Category Archives: student success

Aspen Road Trip to Broward College

Hello again! I am late posting my second college on the Aspen Top Ten Finalists, but better late than never. I am learning a lot in the short bits and pieces of time I am carving out to finish my posts.

This post is about Broward College (BC) in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Part of the Florida College System, it was established in 1959 and is now a state college offering selected four-year bachelor’s degree programs as well as numerous certificates and associate’s degrees.

  • 52% PT/48% FT
  • 34% Hispanic/33% African American
  • Median age 21
  • 47% First Generation
  • 63,000 student in the District – 13 locations colleges/centers
  • $82 In State Tuition per Credit Hour with fees $118 (online $123)
  • Little to no textbook costs

This year Broward College was named as a top ten Aspen Finalist for the third time. That’s epic.

Broward College serves 63,000 students from more than 184 countries with a strong culture of collaboration and commitment to continuous improvement. The College ensures that students are on the right track to graduation and have what’s needed to transfer to a four-year university by creating clear, career-oriented pathways and mandatory academic advising when students reach certain credit-accumulation milestones.

Joshua Wyner, who is also the author of “What Excellent Community Colleges Do,” commented on the College’s clear, career-oriented pathways and excellent student transfer success as well. “Broward College excels at creating clear pathways for students to complete their associate’s degrees and then transfer to a four-year college and get a bachelor’s degree. Transfer students at Broward are about 50 percent more successful than at the average community college. This success is even more amazing given its diverse student population. Broward College is busting a myth by proving that all students can succeed at high levels.”

http://www.broward.edu/news/Pages/Broward-College-Named-Among-Top-Ten-Finalists-for-2019-Aspen-Prize.aspx

You may imagine my surprise when at first look, I wasn’t impressed with what I was finding online, especially the lack of information about Advising. Thanks to spring break and the extra week, I’ve been able to dig deeper and found some wonderful things to share with you.

I wish I had time to write more, but I don’t so I’ll keep it simple. The top three good things about Broward College I learned and believe are what contribute to their success are leadership, culture, and customer service.

A History of Experienced Leadership

Seriously, who gets these kind of experienced, super-qualified college presidents?

• From 1987 – 2004, College President, Dr. Will Holcombe, set a vision and worked to connect with the local community and workforce by developing community partnerships.  Holcombe was a protégée of Dr. James L. Wattenbarger, the architect of Florida’s community college system. He left Broward to become Chancellor of the Florida College System.
• An expert in strategic planning and former President of Ventura College, Dr. Larry Calderon was appointed President in 2004.
• In July 2007, the Chancellor of the Florida College System, J. David Armstrong, Jr., somehow left his position and stepped down to take the reins at Broward College until December 2017. I think Armstrong is the key leader who shaped Broward’s success.

With a strong commitment to the community, a business owner’s understanding of the evolving workforce landscape and the changing role of higher education, President Armstrong has led a redesign of the College to focus on new programs that better address skills gaps for students and employers. Several workforce bachelor’s degrees, for example, have been added in the fields of information technology, nursing, supply chain management, education, and aerospace science.

In a challenging financial environment where colleges face state budget reductions, President Armstrong managed to balance the budget while prioritizing initiatives for student success. This includes spearheading programs that focus on the entire student experience from prospects to post-graduation. While most colleges and universities implemented significant cost increases to students, Broward College under his leadership increased tuition only once in the last five years, maintaining an affordable value and increasing number of programs with no textbook costs.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._David_Armstrong_Jr.

A Powerful Culture

Broward celebrates students and beyond. Faculty play an important role and the institution is committed to small classes to give each student more individual attention. The student-faculty ratio at Broward College is 25:1, and the school has 35.3 percent of its classes with fewer than 20 students. 100% of students were identified with a Pathway and assigned to an academic advisor.

A Place for Everyone

Broward College is committed to fostering a learning-centered community that celebrates diversity and inclusion by empowering and engaging students, faculty and staff.

Student Success is Our Passion

Our mission at Broward College is Transforming students’ lives and enriching our diverse community through academic excellence, innovation, and meaningful career opportunities.

