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 2: Defining Your Purpose

Episode 1: Under the Hood