and many institutions have even expanded theroming concept about just thinking about what the overall experience isgoing to be for the student once you get them in then, how do you make surethey stay in and then how do you make sure that they continue to learn andthey will eventually complete like that is in my mind, some institutions havejust moved in that direction and as a foundation we're here to see not onlywhat have they done, what do they do, but also, how can we help others to dothe same thing? I think that's great I've seen a lot of schools that kind ofthey miss the boat because one they pass off a student way too early in thein the process to student life yeah or you know, to the registrar, whomeveryeah and so that relationship that was built along the way you know in the inthe in the perspective student journey, they gets just cut off and it's likeall of a sudden, you know come come move in weekend. You know they heythey've, really developed a great relationship with the folks andenrolment and but no longer do they have that relationship, and so I thinkyour point to retention in success. I mean kind of sometimes those words areput together. Sometimes there's distinct differences between them.There is an ongoing. You know ongoing. I hate to use the word marketing, butthere is an ongoing communication and marketing. That's the responsibility ofthe schools to make sure that that student continues to understand thebenefits continues to understand. The support continues to understand that Imean it's one thing to just get them into the end of the relationship. It'sanother one to keep it it's a little bit like you know so many times I tellmy schools when I see big, you know applying now buttons. You know on thevery first communication with a student, I'm like okay, do you realize it we'rekind of like we're dating and on the first date you're asking somebody tomarry. You we've got a woo somebody and we've got to kind of earn that and thenand then you can take that analogy even further and saying: okay, once theymatriculate, okay, the weddings over well you've got to continue into thatrelationship and continue to build that relationship just because you'remarried now. Does it mean that you know everything's Pechan going forward, sowe've got to kind of keep in mind that we have that constant woo to keep themthere and keep them engaged in succeeding until they graduate eventhere. I would argue that as an alumni, you want to continue that going on tobuild that relationship. So yeah. No, I mean the students boat with their feet.Right, like you, have to sit back and wonder like. Why is it that or- and Imean I've seen I've seen with some institutions or that are making a lotof head weight when they get a chance to look at their data they're askingthemselves whose type of questions of like like? Why aren't they coming back?What but see what I've seen in those are heard about those sessions and readabout and support is the fact that many of the Times they it's not just that Ir person is looking at the data or the president or the chancellor. It's likethere's a team, and I would argue that team is including the BP of enrolmentand marketing to discuss. You know what is happening when it comes to you know.We had a class that entered with you, know athousand students and then come. You know spring or fall next year. We'redown to five hundred, like everyone needs to start asking that question,not just one part of the institution. Everybody needs to ask or even offer.You know if I am the VP student services asking PPM like what do I needto do to help make sure that when you bring in the students that yourstudents, because we all the student quires is got, the suit is don't changeright, like it doesn't now there's a a... student that is going from the BPof a Romans role to the BPS service. It's the same, it's the same student,so it's really critical that there's teams, including the marketing and thatcapacity or capability it, the institution looking at the data and understandinglike what is happening or why isn't it that we don't see and even making surethat it's exact disaggregated by by raising socioeconomic status? You canunderstand like at the route what is really going on and I've seen a lot ofarticles. We've done research. I think I've also realized it's just I meansometimes as a high level administrator. You just have to genuinely care and becurious about wanting the students to be there. I wanted them to see themagain so and to see them succeed. I'd just say, a lot of folks are notinterested in doing that, but you know when you put that in front it kind ofcomes off and you realize I do want them to stay, and you youknow, use that mindset. You start to Redo a lot of stuff whenit comes to a D, or you start having some more prioritized conversationsabout what is really important. What's not necessarily at the same level whenit comes to other things. I think that's a great point, and I know Troyyou've got a question, but just to kind of follow up on that for a moment. Theidea that I see a lot of schools they're looking at the data and they're,not starting with what you're saying, how can we make sure these studentssucceed and so a lot of smaller private colleges a lot of times struggle withthis role is that they try to recruit everybody and e every now everyone, andthen they realize that okay, these students aren't necessarily mission,fit whether they're. You know whether they're a type of school that maybe isa religious background, school or maybe they're. A specialty type school wherethey've offered certain types of programs they bring in all thesestudents for the sake of getting the numbers, and rather than starting with,how can we make sure that we recruit students who are going to succeed allthe way through, and so I think that's a mission fit. Is such a huge part ofthat at the beginning, yeah I mean like mission fit for me is always somethingthat kind of like strikes a nerve, because it's kind of like continues toperpetuate this belief that students are supposed to be college ready,instead of really that the colleges should be student ready, and so it'slike, if you did all the work, to make sure that they actually did yourrecruited in and roll at your institution. You shouldn't do this likebat and switch moment where it's like? Oh, we got you in and now you know goodluck, it's more about! Like you took the effort, you spent a lot of time andmoney and trying to figure out how that Mike would actually coming and roll. Myassumption is, you did all that because even then you wanted them to continue,and so maybe you should continue doing things to make sure ly that they do getthe thing that you said that you wanted them to have when you were trying toget them become to your institution. I mean that just makes logical sense tome. I would even argue well- and I know I might you know, get tar and featherfor this, but you know higher istution aren't the only you know quote unquotetypes of organizations that provide services and you look at other service providers.They they take on that as responsibility very seriously, and youknow in students, are consumers making boatwith their feet and some ways their money and go some place? Who actuallyis going to provide in the service that that they're looking for will nate thatkind of touches on a? Maybe there should be a changing ofperspective of we always think of higher ed saying you should be gratefulthat we accepted you into our institution. Would you say that that should change,and it should be more of? We are grateful that you accepted and we'regoing to do everything that we can to make sure that you succeed and that youfeel welcomed. Yes, I think it is a like a massiveshift in mindset. I mean I don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that highereducation is the only part of the...

