Dr. Lori Carrell, Chancellor at University of Minnesota Rochester
Chancellor Lori J. Carrell, PhD, has served the new and innovative University of Minnesota Rochester (UMR) campus as a collaborative and inspirational leader since 2014.
Prior to joining the University of Minnesota, she led general education reform efforts in the University of Wisconsin system as a campus leader in Oshkosh, where she also founded and directed a research-based teaching and learning center while continuing as a distinguished professor of communication. Her speeches, publications and scholarly work focus on human communication as a catalyst for transformation, as described in the co-authored 2021 book with Dr. Bob Zemsky, Communicate for a Change: Revitalizing Conversations for Higher Education.
Chancellor Carrell is convinced that “collaborative academic communities can lead transformation in higher education while also creating inclusive environments in which all can flourish.” These collaborative endeavors include NXT GEN MED, a tech-enhanced, accelerated, industry-integrated program being designed by the UMR community with the support of Google Cloud and Mayo Clinic and others.
Dr. Bob Zemsky, Professor at University of Pennsylvania
Robert Zemsky has spent his career at the University of Pennsylvania focusing on how best to keep universities true to their missions while at the same time remaining market smart. For 20 years, he served as the founding director of the university’s Institute for Research on Higher Education, one of the country’s major public policy centers specializing in educational research and analysis. In his research, Professor Zemsky pioneered the use of market analyses for higher education.
Dr. Zemsky’s most recent book, Communicate for a Change (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2021) with Lori Carrel of the University of Minnesota Rochester frames the kinds of discussions colleges and universities must convene as a prelude to systematic change.
Questions Answered Today:
What is “College in 3” and what’s the reason behind it?
College in 3 is an experiment led by Lori and Bob that aims to redesign the usual four-year college undergraduate education and turn it into a three-year college experience. The experiment aims to:
- Cut the cost of college education
- Increase the quality and the success of students
Lori and Bob pushed this idea after Lori’s previous work, which involved stripping out 800 general education courses and creating 200 new ones.
To get started with the idea of a three-year college degree, Bob and Lori formed starter teams on campuses and asked these important questions, which became their experiment’s guiding principles:
- What’s the purpose of a college education?
- What should a student be able to do when they’re done with their undergraduate education? How is that changing, or how has that changed?
- How can we then reverse engineer, reverse design, to get to those kinds of competencies or outcomes, but in ways that fuel students’ success and that are accomplished within three years?
Lori and Bob’s book, Communicate for a Change: Revitalizing Conversations for Higher Education, offers a deeper and a more detailed perspective of College in 3.
What does Lori and Bob’s experiment offer at this point?
At the moment, the University of Minnesota Rochester (UMR) is pioneering a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences in partnership with Mayo Clinic and Google Cloud. UMR calls it the “NXT GEN MED.”
Here are some highlights of the program:
- Using the summer semester, students will have a year-round paid internship program.
- The internship program opens doors of employment opportunities within the healthcare industry, including Mayo Clinic itself.
- The program will be for two and a half years.
- The program is designed to support student success, which includes having:
- A success coach for the entire program.
- A student engagement platform that documents the student’s progress toward the competencies that the healthcare industry wants to see.
- As the program is designed around the competencies the healthcare industry is looking for, the student’s career launch starts sooner (2.5 years).
The program, which is to be launched in August, is a great way to reduce college costs and to have a more direct career path. Lori also shares that the program has substantial scholarship support.
You can learn more about the UMR’s NXT GEN MED program here.
The other campuses who are participating in the experiment are listed in this article written by Inside Higher Ed.
What kind of students would be a good match for College in 3?
The most important criteria for a student to qualify is commitment. As this is an experiment, it’s vital for the student to stick until the end of the program in order to get data that would determine the experiment’s success.
The other qualifications, as dictated by Lori, are the following:
- Students who are already determined to have a career within the healthcare industry
- Students who want to pursue a different path than others usually take
- Students who are interested in doing a paid internship
In contrast, students who are still shopping around and want to explore other opportunities may not be a good fit because, at the moment, the slots available for the August launch are limited to healthcare sciences.