We approach every day and every student with this in mind. Whether you’re new to college, a lifelong learner or somewhere in between, we are committed to providing the highest quality education that’s affordable and accessible coupled with the support you need to succeed.

http://www.broward.edu/discover/Pages/default.aspx

One of the pieces of the Guided Pathways model they have down is the link to careers. Check this out!

Broward College Graduates Highest Earners in the State

According to the Florida Department of Education’s recent economic study, Broward College graduates not only meet the demands of the job market, but also make more money their first year of employment, than those completing the same degrees at other schools. The report, which is a result of the partnership between the State of Florida and College Measures, documents the variations in median first-year wages of graduates from two-year and four-year higher education institutions.

The report, which is broken down by specific degree program, documents Broward College associate degree holders as making more money than the statewide averages. The median first-year earnings of associate in arts (A.A.) graduates is $27,712, which is higher than the statewide average of $26,504. For associate in science degrees (A.S.), 84 percent of Broward College graduates are employed and rank number one in income, making $49,970, which is considerably more than the statewide average of $45,060. Associate in applied science (AAS) degree holders, especially those with an A.A.S. in Business Administration, earned approximately $10,000 more than graduates of other colleges.

http://www.broward.edu/news/Pages/BrowardCollegeGraduatesHighestEarnersintheState.aspx

Old-fashioned Customer Service

As it turns out, I am referring a student to Broward College after learning about their online degrees. I’ve called several times in the past week. The service is genuine and has exceeded anything I’ve ever experienced at any institution of higher education! No kidding! It’s great.

At Broward College, each employee is primarily focused on students’ success and committed to the college’s strategic imperative of Transforming Students’ Lives by Connecting, Challenging, Completing.

Broward College has in place a strategic plan that guides every action of the institution, allowing us all to connect with students, challenge them to succeed and help students complete their academic goals.

All of these elements tie into a motto that has been used at the
college for many years — Finish What You Start.

http://www.broward.edu/news/Pages/Transforming-Lives.aspx

In case you want to know more, here are some videos and links to keep learning!

Strategic Plan

http://www.broward.edu/leadership/strategicplan/Pages/default.aspx

https://www.sun-sentinel.com/opinion/fl-xpm-2012-09-14-fl-editorial-bcc-dl-20120914-story.html

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVFPhl_uuxVuh3Vesi7ZwOA

 

Changes that Lead to Student Success

After years of doing assessments and submitting the results before the end-of-term deadline, I finally realized I could actually be using the data. I have finally made some consistent changes that have led to greater levels of understanding and success in my classroom. Here are my top three.

Change # 1
Every single Exercise Physiology class starts with music and movement. Not just some classes when I feel like it. All classes. You might be thinking to yourself, “well of course, it’s an exercise class, why wouldn’t you be doing exercise with them?” I am teaching the science of exercise, so they are basically learning anatomy and physiology and how that applies to the acute and chronic adaptations to exercise. So, it is highly plausible that I could lecture for 75 minutes straight. Zzzzzzzz.

But no more! I have physical and visual evidence that my students are more engaged following a three minute bout of movement to music that will last for at least 30 minutes.

Change # 2
I have Included the arts in my sciences. I make my students draw pictures in their notes. The art lovers in class really enjoy this, and the non-artsy people appreciate that I bring coloring pencils and I teach them how to draw in a very simplified manner. I also give them visuals to think about to really break down the parts of their drawing. For example, the cell body of a neuron looks a lot like an egg after you have thrown it onto a hot oily frying pan. And the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) looks just like a lollipop.

It is much easier to review your notes when you have pictures depicting what your words are telling you. Just like I am more likely to read a textbook that has helpful pictures rather than all text and tables.

Change # 3
Less words on slides. I can actually watch their cortisol levels rise when I put up a slide that looks like it has 250 words on it. The serious note takers go into panic, wondering how they will ever jot down all these words. No matter how many times I tell them they have access to the slides, they still feel the need to write everything down, just in case it is on the test. So if you remove all that text and put down two key words that have an emotional impact, they are forced to think for themselves and jot down their own notes.

That is another opportunity to draw images on the board, give examples and simply explain the topic as it relates to their world. Then they give me their examples, we all nod in universal acceptance and we can move on to the next topic. Making an emotional connection will have a greater impact on memory compared to a slide full of words.

