Episode 74 - Enrollment Strategy Kickoff

President Wyatt and Steve Meredith are joined by SUU's VP for Advancement & Enrollment Management Stuart Jones. They discuss the impending enrollment crisis all colleges and universities are facing and talk through a few of the ways Southern Utah University is combating that enrollment drop.

Full Transcript

Steve Meredith: Hi again everyone, and welcome to Solutions for Higher Education, a podcast featuring Scott L Wyatt, the president of Southern Utah University in Cedar City, Utah. I’m your host, Steve Meredith, and I’m joined today in-studio by President Wyatt. Scott, how are you?

Scott Wyatt: Terrific, thanks very much, Steve.

Meredith: We are both fighting a little bit of a plague here but we will do our best. 

Stuart Jones: Now you tell me. [All laugh]

Meredith: Yeah, that’s right. 

Jones: Small room. 

Meredith: It is a little room. Too bad we’re coughing. [All laugh] Anyway, we are in the midst in the spring of 2020 of talking about really what has been a series of articles scattered throughout, certainly throughout the journals of higher education, but even in The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times and other things that are predicting rather apocalyptic things for the future of higher education, particularly as relates to enrollment. Anyway, we are talking in this series of podcasts about a lot of different aspects about what we can expect about the future, particularly of enrollment, in higher education and we have our own local resident expert about that here to talk to us today. 

Wyatt: Yes, we’re happy to welcome Stuart Jones, Vice President for Advancement and Enrollment Management here at SUU. 

Jones: It’s good to be here. 

Wyatt: You’ve spent a lot of time in this business. 

Jones: I have. I think I’m on year 27? Maybe 28…who knows…and I have loved it. 

Wyatt: Yeah, you’ve been working so long that you’re almost as old as me. And I’m almost as old as Steve. 

Meredith: Yeah. 

Jones: Yes. And who would have thought? 

Meredith: And I’m almost dead. [All laugh] So…

Jones: Well, when we talk about enrollment numbers, maybe we’ll be glad we’re in our late 50s. 

Meredith: That’s right. 

Wyatt: Well, this is…you mentioned, Steve, this is so fascinating because we get The Chronicle of Higher Education on our desk every week and there is a theme, of course, this is the industry written periodical that everybody gets, and there’s a theme. And the theme is, “Ahhhhhhh!” [All laugh]

Meredith: That’s the theme. 

Jones: That’s the theme. 

Wyatt: I mean, every single edition there’s one or two stories and they had a really large insert piece just a month or so ago that was the…what was that called? 

Meredith: “The Looming Crisis.”

Wyatt: “The Looming Crisis.”  And enrollment and articles have captions such as, “Our Universities Die and So Will Yours” and “We’re Not Immune and Neither are You” and just all of these kinds of articles. If we put that into just a little bit of a perspective at SUU, it gives us cause to be concerned but we’ve actually done pretty good in the last few years, haven’t we, Stuart? 

Jones: We have. I think the more difficult years are to come when those children that were…the fewer children that were born during the Great Recession turn 18 and so we’ll see…if we see a precipice, it will be beginning in about 2025/2026. But we’ve had a good run, yes, the last few years. 

Wyatt: So why don’t you give us just a little bit of perspective?

Jones: Yeah, so you came, as I recall, in January of 2014 and took a look at our enrollment and it had been virtually flat from 2010 until 2014 we had averaged about 8,200 students. Up a little bit, down a little bit. But I remember that you were clearly not satisfied. We happen to be in a state that rewards growth and the state had been growing but we hadn’t been and so, you took it upon yourself to make enrollment a priority. And one of the things you did is certainly change some of the people that were in charge of enrollment and some left and some rededicated themselves and so the cool thing is that since 2014, we’ve had applications that have gone up 60%. Our enrollment has actually gone up from 8,200 to 12,374 at its high this semester, which is 51%. Our first time full-time students have gone up 64% and the nice thing is, in addition to our growth, we’ve actually increased in our quality. So, our index, which is that combination of the SAT, ACT, and our GPA has actually gone up as well by about 3.3 points during that time as well. So, it’s been a good run. And our net tuition has also gone up about 31%. 

