An Educated Guest

Ep.1 | Re-imagining Affordability & Accessibility in Higher Ed


Guest: Dr. Paul LeBlanc, President of SNHU

 

Todd Zipper, President of Wiley Education Services, welcomes Paul LeBlanc, President of Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU). They discuss how SNHU reimagined affordability and accessibility to drive quality outcomes for more learners. Listen to their conversation on your favorite podcast platform.Implementing systems and processes that work specifically for the online learner

Topics Discussed:

  • Implementing systems and processes that work specifically for the online learner
  • Rethinking the delivery of programs to be more experiential and project-based
  • Using competency-based education to deliver learning in equitable ways
  • Building a learning ecosystem that accommodates true lifelong learning
  • Creating short, affordable, skills-based offerings applicable to in-demand jobs

Guest Bio

Dr. Paul J. LeBlanc is President of Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU). Since 2003, under Paul’s leadership, SNHU has grown from 2,800 students to over 170,000 learners and is the largest nonprofit provider of online higher education in the country. Forbes Magazine has listed LeBlanc as one of its 15 “Classroom Revolutionaries” and one of the “most influential people in higher education.” Washington Monthly named him one of America’s ten most innovative university presidents. His book, Students First: Equity, Access, and Opportunity in Higher Education will be available later this year.



View Transcript

Speaker 1:

You’re listening to An Educated Guest, a podcast that brings together great minds in higher ed to delve deeper into the innovations and trends, guiding the future of education and careers hosted by the President of Wiley Education Services, Todd Zipper.

Todd Zipper:

Hello, and welcome to An Educated Guest. I am your host Todd Zipper, and today I am here with Dr. Paul LeBlanc President of Southern New Hampshire University. When I think of innovation in higher ed over the last decade, Paul’s name is one of the first to come to mind. Most people connected to higher ed no SNHU story, but for some context, when Paul took over SNHU in 2003, enrollments were at about 2,800. Fast forward to today, enrollments are approximately 170,000 with the vast majority of those being online students.

Todd Zipper:

You also have completely re-imagined affordability and accessibility with the announcement last year of reducing tuition by more than 50% for your campus programs. You are disrupting the traditional higher ed model in such a positive way from many angles I must say. We’ll get into more of these details in a bit, but first I want to zoom out and talk more broadly about your personal journey. Paul, thanks so much for being here today.

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

Todd, it’s my pleasure. It’s great to be with you.

Todd Zipper:

Excellent. All right. Let’s start. It’s 2003, online education is really just getting started. For-profit schools like University of Phoenix are getting most of the attention and the not-for-profits were really nowhere near the scale they are today. How did you go about creating this incredible growth story? Clearly you had a vision of what was to come.

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

It’s interesting, Todd. Yes. I mean, I worked in technology. My dissertation research was the confluence of literature and literacy behaviors and technology just when that was all kind of happening in the ’90s. But when I got to SNHU, and you’ll hear me refer to it as SNHU quite often, so feel free to do the same. When I got to SNHU in 2003, I was looking at an institution in which everybody said, “We want to get to the next level.” Now of course, people define that in various ways. Occasionally, teach in a program at Harvard Judy McLaughlin’s workshop for new presidents. So this is for all first-time presidents. So I often say to them, when you arrive on your new campus and your first time in this role, think of it as being a high stakes poker game. You’re getting dealt a hand and it’s a hand you don’t control.

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

You’re inheriting, whatever this place is. Its brand, its traditions, its financial condition, how it works, where it’s placed in the landscape of higher ed and like a good high stakes poker player, you have to play your best cards. Don’t spend a lot of time chasing an inside straight. It’s not like I’m a poker player. I’m mediocre poker player at best, but do smart things and play your best cards. It’s the first rule of playing poker. In some ways, it’s the first rule of leading any institution. What are my best cards? What are we good at? And where do I see opportunity? And in 2003, SNHU you had a modest, there were about 18 staff working at a modest online program, but we been doing it for a little bit and while it wasn’t large, and certainly it wasn’t anything close to what we were seeing in the for-profits. I thought this is a card we can play. This distinguishes us because at that time, the not-for-profits were not mostly in online.

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

They looked down their nose at it. “Oh, it can’t be as good. It’s not the same quality. It’s too weird. It’s too different. It’s the kind of thing that the not-for-profits are doing.” And remember that nature abhors a vacuum. And because the not-for-profits weren’t in the space, the for-profits rushed in and at their height, they were educating about 12% of all American college students. They were huge. I mean, Phoenix was over 500,000 students, but I thought, “There’s is an opportunity here for us. What would it take to compete against Phoenix?” And I think about it and I was like, “What was I thinking?” Because we weren’t even on the radar screen. We set out to ask that question. As a not-for-profit, how would we compete in that space?

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

And then I was very lucky in that I had a lifelong friendship with Clay Christensen who has passed away just a year ago. The father of the whole notion of disruptive innovation and Clay was about to come on my board, Hadn’t yet, but I knew that I needed his brain and the way he thinks about the world and we set out on his disruptive innovation playbook. So what are the things that happened? First thing we did was like, let’s get it off campus. We’re going to have to make this thing look a lot different than it does today. It’s going to feel pretty strange to our incumbent organization. Everyone’s smart and well-intentioned, but what Clay’s research teaches us is that the incumbent organization will always treat that new disruptive thing like foreign tissue. Will either want to spit it out or incorporate it in its own image.

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

So I moved those 18 people to a new location in an old mill building in downtown Manchester. We leased a 10,000 square feet and I remember walking through going, “Oh my God, what have I done? Are we ever going to become close to filling 10,000 square feet? We have 18 people. We are rummaging around the place.” We then start to look at all of our systems. How do we do what we do today? What are the processes look like and would that work for an online student? So one of the big mistakes I think we saw for a long time, our institutions that did try to go online, take all of their systems and processes that are built for on-campus and just try to port them over. That doesn’t work. It’s a fundamentally different audience. We put to work some of Clay’s research. The later became known and more popular later on as jobs to be done theory, even though that’s not the name we had for it.