So just to recap: move to music for three minutes, encourage the arts, and post impactful words, not paragraphs.

 

Road Trip to Palo Alto College

First stop on the Aspen Finalist road trip is Palo Alto College in San Antonio, Texas and it just so happens I have the perfect vehicle for this journey.

Meet Bruiser, our 1966 Chevrolet Corvair Corsa convertible. A perfect Write 6 x 6 virtual road trip ride.

I realize that this is a virtual trip, but I believe in a good soundtrack with some local music to get in the San Antonio mood.

“Jacaranda” by Rosita Fernandez know as San Antonio’s First Lady of Song.

“Honky-Tonk” with Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown who began his professional career in San Antonio.

And “Smart” by San Antonio indie girl band Girl in a Coma

Now on to Palo Alto College (PAC) in south San Antonio. PAC is part of the Alamo Colleges District. They serve about ten thousand students per semester, with a majority (78%) Hispanic student population.

I wish we all had more time for a deep dive, but that isn’t my reality. So here are a few things I learned and like about PAC and how they have developed an advising culture to promote student success.

Campus Culture – #PeopleOfPAC

The first thing that I noticed is the campus culture. Check out their Facebook page especially the #PeopleOfPAC. Beto O’Roarke was on campus recently with a huge crowd of students in attendance, there are regular posts with interesting events and speakers on campus all the time. They even have a mini farm where students can have their own garden space. I love this campus already. The affection for the community, students, faculty and employees seems genuine.

https://www.facebook.com/paloaltocollege/

Certified Advisors

Yes. Palo Alto College has a certification process and extensive training for their advisors.

Certified student advisors are required to have bachelor’s degrees and go through extensive training called Council on Adult and Educational Learning (CAEL.) The three primary modules for training involve roles, responsibilities, and duties as an advisor; academic advising theory; and academic advising sessions.

The training involves establishing a rapport with a student by understanding gender, ethnicity, equity, as well as conducting mock advising sessions for efficiency.

“That’s part of the whole advising model…but building a relationship with trust is a key aspect of having a good relationship,” said Eloisa Cordova, certified student advisor.

Read more here: https://pacpulse.com/2018/05/03/pac-students-place-their-trust-in-certified-student-advisors-hands/

Advising Centers Grouped by Field of Interest

At the Alamo Colleges-Palo Alto College, academic advising and career advising build a culture of integrated practices and shared responsibilities. Through collaborative teaching and learning, the advising process empowers diverse student populations to explore and navigate their academic and career pathways. Palo Alto College has three Academic Advising Centers. Each provide academic advising support to new and currently enrolled students.

  • The Business Opportunities Leadership Demand (BOLD) Occupations Advising Center,
  • Service Education Empowerment Diversity (SEED) Advising Center, and
  • the Science Technology Engineering & Math (STEM) Advising Center

http://mypaccatalog.alamo.edu/content.php?catoid=119&navoid=6513#Undergraduate_Advising_Center

The Advising Scorecard (Being Data Informed)

I am getting more and more interested in how we collect and use data to drive decision-making, especially in Advisement, and was impressed with PAC’s compilation of Data. There is a lot of information, so I’ll leave it to you to wander through any of these documents on your own.  I have listed the Data Components of PAC’s Advising Scorecard because it is something I haven’t seen before and find it interesting.

Palo Alto College 2017-2018 Fact Book

Palo Alto College Data Portal

Advising Scorecard

Data Components of PAC’s Advising Scorecard

  • Success Rates: Percent of Caseload that earned an A, B, or C (PGR), Failure Rate, Completion Rate & Withdrawal Rate
  • Semester to Semester Persistence: Students persisting from Fall to Spring or Spring to Fall
  • Fall to Fall Persistence: Students persisting from Fall to Fall
  • Caseload Contact Rate: Percent of caseload that has been advised by Certified Advisor
  • Graduation Rate: Percent of caseload that graduated in a particular semester
  • Early Alert Rate: Percent caseload that had a Level II Early Alert submitted
  • Academic Standing: Percent of caseload in good standing, on probation, or on dismissal

I hope you have enjoyed the first stop on our Aspen Finalists tour. Our next stop is Broward College in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Do I hear Salsa music?