Can’t my kid get a college degree in 3 years if they take enough AP classes? How is that different from College in 3?
The idea of College in 3 is not to compress courses but to redesign them. The idea is not to double up course credits, which is something students themselves could do. College in 3 strategically designs courses that, in a shorter amount of time, equip students with the skills their workplace needs.
As the pilot program centers around health sciences, Lori provides a quick example of what a program looks like from the inside:
The courses are bundled around not only health challenges but also competencies from other majors. For instance, in one seven-week period, the students’ task is to work on the project exploring disparities in the COVID-19 pandemic. In doing so, the students not only explore health challenges, but they also earn credits around other disciplines such as writing, sociology, and use of data and inquiry.
How can parents make wise college-related decisions?
Bob believes that choosing colleges should never be a matter of a four-year or a three-year degree. The foundation should always be whether the college is willing to break from tradition and stop using strategies that are outdated and not sustainable.
Bob provides an example based on the tradition in health affairs education of having first-year students take Calculus, which is hard for many. Upon research, it was discovered that students don’t really need Calculus. What they need for a career in health affairs is Advanced Statistics, and students found more success in Statistics.
What college education offers is largely what it used to offer decades ago. Some parts of it still work, while others no longer do. Parents should be vigilant in choosing colleges that are willing to adjust in accordance to what students need TODAY to succeed.
Brad pointed out another area where parents should be vigilant, which is the amount of support that colleges offer to students who need internships. Over the years, internships have become a requirement for a college degree. However, there haven’t been lots of initiatives from colleges to support students in need of those internships.
Focusing too much on what have been “standards” since a long time ago (i.e. college rankings, price, etc.) have led parents in the wrong direction. Hence, parents should start understanding the other differences between what colleges are willing to offer.
But, in the end, the most important role of parents is to understand their kids as learners. This leads them to ask the best questions as they shop around and make the best college decisions.
If my student is interested in enrolling in campuses participating in College in 3, what requirements should I be looking at?
Here are some guiding questions that Bob shared:
- Does the institution have enough muscle to attract strong partners (e.g. Mayo Clinic, Google, etc.)?
- Is the institution making a real investment in the program, or is it just to harvest enrollment?
- Is there a track record for its College in 3 students?
As the pioneer program, NXT GEN MED, is just to be launched, Lori and Bob and their team aim to gather pieces of evidence that their pilots are successful.
Links and Resources
Helpful Articles and Resources
- Taming The High Cost Of College
- A New Push to Create a 3-Year Degree Option – article by Inside Higher Ed
- Communicate for a Change: Revitalizing Conversations for Higher Education
- The University of Minnesota Rochester’s NXT GEN MED
- Lori and Bob’s Contact Info:
- LinkedIn – Lori
- LinkedIn – Bob
THANKS FOR JOINING US!
We’d like to extend an invitation to our listeners to share their feedback and questions. Contact us to submit a question.
If you find our podcasts helpful, please share us on social media and tell your friends!
The bottom line is that we care what you think and want to help you out, so we’d appreciate you reviewing us on your favorite podcast platform. Even better, receive automatic updates by subscribing to the show through your preferred podcast service.
Brad Baldridge 0:00
Hello and welcome to Taming the High Cost of College. I'm your host Brad Baldridge. Today we have a great interview with Lori Carrell and Bob Zemsky.
You have kids, they grow up, and before you know it, it's time to plan for college. Where do you start? How much is it going to cost? Will you qualify for financial aid? Should you be looking into scholarships? When will you be able to retire? What about student loans? The list of questions is never ending. The good news is all the answers are right here. Welcome to the Taming the High Cost of College podcast. Here is your host, certified financial planner, Brad Baldridge.