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

So the question we asked ourselves is we know the job that 18 year olds pay us for, if I can use that language, what’s the job that a 30-year-old pays us to do if they’re working full-time and they have kids. And now they’re trying to come back and finish the degree that they started 10 years earlier. Those are very different answers, right? For that crowd, convenience is critical. They don’t have much time. They have little bits of time. So could we make things for them administratively? Would we commit to asynchronous classes? If you tie working people to a schedule, it’s really hard. If you tie poor people to schedule, it’s really hard. So this is the least sexy part of the story. But the first four years was getting all of the wiring and systems under the hood right.

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

So when we did start to market, we know those dollars would be put to good use. So we studied the for-profits and said, “What of their practices do we like?” And of course, “What are the things we don’t want to do?” Because they got themselves into trouble and we started to emulate that. It was a lot of seat of the pants. So I don’t want to overstate. We took Clay’s playbook and it was perfect. It was like, “Nope, we were learning. We were making mistakes.” So I think part of the culture of innovation is a tolerance for that. I know it’s become cliche, but a fail fast, like make your mistakes, learn from them, fix them quickly and always, always, always make sure that you’re taking care of students all the way through. So we became customer obsessed, if I can use that phrase. I know in higher ed we’re only supposed to talk about students, but we became student obsessed. Then I’ll say that.

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

And we often say, we will do everything for you, but take your courses. So this was a race without an end, by the way. Like we can still be better. I mean, I just answered a student today who emailed me because somehow an important communication didn’t get to her. They’ll look at, she may not have opened her email. That happens, but I’m going to assume it was on us. So we’ve got a team looking at it and I think you just never stop working at that. That was the big picture. The thing that really drove our growth happened with the recession of 2008/2009, because at that point we were ready and we were modestly starting to expand our footprint. We were doing some test TV marketing in places like Milwaukee and Oklahoma City. And we had planned to do a year of that marketing and see what we could learn.

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

The questions we pose for ourselves were, could we compete head to head against for-profits where we had no brand recognition? Well, we had no brand recognition anywhere outside of Manchester, New Hampshire and we chose secondary cities if I can, no insults in Milwaukee and Oklahoma, but we wanted to choose markets where we knew there was a big footprint for for-profits and that’s where we tried to market to see if we could generate leads and interest. Even though we had only done 10 weeks of that, there was good interest. And at that point, the recession was hitting full force and we were looking at a budget deficit for the first time in the years. I went to the board on the fateful October day and said, “We’re projecting to run a $3 million deficit. I want to take a couple of million from our very, very modest reserves and see if we can maybe go after some online enrollments and offset this deficit.”

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

And if I get this wrong, the hole we’re is going to get deeper. But happened even though we had 10 weeks to base it on, it held. We started getting leads. We started enrolling people. We had done the hard work under the hood. We were converting leads into enrollments. And by January, I went back to the board and said, “I need four million more. It’s going really well.” Maybe those first months were just low hanging fruit. I don’t know, but my gut tells me we can do more. We ended the year with an $11 million surplus and we never looked back. I’ll tell you that in 2012, we were number 50 in the Babson University list of 50 largest nonprofit providers of online degrees. We were a number 50. Three years later in 2015, we were number four. Those three years were exhilarating and a mess.

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

It was a rocket ride. We had crates of computers ready to be unboxed and set up in the hallways. We were hiring 40 to 50 new full-time people every week. Like every Monday it’d be another 30, 40, 50 people coming on board. And the question is how do you learn to scale? Well, we learned it the hard way by breaking everything. We still have people who remember the financial aid summer of hell. Which we get it wrong and wait times are climbing and we are slammed by students on social media. I’ve been on the phone with financial aid for 25 minutes and I still need to listen to terrible music, but we rallied and we got it squared away pretty quickly. I’d like to think that aside from the annoyance, I just mentioned students weren’t Hart, but it was not pretty. But I’m really pleased as we saw a similar surge this summer during the pandemic where we shot up from 135,000 students to 170,000 which is where we are today.

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

So 35,000 student growth in about the last nine months and we hired over 630 people full-time staff. The systems held. We were resilient. It was a hell of a way to learn, but we learned how to scale. I have a good friend from the south who says, “There’s no education in the second kick of the mule.” So the second time the mule kicked us, we were ready. We learned the first time. So that’s really the story. It’s so much a story of talent. I mean, I’ve been talking about systems and processes and marketing, but getting the right people, building the right culture, that was really critical. And that was a combination of, I think, hiring a little unconventionally.

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

So we hired people out of the for-profits who wanted to work in a not-for-profit setting. We hired people from outside of higher ed. People who knew how to scale, for example, from other industries like finance and then we developed our own talent from within and putting all three of those together was very powerful.

Todd Zipper:

That is just an amazing story. I sat through a lecture with Prof. Tushman from Harvard. I think he worked with Christensen on some things around explore versus exploit. And I think you just defined to us way back in ’03, this explore model of putting this team off campus, giving it separate funding, really brilliant and it feels like a traditional startup that we hear about. One of the big things about higher ed is this idea of needing consensus, right? You’ve got students, you’ve got alumni, you’ve got faculty, you’ve got staff, you’ve got board of trustees, you got accreditors. How you go about knowing that disruption needs you to make quick decisions and take risk and have that risk tolerance. How did you go about getting so much consensus early on in this process to be so speedy in the market?

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

Yeah. I don’t want to sound Pollyannaish about it because there’s still people today who when I came in 2003, they said, “We want to get to the next level.” I still have some folks who look at us today and go, “This isn’t what we were talking about. What did you do? What happened? We weren’t going to be…” I don’t want to pretend that there aren’t people who still don’t bring their hands a little bit, but I would say the following things were true. And if you don’t mind Todd, I’m going to open the aperture up just a hair more and say from the broadest perspective, I think innovation generally is harder than we sometimes think because there’s narrative sometimes like, “You’re just not smart and creative enough.”

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

It’s like, no. It’s really about real innovation requires culture change either to change a culture or build a culture. And I think innovation falls into one of three buckets. This is the way I think about, at least in our industry. There are innovations that led you play by the rules of the game, but you improve your quality. So if you think about all the ways that technology has been deployed on our traditional campuses, it’s remarkable, higher ed has a great innovation story.