Meredith: Right. 

Jones: And I know our CFO would want me to say that. 

Meredith: That’s right. [All laugh]

Wyatt: So, about the time that you started being responsible for enrollment, that’s when the shift occurred, too. Help us understand what happened. 

Jones: Well, I think the most important thing that we did is made enrollment our focus. I love what Warren Buffet says, he and Bill Gates were asked what the key to their success was and they both said the same thing—focus. That you cannot do everything but you can do virtually anything if you really set your mind to it. And I think that comes from the top. I think you made it a high, high priority of the university to grow and to retain students and we put it on the agenda of every Cabinet meeting and that’s what we talk about, it’s what we think about, it’s what we have invested in. And I think that’s probably the most important thing we’ve done is simply said, “This is important to us and we’re going to do what it takes to grow.” I think the second thing that we’ve done is, and I love Jim Collins’ analogy of the bus. The first thing is get the right people on to the bus, get the wrong people off the bus. Get the right people in the right seats on the bus and then decide where the bus is going to go. And I think we had a very solid staff but I think they were not as growth minded as you would have wanted them to be. And so, we worked hard to make sure that we got the right people on the bus in the right seats. And then all agreed on where the bus was going to go. And I think that was very fundamentally important. And then I think we made, as a Cabinet, I think we made a commitment. There’s a lot of universities, as I talked to presidents and vice presidents of enrollments, that are very interested in growth, but I think  very few are ultimately committed to growth by doing whatever it takes to grow and put the necessary investments of resources and people to make that happen. So, those are three that I thought were fundamentally key to turning things around. 

Wyatt: Well, and then we pulled in some…and this is probably part of what you’re saying, but we’ve gone out and sought some of the best information that we can get. We recognized that we didn’t know anything and so we’ve spent a lot of time working with other groups and reaching out. You and I travelled to one of the most difficult states in the country—Illinois, in terms of enrollment—and I actually wish that everybody could have gone with us because we came home from that…that was…

Jones: Sobering. 

Wyatt: My first summer.

Jones: Yeah. 

Wyatt: And we had chief financial officers of major regional universities that said, “We’re not going to make it. Or if we do, we’re going to have to merge with somebody because it’s not good.” And I just think the more we recognize the potential vulnerabilities and all of the challenges, the more our head is out of the sand and looking around and really…just reading The Chronicle. 

Meredith: That’s right. 

Wyatt: Because every single week there’s a story about somebody that…but the more we’re on our game, the more we recognize how much we have to work. And the more we work, the better prepared we are for the eventualities that might come. 

Jones: Well, I know for certain I didn’t know what I didn’t know. It was very sobering for us to go to Illinois and talk about...talk to institutions that had decreasing state resources, decreasing pool of high school graduates, intense competition from all of the states surrounding them. But it also highlighted for me that there was a lot of things that I didn’t know. I came from a world of advancement and I made some huge, whopping mistakes that first year that were important for me to learn from. I remember hearing the quote from Mark Twain that certainly reminded me of me. He said, “It’s not what you don’t know that troubles me, it’s what you know that just ain’t so.”

Wyatt: [Laughs]

Jones: And there were a lot of things I knew that just weren’t so. And I remember hearing a couple of years ago a quote from a sport psychologist that said, “The greatest change comes from pain.” And as I think back, I think one of the fundamental keys for our office is that we suffered some early pain. We made some mistakes, we did some things that proved costly to the university that first year and I was just glad you let me keep my job. But from that, I think we learned humility, we learned that there are some people out there that are a lot smarter than us and so, we’ve teamed with some really good consultants and I think that pain has caused us to be more hungry, I think it’s helped us be more focused, it’s made enrollment management really central to what we do at the university. So, if there’s an upside to pain, it’s that we try to quickly learn from our mistakes and we didn’t have to take any budget cuts. We found ways to grow revenue and enrollment. 