Brad Baldridge 0:38
Hello, and welcome to Taming the High Cost of College. Today we have a great interview with Lori Carrell and Bob Zemsky. They're working on redesigning bachelor's degrees with a consortium of schools. And they're working on creating three year degrees instead of four. Now, this is not how we can squeeze four years of material into three years. You know, things like using APs and that type of thing, or taking heavy credit load all that type of thing. That is a way to get a four-year degree in three years, but that's not the way that original design was. What Bob and Laurie are doing along with a number of schools is they're figuring out what's required for a bachelor's degree. And they're redesigning it and getting it re accredited as a three year program instead of a four year program. Matter of fact, some schools are getting close to launching some of their pilot programs. I think this is exciting. There's actually some change going on in higher education. For a long, long time. Of course, college was always four years, and it always worked this way. And it was very slow to change. I think with COVID and other things going on, change is starting to accelerate in the higher education community. We've seen a lot of change in the adult education area where students that are going back to school when they're older, perhaps they already have a family, they're looking for a different education experience. And they're not necessarily going to be on campus looking for that four-year degree. They're willing to do nights and weekends and that type of stuff. So there's a lot of change going on with adult education. And some of that is now seeping into the traditional 18-year-old four-year degree or now potentially three-year degree. So I encourage you to listen and learn more about it. We're going to be following this over the years, it's seems exciting that there may be some options now, that could cut an entire year. And of course, the associated cost from the typical bachelor's degree. We appreciate any reviews that you can give us. And of course show notes are available at tamingthehighcostofcollege.com. And this is episode 157. Let's go ahead and jump into the interview.
Today we're sitting down with Lori Carrell. She's a chancellor at University of Minnesota, Rochester, and Bob Zemsky. He's a professor at University of Pennsylvania. Welcome Lori and Bob.
Bob Zemsky 2:57
Lori Carrell 2:58
Thanks so much. Glad to be here.
Brad Baldridge 3:01
All right. So the reason we have you on the podcast today, as you guys are doing some pilot work and some cutting edge stuff. So you can you tell us a little bit more about what you guys have been working on?
Lori Carrell 3:13
Sure. Our experiment is called "College in 3." And one of the goals is to drive down the cost of a college education. But at the same time, another goal is to increase the quality and the success of students. And so we are redesigning what an undergraduate education can look like to reach those two goals.
Brad Baldridge 3:39
Right. So when you say three, you're saying we're trying to get it done in three instead of four?
Lori Carrell 3:45
Brad Baldridge 3:46
Okay. So, how did you guys come up with this idea? Or I mean, where can you give us a little bit of the story behind it? As far as where it came, from that type of thing.
Lori Carrell 3:59
Bob has a bit of a history on that.
Bob Zemsky 4:02
Alright, so 12 years ago, I'm headed a research institute at Penn for some 40 plus years and 12 years ago, we as almost an afterthought said let's explore the idea of reducing the cost of a college degree by 25%. I do a lot of work internationally. And what I knew was a lot of English, European universities did three-year degrees. So I write a paper. That's what people like me do. And it turned out that Newsweek, which was a more thriving publication 12 years ago, picked it up and made it the cover story. And they actually paired my paper of 12 years ago, with Lamar Alexander, who was the senator from Tennessee. I think he was then Chair of the Senate Education Committee. And he thought this was really a great idea. So they run a cover story on this, we got a great deal of publicity, a great deal of attention, it then it died just literally like that, like somebody had pulled the plug. And what we were told at the time was you never can do this because the accreditors won't allow you and the Feds won't allow you, go waste your time doing something else. So Lamar Alexander retired, and I wasted my time doing other things. So that's, but Lori knew about it, because I had been working with Lori when she was at Oshkosh. And I sort of joked with her at the time, because she was doing a really pretty important experiment there about reducing the nonsense, really, she may not like that I called it nonsense, but reducing the course list for Gen Ed, which at Oshkosh, was just 800 of your favorite courses could satisfy it. She essentially stripped out the 800, created 200 new, and that's what she put in place. But I then said, why didn't you go all the way? If you've just eliminated Gen Ed, you'd be at the three year degree. So at that point, I have planted the seed, Lori and I go do other things, we write a book together. And at the end of that, she says to me, 'Bob, what are we going to do next?' And I think, my lord, lady, what do you mean, what are we going to do next? So take it away, Lori. Because this was your idea, not mine. I made that clear.
