Hot Topics in Higher Ed Webinar: The Marketing of Higher Education—the College President’s Perspective

Hot Topics in Higher Ed is an on-going webinar series conducted by Bay Path University. Rick was honored to be invited as a presenter, alongside Dr. Melissa Morriss-Olson, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Bay Path.

In this webinar, Rick discusses why RHB chose to specialize in serving colleges and universities, and why this alignment with helping the cause of higher education is so meaningful. He goes into detail about the importance of getting an institution to that “one place in the universe” and into a space that only they can occupy. He also reviews the notion of Coherence, one of the guiding tenants of the work that RHB does, and why truth-telling needs to be a crucial component of any institution’s communication with their core audiences.

Next, Rick reviews some of the key findings gathered from RHB’s recent collaboration with The Lawlor Group on the 2016 Independent College President’s Survey and offers insight regarding the marketing concerns of college presidents, and what those concerns mean for higher ed marketers and professionals alike (and institutions everywhere). Using certain data points as reference, Rick shares his thoughts on what changes should be made, the warning signs institutions need to watch out for and what the institutions of the future must look like in order to ensure their prosperity.

Toward the end of the webinar, Rick caps things off with some suggestions for great marketing reads, a few of his favorite authors writing on the subject and emails that everyone in higher ed marketing should be reading.

Enjoy.


To view the webinar







Transcript:

[editor’s note: Parts of this transcript have been edited for length and clarity]

Melissa Morriss-Olson: Your firm specializes in marketing for higher education. I’m curious why you chose that particular niche?

Rick Bailey: Absolutely. First, thanks for the invitation to be here today. It’s great to be with you, and you know I have the highest respect for Bay Path University and what you’re doing, so it’s great to be here. Thanks for the invitation.

We chose to work in higher education because it’s such a great cause. Our mission statement for RHB is to help great causes succeed, and higher education for us is the noblest of causes. Part of it is that, in the investment we make in higher education, the dividends that it returns are so significant for both individuals and communities, to say nothing of nations and the world. Our goal is to help higher education institutions succeed. We try to do that by helping them find their one place in the universe.

[If you look at] our logo [you will] see that little missing absent square in the H of our acronym. That little missing space represents that one place in the universe that we think each institution we work with can occupy, and that little absent square reminds us and reminds our team of our purpose and our focus to help our clients find that place that only they can fill. One of the ways we do that is reminding them that brand isn’t the same as position. Brand is something outside of an institution’s control. Now you’re going to want to take exception with that, but let me explain.

Brand is something that your customers decide for you; that they believe is true about you. And what they believe is true about you is your brand. On the other hand, position is something you can control. You get to choose who you intend to be. And by choosing your market position and managing that through branding activities you can influence brand. But you don’t get to control that. You only get to control your market position. We try to get our clients to one place, to an “only” statement, and getting them to “only” helps to position them in a way that they can advance their great cause. If you can be an “only” and find the market that wants that “only,” you find yourself in a very good place.

Melissa Morriss-Olson: I love that “only” statement. As someone who’s been your client at two different institutions I can attest to how powerful that exercise is, but also how that is the sweet spot for the work that you do, and I think it differentiates you from so many of the other firms that are out there, because your firm has great capacity and ability in terms of helping institutions figure out their place in the universe. I think one of the ways you do that [is through] your whole notion [of] coherence. I’ve had the privilege to read your book, Coherence: How Telling the Truth Will Advance Your Cause (and Save the World), and I’d love for our [audience] to hear a little bit more from you about why you believe Coherence to be so important in higher ed marketing.

Rick Bailey: That’s a great question. The whole notion of coherence is that we need to come to terms with the truth. I was listening to a seminar the other day about what it’s like to be in a post-truth era. But we need to come to terms with truth in order to overcome misperceptions, and especially the misperceptions that we tell ourselves as institutions, the things we come to believe about ourselves that simply are not true. But it’s also about learning how to speak a human language. We tend, in higher ed, to depend on some institutional jargon that doesn’t necessarily connect with the audiences we are trying to relate to. It’s finding language and a way to communicate that will build a relationship.

The other thing about Coherence, about telling the truth, is that it eliminates the need for spin; trying to find a good angle becomes unnecessary if we’re comfortable with telling the truth. And in telling the truth and communicating the truth, we’re building trust and confidence among our audiences, among those who we’re going to engage with. Whether it’s prospective students or donors or alumni or neighbors, or whoever, our ultimate goal, in order to build relationships, is to build trust and confidence, and that only comes with the truth. I love this quote from Abraham Lincoln, I love the sentiment here: “If we knew where we were and where we were going, we could figure out how to get there.” That’s pretty straightforward, but it’s the sentiment behind Coherence: coming to terms [with] the truth about who we are, and looking at our vision [of] where we want to be, and then making a map to get there.