Meredith: I don’t want to derail the conversation at all, but I Know that President Wyatt likes to talk to me on these podcasts because I bring a perspective of a faculty member. So, faculty members, as a general rule, roll their eyes hard when we talk about growth because where the rubber meets the road, they don’t need any more students in their classes in a lot of cases. So, why all of this growth, Stu? Why is it important to go from 8,200 to 11,500?

Jones: Well, and I’m going to defer some of that answer to our President who is a former legislator. We just happen to be in a state that rewards growth. We get operating funding, we’ve been able to get buildings as well. And you know what we’ve seen across the country is that we cannot think of an example where an institution grew and it hurt their quality. I think that we are a better institution today being about 12,000 than we were at 8,000. As long as we’re rewarding those departments and those programs that grow, I don’t think there’s a downside for the faculty. It’s when you grow and then don’t provide them the necessary resources, and then it’s a burden at that point. 

Meredith: Right. 

Wyatt: Yeah, we’ve kept the faculty/student ratio the same through the whole growth. 

Jones: We have. And from your perspective as a legislator, why grow?

Wyatt: Well, so the state has got…the only way we receive money to pay the salaries of the faculty and the staff and to keep the doors open and pay the heating bill is that the legislature gives it to us. We’re one of those fortunate states where the state is actually giving us about half of our budget. Most states it’s not even close to that, they are mostly dependent on tuition. And in order for us to be relevant, in order for us to help the state economy, in order for us to help build the tax revenue that then comes back and pays our budget, we have to help the economy grow and we do that by increasing the percentage of Utah residents who have degrees and certificates post-high school. So, the legislature wants us to grow because they want to see the economy grown and when the economy grows, there’s money to fund what we’re doing. If the economy stagnates or if the economy in our community stagnates or if the other universities in Utah are contributing to the growth of degrees but we’re not, then they forget us. They say, “You’re not part of our strategy for building the state.”

Jones: And I would add to that, I think providing accessibility to students in many ways blesses their lives. 

Wyatt: Mhmm, that’s right. 

Jones: Providing something that’s affordable and accessible provides them greater joy and happiness in their career which improves their health, their marriages…there’s very little downside, if any, to higher education. 

Meredith: So, in that list of very impressive numbers that you started with—51% growth since President Wyatt arrived—what was the net tuition? What does that mean exactly? And isn’t that a part of why we also want to grow?

Jones: It is, because you can’t just look at the gross number. There’s a fine balance between growing students and also growing revenue. There are schools, particularly privates now, that are increasing their enrollments, but they’re doing it at the sacrifice of revenue. So, we back out the instructional cost of what it takes a student and then it’s whatever is left over we call “net tuition.” 

Meredith: And ultimately, that increase of 30-something percent that you said, that has allowed us to add additional academic programs, right? Now, here’s something that is of interest to faculty. If we want to expand what we’re doing, the legislature does, as President Wyatt suggests, give us half of what our operating cost is, but the other half comes from tuition. And so, if there’s more tuition, there’s more flexibility to be able to grow those programs that we think are growing or add additional programs. 

Jones: Grow programs, add faculty.

Meredith: Add faculty…

Jones: That’s how we’ve been able to keep the student/faculty ratio the same. Last year, we added…was it 23? 

Wyatt: I don’t remember the number. I should, but it was a big number. 

Jones: Yeah. 

Meredith: Yeah. 

Jones: 23-some-odd faculty because we have good net tuition revenue. 

Meredith: So, there’s really not a downside to growth. Despite the fact that the three of us regularly go to public events where people pepper us with these questions about growth and why do we have a plan for reasonably aggressive growth here at Southern Utah University. There’s really very little downside that anybody can come up with.