Lori Carrell 6:29
Well, Bob tells that history well, and I did ask that question, because I think our conversations are the kinds of conversations that others in higher education are having right now, it's how do we do our very best to develop human potential and fuel student success and address the affordability challenge. And so I did have to be a little bit persuasive, to get back to revisit that idea. And as we began to talk with some of the folks that we know, across higher education, including some of the accreditors, the idea became quite captivating to both of us, it's a unique moment in history where the appetite for change is stronger, perhaps than it has been as a result of all we've navigated in the last two years. And so we put together this sounding board of leaders and we wander together in conversation as we often do, how would something new like this get designed? And how would it get momentum? And we were reflecting on many things that had happened in the pandemic. And one of them is that among young people, including my son, who was finishing up his Chemistry PhD, there began an interest in the isolation of it all in sourdough breadmaking. And people were dropping off little bits of starter. And these young chemists, I thought perhaps they didn't invented the whole thing. And I had to call back to Grandma's and great grandma has to say, 'No, this has been going on for quite a while.' But that concept of the starter caught on with our conversation, Bob, and I like how do you get something started, and you have the beginning of it, and then you keep that, but you continue to add to it, and you share and new kinds of fragrant breads, I'm hungry, can be made from that. And so we use that idea to form starter teams, on campuses, who were interested, a small set of campuses that were really different from each other in a number of ways to fuel this notion of a starter team whose conversation would lead to a redesign, and we asked the starter teams to ask some big questions like what's the purpose of a college education? And what should a student be able to do when they're when they're done with their undergraduate education? And how is that changing? Or has it been changed? And how can we then reverse engineer, reverse design to get to those kinds of competencies or outcomes, but in ways that fuel students success and that are accomplished within three years? So Bob, have I left out any details of that story that you want to insert?
Bob Zemsky 9:46
Well, the interesting thing is, you don't mind I'm going to tease you, but what you forgot to mention is we had written a book that was just coming onto the market conversation.
Lori Carrell 9:56
Communicate for a Change
Bob Zemsky 9:59
Communicate for a Change. That's right.
Lori Carrell 10:00
Revitalizing Conversations for Higher Education. Yeah.
Bob Zemsky 10:02
And what it became clear was, the College in 3 notion was an exemplar of what we had in mind for a conversation. So from the beginning, we did never specified what it needed to look like. As she's emphasized the starter kit, we said, get the conversation started. Let's see how the thing grows. And we have 13 pilots who are growing it. What's interesting is that we they're far enough along that several of them have all already stubbed their toe a little bit and had to redirect. And that was exciting to watch them redirect. Humbly, the most interesting of the redirects was I think, people assumed that we were talking about, well take college A take UMR, and that they'll switch to a three year degree and Toto. That turns out to be a really dumb idea. And that sort of independently, each of the 13 came to that idea. So that what we've got going is not only 13 different experiments, but within each of the 13 institutions, there's a small group that's pursuing this idea, just testing it. And that doesn't happen very often in higher ed, higher ed likes to believe it has received wisdom. And if you just give me a plan, I'll put it into effect. We've said, oh, no, no, no. Think about it, talk about it, come back to us and tell us what you've learned. And then we as the final in this sort of thing, our book was published by Johns Hopkins, this director that works with me in particular is a guy by the name of Greg Britton. So we said to Greg, would you be interested? And he said, you bet. So what we're in the process of doing is actually producing a research report, literally speaking, that we hope it'll be more literate than most research reports. But here's how it works. And if you're at all interested in pursuing this idea, you're going to want to read this book, because it will show you the kind of conversations you need to have. And that's where we are right at the moment is that we've got the 1, we're working on the book. And we'll know a lot more come November than we know now. But we've learned a whole lot in the process.
Brad Baldridge 12:22
All right. So as we were talking a few minutes ago, offline, that, this is, you know, certainly a research and so forth. But at least University of Minnesota, Rochester is actually enrolling students into the pilot three-year program. Can you tell us a little bit more about that, as far as what degrees can be three years? And what kind of students would be a good fit? Yeah, if curious parents says 'I like the idea of three years for my kids,' gonna be friendly to the pocketbook. How do you how can we learn more, what are you piloting at this point?