...educational system in the United Statesthat needs to adopt that way of thinking. That said, I think thathigher education is necessarily becoming more aware that that way ofthinking isn't just doesn't preclude them right. It's become very obviousthat we should have the same inset. Also I'm most saying that there is somefolks who have worked in hired for a long time who have always had thatmisit. But what I think about what's interesting about that point is thatyes, there's definitely pockets of that that it exists with in institutions,but I think that those individuals, those pockets, actually need to movetowards the center of what institutions do, and I I have. We have worked withinstitutions in many types, from small liberal arts to large research, oneinstitutions and what we have seen through. All of those types is, youstart seeing changes when, even if you're part of a group of institutionthat has a mission to you know, generate and deliver sound research for name it for the United States. When you start putting students at thethe center of the work, you can still achieve it. So, like I've seen thisthought process, that's like student success and research, one and researchresponsibilities are are, are polar opposites and it's like. No, it's not,and many institutions have shown you. If you put the student at the center,you can still achieve your research responsibly, just as much, if not morein many ways, and then it's like their return on investment will start toyield itself, not only naturally but intentionally, and you can start youknow predicting it on some levels. I totally think that that mindset is isBenner, it's necessary for education. In the US, it's been there for Co. Youcould talk to early learning. I just think Pol Secondary and higher ininstitutions thought that that didn't apply to them and some even argue. OhI've always thought that way. But you know, I don't know if the data reallyproves that out, you could even look at some of the data from the NationalStudent Clearing House with that. Come out as a result of Covin nineteendemonstrating that many students we graduated from the class of twothousand and twenty have delayed going into higher education in two thousandand twenty one. I mean there's research out there showing that there's a desireto resolve it, but you can argue maybe some of that isn't necessarily a badthing because you can say well. They need to make sure they're going to theplace end to your point, Troy that you're grateful and wanted them to come.And so you know just because your theaters mean they're going to they'regoing to come, and maybe you should do a little effort to get them and makesure that you give them what they said that or give them the things that yousay, you're going to give them, which is success, and I like to. I just wantto add under that little bit the fact that I think that's many times in themarketing. That's that's sorely missed is that we want you to succeed here.You know I mean we talk a lot about the benefits. We talk a lot about. You know,selling our distinctive, the marketing I mean we recognize, especially forsmall privates, that you know people have a lot of choices and even even forthe publics I mean everybody has a choice. We're trying to you knowpersuade them on why we are the best choice, but I think at the end of theday, especially generations, the many times they want to know that hey you'vegot your we've got your back, we're going to make sure that you succeedyou're, not just going to be a number here. I mean I hear a lot of smallprivate liberal arts talking about you know we have professors who are youknow mentors, and things like that. I think the marketing many times has tokind of start talking that way and start expressing that desire that we dowant to see you succeed, we don't you're, not just a number, even thoughwe know your name, we still want to to...

