By Jed Diamond
COE units strive to create lifetime enrollment portfolios, developing cohesive and comprehensive stacks of content and programs to position the unit as the ideal education partner across every stage of a student’s career. But most portfolios struggle to represent the diversity of career stages or professional skill needs that lifelong students seek.
Potential to Serve Students Across a Career and a Lifetime
The term “lifetime customer value” is a common one in the private sector, where companies focus on how to convert their customers’ loyalty into additional purchases over time. But even as higher education offers programs to help students at all walks of life—from first-time, full-time freshmen to experienced working professionals—we hear from a number of members who are concerned that they’ve fallen short of becoming that kind of lifetime provider for their students.
Related on-demand webconference: 'Redefining Competitive Advantage'
In response, several institutions have developed focused, one-on-one coaching opportunities offered to individuals after completing a course, certificate, or employer-sponsored training. These tailored coaching sessions give students the chance to hone specific skills and dive deeper into topics not covered in group trainings or larger courses. At the same time, the coaching sessions solidify the COE unit’s position as a lifelong partner for education and training.
Follow-up consultations after successful public-facing programs
UCLA Extension’s highly successful Writers’ Program attracts aspiring novelists and screenwriters to work with talented writing instructors from across Los Angeles. To extend the benefits of the program curriculum and encourage continued skill development, UCLA Extension built a suite of one-on-one coaching opportunities from the existing portfolio. Students who complete a course or certificate may subsequently pursue personalized support and feedback via a short consultation or longer-term mentorship with one of their writing instructors. Through consultations and mentorships, students receive written and verbal feedback on manuscripts, and build upon lessons and skills learned in the Writers’ Program curriculum to put the finishing touches on their novels and screenplays.
The consultations and mentorships continue the relationships formed between instructors and students in prior classes and simultaneously provide instructors with opportunities to source potential clients and supplement their earnings. With the relatively low cost—consultations start at $500 and mentorships at $1075—students complete over 100 of these engagements annually.
Apply it: In addition to creative writing, this model seems especially applicable to COE portfolios with grant writing, web design, or marketing content.
Executive coaching following employer-sponsored training
For COE units that facilitate customized, employer-sponsored training, the Creighton Business Institute (CBI) at Creighton University offers a model for extending the benefits of that group training to individual employees. Following a custom corporate engagement, CBI will offer to follow up with staff who need to improve on or develop specific skills not covered in the training. The typical coaching engagement requires 12-18 hours of faculty time over three to six months, and covers any topic in the CBI portfolio. Coaching provides 10% of CBI’s revenue and also ensures that Creighton remains top-of-mind for corporate clients between larger-scale engagements.
A similar model exists at the University of Maryland University College (UMUC), which uses a proprietary leadership assessment model to provide face-to-face and Skype-based training for both new and experienced managers.
Apply it: While customized coaching is a natural fit to follow employer-sponsored group trainings, there are still opportunities to offer coaching outside of employer-focused content. For units that have recently launched bootcamps or other accelerated programs that offer minimal in-class time to apply course content, this can be a great way to extend the benefits of the program while keeping students engaged and enrolled.
More insight into today's COE students
Millennials comprise a growing number of seats in COE programs, but—despite common stereotypes—this generation is far from one-dimensional. Our infographic outlines nine types of Millennial students to help you align your marketing strategy, program offerings, and student services with the segments most likely to enroll in current and future programs. Download the infographic
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