Lori Carrell 12:58
Yes, at the Rochester campus, so the University of Minnesota, we are piloting a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences. And we're doing that in partnership with Mayo Clinic. So all students will have embedded paid internships while they are in college, it will be a year round program. So we'll use the summer semesters as part of the college education. And it will lead to the potential for positions within the healthcare industry, including Mayo Clinic, and all of that in two and a half years, we have some some things built into the design that will support student success, so proven practices to support student success. For example, every student will have a success coach that is with them for the entire college experience. The students will also have a bit smarter tech tool. Zoom may have saved educators to some extent during a pandemic period. But we've tried to build something that would support student engagement and organization. And we've built that with Google Cloud as our partner. And that student engagement platform will also document the student's progress toward the competencies that the healthcare industry wants to see and its graduates when they're ready for their career launch. So overall, that career launch will start sooner. And we've designed around the competencies that are desired. And we're testing multiple things including the acceleration and the higher tech and support.
Brad Baldridge 14:44
Right. When and again, I think it's important we talk a little bit more about how is the same and how it's different because you know, as an example, people say things like well if you know at particular high schools if I take enough AP this and AP that, I'll go to college with 30 credits, therefore I should be able to graduate in three years. And which is legitimate, potentially, again, but that's a lot different than what you guys are doing. As far as you're just trying to take a four year degree
Lori Carrell 15:13
And cram it in. No, it's a redesign, it's a redesign. So for example, with our program, and remember, these other pilots are in progress, we just got a little bit of a running start on this, but there will be these other majors at other places, but we have bundled the courses together around health challenges. So for example, in one seven-week period, students may be doing a project where they're exploring disparities in the pandemic. And while they're exploring that they're also earning credits in biology, sociology, and writing, and developing the competencies related to use of data and inquiry, you know, to address these big challenges in health. So it's a redesigned, as opposed to just a compression, or a piling on. So it's not about doubling up on course credits, which some students do on their own at many colleges and universities, but rather a very artful design toward the end of that big question is, what can a college graduate do? You know, and being able to demonstrate that earlier, you asked what kind of students would be a good match. And I would say, particularly for this program, NXT GEN MED launching in August, that there is a trailblazing aspect to doing college differently. So students who are determined, who are enthused about a career launch within the healthcare industry, and are willing to do something different, maybe than their peers, and are have a strong appetite to, to have a paid internship within the arena, which they hope to work. So those are the kinds of students we're looking for.
Brad Baldridge 17:13
Right? So are you still accepting students for this August launch?
Lori Carrell 17:18
Yes we are. We are, limited number of seats in the pilot, but we do still have seats available, there is substantial scholarship support, along with the paid internships. So again, it will be a greatly reduced cost for the college education and direct career path. So a student needs to decide, of course, with their families, which campus is the best fit for them, and which type of program and those students who are still exploring dramatically different sorts of careers would not be a good match for this one, for example, but those who have a passion to make a difference in the world somehow, through a career in health may find that this is a good match if, if they have that focus.
Brad Baldridge 18:06
Right. And you shared me with a link to the information. So we're gonna have in our show notes, a link directly to University of Minnesota, Rochester, and specifically the page that talks about this new program. So if you want to learn more, you certainly can go there. So you mentioned 13 other schools so and you know, you guys have launched some of these other schools, did you have any inkling on when they might be launching? Again, a lot of people listening might have juniors or even sophomores. So is it likely that there'll be some choices coming soon? Or what do you think is, can you predict the future a little?
Bob Zemsky 18:43
I think the answer is yes. But don't talk about 1000s, or even hundreds. This is an experiment that's got to begin slowly as people learn how to do this. So one of the things you get with Lori and me is that we're all friends or colleagues. But we actually start from different perspectives. If you just listen to where we've been in the podcast so far, Lori is more likely to start with the student, I'm more likely to start with the institution that most of my work has been looking at institutional dynamics. And there's some very interesting institutional dynamics to this. I think that some people when they first heard this idea of a three-year degrees, that all all those small struggling colleges that are without students, here's the solution.
