YouTube Series: Concurrent Enrollment, Under the Hood

November 16, 2020

We were very excited to hear about an upcoming YouTube video series called Concurrent Enrollment, Under the Hood, developed and produced by long-time NACEP member Brandon Kowallis at Salt Lake Community College.  This series of videos takes a comprehensive look at a variety of program management topics and is set to launch on November 16th with new episodes each week.  NACEP’s Executive Director, Amy Williams, recently took a moment to chat with Brandon about this project.

Amy: As practitioners, we often tackle similar versions of the same kind of programmatic issues.  While the terms and context may be different, the logistics are often largely the same. As you know, sharing of strategies, insights, and best practices is foundational to how NACEP formed and a huge part of our work supporting the membership.  It sounds like your experiences with NACEP events and our community, as well as your experiences building and managing your program really influenced this project.  Was that the inspiration for Under the Hood?

Brandon: Absolutely! My experience with NACEP has been a major influence on this project. I’ve been attending the NACEP Conference now for over 10 years and one thing I noticed was that there are a lot of people who attend the conference that are in the initial phases of setting up a concurrent enrollment program, or who just got assigned to manage a program and are desperate for resources and support. I was once in the same situation when I first started as the Director of the CE program here at Salt Lake Community College. NACEP and the community at large helped me navigate this new realm. That said, it took a couple of years before I finally felt like I was starting to get a handle on things and another couple of years after that to get to a point where I could say things are pretty awesome on a day to day basis.

After hearing folks at the conference describe going through what I went through, I wanted to share what I had learned. Our program is always improving and we are far from perfect, but we’re a heck of a lot better off than we were six years ago. I saw this show as an opportunity to share with others the things I wish I would have had when I was just getting started.

The community element is also super important to this project. Engaging with NACEP’s national network of members has been a huge support for me over the years, so I wanted to foster community-building opportunities as part of this project.  I strongly encourage the NACEP community to post their questions or comments below the video and respond to one another. Sort of like the NACEP listserv, but framed around the topics addressed in each episode. I’ll be bopping in occasionally to answer any questions and add my two cents and may even shoot future videos on any topics that people are interested in. We’re an open book here at SLCC and I am happy to share anything people are curious about.

Amy: I love that you are planning to release episodes over time, what is the best way for people to keep an eye out for content? 

Brandon: We’ve shot 18 episodes and will be releasing one per week beginning November 16th. We’ve partnered with NACEP to release these, so we’ll be sending those out through the listserv, NACEP social media, and the monthly newsletter the Oracle. CE practitioners can also access our YouTube channel at any time here.

Amy: What was your favorite topic to dig in on?

Brandon: That’s a hard one because everything I address in the show is something that has dramatically changed my ability to run a top-notch, continuously improving CE program. I really loved digging into how we have partnered with others to expand the capacity and functionality of our program. I think there is real power in the relationships you nurture and maintain.

Also, I’m a total geek when it comes to process improvement and project management. My staff make fun of me for it all the time, but at the same time, they realize how critical this approach is. It is a beautiful thing to move from change as something to fear, to change that everyone can get on board with and excited about.

Amy: It sounds like you gathered a lot of information from a variety of sources, did you learn anything new as you worked through the episodes?

Brandon: Absolutely! I think when you share with others it forces you to really dive in and dissect what you do in a way that helps you to better understand what you do and why you do it. There were things I didn’t know about the intricacies of our funding model that Cyd Grua at the Utah System of Higher Education helped me to better understand.

I also had to really think through things like how to explain our unique liaison model in a way that made sense. That has been a hot topic for outside observers to understand as we’ve talked about it nationally.

It was really nice to spend some time deep thinking about things like our meeting structures, the power of purpose, and our relationship management strategy, and make sure we were still heading on the right path.

Episode 12: Our Meeting Strategy

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The last thing anyone wants to do is attend a meeting that waste's their time and saps their energy. So how do you ensure that each one of your meetings both helps you achieve your goals and add value to those who attend? In this video we'll go through the meeting strategy we use to determine what meetings to host when and who to invite.

After watching this video, what are some ideas do you have for making meetings more worth everyone's time? What type of meetings do you host that been exceptionally impactful and energizing? We would love for you to share that with the broader CE community in the comments below the video. Have questions for us? Post those to the video on YouTube.

Episode 11: Instructor Processes

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Questions to consider:

How do you make sure that your high school instructors have everything they need in order to deliver a college experience in their high school classroom? In this video, we will go through ALL of our instructor processes from getting new instructors up to speed as quickly and as easily as possible, to reminding them of all the tasks they need to complete, to tracking the completion of those tasks in our MyCE system. It's all here in this video.

After watching this video, what are some ideas do you have for improving your own instructor process, or what suggestions do you have for us? We would love for you to share that with the broader CE community in the comments below the video. Have questions for us? Post those to the video on YouTube.