Melissa Morriss-Olson: Wow, that is so good, and I like that quote as well. I’m reminded of this upcoming generation—as the mom of two teenagers—and watching their reaction when they get college admissions mail. It’s like they’ve got these built-in truth meters and can tell instantly. Their reactions are really reactions to: is this authentic or not. So I think Coherence really speaks to that, right?

Rick Bailey: Yes.

Melissa Morriss-Olson: Could you say a little bit more about how an institution might actually arrive at a position of Coherence?

Rick Bailey: Sure, absolutely. You’re right—students in particular are well tuned. They can smell spin and it has a kind of stink to it. When we are working with our clients, we’re trying to get the answers to three important questions, [which are]: what is true about you? What do you say is true about you? And what do others believe is true about you? If you can get the answers to those three questions, you’ll get at a solid starting point knowing where we are—to go back to [the Lincoln quote], from where the answers to these three questions intersect. We take our clients on a journey toward Coherence and we start by asking them, where do you want to go? Lincoln said “whether we tend…” and the notion is: where do we want to get to? We [also ask]: what’s uncomfortable about the space [you’re] in right now, and what would it look like if [you] got to where [you] wanted to be? Then we go after those three questions through a series of research processes.

The first is answering what is true about you. [RHB] uses a methodology called Circles of Influence that engages communities in understanding the experiences, the occasions of exchange, the mores, the traditions of the language that shapes the experience of being at your institution. The second question we’re asking is: what do you say is true about you? And this is more of an inventory, partly measuring against that first question, but looking for opportunity and seeking ways that we can convey that message [or] story more effectively. The third satellite question we ask is, what do others believe is true about you? This is usually a qualitative and quantitative effort to get answers. You may remember at Bay Path we interviewed a wide variety, wide array of constituents that you served in order to understand what they believed was true about Bay Path, and then we could quantify that and find out how widespread certain beliefs were.

Once we get the answers to those three questions we’ll get at the answer to where are we and what’s the starting point. But we have to have answers to all three of those questions. From there we can start to draw a map and develop some strategies and plans. We call the document we create about that the coherence manifest, [and] it gives us some cues about how we’re going to get there. Then finally we have to have some tools for the journey. If you were going on a hike you’d need a backpack and a walking stick and a good bottle of water. Well, on your journey toward Coherence you may need some marketing tools, digital or print, or otherwise, experiences that will help you communicate where you’re headed and help you make connections to your audience.

Another way to think about this is [in relation to the] three steps. Going back to that earlier [part of our] conversation, first, just decide who you intend to be; what’s your market position? What’s your only statement? What are you going to own? Then align all your messages, all your behaviors, all your experiences with that market position. Once you’ve done that, simply repeat those over and over again until you come to a point where that’s believed by your audiences. That was a long answer to your question. Sorry about that.

Melissa Morriss-Olson: Oh, but I’m so glad you went into detail because it’s, in some ways, a simple process and yet it’s so powerful. Having had you and your folks do the Circles of Influence two times now on our campus, I can attest to how powerful that process is and how it generates a way of understanding yourself that you don’t get at using some of the more traditional marketing methods.

Rick Bailey: I agree.

Melissa Morriss-Olson: So for our listeners out there, if you’re not familiar with it, I would highly recommend you follow up with Rick to learn more. It’s a really great approach, and [RHB] came up with [this process], right? The Circles of Influence?

Rick Bailey: Yes, we did. We got so tired of traditional focus groups because we kept hearing the same thing over and over and over again and we kept thinking, “There’s got to be a better way to find out what makes an institution who it is.”

Melissa Morriss-Olson: Good. Okay. So are you ready to pivot?

Rick Bailey: Yes, absolutely.

Melissa Morriss-Olson: All right. We’re going to now dive into this recent marketing research study that you did [of] the presidents of independent colleges. I know that it was a collaborative effort and I’m sure our listeners would love to learn more about the study.

Rick Bailey: Yes, absolutely; happy to tell you about it. It’s been a fun project. John Lawlor from the Lawlor Group and have known each other for many, many years, and we have often compared notes and shared interests. We were having a conversation about the uneasiness we [hear] from our conversations with our client presidents and we‘d get to meetings and be pulled aside and asked questions that presidents didn’t want to ask in public. So we kept comparing notes about those questions and finally said, “Hey, let’s do a survey together to ask those questions, collect the data, and share that with college presidents,” so that they had some kind of a thermometer of sorts by which they could evaluate their own progress.