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

When I was at little tiny Marlboro College in Vermont, it was because of innovation and technology that my rural isolated students could have direct access to the Hubble Space Telescope. I mean, it was amazing what we could then teach. We didn’t have to worry about counting volumes in the library anymore. That’s a great quality story and higher ed has a great narrative around it. The only problem with it is it almost always adds a lot of costs. It makes a strained business model, even more strained, but it’s good for students and it’s good for the institution.

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

So innovation that lets you play by the rules of the game as you always have, but do it better. Then there’s a second bucket, which I would call playing by the rules of the game, but doing it more efficiently. So this tends to fall on all the innovations on administrative systems. For example, I can remember in 2003 students at SNHU would still line up outside the gym, and if you had that one prereq, you needed to graduate. You got up 4:00 in the morning, so you got that early spot, right? I mean, it just sounds crazy now. My kids like, when I grew up, we walked to school in barefoot and I was like, “What are you talking about?”

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

But that’s what the state of systems look like. And now of course we’ve automated so much of that. We make it easy. I would say by and large, in higher ed, we do not yet enjoy consumer grade, like the buying experience of Amazon. We don’t have one click registration, but we are a heck of a lot better than we used to be. So efficiency still by the rules of the game. But then when you’re trying to do something where you change the rules of the game, the third bucket, what Clay Christensen would call disruptive innovation.

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

That’s a very different playbook. And that playbook really does argue that in that case, you’re going to struggle to get consensus, at least for a good long while. You need to separate out that team. My job in the beginning was to buffer. I just got to get these people some breathing space and ask them to do the work very differently. So if you take a look at a lot of innovation, it happens on the margins. So if you think about University of Maryland Global Campus, what used to be called UMUC, they didn’t happen within an institution in the Maryland system. They were created as a separate institution.

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

If you’re like a Western Governors often grouped with us in the innovation group, they were created out of whole cloth. If you look at the amazing job Michael Crow has done at ASU, ASU was the poor stepchild of that system, right? It wasn’t the flagship R1, it was the party school and Michael’s transformed it and that’s remarkable job. But we were unknown second or third tier school in Manchester, New Hampshire. So all these innovation schools happened out at the margins. It’s so much harder to innovate in an established institution. That said, we were able to get buy-in as we got bigger and better and we did need stakeholders to support us.

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

I think there’s some things that helped. So one are incentives. So among the things we said to our faculty and the faculty Senate is, if you give us more breathing room to bring more curriculum into the marketplace, you will do better. We will be able to make investments in the traditional campus that you’ve long sought and we haven’t been able to afford. So that was kind of a carrot and we made good on it. So you look at the kinds of things we did, people feel really good about it. And then we were able to improve our benefits and our investments in facilities and support of our faculty.

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

We also not purposefully, but there is a little bit of a carrot in here as well. So when we had that really difficult year in the recession, and we were looking at budget cuts, we were also looking at program cuts and people were faced with, we might have to cut some academic programs. We may lose some jobs or you can bet on us, give us more support. Allow us to bring more programs into the marketplace and if we’re successful, we will avoid that. So that was the kind of there’s no one right answer to this because as Tolstoy said, on Anna Karenina, I’m going to paraphrase here. He talked about families. I’d say, not all happy institutions are similarly happy, but unhappy institutions are unhappy in their own way.

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

So your mix of governance budget pressures, public versus private. I mean, all of these things impact, but generally speaking governance is a hard one. And when I talked to my colleagues who want to move more emphatically into this space, the biggest challenge they often describe is, “It’s very hard for me to get my faculty to be supportive in the ways I need them to be.” So it’s either grudging or it’s highly controlled or they impose restrictions that drive up the cost of delivery or they just don’t want to see that. They fear cannibalization. That’s a common one. If you take my program online, people will stop coming. And I was reminded different audience you’re okay. We’re not going to withdraw your support, we’ll not erode over here, but I wish I could give you a single silver bullet answer. It’s all of those things play out in some way.

Todd Zipper:

Yeah, it’s wonderful. It sounds like you communicated a lot. You brought people along and you understood what they were solving for and their interests and you gave them a vision to achieve that as well while you pursued this other innovation. That’s great. So switching gears here for a second, I think the latest innovation that really has my attention, and maybe there are others you want to discuss, we can get into is that you were cutting on ground tuition by more than half to between 10,000 and 15,000 per year. This is lower than many public options.

Todd Zipper:

This doesn’t seem like your ordinary tuition reset, which a lot of schools have done. This seems like a real game changer. I know about five years ago, I think it was Georgia Tech an Udacity announced this master computer science, which was about 60,000 or so on campus down to less than $10,000. A real disruption and has I think become the leading at least from a student perspective and certainly with a great brand leading in terms of number of students graduating each year from that masters of comp science. So it’s clear that the market wants lower cost options that they can get obviously online helps. This is different. This is around campus, but people want campus options that are affordable. So I’d love to hear about your thinking here because you can’t just cut expenses that easily for an on campus operation, you have buildings, you have a lot of expenses, you have faculty. So how are you doing this and what’s your latest thinking here with this innovation?

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

Yeah. You’re quite right. It’s you can’t cut your way to this goal. You have to fundamentally rethink everything. So we start with no sacred cows really except taking good care of students, kind of our core mantra if you will, but everything else is up for grabs. I think, secondly, we really wanted to the point you made Todd, I just want to downsize. We looked at the data and what we realized is not only were students taking on much more debt, which we didn’t feel good about, we had always served first-generation kids. Talking about the campus, not online, working class kids, first generation learners, immigrant kids. When we look last year, less than 7% of our student body was first gen. Like we had had the shift sneak up on us. I was like, “What? Wait a minute. We’re losing our way here.”

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

And even if the kids were getting more privileged, online success a lot is to reinvent our campus. It’s gorgeous. So now it becomes more appealing. And I know it’s weird, but buildings actually solve residential campuses. You build a new building and everyone gets excited and they want to come, they’ll look at lots of improvements, but that was the visible improvement. But on the other hand, even if they were more privileged, they were carrying a lot of doubt when they left us. So we had planned and I had announced in the fall pre-pandemic, the fall of ’19, that we would by 23 seek to have $10,000 degree options. And when the pandemic hit and we saw this just stunning impact on unemployment, much more than the recession of 2009. When we saw those numbers, we thought, “We’re going to have a lot of people hurting.” And that’s been borne out as you know, Todd, for example, the last data point I saw was at 40, the entitled one high school.