 

2019 Finalists for the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence

This year for GCC’s Write 6 x 6 I have decided to put together a series of posts based on the 2019 finalists for the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. I’ve chosen this topic because I always like to see what high achievers are doing so I can learn from them. My focus will be primarily on Academic Advisement and student support in alignment with Guided Pathways.

Every two years, the Aspen Institute selects ten community colleges who have improved student success rates and ultimately awards one with a $1 million dollar prize. This year’s winner will be announced in April.

The Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence recognizes exceptional achievements in four areas:

  • Student learning;
  • Certificate and degree completion while in community college and after transferring to a four-year institution;
  • Employment and earnings rates after graduation; and
  • Access for and success of students of color and low-income students.

Here are the Community Colleges in alphabetical order who made the list for 2019:

  • Alamo Colleges District – Palo Alto College – San Antonio, TX
  • Broward College – Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • CUNY Kingsborough Community College – Brooklyn, NY
  • Indian River State College – Fort Pierce, FL
  • Miami Dade College – Miami, FL
  • Mitchell Technical Institute – Mitchell, SD
  • Odessa College – Odessa, TX
  • Pasadena City College – Pasadena, CA
  • Pierce College at Fort Steilacoom – Lakewood, WA
  • San Jacinto College – Pasadena, TX

These are colleges I’ve wanted to explore but really haven’t had the time. I’m inspired by Write 6×6 and even though I am ridiculously busy, I know this is important so here I am …. writing to learn for myself and anyone else who wants to come along for the ride. All aboard for the Aspen road trip! Buckle up as we head for our first stop at Palo Alto College in San Antonio, Texas.

 

Unforeseen struggles for my students and I

The beginning of the spring semester started my  7th year here at GCC. The semester started out the same , but I soon found that I was struggling with my college mathematics courses. I had taught these courses numerous times before and could usually anticipate the questions and confusion throughout each topic. This semester I thought would be no different, but I soon realized that many of my students had not taken a math class in 5 or more years and their knowledge about the basics were lacking,  The reason for this change is the way we now place students (High School GPA only). I had to really think about the knowledge that I expect my students to have when they enter my class, but also how I can help them remediate these skills if they are lacking.

I had to go back to the basics and started to explain examples differently, give some in time reviews, extra review practices and give some more ticket in the door and out of the door exercises. I am finding it difficult as the semester continues because I see that they are struggling more and they ask numerous more questions. I am grateful they feel comfortable enough to ask questions, and I am hoping that the extra information I have added to the course is helping them, but we will see.

I am hopeful for them and I will continue to try to support them as much as I can.

 

 

 

 

Flying Books Deliver Daily Inspiration

This is my reality: All day…every day, books fly through the library and ultimately land in my hands. It’s as if these items take flight from the book stacks and land right on my desk… This experience of coming into direct contact with countless, random books every day inspires me tremendously. I wish I could track how much I’ve grown and learned, professionally and personally, since I joined the GCC Library family. Working in Access Services at an academic library is certainly a dream come true for a bookworm like me. A sample of our library’s extensive collection materializes each day. On every horizontal surface, books perch patiently, inviting me to take a closer look.

The written word speaks to my soul. Spoken words are fine, but reading words on a page transcends an auditory experience. Silent and deep, books change my life, one sentence at a time. Each book feels like a stepping stone. Or maybe more like shells on the beach…I ignore most, but certain gems capture my attention. In the same way, some books go unnoticed while others introduce me to a perfectly-timed message with lasting effects. It’s magical actually.

Momentary, random encounters can yield deep thoughts.
Recently I found the words of Octavia Butler and Brian Bilston.  In the library, inspiration is just a page away…

Refugees by Brian Bilston

They have no need of our help
So do not tell me
These haggard faces could belong to you or me
Should life have dealt a different hand
We need to see them for who they really are
Chancers and scroungers
Layabouts and loungers
With bombs up their sleeves
Cut-throats and thieves
They are not
Welcome here
We should make them
Go back to where they came from
They cannot
Share our food
Share our homes
Share our countries
Instead let us
Build a wall to keep them out
It is not okay to say
These are people just like us
A place should only belong to those who are born there
Do not be so stupid to think that
The world can be looked at another way

          (now read from bottom to top)

 


 

WEEK 6: The “One Thing” and The Final Step

Welcome back to the final week of the” One Thing” you can do to raise enrollment, a six week “how-to” series.