Episode 10: Meet Our Coordinators

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Questions to consider:

In this episode we'll introduce you to a couple of our CE coordinators (high school employees who have been tasked with overseeing the concurrent enrollment programs in each high school), and give you a chance to hear from them on how they manage the CE programs in their schools on top of their other responsibilities and how that structure works. We'll also give you a tour of our MyCE system and the tools that exist for CE coordinators to manage their programs.

How do you structure your programs in the high schools and who oversees each program in each high school? Are there any upsides or downsides of that structure and arrangement? We would love for you to share that with the broader concurrent enrollment community in the comments below the video. Have questions for us? Post those to the video on YouTube.

Episode 9: Meet Our CE Liaisons

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Questions to consider:

You've heard about how our liaison model works and why we structured it the way we did from the director's perspective. In this video you'll hear about the program from the liaison's perspectives; what has worked well and what hasn't worked so well.

What are some of the challenges that your liaison program has faced? What have you done that has worked well? We would love for you to share that with the broader concurrent enrollment community in the comments below the video. Have questions for us? Post those to the video on YouTube.

Episode 8:Our Liaison Model

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Questions to consider:

How do you reeaaaally ensure that what is happening in the high school concurrent enrollment classroom is the same as what is happening on the college campus in both the content being delivered and in the college experience. In this video we'll walk through a unique approach to ensure that both of those aspects of the concurrent enrollment experience are top notch.

How do you ensure that your concurrent enrollment high school instructors are delivering both college content and a college experience and not college content under the umbrella of a high school experience? We would love for you to share that with the broader CE community in the comments below the video. Have questions for us? Post those to the video on YouTube.

Episode 7: How Our Advising Processes Work

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Questions to consider:

One of the great challenges across the nation is how to keep students who are hungry for the cost and time savings associated with concurrent enrollment from taking too many classes that don't help them toward a major and career. In this video, we walk through step by step how our advising process works and give you behind the scenes look at our advising tool in our Canusia system.

What does your advising process look like? We would love for you to share that with the broader concurrent enrollment community in the comments below the video. Have questions for us? Post those to the video on YouTube.

Episode 6: How Our Advising Program is Structured

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Questions to consider:

How do you stop students from wasting time and money by taking classes that don't count toward a degree or certificate? In this episode we'll talk through not just how our advising program is structured in partnership with the SLCC Admissions Office, but why we decided to adopt that structure to maximize our resources and serve more students. You'll meet the SLCC CE advisors and hear from them what they do on a day to day basis.

How is your advising program structured and what has worked well or not so well within that structure? We would love for you to share that with the broader concurrent enrollment community in the comments below the video. Have questions for us? Post those to the video on YouTube.

Episode 5: Creating & Transferring New CE Courses

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Questions to consider:

How do you decide which classes to offer via concurrent enrollment and how do you align both college and high school credit? In this episode, we'll be talking again to Cyd Grua at the Utah System of Higher Education to find out how new concurrent enrollment courses and determined and created in the state of Utah.

What process do you go through to create concurrent enrollment courses in your school or state? Are there any upsides or downsides of your course creation process? We would love for you to share that with the broader concurrent enrollment community in the comments below the video. Have questions for us? Post those to the video on YouTube.

Episode 4: How We're Funded

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Questions to consider:

There are so many different ways to fund a concurrent enrollment program. So how does SLCC do it? In this episode, we'll talk to Cyd Grua to dig into how the concurrent enrollment funding model works in the state of Utah.

How is your program funded and how has that worked for you? Are there any upsides or downsides of your funding model you would like to share? We would love for you to share that with the broader concurrent enrollment community in the comments below the video. Have questions for us? Post those to the video on YouTube.

Episode 3: How We're Organized

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Questions to consider:

There are probably a thousand ways you could structure a concurrent enrollment program. In this episode, we'll talk about how and why the SLCC CE program is structured the way it is.

How are you structured in your program and what has worked well or not so well within that structure? We would love for you to share that with the broader concurrent enrollment community in the comments below the video. Have questions for us? Post those on the YouTube video.

Episode 2: Defining Your Purpose

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Questions to consider:

If you don't know where you are going the chances of getting there are extremely small. In this episode, we'll talk about the vital importance of clearly defining your purpose as a concurrent enrollment program before you take any next steps. Additionally, we'll show you an activity that you can use to refine and define your own purpose statement.

What is your purpose and how has that guided your program and the direction you are going and the decisions you've had to make? We would love for you to share that with the broader concurrent enrollment community in the comments below the video. Have questions for us? Post those on the YouTube video.

Episode 1: Under the Hood

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Questions to consider:

What's under the hood? In this episode, we give viewers an overview of what this show is all about and talk about each topic we are going to be addressing in each episode. So come join us as we rev up our engines and take a look at what makes this concurrent enrollment machine at Salt Lake Community College tick.

Is there anything we didn't mention that you would love to hear about how we manage that topic at SLCC? If so, post it below the video in the comments sections on the YouTube video and maybe we'll make that into a future episode.