Wyatt: Well, the fear is that as you grow…

Meredith: Right, I understand the fear.

Wyatt: You lose that intimate relationship. 

Meredith: Sure. But we’ve been very careful to make sure that doesn’t happen. 

Wyatt: We’ve kept the faculty/student ratio the same. We just finished building a business building, it’s full of small classrooms. So, we’re still committed to that personal relationship. But here’s the other part of this since we’re just kind of discussing the “why” of growth. Frankly, we were too small at 8,000 students. We couldn’t afford to be what we were trying to be. We couldn’t afford to have certain majors, we couldn’t afford to have Division I athletics, we couldn’t afford a lot of what we were doing because we were…and we were right on the edges of a lot of those things. 

Jones: I’ve heard you speak to the efficiencies of growth as well.

Wyatt: So, as you grow, you grow into the economies of scale, you spread the fixed costs over a larger number of students and you get the benefit of more specialized labor and that makes you more efficient and the average cost per student drops a little bit. And then that gives us the money we need to build new programs and by doing that, students have more opportunities, there’s a broader range of courses they can take and degrees they can take and faculty are able to teach a broader range of things, we get to add new faculty members to departments which brings in people with specialties that we didn’t have before. The whole school becomes better in every respect. If we were to double…well, we increased in size by 50% but we didn’t have to increase in size the president’s office by 50%. In fact, the president’s office is smaller today than it was when I showed up. We haven’t increased advancement by 50%, we haven’t increased alumni by 50%, we haven’t increased what we’re spending on athletics by 50%...so where has that 50% gone? It’s gone to hire faculty…

Meredith: Instruction. 

Wyatt: And expanding programs and increasing the quality of the experience. Plus, the students really actually love the growth. They feel the energy of it. 

Jones: I think if there’s a downside to growth is that there are a handful, probably, a minority in our community that have been affected by parking. We’ve certainly impacted surrounding neighborhoods with housing opportunities for students. That’s, I think if there’s pushback, I probably hear about it from neighbors that are close to the university that are having to go through some change. 

Wyatt: Well, where do we go from here? 

Jones: Well, let me share with you, if you don’t mind, I think one of the innovative approaches that we took to growth that we will use to get to where we want to go. When we brought in Ruffalo Noel Levitz, they suggested that we do a detailed strategic enrollment plan. And I hadn’t been a part of one of those before, but I think it was a great benefit to the university and we ended up engaging over 70 people in the process of where we want to go and what do we want to look like enrollment-wise. At the end of the day, we ended up doing something that was called “Shark Tank.” And I hope we don’t get sued by NBC or CBS, whoever that is that airs it, but they’re not going to get much out of me. But what we did is we solicited from the entire campus enrollment ideas. Like, “Give us some suggestions or ideas of how you think we can grow enrollment.” And we ended up having 143 strategies that were presented to us. The Cabinet took a look at them and said, “We want to have 40 action plans built out from this and then we’re going to have you come to the Cabinet in a Shark Tank environment and you’re going to present it and defend it and show us what kind of return on investment you can get and we’ll invest in a certain number of plans.” And the reason I want to tell you about this is, one, I hadn’t heard of other schools that had done something quite like this and I think it’s been very instrumental in our growth. That first year, we started doing the planning in ’15 and I think that the first funding of Shark Tank, we call it Shark Tank One, I 2016 but we ended up investing—we had 18 presentations given to the Cabinet—and we ended up investing in 12 of those. Now, some of them were for international recruiters, some of them were financial aid counselors, some were for out of state recruiters, summer school, we invested in online…and here’s the cool thing: not all the plans were successful. In fact, of the 12 that we funded, eight were successful and we funded them ongoing. A couple were busts, one we transformed…

Wyatt: Stuart, I think if you went to an entrepreneur and you said, “Eight out of 12 worked.” 