The NUMBER ONE REASON employees cite for NOT completing their employee bio page:

Now you know!
Your employee Bio Page is the ONE THING you can do
to influence the student decision-making process, raise enrollment, and raise GCC’s reputation in an increasingly crowded marketplace.

If you’ve been following along, you know by now that completing your employee bio page is a seemingly SMALL thing that pacts a powerful, influential punch.

But if you are just joining us, follow these links to catch up on this data-driven strategy:

Week 1: What’s on your GCC bio page right now?
Week 2: Quotes – their power to connect.
Week 3: How to get a rep.
Week 4: Your face.
Week 5: The “One Thing” Before and After

Here we go – Week 6 – the final step: today you find out how to copy and paste your story into a simple Employee Biography online form, and click “submit”.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • First name
  • Last name
  • GCC email address
  • Credentials (such as MS, Ph.D.)
  • Biography (Hint: Review Weeks 2, 3 and 5, and be relatable, not stiff)
  • Areas of Expertise (Special knowledge or field of study)
  • Office Hours
  • Headshot (This is a photo of your face. It should be cropped to a perfect square. You will click to upload a jpg, which will be resized to 280×280 pixels. See Week 4 for photo tips)
  • Personal Website URL (This is a separate step: To include a link to your work-related Website, login to your Maricopa profile using the Manage My Account tool, and add the url there. It may take up to a week for the link to appear on your Employee Bio page, depending on how often the Web Team refreshes the Website.)

Ready? Use this form to update your bio page.  (The link to this form is listed here on the GCC website.)

That’s it! 

For those itching to know the broader impacts, read these final bits:

Dear Faculty, you, perhaps more than anyone else, are uniquely empowered to factually communicate GCC’s reputation by explicitly stating your credentials and experience, why you continue to choose to teach at GCC, your areas of passion, and your teaching methods. You have been empowered to give the community concrete reasons to choose you, and GCC, over every other institution. The broader impacts of doing this one thing includes reputation, enrollment, media attention, and funding.

College Reputation
Your employee bio page impacts the reputation of the college. Faculty completing their Employee Biography pages serves to significantly elevate GCC’s reputation and raise its credibility on a local, national and international scale. We need to tout the talent and body of experts who teach at GCC. It hinders efforts to fill classes when faculty are too humble to talk about their personal contributions and proudest moments.

Student Enrollment
Your employee bio page impacts enrollment. When comparing colleges, student not only look at cost, location and facilities, but they also compare faculty between colleges. “Who will be teaching me? What are their qualifications? Will I like them?” Students want to pick the “right” instructor and are looking for a reason to choose you. Your employee bio page empowers you to teach students how to think about you. Be relatable.

Media Attention
Your employee bio page impacts media attention. The enormity of all faculty specifying their “areas of expertise,” on their employee bio page cannot be emphasized enough. Members of the Media are using google to find experts to weigh in on current events and issues. For example, a USA Today reporter used a google search to find an expert on “Living Libraries,” and GCC popped up in the top of the search results. “Everybody has a fascinating story, all of us,” said GCC faculty member Heather Merrill in a USA Today article on the Human Library. “Our students are craving this, and they’re craving help having these conversations.”

Funding Awards
Your employee bio page impacts the GRANT AWARD decision-making process. It is common for REVIEWERS to search the web for insight into the applicant’s reputation. When a GCC Faculty member applies for grant funding, they are competing against other institutions to win that award. Faculty bio pages provide an opportunity to showcase your integrity and past performance, both of which work to influence the REVIEWER COMMITTEE’s decision to award a grant.

Small things make a big difference. Tell your story in your employee bio page.

 

WEEK 5: The “One Thing,” Before and After

Welcome back to Week 5 of “The One Thing You can do to Raise Enrollment,” a six week “how-to” series.

Let’s review the steps so far:

Week 1: Google yourself.
Week 2: Quotes – their power to connect.
Week 3: How to get a rep.
Week 4: Your face.

Are you working in higher education because you want to effect positive change in the world?

Are you unhappy with declining enrollment?

