Episode 6: Authors Kate Colbert and Joe Sallustio talk about the hottest book to hit higher ed, “Commencement”

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March 2023: First, there was the podcast; then there was the book; now there is a revolution. Learn all about it in this month's interview on the Distance Learning Roundtable show with the authors of "Commencement."

March 1, 2023: A Note from USDLA executive director Pat Cassella and Edu Alliance Group exec Dean Hoke — We invite you to tune in for this month’s episode of our podcast and video show, Distance Learning Roundtable, where for 30 minutes we gain insights from industry experts.

Meet this month’s guests — Kate Colbert and Joe Sallustio, authors of the hottest book to hit higher ed, Commencement

Today’s Topic: The New Era of Education

Dean and Pat ask the authors: 

  • Dean: Let’s start with your book Commencement, The Beginning of a New Era in Higher Education. What was your motivation for writing the book? Second, tell us about your interactions with over 100 College and University presidents.
  • Pat: The Pandemic was a game changer in the field of education. Many institutions had some experience with online learning for 10-20 years, primarily through a blended model. However, most turned to a totally online model during the crisis. In your opinion, what is the difference between a true online program and one that they implemented “for emergency use only”?
  • Dean: A subject that is not often talked about is the marketing of online degree programs. It appears how to present an online degree to potential students is very different than how to present to students who physically attend. From your experiences in branding and positioning, briefly tell our listeners and viewers your views.
  • Pat Joe, as Senior Vice President, Lindenwood Global, at Lindenwood University. what are some of the challenges associated with starting an online program at a nearly 200-year-old university?
  • Dean: Millions of potential students are employed but do not have any degree or want to enroll and obtain their advanced degrees. States are pressing for improvement and employers want this as well. With respect to student flexibility, how do you implement an effective policy that is acceptable for both students and employers?
  • Pat: What does online learning look like five years from now for higher education? Will there be consolidation or expansion?

Click here to watch the video interview!

About the Book

Meet co-author Kate Colbert: A former higher-education insider and current world-renowned marketing expert, Kate Colbert develops college-and-university brand stories that are meaningful to the prospective student and measurable on the institutional balance sheet. She has overseen brand and enrollment marketing, public relations, and alumni relations at two Chicago-area graduate schools. Kate has additional expertise in corporate education, university crisis management, and faculty relations. She has consulted for Northeastern University, UC San Francisco, Carthage College, Tulane University School of Law, Babson College, The University of Tulsa College of Law, Bradley University, and Medical College of Georgia. Ms. Colbert has spoken at the American Association of Medical Colleges, the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), and graduate education seminars with EducationDynamics. She is a six-time recipient of CASE District V’s annual awards for excellence in marketing and communications. She contributed to the book Net Proceeds: Increased Revenue from Enrollment and Advancement (Moore and Abrahamson) and authored the 2018 bestselling book Think Like a Marketer: How a Shift in Mindset Can Change Everything for Your Business. Kate has served as a faculty member at Illinois State University, the College of Lake County, Loyola University Chicago, and Lake Forest Graduate School of Management.

Meet co-author Joe Sallustio: As one of our nation’s foremost higher-education experts, Dr. Joe Sallustio has led a broad range of educational institutions in various sectors of higher education. He served as Senior Vice President of Lindenwood Global at Lindenwood University and was formerly Chief Operating Officer at Claremont Lincoln University. Dr. Sallustio is a senior consultant to the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, Executive Director and Board Member at The Association for the Advancement of the College Admissions Profession, and contributing writer for Fierce Education and The EvoLLLution. He is a frequent speaker, moderator, and panelist at higher-education conferences. Dr. Sallustio is co-founder and host of America’s leading higher-education podcast, The EdUp Experience. He has interviewed more than 140 college and university presidents, ed-tech CEOs, and business and industry executives domestically and globally. Episodes of The EdUp Experience Podcast have been downloaded more than 125,000 times, making Joe one of the world’s most recognizable and impactful higher-education voices influencing higher education today.

About Commencement: ​First, there was the podcast; then there was the book; now there is a revolution. The EdUp Experience Podcast, co-founded by Elvin Freytes and Dr. Joe Sallustio in 2020, quickly became the nation’s #1 higher-education podcast, where the industry’s brightest and most influential minds stepped up to the microphone to talk about the pressing issues faced by colleges and universities and the students they serve. As hundreds of academic leaders offered their candid insights on air, it became clear that a deep analysis of the emerging themes from those conversations – coupled with additional research about the future of higher education, alongside unfiltered perspectives from industry thought leaders Kate Colbert and Joe Sallustio, EdD – could become a book that the industry needs and deserves. So, on Thanksgiving 2022, Colbert and Sallustio released the book born from interviews with 100+ college and university presidents, welcoming readers into a conversation like no other.

Commencement debuted as Amazon’s #1 New Release in the higher-education administration category and remains atop several category bestseller lists. Fierce Education heralded the book as this year’s “must-read book for higher education’s winter break” and Dr. Bill Pepicello, Former President, University of Phoenix, calls Commencement “A torch to be passed in the long relay race of higher education.” Higher education is a time-honored tradition … but traditions change. Commencement challenges readers – from within higher education as well as from places of influence in ed-tech, K-12 education, industry, educational consulting, public policy, and elsewhere – to discard the status quo and to answer the call of modern learners to bring new-and-improved value to post-secondary learning experiences. Higher-education leaders and authors Kate Colbert and Dr. Joe Sallustio offer a rare glimpse into the inner sanctums of decision-making in American higher education, with stories and quotes that will shock and delight you, alongside practical tips from book contributor Elvin Freytes, workbook-style exercises, “pop quizzes,” and bold predictions that make Commencement the one book that could change the face of higher education forever.

Click here to buy the book!

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