It was an interesting, disruptive, silo-squashing exercise to put our two firms together. We both have been in business for a very long time, but collaboration with a direct competitor was really fun. We hope it’s a model that others can use. It’s been a little eyebrow raising and we’ve enjoyed that very much.

One of the outcomes of the survey there’s something your listeners might be interested in particularly this higheredintelligence.com, it’s a site we’ve developed and launched. We’re just building it out. But we’re going to start logging our observations and studies at this site. So you might find higheredintelligence.com kind of fun.

Melissa Morriss-Olson: Thank you. Wow, that looks like a really good resource. I want to go back to your comment about silos. Anyone who’s worked in higher ed for any amount of time has no doubt experienced both the benefits and the limitations of silos, and in fact I recently penned an article for academic impressions on the top 10 barriers to innovation in higher ed, and one of those top 10 barriers, you guessed it, is the silos, the tendency in higher ed to create these silos to kind of keep the world out. Tell me a little bit more about how that plays into marketing.

Rick Bailey: I think silos are tremendously dangerous and limiting. I think you’re spot on that [silos are] one of the top 10 reasons that innovation gets halted, and it’s a sad thing. There’s a protectionism in higher education that you wouldn’t anticipate being there. But we believe that knowledge is power and so we tend to grip knowledge as a source of strength. But if we let go, if we loosened up a little bit, we’d be in better shape. I think [there is] fear of losing territory or power, and in the process, we’re constantly short-changing a department or an institution from realizing their potential.

I just had a conversation a couple of weeks ago with a department at a university and they were asking what they might do to enhance their enrollment in a particular program. We started bouncing around some ideas about expanding their programs and their academic offerings and what areas might be of interest. I made a couple of suggestions, and their comment was, “Oh, that would be impossible because the department next door is already working on that.” I said, “How wonderful. How perfect. You’ve already got it started then. You can make this happen.” Then I was told that there wasn’t a culture [on campus] of trust and collaboration that would allow that kind of cooperation. They couldn’t pursue that opportunity because the department right down the hall was already working on it. That’s just unfortunate to hear.

Melissa Morriss-Olson: Boy, I couldn’t agree with you more, but at the same time, so true. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard similar stories. Let’s go back and delve a little deeper into the survey. I’m curious what you found most interesting in your analysis—or maybe even surprising, if at all.

Rick Bailey: I think there were some things we anticipated. There were a few surprises. This one was probably the most interesting overall. I think you’re familiar with the four Ps model. Some people say there are seven Ps now, but we’ll go back to the basics. If you think about people being the center of that, and that marketing, the marketing mix, includes both product design, the pricing of that, its accessibility in terms of place and then the promotion of that. If you think about the whole of marketing, one of the things that kept coming back to us was the limited understanding of marketing as promotion only and the disappointing intersection of marketing when it comes to product design or pricing, or even the modalities in which programs are offered in terms of place. Marketing can speak to all of these things and should speak to all of these things, but there’s a very limited understanding of marketing on campus.

One of the things that we were happy about was the response. We sent out just over 1,000 surveys to independent college presidents, and we had just under a 20% response for the full completion of the survey. In actuality we exchanged with more than 300 presidents who had completed at least some of the survey, so we were very pleased with that level of response, and it represented the country fairly well. Here you see a map of their accrediting agency so you can see the spread of where the schools came from.

Here’s an important finding for us. It might not surprise you, but I think this tells us the mood, the sentiment, and [the] challenge among presidents. When we asked about their greatest external market forces, the ones that soared to the top were families’ ability to pay. That’s an issue of accessibility. But they also identified families’ willingness to pay as a separate issue. I find that really interesting that those two are struggles for presidents. On one hand they’re altruistic, intimate of wanting to make sure that higher education is affordable, but also the tension of [wanting] those who can’t afford it to be willing to pay for it.

You can also see that these were private college presidents and so they’re feeling the press from public institutions, even more so from each other, and they’re noticing significant demographic changes among the students that they serve, especially first-time, full-time students. That was helpful in setting up the scene for what we were learning, and finding out what keeps presidents up at night.

Here’s another way to look at that. [For about 49% of presidents] the top marketing-related challenges were about money—increasing revenues and addressing affordability; and about promotion—heightening visibility and creating distinction. You can see where the hot buttons are. That was helpful in understanding, again, what is stressing presidents.