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

So these are the poorest high schools in America. There’s been a 43% drop in FAFSA completion. It was debilitating in our underserved communities. And from a mission perspective, SNHU’s always, always, always been interested and how we serve the 45% of Americans and their families who say they would struggle to come up with $400 for an unexpected car repair. That’s our student. And we thought, “We’re out of reach of that student and they’re going to be hurting.” So in April, I guess it was earlier than April, maybe March, April. We announced that we were going to move up that deadline. That instead of fall of 23, by fall of 21, we would have our first $10,000 options in the market.

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

As we dug into that work, we went further and just said, let’s move away from merit aid. Merit aid has become a con game that benefits the privileged, takes money away, redirects the money from need-based aid. And it’s pretend our merit, right? It’s discounting at least in our institution, but most institutions I know it’s discounting. So let’s get out of that game. Let’s get out of the game in which we all know, right? We were sitting on the airplane and no one in any of the rows around us paid the same amount. That makes no sense to us. So, we said, “Let’s take our base tuition down to 15, and let’s also work on the first 10K options. So those will be out in the market for the September, the first six of those programs.

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

And then we’ll keep it adding to that list, expanding that catalog. To get there, still working on it. So very much taught work in progress. We really had to rethink the delivery of programs. And I would say among the core themes has been less classroom and more experiential. So more project-based learning, workforce-based learning, internship-based learning, getting students out into the world, the world as their classroom. So the faculty member becomes less of a conveyor of knowledge and more an orchestrator of learning. We also looked at almost all of these programs will integrate some number of online courses, which are lower cost for delivery for us. So that brings down the cost. And those are the two big pieces of the puzzle. We will do this in part through scale. And this is a heavy lift because we’re in the Northeast where most of our campus-based students come from and the pie is getting smaller.

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

So we’re making a bet that we can go from 3,000 to 4,500 students. So volume helps offset. Then we did look at cuts and I have to give credit to our teams where the Athletic Department, for example, is able to come back to us unprompted and without targets and say, “We can cut about 30% of our budget and we can do it without hurting our support and services to students.” We also got to leverage this very large online operation we’ve built. So we did a lot of centralization of services, which reduced the cost of delivering those to campus-based students.

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

Let me give you one example. Where we would typically have financial aid people sitting on campus, waiting for a student to come by knock on the door and say, “I have a question.” I said, “Well for those 3,000 campus-based students, we do that. But for 167,000 online students, we do everything online. We do a great job. The turnaround times are terrific and our campus-based people go home at four o’clock. We go till midnight with online, and most of our students on campus get the stuff done in the evening. So why don’t we just leverage that?

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

So we were lucky to have this big machine that we could leverage in various ways. I go towards more of a matrix organization. So now a campus is not a different, slightly autonomous organization. It’s melded into the hall. That’s a long answer, but you really have to look at everything. So open questions. Can we go around the calendar? Should we think about a summer? So that’s a hard sell. High school students who come to campus, they’ll expect to have their summers off. So can we incent them? How can we make the case? Can we build product? Can we do more low residency programs where they come periodically? Can we leverage the campus for our online students? So we take the services and self-help amortize the cost of those services across the whole.

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

I’ll give you an example of this and it’s an interesting one that surprised me, but our international programming office, which has always been only based on campus, they’re getting more and more interest from online students who want to have some kind of international experience and if you’re like me, I was thinking online student, that’s a 30-year-old with two kids on a job. And certainly there are a lot who aren’t. For example, and this again, snuck up on me because we’re pretty good at data. But out of that 170,000 students, we know 30,000 traditional aged students studying online. Not the traditional profile of the working adult. These are young people between the ages of 17 and 22. So we need to better understand who they are, but I’m guessing some of that desire for, “Hey, I might not be able to do a whole semester abroad, but can I do that 10 day trip that I read about that the campus is doing? Can I get in on that? Can I go to Japan on that business trip with that analytics group?” So really fun to think about.

Todd Zipper:

Yeah. I love how you started with the there’s no sacred cows yet our north star, which is the student that with $400 would struggle to make a repair to their car. I think it sounds like a lot unfolded from there because you’re rethinking everything. That is just fantastic.

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

Yeah. In every single meeting room at SNHU whether it’s on campus or any of our offices, every single meeting room has a sign and the sign reads, “Are the decisions we made here today good for our students?”

Todd Zipper:

Yeah. It’s just awesome. So speaking of which, in terms of an educational model that certainly should bring down costs and I think it has followed by the example that Western Governors has done. I want to talk about competency-based education, which I know SNHU has been doing a lot. So over the last decade, it’s this thing that keeps gaining momentum. It’s a lot about how to increase outcomes, how to bring down costs, how to drive accessibility, this iron triangle of higher ed success. You guys have jumped into this area. I know with the College for America program and also of late, I’ve been reading your Twitter posts around the global education movement, working with refugees or people from other countries. Can you talk to me a little bit about what CBE is and how SNHU is thinking about using it to scale its model as well as maybe our peers in other sectors, other industries for education.

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

Yeah. So I think when you think about competency based education, it really in the end has two questions that drive all of its design and on one level, they’re pretty straightforward questions. When you start to unpack them, they get really complicated really quick, but the two questions are, what are the claims that I make, I being an institution program, what are the claims I make for what my students can do with what they know? That’s a competency. And the second question is, how do I know? So it’s an assessment question. If you get really good at those two things, you’ve nailed CBE, you’ve nailed competency-based education.

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

We took that a step further with our CBE program by pursuing something called direct assessment. And what direct assessment allows you to do is theoretically, at least untether from the credit hour, untether from time. Because I think the thing that I’m so obsessed with these days is the ways in which time-based programming is an equitable for poor people. Because if you are privileged, you have lots of ways to make time, right? But if you’re poor and you don’t have a washer dryer in your apartment, it takes longer to have clean clothes. If you’re poor and you don’t have a car, it takes longer to fill the refrigerator. If you’re poor and you don’t have access to really good health care, you waiting and longer lines to get access to healthcare when you’re not well, or when your kid is sick.