People shopping around for colleges and classes have more access to more information about you, and your competitors, than ever before.

Would you describe yourself as helpful?

What if there is one SMALL thing you can do to make it easy for students to choose you (and thus GCC)? The employee bio page is by far the most under-exploited opportunity available to intentionally connect to students during the decision making process.

Providing students with what you want them to know about you works to develop positive preconceptions about you. Conversely, do nothing and you risk falling off your potential students’ radar completely, and losing them to a competitor.

The “One Thing” is deceptively small, yet powerful.

How it works: When students can relate to what they see and read on your employee bio page, they feel immediately connected to you.

(Before we proceed to the “Before and After,” my apologies to Marty Reker. We have never met. You were randomly chosen to be a part of this process because your name appeared in a recent college press release.)

Marty’s employee bio page BEFORE:

Marty’s employee bio page AFTER:
These elements compel students to choose you. But why?

These elements work to build not only your reputation as a competent instructor, but also builds the perception of a shared identity between you and the reader. Feelings of having a shared identity holds a powerful and influential sway over the reader.

Robert Cialdini is recognized as one of the top authors in field research on the psychology of influence. In his most recent book, Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade, he shares newly published research results: people develop powerful feelings of unity the more they identify with you. “Anything that is self-connected gets an immediate lift in our eyes. Sometimes the connections can be trivial but can still serve as springboards to persuasive success.”

When thinking about what to put on your employee bio page, don’t be stiff – be relatable.

So, after 5 weeks, you now know almost everything you need to know about the “one thing” you can do to influence the student decision-making process, raise enrollment, and raise GCC’s reputation in an increasingly crowded marketplace: Take control of the persuasive, engaging power of the employee bio page.

Now what?
Come back for our final installment in WEEK 6: Now what? The “One Thing” and the final step.

Make sure you’ve done your homework:
Week 2: Quotes – their power to connect.
Week 3: How to get a rep.
Week 4: Your face.

 

Week 4: The “One Thing,” and How to Influence Assumptions

Welcome back to Week 4 of “The One Thing You can do to Raise Enrollment,” a six week “how-to” series.

Data is a powerful thing: It can confirm our assumptions as well as confound them, as in the story I shared in WEEK 1.

WEEK 2 empowered us upon learning that, when it comes to students choosing YOUR classes (and thus GCC), leaving choice up to chance is not our only option.

In WEEK 3 we covered how reputation is the most important factor in influencing people’s choices, and the importance of making our achievements public to enable people to make informed choices.

This week, let’s talk about your face.

Face Facts: Numerous published studies provide countless evidence to support the fact that, when viewing a photo of a stranger’s face, it takes us less than a second to formulate an impression .

Assumptions about the character of the person pictured are formed quickly.  One Princeton University study published by the Association for Psychological Science is a great example:

“Willis and Todorov conducted separate experiments to study judgments from facial appearance, each focusing on a different trait: attractiveness, likeability, competence, trustworthiness, and aggressiveness.” The results? Of all the traits, trustworthiness was the one participants assessed most quickly.

We cannot escape the fact that photos influence choice, so we will harness this fact and use it to our advantage.

Fear not – the good news is, people want to see trustworthiness and competence in your face, not a glamour shot.

Consider the following photos of these notables: Albert Einstein, Delores Huerta, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Conrad Wolfram.

    

The reasons for not wanting to post a photo:
  • I’m not photogenic.
  • I don’t like the way I look.
  • My face will break the camera.

 It’s not about vanity. It’s about character. It’s time to embrace the powerful sway your photo can have upon a stranger’s choice.

The employee bio page is the most underestimated tool available to you. A photo of your face, backed up with a personal quote, your areas of expertise, and a list of your achievements works to establish YOUR personal reputation while raising GCC’s reputation.

By doing this “One Thing” you enable the public to make an informed decision to choose… you.

WEEK 4 Homework: Because you are your own worst critic, your homework is to recruit friends and family to help you sort through photos of yourself to find one that captures the characteristics of trustworthiness and competence. The photo chosen by others just may surprise you.

TIP: The size of the photo on your employee bio page is 280×280 pixels. Make sure the photo your choose is cropped as a perfect square.