Brad Baldridge 19:31
Bob Zemsky 19:32
And we couldn't tell them fast enough, nope, oh, no, no. Small struggling college has not got enough muscle to do this. This is, an institution that does this successfully really has to have institutional muscle. And for example, we've already seen because of what Lori and her colleagues have done, a couple of things had to happen in the beginning. She actually had to create salary support for the faculty who are engaged so instead of it didn't cost less than what it cost more. Second thing she had to do is she had to go talk to her a creditor. And that's another interesting story. Because in the beginning, when we started, everybody's on the creditors would be the naysayers. Quite the contrary, on our sounding board, we have for a credit, a senior staff at accreditors, who say, bring it on. This is the kind of experiment that's important. So when Lori says, what the kind of students she wants is the kind that's interested in being part of an experiment. That's important to hear. And the third kind of thing that goes with this is that you've got to make a commitment and stick with it.
Brad Baldridge 20:44
Bob Zemsky 20:45
Right. So that if you're going to do this, you're going to do it for three years at the same institution. Don't think that? Well, I'll try it, see if I like it, I'm willing to bet that you get a lot of students in to say, 'Yes, I'll try it, I like it,' you're in trouble, because you've got to get that opening student group committed to do it. Last observation. She has mentioned this to you quietly, but I'm going to shout at mouth. She has real partners. And I think anybody interested in doing this needs real partner. So her partners are Google, they have, that's an amazing partner, the other partner is Mayo, that's an amazing partner. So the part of what makes it possible is the institution has enough muscle to attract those kinds of partners. So parents thinking well is, should my child look at this? Ask certain kinds of key questions? Does the program have real partners? Is the institution making a real investment in the program? Or is it just going to try to harvest enrollment? The ladder doesn't work? And is there a track record for the students? So now the problem is that she's got is there's no track record for NXT GEN MED. There's a track record for you UMR. And there's certainly a track record for the Mayo Clinic. But her program doesn't have a track record. So the first people have to take the deal on faith. But our job, Lori and mine in over the next three to five years is to build a climate where each of these pilots build up evidence that what they've done is successful. And we don't say I haven't said this before, but I'll say it now. If this was work, we actually make better shoppers out of parents, you and we had this conversation earlier. I think the biggest problem is most parents don't really know their kids as learners. They know their kids in other ways, but they really don't understand their kids as learners. And parents who are going to help their kids have to have that the same time is there's a kind of oddity here.
We think that this program is going to be particularly attractive to first gen students who want to do things differently.
Brad Baldridge 23:09
Bob Zemsky 23:10
And the problem with first gen students is that's what they are they don't have college graduate parents, their parents didn't do the the standard stick.
Brad Baldridge 23:18
Bob Zemsky 23:18
So there's going to be different ways. I'm not even sure yet none of our pilots that really tackled that yet. But what do you do when the over half your students don't come out of a home that has a sort of pre knowledge of what college is like. And the worst that can happen, frankly, and you and I have talked about this is this all becomes a matter of price tag, the only reason to do it is the price tag was right. And we cringe every time somebody says that to us. The reason to do it is because the learning in theory is going to be better, they're going to be better prepared for the labor market, they're going to better know themselves. And if those are the questions as parents, you asked your students, then your students are candidate for one of these programs.
Brad Baldridge 24:04
Right. And just so parents are aware, there's lots of four-year degrees now where they're really working on public private partnerships and internships and trying to connect education with the working world and the research world. And I think in some cases, they feel kind of like the exception and not the rule where there's
Bob Zemsky 24:28
Oh, worse, worse.
Brad Baldridge 24:29
Bob Zemsky 24:30
All right. So the real problem, we tend to share, you want this embedded in the middle of your podcast, but the real problem is, who's going to design the new product? The parents aren't, the kids can have a big impact on it. But fundamentally, you need a faculty who knows what to do, and is prepared to do it. So just the fact that you've advertised a three year or a four year degree with lots of internships, that parent if they're thinking that you better ask where's the faculty on all of this? Is it the faculty who says, 'Well, we're doing our thing,' then the probability their thing isn't a four year or three year degree. So as I said, the future of this that we're trying to spark, among others, is parents who are better shoppers. This is an industry that just desperately needs parents to be better shoppers.