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

And you go down the list again and again, and again, and yet we’ve built a whole industry that tethers people to being in a certain place, a classroom at a certain time, a schedule, and it’s pretty inflexible and it really hurts people for whom time is a precious and rare commodity. I remember meeting a student enrolled in our CBE program in Boston, came from the poorest neighborhood in Boston, single mother, no social capital to speak of, struggling to get by as a 10-year-old, I think at the time and eight-year-old daughter with chronic respiratory problems. And when you looked at her transcripts before she came to us from two community colleges, which is what she could afford and they’re fine. Schools, as far as I know, fine schools, but she only had Ws and Fs. And when you looked I said, “Well, something’s wrong here. This was like maybe someone is not ready for college or doesn’t have the academic preparation, et cetera.”

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

But what it really was is that every time her little girl got sick, she missed a week of class. So she missed assignments, she fell behind, she missed the exam and she could never get caught up. And if that happened early, she could still get out before the withdrawal deadline. If it happened after that deadline, she got enough. And she looked like a failure at college. When we put her in our CBE program, where there is no set schedule, it’s self-paced, she could stop anytime her daughter got sick. There was no penalty because she said to me, in this conversation, she said, “I’m the schedule.” And then her daughter would recover, she would go back to school and then she could start again.

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

She was really smart and she was hard working. She raised her way to an associate’s degree. So what was wrong? Was something wrong with her or was there something wrong with the system that we forced her to work with? I would argue it’s the latter. When we gave her a format and a structure of education that actually conformed its way around her, at least on a time basis, she could do really, really well without any compromise to the rigor and quality of that education. In fact, when you think about the credit hour, which is the Higgs boson particle of higher ed. It’s like the dark matter of the whole universe together, right? Because it’s the way we unitize knowledge, it’s the way that we apportion faculty workloads, it’s the way we schedule classrooms. It’s the way we measure progress towards completion of a degree, right?

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

If you get 30 credits, 30 hours of time, you’re now becoming a sophomore. If you have 90 credits, 90 hours of time under your belt, you’re now becoming a senior. None of that has to do with how much you’ve actually learned. And if you’re going to quickly say back to me, “Well, what about grades? Doesn’t that account for the rigor?” We all know the grades are deeply flawed in America. Grade inflation is rampant. If you take a look at the percentage of college students, how many get As versus how many get As 30 years ago, it’s just skyrocketed. And it’s not because students got a whole lot smarter, right?

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

We could talk about all the ways and look at from general assessment practices, grading policies, grading practices are pretty weak and any expert in assessment will tell you that. We could go on for some time on assessment, but what I’m really just so passionate about right now is that competency-based education actually doesn’t measure learning by time. It actually seeks to measure genuine learning. It only works if you have rigorous assessment and that’s hard. That’s a hard sell because it means people are going to struggle more. You can’t slide by, you can’t cram for the exam if assessment’s done well. You’re measuring actual student learning, but it allows us to start to rethink how we deliver education in much more equitable ways, I think.

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

So I’m super excited about it. It also the hottest area in higher ed in many ways right now is the space between higher ed and workforce. And if you go to conferences like ASU, GSV, or if you take a look at what’s dominating the discourse today, it really is about this place where they come together and where many critics would say we are misaligned. And the beauty about competency-based education, it gives us a common language with employers because employers think about competencies. They think about what are the skills my employees need? What are the things my people can do? What do they need to do better? What don’t they do it all? And when you can have that, when you can start to talk that same language, you now have a common meeting ground in which you can think about alignment in a very powerful and different way.

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

The last thing I would say, Todd, if I could just add one piece because I get this a lot, as people say to me, “Well, that’s great for vocational stuff. That’s great for skills-based learning. That’s great if you’re trying to train someone to be a programmer. But what am I going to do with philosophy? I’m a philosophy faculty member. What are competencies look like in my world? You’re going to prove or disprove the existence of God? What does that look like? And I always laugh. I think, “This is the issue because the humanities, which are under siege and I came up as an English major.

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

Humanities which are under siege, are actually associated with some of the most in demand skills and competencies in the workplace, critical thinking, meaning makeup, working with human beings, navigating cultural difference, logic models, philosophies in my view has always been perhaps the most rigorous intellectual training there is in the academy. There’s a reason why BCG and McKinsey recruit philosophy graduates from Ivy leagues because of the intellectual training they get. So stop getting in this knowledge for knowledge sake nonsense, and make a better case for yourself and it’s there to be heard. I think competency-based education could actually save the humanities if the humanities could embrace it.

Todd Zipper:

Oh, that’s just fantastic. So going down this thread of untethering from the credit hour, I know that SNHU recently announced a micro bachelor’s or being part of the micro bachelor’s program with edX, which is a non-credit short course type format that you can use as stackable credential to get part of an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. I’d love to hear about your thinking around this innovation and where you see the potential here.

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

Yeah. I’d like to place it in a context because I think what’s happening is a little bit like climate change. We’re in a period of climate change and when you’re in the middle of it, it’s hard to know what’s normal, what’s new, and what’s going to stay with us. So is this ridiculous windstorm I’m having like, is it kind of a windstorm like I used to remember them as a kid or this is like, “Whoa, this whether it’s weird and I don’t know. And if I have another windstorm a week and I think, “Something’s going on here that makes me a little unnerved.” So if I use that analogy, if you hold onto that image for a moment, I think we are in a similar ecosystem change. It’s not a slow evolution. There is something very powerful going on right now in our higher education ecosystem.

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

II think it has to do in part, I think there are a lot of things going on, but your question about the micro bachelor’s, I think goes into this context, which is that we are seeing the emergence of a whole new set of credentials that aren’t degrees. Like the industry is built to produce a handful of degrees. Associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, PhD. That’s pretty much it with a little bit of variation. And now Credential Engine about a month ago, revealed or reported that there are just under a million micro-credentials on the marketplace now. Now look, it it’s messy. It’s a new thing. So we don’t understand very well. We don’t have a clear taxonomy that everyone agrees on and we don’t have even agreed upon nomenclature. So micro bachelor’s, micro-credentials and nano degrees, right? Everyone’s using this stuff intermit. So there’s a lot of confusion, but that will get sorted out.