For tips on how to choose a photo, read Lydia Abbots’ 5 Tips for Picking the Right LinkedIn Profile Photo.

If you can’t find a photo, a GCC photographer is available.

Come back for WEEK 5: The “One Thing” Before and After

“You’ll never get a second chance to make a great first impression.”

 

Week 3: The “One Thing” and it’s Not Bragging

Welcome back to Week 3 of “The One Thing You can do to Raise Enrollment,” a six week “how-to” series.

Study after study has produced empirical evidence to support the fact that reputation is the most important factor influencing people’s college and class choices.

Without a strong reputation, colleges are unable to attract the resources necessary to build an effective educational environment. Institutional reputation attracts everything from the best professors and research talent to philanthropic donations and star students. Everyone wants to be a part of a winning team, and in education, that means investing in the best academic brand,” writes Joseph Torrillo, vice president of Reputation Management.

As employees, we cannot sit back and passively place our hope in the power of the marketing department alone to define and manage our institutions’ reputations. Why? Because no amount of marketing can trump a personal experience with a brand.

I love this definition: Brand equity “is the intangible asset of added value or goodwill that results from the favorable image, impressions of differentiation, and/or the strength of consumer attachment to a company name,” writes Michael Belch and George Belch in their book,  Advertising and Promotion: An Integrated Marketing Communications Perspective. (if this were a paper, the attribution would read, (Belch and Belch p. 56) …go ahead, makes me giggle a little, too.)

When a student has a good experience with a GCC employee, a curious thing happens: The student does not say, “I love that GCC employee named Lupe.” No, the student says, “I love GCC.” A single good experience with a single employee packs a powerful boost to GCC’s overall reputation. Suddenly someone is singing praises of GCC to their friends, family, and strangers on social media.

However, experience is a double edged sword. When a student has a bad experience with a GCC employee, it’s not the employee they heap coals upon, it’s the overall institution.

Last week you spent some time writing a few statements that speak to your personal humanity.

This week your task is to… take a deep breath…
list your achievements.The purpose of this task is to make public any information that enables students to make an informed decision to choose you.

“If we are to achieve results never before accomplished, we must expect to employ methods never before attempted.” – Francis Bacon

The simple act of listing your areas of expertise and accomplishments in your Employee Biography page serves to significantly elevate GCC’s reputation on a local, national, and international scale.

It’s not bragging.  You ARE the secret sauce in GCC’s reputation! You have a history of proud moments, achievements and accomplishments that needs to come up in a google search.

A bio page with secret sauce includes naming your areas of expertise, credentials, a personal quote, and some information that reveals your humanity and proudest moments.

Here is an example:

Name: John Doe
Credentials: AAS, M.A.Ed, Ph.D.
Areas of Expertise: Experiential Learning; Community Partnerships

Personal Quote:  “I got my Doctorate at Yale, but I identify more with the students who come to GCC.”

Bio: Example 1: Four generations of my family have come to GCC to get their first college degree. Ask me why…
Example 2: If it were not for my 9th grade math teacher, I would not be where I am today. He never gave up on me. I want to inspire my students the way he inspired me, and see what can be achieved.
Example 3: I was the first person in my family to go to college, and I was excited and scared at the same time.
Example 4: My proudest moment was when…
Bulleted lists might include: education, awards, specialized training, published research/articles/books, grant funded projects, committees, pro bono work, volunteerism, boards served, etc.

Teach others how and what to think about you, and it forms a reputation in their minds for GCC as well. Take this time detail what you offer – leave no doubt in the reader’s mind that not only are you are a devoted educator, but you are a nice person to boot.

Reputation wields compelling, persuasive, influential power.

Your homework this week: Begin listing the ingredients that make up your particular secret sauce. These may include your personal areas of expertise and scope of services, awards, thesis topic/description, published works, patents, specialized training, published news about you, your motivation, what inspires you, the thing(s) you love most about what you do, and…

…(at least) one thing you want to be remembered for should you drop dead tomorrow. 

It’s Presidents’ Day weekend, established in 1885 to honor George Washington and Abraham Lincoln whose reputations for honesty and integrity still inspire us today.

This weekend, carve out some time to work on defining YOUR enduring reputation. Then come back for Week 4. The “One Thing,” and How to Influence Assumptions