Brad Baldridge 25:22
I would agree with that. But I guess my point is, when I went to college, it was going to be a four year degree, it was going to be me sitting in lecture halls, and me doing the college thing. And it was going to essentially look very much like what my parents did, or my, my dad didn't go, but my what my mom did at University of Wisconsin, Madison, 30 years before that. And now I'm working with my kids. And we're looking at what they're going to do. And it hasn't evolved all that much since when grandma went, right. It's kind of the same thing.
Bob Zemsky 26:02
How about not at all, how about almost not at all?
Brad Baldridge 26:05
Right, so which is, again, in my opinion, and we've seen a lot more evolution and change and stuff in the adult learning, there's a continuing ed for adults, the returning students and that kind of stuff who say, things like, 'Well, I can't I don't want the campus experience, I gotta figure out how to do it on weekends, or do it at night, or do it in compression,' and there's a lot more variability and flexibility, I think, in that market, then there isn't the traditional rolling out of high school going off to college.
Bob Zemsky 26:35
Brad Baldridge 26:36
And I'm excited to see that at least some people are starting to think about, 'Hey, here's a new idea, here's something different.' And I don't know that, in my opinion, that shouldn't really replace what we have, it should be another choice of, you've got three year degree programs that work like this, you've got four year degree programs that work like that. And now there's some choices where you say, 'You know what, this is what's right for me.' But I think right now, for a lot of people college is almost a commodity of, as long as you get a piece of paper at the end that says you graduated, it doesn't matter where you go, or what you do, or, it's, you just got to get the piece paper. Again, for some, that's their goal. And on the flip side of that, there's many people were in college was a formative experience, right? They had the Dead Poets Society experience where someone took an interest in them, they and they literally changed their life because of what happened to college, and everything in between. And I'm excited to hear that you guys are doing some of that research and not just saying, well, we're just gonna do it this way. And, but, again, starting small, doing some research, tracking results, doing it in a better way.
Bob Zemsky 27:54
Let me give you a real example, where the research works, and it really is about Lori's institution. But before Lori was chancellor, so the sort of founding chancellor of UMR is, was a psychologist out of the University of Missouri called, named Steve Lemco. And right from the beginning, because of the close proximity of Mayo and all of that, there was a strong tilt towards medical education, health affairs
Brad Baldridge 28:24
Bob Zemsky 28:24
And traditionally, in health affairs education, one of the things you had to do in first year, whether you liked it or not, was calculus. And Lemco notices, right from the get go, that one of the real things that isn't working is calculus, the kids just do not grab on to calculus, he discovers that we now know for other reasons, that's true. But he did something, he didn't just lament it, he did something different. He said, I'm going to say they don't need calculus, I'm going to say they need advanced statistics right from the get go. And that turned out to be a great idea. Because a lot of these kids, I call them kids, I'm so old, I get to call them kids. A lot of these kids are gamers. And they're not, you know, not silly games, but they play very complex games. And statistics, in the sense that arrays data is very much like the games they play. So he had a much higher success rate in statistics. A significant number actually then went on to do calculus, but it wasn't like being in the middle of the wilderness with calculus. And so all of this is saying is what's in place now is probably no longer sustainable. And two futures hold. One is, it's not sustainable. It will crumble and we'll just have chaos in the market. The other future says, 'No, we're fully higher ed is uniquely full of smart people. They'll tell you if you don't believe them just how smart we are. And if there's any group that ought to be able to design their selves, out of the chaos of the wilderness, it ought to be the university.' That's what's on the table now. And if I was a parent, my kids say, 'Oh, I'm thinking of Middlebury. Is Middlebury that kind of institution or not?' Start there. Don't start with the damn price, don't even start whether it's three years or four years, asked, is it one of those that is willing to suspend disbelief and look at things differently?
Brad Baldridge 30:34
Bob Zemsky 30:35
And those are the institutions that are going to succeed, we think, and those are the institutions at least so far, the pilots are teaching us know what to do with this idea.