...succeed. So I think that's a that's agood point. I mean my experience has been, and I graduated from MoralsCollege and it's HBS all MEO blackmail and Kishon one in the country, and Ivividly remember moments being on campus, where, if I did not go to aclass like my, I would have to take a different rat to go to to certain spots,because I knew if I were walk my normal way. I was going to go past myinstructor or professor's office and she would or not it wasn't her office.I was her where she parted, and so, if, if I walked in that direction, I knewshe was going to see me or I might run into, or so I would just go the otherway. The point of all this is the fact that yes, but I've seen it it's realand I think even institutions who are really large have the same thing. Theycan do it and the data shows that it can be done there. Many institutionswe've seen we we like, have the fruntier set as a initiative that is coming to a close,but we've worked with some top institutions, who's able to show withbig numbers of students who do exactly that, and it creates this experiencethat makes a difference for Sudans to show up and for them to succeed infront to actually achieve what they want in many of them. I would argueit's because they want a better career, or, I would say, even the agency tochoose what they want without having to be an agency comes to the ability, tosethe options being available and not having them be very limited so, andeverything show so far. The best way that's going to happen right now,especially if I would argue if you are a minorities population. Your best bedis to have a post secondary credential, and that's the only way you're going toget you know all the options made available to they. Thank you very muchfor all of the information that you shared today on behalf of the missionof the Gates Foundation and a strong morehouse man that has been in highereducation for a while. Is there one tip that you could give higher at marketersthat they could take away? That would be beneficial to them. Yes, which issomething that I have seen with this. My biggest tip is that student success achieving scene students that chievetheir goals is nine times out of ten is to get a better career, isn't something that you can proxy to anotherdepartment within your institution. It's it's your responsibility, just as anyoneelse is within the institution as well, and you know the moments where you'relike that that student success, team or committee or whatever you want to callit. You may go. Oh that's all! You know BP affairs, I don't have anything to dowith that. I need to find I need to make sure you know my. I improve myyield from last year, like I can't focus on that, like you have got likethat, has to stop like that. The the students safest committee includes you and make sure you're going to thosemeetings, because the student that you are co horde thatyou brought in it is a great opportunity for you to actuallyunderstand why your yields don't look the way they did and you could probablyget some better insides and then not necessarily start changing how youbegin to recruit or changing your recruiting strategy, but understandthat you are demonstrating, through your presence, that it's important andthat you're going to find better ways to make sure that the cohort has anexperience and that you're not necessarily giving an experience.That's not something that you can...

...actually return on, so go to those meetings,talk to them be part of it and don't give it away. I mean and that's comingfrom a person that's been involved in practitioner. I worked at a communityCole. I know there's eighteen thousand things you're doing all at once. Youare. You are a hero with a Cape on your back that folks, don't even notice, but you got to do it. They. Thank you so much for that, andwe appreciate that small but powerful. Now getting everything that you'veshared. My guess is. There are a lot of other services and knowledge thatsomeone could come to you for what's the best way to reach you for those whowould like to do so yeah, so my best recommendation is toalways take a look at the bellamonts foundations website. The site has hadan overhaul for anyone who has probably seen in the past but O it's. There aresections now specific in our work in the US R, UN Education, specificallythe Post Secondary Site. I totally recommend anybody take a look at thatand to get any more information about what the foundation is working on. Wealso have a PO second day. I think, on that same site. I know you can you cansign up for Post Secondary Success Newsletter, and so I totally recommendthat and get more information and also work a man on the point about highereducation, gating access to or being part of providing more value forstudents. I totally recommend folks to look at our Bothe Value Commission workthat we supported Tis post secondary value at or where you can learn moreabout what the value commission that group discover about the value of Hidinin the US super informational, super gray has a definition, has metrics andI think at some point, there's going to be like a much better view of collegescore card that takes in to count more data that the college core cire fromthe department event doesn't provide at this point, so totally recommend pose.Take a look at it on when it comes available at that site, and me you canfind me on linked in or I'm also on twitter as well, so super available tohave those conversations as well. Thank you need for your time and all theinformation that you are providing to our community. But do you have anyparting words before we sign off for the episode yeah? I just wanted to kindof highlight a couple things that I heard in a talk about it really asmarketers. I think that we need to kind of lean into this is the idea of how dowe make sure that we not only mark it to woo people in? But how do we also woothem to stay and move them to succeed, and I think that nate had some reallygood options there, I think, as marketers. Sometimes we find ourselvesa little bit, maybe off the beaten path with regular students, maybe there's anintern in the office. Maybe there's not, but I think many times marketers andHigher Ed tends to kind of be a little bit more of Hey we're in our littleniche of the of the university and we're just kind of doing our thing. Ithink name made some really good points of being an intentional marketer tostart learning start engaging with students start engaging with thoseopportunities, whether it's the committee meetings or things like that.You know interject yourself into that, because, as a marketer you're going tolearn more ways to communicate the benefits of your institution, the morethat you are understanding how your institution is helping those studentssucceed, and so I'm reminded of a conversation we had with Mary Barr fromBall State University and how she's intentional to spend time with studentson a regular basis. And I remember a couple of our you know: Leaders inmarketing that we've had on the podcast have talked about carving out time on aregular basis to just sit down with students with parents to just helpunderstand what makes them tick. What how they're succeeding and things likethat, and so I really would encourage our marketers to just take into whatnate said really spend some time,...

...engaging the students, helping themsucceed and, and that's really going to change the nature of what you're doingas a marketer well said, Bart Right thanks nate! Thank you. Both the Higher Ed Market podcast is spongedby cale solutions and education, marketing branding agency and by thingpatented, a marketing execution, printing and mailing provider of HigherEd Solutions. On behalf of Bart Kaylor, I'm troy singer, thank you for joiningus. You've been listening to the Higher EdMarketer to ensure that you never miss an episode subscribe to the show inyour favorite podcast player. If you are listening with Apple Podcast, we'dlove for you to leave a quick rating of the show, simply tap the number ofstars. You think the PODCAST deserves until next time.

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