Meredith: Yeah, no kidding. 

Wyatt: I think they’d say, “You hit the ball out of the park.” 

Meredith: Yeah. 

Jones: Yeah. I don’t apologize for that. I think that’s going to happen when you invest in these proposals. But here’s the cool thing: our return on investment so far is 442% return on investment. 

Meredith: Any entrepreneur would take that. 

Jones: Yeah, they certainly would. Well, that helped propel us to get to 10,000 students, but I’ll never forget when we got to 10,000 students. I was just putting my feet up on the desk to kind of take the weekend off when our President here, Scott Wyatt, announced that we were not satisfied at 10,000, that we wanted to get to 15,000 and beyond. And so, we did Shark Tank again and this time we had 19 proposals and we ended up funding 10 of those. And I’ll never forget what you said when we funded the 10, you said, “I wish we could fund them all.” We just didn’t have the resources, but we invested another million dollars into it. And that has…those two investments of those 20 initiatives I think has been fundamentally key. And so, where do we go from here? I think one of the things I know for certain is that you can’t get where you’re going by doing the same thing you’ve always done. That we have to continue, if we want to grow, we have to continue to invest resources, we have to continue to tweak everything we do just a little bit better. 

Wyatt: The Shark Tank is a very entrepreneurial kind of approach that’s not always used in government. 

Jones: No. 

Wyatt: [Laughs] In fact, we were just talking about this. 

Meredith: We were. 

Wyatt: Somebody said something about it, Steve, and I’m trying to remember the phrase, but really what Shark Tank was is, “Who are our customers and what do they need?” That’s really what it was. It’s, “OK, the university is what it is, but what are the needs that we haven’t been addressing and what are the opportunities and how can we better serve people” and we recognized that we didn't have the answers to all of those questions and so, we opened it up to all of the employees to submit suggestions from their vantage point of what they thought we weren’t doing or what we could do and so that’s been really quite an interesting project for us, hasn’t it? 

Jones: It has, and we’ve been really pleased with the results of that. Is that going to be enough to take us where we want to go? No, I think the future, while it is troubling to look at and read the reports and when you look at the states that are actually going to grow in the next decade, they are largely western states other than Texas. It’s Utah, it’s Colorado, it’s Idaho, it’s Wyoming, it’s Montana…but you look at those states and say, “But there’s not many people there.” But those are the only six states, I think, that are going to be projected to grow at 2.5% or above. But there’s not a lot there, and so we’ve got to compete not only getting more market share in Utah and southern Nevada and southern California but we’ve got to expand with new academic programs to meet student needs and meet employer needs. We’ve got to be aggressive in online, both domestically and internationally. You know, there’s a hundred million people in just America that have a high school diploma and no college, and there’s 36 million that have some college, no degree. And so, we’ve got to be very aggressive at meeting those online students where they are. Some of them might be mid-career that are looking for an advancement in their company or beyond, it might be a single mother that can’t uproot and come to Cedar City and we want to be able to provide them access to a Southern Utah University degree. And so, we think online both domestically and internationally will be something that will propel us in the next decade. We’ve also had a lot of success in the international recruitment world, particularly bringing students to campus. We bucked a national trend. Those numbers, as you know, have been going down in recent years but we’ve been able to, I think, provide a really valuable experience for students in Asia and Europe in particular and those students have had a lot of success here. So, those are a few ideas for the future. I think another initiative that’s really important to SUU’s future growth is continuing to build the university’s brand. It’s like, “What do people think about us?” And I think one of the things we’ve learned from a Cicero report is that there’s a very close relationship to people’s awareness of our university and their perceived quality of SUU. And so, we want to I think invest heavily in social media and other marketing outlets to build the brand of the university such that they’re willing to pay more to get an SUU education than perhaps some of our peers. And I know that’s been important to you as well, President. 