Brad Baldridge 30:45
Right. And I think something that you mentioned, from a parent perspective is, again, some of these newer programs and newer new ideas is, is this a new idea that's a fringe thing on the edge of the university, or just a new idea where most of the people that are involved have bought into it? Because I think that's something I see occasionally, where, yeah, we offer internships, but then when the student shows up, they kind of lament and say, 'I gotta go find an internship. Nobody helps me find it. I don't know how to do it. Nobody here...' So an internship was made a requirement, but it really wasn't. No, there's no services about there's no partnerships. There's not an internship.
Bob Zemsky 31:31
You're preaching to the choir on this. I could, I could write those sentences. I do write those sentences. That's right. Let me give you another classic example. I'm old enough that I have grandchildren now in this process. My kids have graduated a zillion years ago, but their kids are going through it. And one of my granddaughter's just got through her college tour. She did New England. And what did she do? She looked at three colleges, like and they are, we know from history, three peas in the same pod. Each of them will tell you how different they are. But I know as who I am, they ain't different at all. I've worked for two out of the three rather intimately. So I know they aren't that different, right. And sort of thing is, and it's interesting. My granddaughters mother, that is my child, was accepted to one of the holy trio in New England, and to Carlton. And she took one look at Carlton and she said that they do different things there and she went there, had a great experiment. That's what we hope all parents can lead their children to. So understand that they need to look at differences, not just look at rankings, or price, or any of the things that have become standard. It is leading us in the wrong direction. There's no doubt about it.
Brad Baldridge 32:53
Right? Absolutely. So one of the challenges around this podcast is, you know, we're gonna put it out there, and people will listen to it in real time, so to speak. So in the next few months, lots of people listen to it. But two or three years from now, someone might come and find this podcast and listen to it, then as well. So is there any way that were up to date information is available at this point, as far as if somebody wants to learn more? Obviously, there's a pilot program at Minnesota, Rochester there. Is there any other ways that people can learn more information or, as this stuff maybe becomes more piloted in more places, and active in more places, and maybe becomes even more mainstream?
Lori Carrell 33:37
Well, we have had thus far some national attention and interest, of course, there's an article in Inside Higher Ed that's available on the web. And so if you're asking us to predict the future, I'd like to make a rosy prediction and say that, yeah, if they're looking two or three years from now, all they'll have to do is Google, College in 3, and they will find multiple opportunities. And they will also find published description of what these pilots did in this book that Bob and I would have completed by this point in future that you're referencing, and hopefully, that this work that we're doing and the pilots are doing, will start conversations on on many campuses, because there are many other educators and researchers in higher education, who are working to innovate. And the more we can work together and share ideas like that little sourdough starter kit, that gets passed around on the doorstep in the neighborhood, the better we can do in developing human potential, which is a critical task for our society. So I see a time in the future where there will be a lot of information available.
Brad Baldridge 35:02
All right, well, I appreciate it. We'll put a link to some of your materials and your book and that type of thing in the show notes as well. But I really do appreciate you guys. Kind of exposing us a little bit to something that's coming in the future. I think for many, it's really hard to understand what's going on kind of, as the politicians say, the ivory towers, right. And I'm glad to hear that there's some changes coming. So I really do appreciate it.
Bob Zemsky 35:28
Lori Carrell 35:28
Well, thank you so much for your interest.
Brad Baldridge 35:31
All right. That was a great interview with Bob and Lori. Hopefully you learned a little bit. If you happen to have younger kids, freshmen or even grade school kids seventh, eighth grade, that type of thing. It seems like these programs will have quite a footing by the time they're off to college. And perhaps many schools will start offering these programs in various types of majors and degrees. That's all we have for you today. We look forward to talking next week.
Thank you for listening to the Taming the High Cost of College podcast. Now it's time for you to take action. Head to tamingthehighcostofcollege.com for show notes, bonus content and to leave feedback for Brad. The next step on your college journey starts now. Brad Baldridge is a registered representative of Cambridge Investment Research and an investment advisor representative of Cambridge Investment Research Advisors, a registered investment advisor. Securities are offered through Cambridge Investment Research Incorporated, a broker dealer and member of FINRA and SIPC. Brad owns two companies Baldridge Wealth Management and Baldridge College Solutions. The Baldridge companies are not affiliated with Cambridge Investment Research.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
Sign up to receive email updates
Enter your name and email address below and I'll send you periodic updates about the podcast.