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

Every new movement gets sorted out over time. We needed Adam and Eve to name the animals and we needed Darwin to put them in a classification system. We’ll get our version of that with the world of non-degree or sub-degree offerings. But this is changing how we think about what learning can be and what it should produce. And I think the ecosystem change now was that we used to have an industrial age model that said, come out of high school, go to college for four years, have a degree that will serve you for the rest of your career. And maybe even with just one employer. That just sounds laughably out of date. So now what we can start to think about is come out of high school.

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

Some of you will go for four year degrees. Some of you’ll go for two year degrees. Some of you will go to campus. Some of you will go online and some of you will need something shorter because you need to get to work quicker because you don’t have privilege. And maybe a nine months bootcamp, that gets your first job that earns you $70,000 is the smartest thing you can do, but know that you are going to have to dip in and out of our new learning ecosystem. Because at some point your boss is going to tap you on the shoulder and say, “Hey Todd, you are a great programmer. You’ve been with us for a year and a half now, I would love to make you a team lead. But you’ve got some things I needed to learn. So let’s talk about that and we are going to learn them.”

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

So you dip back into that learning ecosystem and maybe that learning is six months of training or three months or three weeks, depending on what the boss said, but we have to be built to accommodate that. So in our conversation, we talk all the time about how do we give students just the right amount of learning at just the right time in just the right way? And what we think, what we believe our thesis is that degrees will continue to be very important. It’s only people who have degrees that say, “Oh, degrees don’t matter anymore, but what are your kids going to school?” I still believe in degrees, but I do believe we get people there on pathways and they need to be stackable. We don’t want wasted learning. I don’t believe in grazing models where we’re just going to let students pick and choose. Students need help with coherence and what will be valuable to the workforce. But I do think we’re going to see a greater range of credentials and we’re going to see a greater range of providers.

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

We just acquired Kenzie Academy a couple of months ago. It’s going to be the micro bachelor’s. It’s going to be Coursera. It’s going to be Udacity. It’s going to be grow with Google. It’s going to be IBM skills build. It’s going to be Salesforce Trailhead. I mean, right. It’s going to be all of these providers are going to help make up the learning ecosystem. And right now it can feel fragmented, but I do think we’re going to start… I’m going to change my metaphor and go from a forest to a body. We’re going to start to see ligaments, start to link the parts. I’ll give you one example that I thought got less attention than it should have. When a few weeks ago it was announced that 2U is partnering with Guild and full disclosure, we’re a Guild partner. I thought this is interesting because now we’re going to see this connection that doesn’t happen very much.

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

Blue chip, right? Most of to use clients are Blue chip schools who don’t ever care about talking to employers for the most part, no matter what they say, is now working to move into online. Well, that’s a big jump into a space they are not traditionally been comfortable with, but now with Guild, they start to build another connection to workforce. So now you’ve got Blue chip to online, to workforce, intermediary, to employer, and that’s a new ligament. That’s a new new side of piece of the body, right? So I think we’re seeing all around us kind of really interesting ecosystem plays and the world is changing. And as we look at a new generation of students of Generation Z, I’m going to make broad generalizations here, but we did the series of interviews with them and they weren’t in the same room.

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

So this was in their collective headset. The phrase that almost all of them used was, “I love learning. I hate school.” What do you do with that? And what do you do with a world of, there’s this recent research shows people want the following things. I want skills based offerings, laser focused on an in demand job in a shorter format that I can afford. We’ll look at how much of that sounds like traditional higher ed. Not much. It’s not what we’re good at. So I think the challenge to incumbent higher ed will be, how do you think about your place in the ecosystem? How much of that do you want to do? How much of that can you build yourself to do and how much do you partner with others to be a player in that space, but perhaps not the dominant player. In the end, I do think traditional institutions start to lose their monopoly over the whole and I think that’s probably a good thing.

Todd Zipper:

Yeah. You mentioned Google and IBM, there’s Amazon, Microsoft, we’re talking about many trillions of dollars of market cap between those companies. They’re all offering training programs. How do you think higher ed should be thinking about this right now as a friend, as a competitor, somewhere in between. Like you said, we’re not sure what this windstorm looks like right now.

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

Yeah. So I would say the following, they’re all doing training because they’re struggling to fill thousands and thousands of positions that they wish they didn’t have to spend a whole lot of time and money filling. So that there was an expediency in that work. But the benefit of that is that they’re going to show us really interesting ways to do that work. Like I love looking at we talked to all of them. So we’re in conversations with all of those players, as many are to see what we can learn. I think when we talk about the full breadth of learning, it’s way more complicated than being able to deliver content in cool ways. So I want to be careful because it’s not a criticism of what they do, but they’re only doing part of the learning equation.

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

Because while we know, is that in the end, so much learning is relational and the powerful relationship of an advisor to a student or a faculty member to a student or a team of people to a student. I mean, that’s critical. And we also know that they are taking a narrow view of what they’re trying to do. So they’re playing for a credential, but they’re not trying to own the ecosystem and they’re not well built for it. That is if I’m Amazon, I’m really, really, really good at giving you frictionless buying for goods, not that great at services yet. Haven’t shown any evidence of that. And when you’re a stuck, do you ever try to call Amazon with a customer service issue? Not that great an experience. So I don’t think they’re not going to like swoop in and all of a sudden they’re going to replace higher ed.

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

I just think that’s crazy, but I do think we can learn a lot from them and I think there are amazing opportunities to partner with them. So we partner with Salesforce, for example, so that students who complete Salesforce certificates earn college credit from SNHU. Great thing. That’s a great partnership. And if that gets those students on a pathway to a degree while Salesforce’s certifications get them a job in the more immediate short-term, that’s a great combination. And there will be lots of folks who see them as an existential threat. I don’t see that. I think in an ecosystem when you bring in new elements, everyone else has to shift. It’s like a dance. These are new elements. How we shift around them, what becomes symbiotic, what becomes parasitic and what becomes displacement. That’s the interesting question.