[There is something else] we thought was pretty fascinating too. This makes it appear that our picture of higher ed might not be so bleak as we think: about half of them said that their enrollments had increased and revenues had increased, but look at what’s going on with contributions and endowment. A good share of them, two-thirds on the endowment side, three-quarters on the contribution side were experiencing increases. It’d be interesting to see how that goes moving forward, but that paints a little different picture of higher education than what we mostly hear.

Melissa Morriss-Olson: Let me jump in here a second. Can you go back to that because that’s a [real], I think, disconnect of sorts.

Rick Bailey: Yeah, it is.

Melissa Morriss-Olson: Maybe this is where you’re going, because it makes me wonder about the connection to marketing then.

Rick Bailey: Absolutely it is. And, in how we structure marketing. I think that’s, that was part of [our] take away. One of the things we noticed was how clearly marketing was brought into the discussion about product design, how rarely marketing was brought into pricing, or how rarely marketing was brought into discussion about how programs were delivered. Usually marketing was approached at the very end, when it was time to promote something. Something was created and it went to marketing [to say], “okay, sell this.” It really is a dampening perspective on what could happen if marketing was engaged earlier in the process. [Another example]: people are spending more money on marketing, but they haven’t distributed it in a centralized way. Marketing isn’t seen as ubiquitously as it should be for an institution. It’s great that there’s increase in marketing budgets but we’re not seeing it holistically across the campus.

Here’s another indicator of that. This looked to me like good news. Oh great, marketing has a voice on the president’s cabinet, the executive team. That’s awesome. But then we [looked deeper] and noticed that not so many of them are vice presidents or C level. That helped us understand a little bit more about what happens (you’ll see this in a minute when I show you another chart) but here’s where that breaks down a little bit. [Marketing] has more access to the president, but not so much to the board. As board members, as trustees we’re drawn into management decisions and especially marketing decisions. I’ve watched our business change [and] move in the direction of having trustees call for our help. That’s a change.

Melissa Morriss-Olson: Yes, although I can … Given the disruption happening within the higher ed industry it’s perhaps not surprising. I think we’re all scrambling to try to figure out how to keep our ships afloat and headed in the right direction, right?

Rick Bailey: You’re right.

Melissa Morriss-Olson: Let me switch gears a little bit. I want to talk about the place of marketing as it relates to the institution’s website. Do you have any counsel to your clients on that?

Rick Bailey: One of the things we addressed was this question of: where does it fit? Marketing has sometimes been a bit of a stepchild. In fact, I remember the first time I used the word marketing in a faculty meeting in the late ‘70s and quite honestly I thought people were going to faint. There was just no place for marketing on campus—that smacked of sales or something evil. Now it’s part of our everyday conversation on campuses. So they’ve come a long way, but still trying to find the place for marketing hasn’t been quite as comfortable.

One of the things that we found in the survey was where marketing was placed, and it came down to three primary scenarios. [57%] of the presidents told us that they paired it with communications—marketing and communication went together as its own group—or it fit, in 25% of the cases, with enrollment, or in 12% of these cases with advancement. You’ve probably been in scenarios where it flip-flops between enrollment and advancement and it might bounce around back and forth by whoever feels less served and short changed by its placement. It’s been interesting to see where marketing lands on the org chart.

[Something else] that came through in the survey—and I referenced it earlier—was that, we see marketing as promotion. That combination of marketing and communication is understandable, but it may not be a sufficient way to think about marketing. Or rather, I think we ought to be thinking about a higher ed marketing department that is more robust, certainly to manage those promotional tools, but… [from] a standpoint of strong talent and marketing research data and analysis, design thinking and innovation, developing customer experiences, managing the media and managing internal communication, and understanding that your internal audience is significant, probably more significant than your external. But somebody who also managed promotion, advertising, your website, all the digital tools and all your writing and design, but also tracking what happens in analyzing those.

Melissa Morriss-Olson: That’s a really interesting and wide, wide reaching scope, and it would be … If we had the time, I’d love to do a little survey with our listeners to see… how many have those different functions within marketing and to what extent is it dispersed, which is the case at Bay Path. We do have some of those functions dispersed in different ways. That’s a very, very helpful thing to think about. Let me go back to and ask you just a little bit more about what you found surprising, or maybe something that gave you pause in terms of the findings of the survey.