Wyatt: Yeah. What we’ve learned is, particularly in our state, Utah, that there is an almost perfect correlation between familiarity and perception of quality. So, the more familiar somebody is with the university, the higher they see it being in terms of quality. And that’s always a little bit of a problem when you’re in the smallest community tucked away from most of the population centers because people don’t become as familiar with you as automatically. And so, I think that for Southern Utah University, we have a little bit bigger of a battle to build familiarity than schools do that are right in the middle of the main population centers, the Wasatch Front or those kind of places. But this is important not just simply for growth, this is important for every aspect of the university. That if we can build the reputation of the school then that means that the diploma has more currency to it. It means that it’s easier to recruit high quality faculty and staff, it means that it’s easier to get investments from philanthropists and community members. It’s just, in every respect, building a brand is very, very important. I was talking with a friend of mine who served on the Governor’s Cabinet and she mentioned a particular university and said, “Wow, this university has become amazing.” And I said, “Well, help me understand why you would say that?” Not that I was questioning her, I just wanted to know the basis for her opinion that this university had become amazing. The only two things that she could tell me was that she’d seen billboards and that it had grown. That was it. And I thought, “Wow, that’s really interesting that the mere fact that there’s energy is interpreted as being quality.” Which…and the mere fact that familiarity went up because they had some billboards translated into a higher quality school. And so, one of the advantages of growing—we’ve talked about the importance of growing to serve the needs of students, to increase the percentage of people in Utah…or throughout our region that have bachelor’s degrees or post-high school certificates or degrees and we’ve talked about all of these…to help build the economy and everything, but another reason to grow, simply, is to build the reputation of the school. 

Meredith: And not just among legislators or parents of prospective students but…

Wyatt: Everybody. 

Meredith: Yeah. If we’re going to become the university of the jobs, not only the university of the parks but if we’re going to prepare students with job readiness programs then we have to convince industry to partner with us and the better our brand is, the more likely industry partners are going to want to get together with us.


Wyatt: And the more likely industry builds in our community. 

Meredith: That’s right. The more likely we are to attract people to build here. 

Wyatt: Mhmm. It builds the economy for everybody. So, it’s a big part of everything. But building the brand is important and we’ve been working really hard to increase the reputation of the school. 

Jones: Yes, we have. And it’s not easy when you’re off the Wasatch Front in a rural community, it takes a great deal of work to get in the newspaper and get on the minds of students, high school counselors, parents, legislators, etc. But we’re working hard to do that. 

Wyatt: When you say Wasatch Front, for those that don’t know that term, the Wasatch Front is this beautiful mountain range that runs from about Provo, Utah County up to Salt Lake and then a little bit north. It’s where the majority of people in Utah live and it happens to be where most of the big television stations and radio stations and newspapers are and we’re a few hours away from that living in a beautiful community of about 30,000 people. It’s about the origin of all state news, that’s the bottom line. 

Meredith: I’m thrilled when we show up on the evening weather forecast. [All laugh] Very often we don’t even make that, so that’s always a nice day. 

Wyatt: This is actually the greatest place to work and live and study. It’s just an amazing place. We’re here in this beautiful community surrounded by seven national parks within a four hour drive, the closest one 20 minutes away. We’ve got a Tony Award winning Shakespeare theater that does a lot more than just Shakespeare. 

Meredith: Yep. 

Wyatt: And we’ve got…it’s just a beautiful place. Great history. 

Jones: And even on a chilly January day, I look out and it’s blue skies. 

Wyatt: Yeah. A lot of blue skies, I can walk to work every day, students come from 63 countries around the world. They like it here because it’s a good environment and it’s safe and it’s high quality. Our challenge on building the brand is helping everybody recognize the quality because they don’t recognize the quality unless they are more familiar with the school. 

Jones: It’s no different than a consumer in a store. They’re typically going to buy the brand they’ve heard of. They assume that if they’ve heard of it, there’s an implied quality. 