Todd Zipper:

Yeah. Fascinating. Switching gears to another topic. But I think one that is close to what you’re focused on. JPMorgan Chase announced in April it is launching a community-based hiring model in Columbus to help remove barriers for qualified with criminal backgrounds to secure employment at JPMorgan Chase. The firm also joined a group of 29 major employers and national organizations to launch the second chance business coalition as part of his commitment to give people with criminal backgrounds a second chance by supporting their re-entry into the workforce. How should higher ed think about this? We know the data, I think is pretty conclusive that recidivism rates drop dramatically with a proper higher education. And it doesn’t seem like there’s enough being done here, whether it’s even getting internet connections in a lot of cases seems like a challenge. So I’d love to hear your thoughts on this huge topic.

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

Yeah. It couldn’t make me happier. You’re absolutely right. The research is unequivocal. There’s nothing that comes close to the impact on recidivism that education provides. Changes everything. It’s interesting, my good friend, Dennis Littky, one of my favorite educators in America, founder of the Metropolitan school in Providence, who does a lot of work now. Created a new college called College Unbound. Does a lot of work with the incarcerated and the recently released. Dennis would also make the point, it’s not just about the fact that they have new edgy learning and skills. It’s more existential. You can walk through the world as a felon, or you can walk through the world as a college graduate. You walk through the world differently, depending on which of the which way you answer that question about tell me about yourself. It creates hope. It creates belief. It creates aspiration.

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

So the good news here is that this conversation is happening in a much broader rethinking of criminal justice in the United States of our prison system. Certainly, the structural racism that’s baked into our judicial system, which wreaked havoc on communities of color. So your question then is, “Okay, that’s true, Paul, what can we do about it?” So one is second chance pal. We work in a regulated industry and these are students who will have little to no resources. So they’re going to need the financial help. There’s no such thing as free education. We could fund it more aggressively, but I don’t know how much appetite there is in the country. The challenge in scaling is that this remains quite local right now because every prison is different, every warden is different in their attitudes. The level of access to technology, which is better than it was five and 10 years ago is still highly uneven.

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

So that’s just going to be an ongoing impediment to national programs of scale, but governors have the ability to get statewide scale. And that might be the place where we can move from the highly localized to something that at least allows me to go into a state like Ohio, which has a pretty progressive approach to this question and to get at this work. So I think those are the critical pieces. I would also say, yeah, it’s important to think about education behind the walls, but Arne Duncan will tell you that 70,000 young people move through the Cook County judicial system every year, and it’s a revolving door of going in and out.

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

So the recently released is almost as powerful a question as the recently in. And if we can do more to receive students, when they’re coming out of prison and get them into programs immediately, you can try to break that revolving door back in and out of the system. There are schools doing remarkably good work here, by the way. I mean, Bard’s probably one of the best examples, but there are others as well.

Todd Zipper:

So we’ve talked a lot about SNHU’s great accomplishments. Part of innovation of course, is grappling with challenges. You talked a little bit about some of the challenges you’ve faced over the last two decades. What are you and your colleagues grappling with right now?

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

Yeah, so one is that scale. So we got really big. Remember I said 18 people that we moved to a location downstairs. Now we think thousands of people distributed around the country, a new operations center in Tucson distributed workforce, et cetera. I think one of the things that we realized is that as you scale, spans of control get more narrow because you get more specialized, we become more bureaucratic than I’d like. It takes us longer to do what we used to do in six months may take us 18 months now. So we’re two times slower, three times slower in some cases. So we’re spending a lot of time and how we think about that and how do we break that up a little bit and get back some of our agility and fleet fitness?

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

I think another is we are moving emphatically into that non-degree sub-degree marketplace, but we’re not built for that and that’s new to us. So this is new territory we’re trying to navigate. We’re trying to move into more international and trying to understand how to best do that. And of course, in the pandemic, in which the Globe’s inequities are amply on display, that becomes harder. We’re trying to do work in India right now. India is as you know, reeling. So how do we think about that? How do we move out on that space? This is at least super interesting to me and probably driving our people crazy, but I’m really interested in this question of how we move out of higher ed and even ours, as innovative as we are traditional siloed hierarchical structures to be much more, less, top-down much more empowering of our people at every level.

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

And we work with the Institute for the Future at Palo Alto. How do we become more of a shape-shifting organization that’s much more quickly responsive to both opportunity and threat because the world comes out as faster now. Both good and bad, comes out as faster. How can we be more responsive to that? I think one of the things that gets in the way is bureaucracy. So everybody in my place is reading Humanocracy. I don’t know if you know that book. It’s excellent. They’re reading Unleashed another excellent book. There’s a new class or our area of literature emerging about how to rethink our management leadership practices. And it starts with me and my team. I’ve had to learn to lead differently in these last couple of years and learning’s hard. It was a good humbling reminder to me like, it’s hard and some days we get it really right.

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

So let me make this concrete so I can give you one example, Todd. When George Floyd was killed, we created a social justice fund. We put aside $5 million to look at three questions. What are the real struggles for our students of color who need help now, like emergency aid? What does it mean to be an employee of color at SNHU? What does it mean to be a student of color at SNHU? We have 30,000 students of color online. We’re arguably larger than I think any HPCU in the country and maybe the largest minority enrollment. So when we look at those three questions, the way we would have taken those $5 million in the past is I would have called in our chief equity person or diversity officer. We might’ve brought in some consultants. My team would’ve got together and we would have said, “Okay, we’ve got all our best thinking together. This is how we’re going to spend the money.” And everyone would have felt good about that.

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

The whole organization would have said, “That’s cool. That’s a response to a terrible thing that happened in our society.” And they would feel good, but we did something different, right? So we thought, “Wait a minute, that’s top-down again. That’s us getting back into the old habits.” So what we did instead is we created three communities of practice, one for each of those areas. And what we said is that you get to serve on a community of practice and we’ll train you about what it means to be in such a group, not by dent of your position in the organization. That doesn’t get you a spot at the table. What does? Recognized credibility. Don’t care what your job is. Do people respect you for your thinking in this area and your demonstrated passion for the work? Don’t tell me that you just recently woke. I don’t care about that. Do you have a track record of doing this work?