Rick Bailey: One of those things, Melissa, was the apparent lack of experimentation with pricing. Given that our audiences are absolutely concerned about the cost of higher education, it doesn’t appear we’re doing much creative thinking about pricing models. [One of the survey charts] reflects how many had implemented some initiatives related to pricing … half or more were focused on the financial aid equation, discount rates and offering aid. In one case, increasing tuition, but it was … That’s not a creative, innovative thing. We’re always increasing tuition. Look how few were implementing things like differential pricing by program, or decreasing the discount rate, or offering guarantees, or decreased tuition. There’s not much thinking outside a traditional box. That’s kind of alarming, given the outcry about the cost of higher education.

I think the other thing that was interesting to me and … the Lawlor Group was how much of this had to do with building awareness, heightening visibility, creating distinction. You saw this slide a minute ago about gaining public and media attention, building a brand, conveying our value proposition, positioning us against their competitors. There’s an awful lot that presidents see as trying to gain some stature and presence. But marketing can do so much more than that. That comment I made a minute ago: we don’t let marketing have a voice in product design, in pricing, in delivery. All of those things that marketing could engage in to help improve enrollment or clarify target markets, or increase engagement by alums, or reduce wasted energies, or improve retention, those are all things that marketing can do that I think are not going to get [addressed] and that’s too bad.

Melissa Morriss-Olson: Yes, and looking at that long list of marketing related challenges I can also see why presidents may not be getting much sleep at night these days, right?

Rick Bailey: Yes. I think that’s a tough job.

Melissa Morriss-Olson: So what has the response been to the survey? Were you pleased?

Rick Bailey: Oh we were pleased. We feel like the response has been really favorable … you’d probably expect that higher ed models its data. It’s been really interesting to hear people talk about it. In fact, the other day I heard a president recite a statistic from the survey to me with this reference: “I just read this in a national study and you should probably take a look at it,” not thinking that maybe we had done the study. It’s fun to have stuff recited back. It has been a very positive response and we’re noticing people talking about it on social media, so that’s good.

Melissa Morriss-Olson: Well, that’s the greatest, right?

Rick Bailey: Yeah.

Melissa Morriss-Olson: If there’s buzz, if there’s buzz out there. I know our president came home from the CIC Presidents Institute and had the findings from there and was very [interested] to share. Do you have any counsel or recommendations about the future? This is like the big mega question here. Thinking about the future of higher ed and the role and function of marketing, based on your years of experience and your reading of the tea leaves right now, what recommendations do you have for somebody working in the trenches at a college or university?

Rick Bailey: I wish I could see the future just a little more clearly, because I think that would be advantageous to us as a firm. But here are some things that I think we need to speak to. One is coming to terms with our responsibility to prepare citizens for life after college. That’s been really hard thing for higher ed to come to, that there’s a relationship between what I learn and what I want to do with my life. It’s particularly difficult right now because there are so many shifts in the job market, and all of the conversation is about artificial intelligence and “the robots are coming,” and how we’re not going to work as much.

We need to figure out how we’re going to equip a whole new world of students and citizens for that. I was [listening to] a speaker the other day who was talking about [how] 60% of the jobs that we’re equipping students for won’t exist. There’ll be 60% new jobs that aren’t even defined or created yet. That’s a hard thing to prepare for, if it’s not even existing yet. But I think there’s a role for marketing in understanding what that might be and informing campuses, particularly provosts, to know what to prepare for and what might be an opportunity.

The other thing that I think we need to be ready for is making sure that our modalities off-campus, off-site, on-campus, residential [and] online are integrated in a way that we can create easy, hybrid solutions. Sam and I were just having a conversation. Sam is our executive VP and creative director. We were just having a conversation about the “University of the Immediate Future.” I think those institutions who can create seamless interchange between their modalities are the ones who are going to thrive.

Melissa Morriss-Olson: I want to work for that institution, like, today.

Rick Bailey: Yeah. Well you know what? I think Bay Path is doing a great job [at] moving in that direction. There are lots of bumps and hurdles to get through to make that happen, but I think you all are doing a great job.

Another one that’s important here is shaping better customer experiences. If I can buy anything—a cup of coffee, a book, a hotel stay—with a swipe of my card or a click on my phone, I don’t know why we still make it so difficult to pay a housing deposit and we drive the customer through eight, 10, or 12 clicks to pay a tuition deposit. But they’re accustomed doing things much easier than we make them. We’ve got to make frictionless experiences. Registering for classes: it’s got to be easier. Coming for a campus visit: it’s got to be a spectacular thing. Making a gift and being recognized for it has to be an out of the world experience. Then I’m going to go back to where we started, and that’s finding, identifying, and stating a sustainable market position. I think that’s critical.