Wyatt: Well, as we go forward from here, one of the things that we need to be very aware of is that the enrollment challenges that universities and colleges around the country are facing may come to us. It’s just that Utah is a little bit behind everyone else in the declining of students coming to college because we’ve had a higher birth rate than many other places and because of the economic activity in Utah, primarily in the center of the population, the Wasatch Front, a lot of economic growth up there. But our birth rate dropped in 2008 like everybody else’s and we’re going to see some changes in 2026. And so, part of this growth strategy is to have a running head start when we know that the inevitable disruptions are going to occur in about six years. 

Jones: Not only a running head start but I think sort of a diversified approach to enrollment so that if we take a hit in in-state, we’ll have out of state or international or online to help back us up. And the fact is that we live in a beautiful place but it is not designed for growth. Our community is small, we’re extremely rural, we have two very competitive universities on either side of us that are also growing, and so we don’t have what I would call a lot of easy answers to growth. We can’t just roll out of bed and expect that we’re going to have a class. We actually have to work for every student that we get and I think the future going forward is going to be even more intense and competitive and that if we take our foot off the pedal, we could easily decline in-state and the out of state market in Las Vegas is not that big and there’s increasingly more competition to get those students as well and southern California. And so, I think that we have to continue to stay focused, we have to continue to provide an enormously valuable opportunity for students when they come here. That they know that it’s not about us, it’s about them and that everything we do is to help them be successful, to have a great experience, to get a wonderful job, become engaged as citizens in their communities and it’s important that we continue to invest in things like innovative ideas…three year degree, partnerships with Southwest, you probably on some show talk about our Best Friend Partnership…those kinds of innovative partnerships I think are very key to what we’re doing and then making sure that we continue to add and update our programs so that they reflect the needs and wants of the students and also of future employers.

Wyatt: The value of having students from other countries and from other states…not only is it financially helpful for the school but it brings a lot of new ideas and new people and opportunities. I grew up in a rural community and I remember thinking diversity was the two white kids that were a member of a different church than mine. [All laugh]

Meredith: Well, that was diversity for your community. 

Wyatt: And now I have such great friends from countries all around the world and from different states and from different racial and ethnic backgrounds and they just…they bring a tremendous amount of beauty into my world and I get to think through ideas that have never been presented to me before. 

Meredith: And even in our online…you know, I’m on the record here as being a big proponent of online education and literally can go anywhere in the country now and get an invitation to go to lunch with a student who thinks that I am their great friend and mentor, despite the fact that we have never met each other. 

Wyatt: Yeah. 

Meredith: We’ve never seen each other face-to-face except on Skype. They would know what I looked like maybe and I would know what they looked like but we’ve never shook hands, we’ve never been in the same room as each other and the minute that I let it know that I’m going to be in Virginia or I’m going to be in Florida or I’m going to be somewhere…

Jones: You’ve got friends. 

Meredith: I’ve got friends that are great friends that I stay in great contact with. 

Wyatt: Well, and as our students develop those kind of friendships from people that are in different communities around the state and the country and the world, we provide them with connections and opportunities that they wouldn’t have otherwise. 

Meredith: That’s right. 

Wyatt: So, it’s a tremendous value. Well, we continue to grow and we do so because it makes us better, it makes our students have…it gives our students better opportunities, we become institution, we become a better state because that’s a very big part of our mission is to help grow the economy and increase the quality of life, which is different than economy. It’s part of that, but it’s bigger than that. 

Meredith: You’ve been listening to Solutions for Higher Education, a podcast featuring Scott L Wyatt, the president of Southern Utah University in Cedar City, Utah. We’ve had as our guest in-studio today Stuart Jones who is our Vice President for Advancement and Enrollment Management. And Stu, we appreciate you coming by and helping us kick off this round of podcasts. 

Jones: Thanks for having me. 

Meredith: And we thank you, our listeners, for tuning in. We appreciate everything you do for us. We’ll be back again soon, bye bye.