One of our more recent innovations is the mobile “Solution Squad.” This team of customer-first staffers assist students on the spot with a variety of tasks and questions, primarily in the areas of financial aid, student accounts, and registrar services. Squad members are available in the dining hall, at the campus Starbucks, in academic building lobbies, and the library, as well as other popular, high-traffic locations. It saves students time and hassle, and it makes it easier to serve those who do need or want to meet in the office.

Delivering education and job placement for the emerging digital transformation

Higher ed may be centuries old, but our methods cannot be. The ways we approach teaching, learning, and career preparation must prime students to enter the workforce and contribute immediately—and far into the future. Among other things, we need to acknowledge that students today have access to a previously unfathomable amount of knowledge, long before they enter our doors.

It’s not sufficient to provide a one-way delivery of content via lectures.

Educators must move from being oracles of knowledge to facilitators of a student’s individualized learning journey. Through our Digital World program, all traditional, full-time undergraduate students receive a free iPad loaded with over 150 learning apps, equipping them to engage in the learning process based on their individual learning style. Dedicated faculty members serve as their guides.

Related: How to run a successful 1:1 program in higher ed

Does your student experience foster enrollment growth?

In this digital transformation age, we have a wide breadth of technology and tools to support these journeys, but we’re aiming beyond just digital literacy. Instead, we’re helping students work toward digital fluency, or a deep understanding of the growing digitization of our personal and professional lives and how one can use these tools to shape their lives and their communities for the better.

We also partner with corporations and professional organizations to co-develop curricula laser-focused on industry needs and student outcomes. In addition, corporate partnerships allow us to facilitate hands-on working experiences while students are pursuing their degrees. As a result, employers tell us that our graduates enter the workforce ready to make meaningful contributions. The numbers bear this out, as we maintain a 97-percent job placement rate, delivering on the promise we make students at the outset of their journey.

Maryville continues to grow in this era of change because we have created an environment that welcomes students into our community, delivers the forward-looking education they seek, and provides the multifaceted support they need to live and thrive as they learn. I hope to see an industry-wide embrace of the opportunity in front of us to improve and modernize the student experience.

About the Author:

Mark Lombardi, PhD, has served as president of Maryville University since 2007. In that time, Maryville has achieved unprecedented growth and earned national distinction for leading an exciting revolution in higher education.


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