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

When we did that now in those rooms, each is 20 people you’ve got this incredible mix of people from across the organization. What do we know? The obvious, there’s a lot of smarts. There’s a lot of creativity all the way down through the organization. And when you give people that opportunity, they’re going to tell us, they’re going to tell management how we’re spending 5 million, not the reverse. They own it. It’s empowering. The organization feels it. The system owns it now differently, right? That’s a day when we got it right. And then there are places we still get it wrong. But I think if we can do this in an industry in which hierarchy and rigidity and expert culture, everyone gets status by being the smartest guy in the room, where we can get leadership to start saying, “I don’t know and what do you think?” If we can do that, I think it gives us an incredible competitive edge.

Todd Zipper:

Yeah. That’s great. A couple more questions for you here. Have we left any innovations off the table that you have not spoke about? Whether it’s something you’re doing at SNHU or elsewhere, that is fascinating to you right now, because clearly you’re always getting a step ahead of the game here.

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

I mean, a lot of people are going to be in the spaces that I mentioned to you, but certainly machine learning and AI super interesting. For us with such a focus on the human, we really plant our flag on students’ success. It’s the question of how do we use AI and machine learning technologies or platforms like AdmitHub or others, where do we use that where it’s most appropriate and make sure that we’re not trying to use it where human interaction is critical. Knowing the difference is hard. So really understanding. I think that’s really interesting one. I can’t see it over my shoulder, Todd, you can see where I’m sitting today, but I got a set of Oculus VR goggles, which I’m having more fun with. I think this is transformative.

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

I just did a trip the other day through the capillary system with white and red blood cells coming at me and I was ducking and almost fell off my chair. I think, no, this is transformative and it is transporting. So I think VR has been around for a while, but we’re doing some really cool work. I think the world of games, which combine the two, so I’m not a gamer and I’m 63 years old, but I spent more time than I care to admit on games this pandemic, really trying to understand what is about them. I think I wish all learning could look like great games because I would look up and go, “Oh my God, I just like wasted.” I shouldn’t say wasted. “I just spent two hours and it felt like 10 minutes.” So I was engaged, immersed and when I broke through, when I actually grasped something and figured oh the endorphin rush of if all learning look like that students would be crazy.

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

No one would say, “I love learning, I hate school.” They would say, “I love learning. Give me more of that.” So I think those are all super exciting to me. And then project based learning, experiential learning, everything we’re coming to know about the way people want to learn today, these are been around for a long, long time, but I really am so excited about thinking and working with our faculty and our staff on how do we really invigorate those models to be powerful and also bring down costs and increase access.

Todd Zipper:

That’s great. Two final questions. I know you have a book coming out. Can you tell us a little bit about it?

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

I do and I can see I’ll send you a link if you’re interested because I’m super excited. I wrote it during the pandemic. It’s going to be published by Harvard Education Publishing Group. They just sent me today a link. So the pre-orders are alive, even though the publishing dates October, the pre-orders will go out in September. So it’s a long ways away, but it’s called students first, equity access and opportunity in higher education. It’s really looking at some of the things we’ve talked about today. The way our current system really does leaves too many people behind and is not built for that student profile that I mentioned to you. It’s the equity issues of people who want higher education, who have dreams for higher education, but rather than finding that education is part of their solution for their life, rather than being the engine of economic opportunity, it was for me, it’s actually become part of the problem.

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

That’s heartbreaking. I love this industry and as a first-generation immigrant kid who went to high quality, affordable public colleges first, and it changed my life. I could pay for it working construction in the summer, which is what I did. I had no debt to speak of. That’s impossible. A kid could work two jobs every summer and not be able to afford college, right? $1.7 trillion of debt is an incredible burden on our students. So it breaks my heart that for so much of America higher education is now cast in the role of villain, as opposed to the solution that lifts them up. And that’s where I want to get back to, and that’s what this book is about to some great extent.

Todd Zipper:

Well, good segue to my last question. I asked this of all my guests. One of our core values at Wiley is learning champion, which is the definition should be fairly self-explanatory. Who has been a learning champion for you and how has that person helped you in your life?

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

One of the biggest is somebody mentioned earlier, and that was one of the great sadnesses of this past year was losing Clay Christensen. He was a friend of 40 years. We met playing basketball in [inaudible 00:57:15] church gym in Cambridge, Mass and early Saturday mornings. I used to remind him all the time, I knew him before he was famous. He was one of the best teachers I know. He was a gentle giant of a guy and his thinking, his hand prints are all over what SNHU has built. He was a tremendous influence for me. And then the second one is a person, I won’t mention his name, but is somebody we brought in to look at the work we’re doing at SNHU and a very specific project and he asked for an hour of my time and he said, “This is out of scope. This is not something you asked me to look at, but I’ve spent so much time in SNHU that I can’t help, but have noticed this thing that I want to share with you.”

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

And he came in and he said, all kinds of nice things about SNHU. He said, all kinds of nice things about my leadership and about my people and their trust in me as a leader. And then he said, “But you’re not creating leaders. You’re failing them.” I was like, “What do you mean?” And he talked about this command and control world in which the answer to so many questions, hard questions. What does Paul think? Or what does Paul want us to do? And he said, “If they keep coming to you and you keep answering that question, they’re not getting any smarter. They’re just taking orders. Do you want leaders? Did you want order-takers?” It really put me back on my heels, Todd. Remember I said to you, learning to learn again is hard.

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

So I’m learning to change my leadership practices. And some days I’m a (A) student some days, I think I’m a (D) student. So I’ve got to continue to be better at it and work at it. But I owe him a great debt of gratitude. When you’re in your role or my role, it’s a gift when people will come speak truth to you in that way.

Todd Zipper:

Absolutely. Paul, thank you so much for your time for speaking with me today. I know I’m inspired. I’m sure our listeners are too. I enjoyed our conversation so much and what you’re doing to revolutionize higher ed. So until next time, this has been An Educated Guest.

Dr. Paul LeBlanc:

Thank you so much, Todd.

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