Paul LeBlanc from Southern New Hampshire University [Ep.58] [May 8]

Join us as we hear from Dr. Paul LeBlanc, President at Southern New Hampshire University! In this episode Paul talks about SNHU's plan to redefine and reimagine campus-based learning. As he put it, it's a race without a finish line but he was kind enough to give us a few beacons to follow along the way.

Here are a few key take aways from Paul's talk with some additional ideas and thoughts added.


Be student obsessed - this idea references Amazon's ideal of being customer obsessed. As Paul talks about in the podcast, everything about attending SNHU should be a consumer-grade experience. In other words the website should be just as good and easy to use as Amazon. He goes on to say that they hope everything about SNHU should be easy - except for homework and classes of course.

Bet on the cards you have - every school has a set of features, advantages and strengths. Some are similar to other schools while some are unique. Paul's advice is to pick one or two of your strengths and double down on them. If you are a college with a strong research program then elevate that by allowing students access to research early.

Constantly be piloting - on the podcast we were struck by how many pilots SNHU is running. In fact it sounds like they are constantly piloting! Pilot programs are small test-runs that schools can use to see if an idea has legs. If it works, scale it up! If something doesn't work right, dial it back and try again. Pilots allow you to manage risk because when you scale an idea up you've already learned some important things in the test phase.

Embrace diverse thought partnership - this is something that came up recently for us when we were talking about retention committees. It's easy to feel like you understand your school really well - and you do! But there are also other valid and important perspectives that are important to consider. By embracing diverse thought partnerships your ideas will grow because they are challenged.

We were particularly inspired by Paul's idea that in extraordinary times it's possible for things we once thought impossible to become unstuck. We can't wait to hear from you about what initiatives you start and the pilot programs you create!

About the Author

Peter Baron and Hans Mundahl

Peter Baron is EMA's chief member relations officer, responsible for the creation and oversight of our external programs as well as our membership promise. He oversees marketing and communications, member recruitment and retention, and outreach functions, as well as leadership training programs, research, and other related strategic initiatives. With a career spent in product development, sales, relationship development, and marketing, Peter's success has been built on listening to schools' and families' needs. Hans Mundahl is EMA's director of professional development and has been an educator since 1995, when he first stepped into the classroom as a Fulbright exchange teacher in the former East Germany. Since then, Hans has taught in a variety of settings, including as an Outward Bound instructor, classroom teacher, house parent, and in higher ed. Hans has served in just about every role possible in an independent school including as an admission officer, program leader, trustee, and head of school.

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