Melissa Morriss-Olson: Wow, thank you so much for this really, really wise and valuable … insights. I want to end with letting our listeners get a little bit of a more personal sense about you and your work, and wondering if you would be willing to share … at the outset I did say that I do consider you to be one of the brightest minds around when it comes to higher ed marketing. Who do you read and who are you listening to? Do you have any favorite books or podcasts that you can share with our listeners?

Rick Bailey: Yeah, absolutely. One of my heroes is a guy by the name of Marty Neumeier. Marty has written a number of books. I used to use one of his books called The Brand Gap as a textbook in my class at Notre Dame. He’s just got a really level-headed sense of brand, what it means and what’s possible … I like his writing. I like his style. He’s not out of the higher education arena, but he just is very level-headed. I like to read … Let’s see who else? I like, you’re probably familiar with Patrick Lencioni books. I like those. I like the way he writes.

Melissa Morriss-Olson: Yes.

Rick Bailey: How he tells stories and integrates his principles in those. I like those a lot. I’m reading right now Black Ops Advertising by Mara Einstein. You should read that if you haven’t. That’s a look at what she sees … happening right now, how things are changing. I think it’s a good, good read, Black Ops Advertising. Let’s see. On a regular basis I get a Harvard Business Review email every day and make sure I go through that. There’s always some great stuff in there that inspires me. Subscribe to McKinsey; McKinsey email every day is awesome. They’re thinking a step ahead of higher ed. Their clients are broad and they’re all over the place, but especially their stuff on customer experience is really good…

Melissa Morriss-Olson: And is it the parent company that you get the email from?

Rick Bailey: Yes.

Melissa Morriss-Olson: Is it mckinsey.com?

Rick Bailey: Yeah. I think you’d find that really helpful. For fun, look at trendwatching.com. They’re an international group that talks about what’s on the horizon in terms of consumer behavior. Again, not higher ed, but has application to higher ed: trendwatching.com. They have all kinds of resources that you can … tap into. They’re the ones who did that post-truth webinar that I listened to. It’s good.

Melissa Morriss-Olson: Yes, yes. Well good. Thank you for sharing that. I know you’re a prolific reader and listener, and I think that’s a big part of why you are so good at marketing, because you’re always taking in what’s happening [from] the world around you. I think the people that I know that are great marketers, they all seem to have developed that discipline of staying attuned to what’s happening externally. Let me end with one question that I think you will enjoy because you’ve [had] so many successes with clients. Maybe this isn’t fair to even ask you this, but: is there a particular success story that you are most proud of? An institution that you’ve worked with that you think is doing everything or almost everything right? And what does that look like, and what can we all learn from that institution’s experience?

Rick Bailey: Oh Melissa, they’re all like babies; they’re like your children after a while. You love every one of them for different reasons. But let’s talk about your institution for a minute because I think you’re experiencing an enormous sense of success. Where you’ve come in a short amount of time is really remarkable and should be noted by other institutions. But the process of your coming to terms with who you were, who you are, and who you intend to be [has] really, really been interesting.

I think you [have done] a good job of connecting the tissue of your DNA, your history with your mission and your vision; and how you have been careful to be true to your institution while being highly responsive to your market is a really great example. You’ve got an entrepreneurial and innovative approach—the way that you are leading and reshaping the educational experience is really remarkable. I think what you’re doing through your modalities is fascinating. I think the way that you bring on new programs and [how] you do them with unbelievable speed … But you also attract entrepreneurial faculty and students to do that. I think Bay Path is a great example of an institution that was unafraid to embrace who you are and use that market position to advance towards your goals. I’d give you a gold star in that.

Melissa Morriss-Olson: Well, thank you for that. We didn’t set this up ahead of time, so I didn’t know you were going to mention Bay Path, but that’s very kind of you.

Rick Bailey: Well, I can mention some others, but I think you’re a great example.

Melissa Morriss-Olson: Okay, all right, it’s probably safer since I’m on the phone with you. Let me just wrap this part up by again saying thank you for your wisdom, your counsel, for being willing to be on the phone with us on the webinar; very, very grateful for your insights.

Rick Bailey: Yes, let me add my thanks. I appreciate the invitation to be with you today. It’s always great to talk to you Melissa, and all the best as you continue to lead Bay Path.

Melissa Morriss-Olson: Thank you.

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Rick Bailey

Rick is the Principal and founding partner at RHB.