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A podcast dedicated to the past, present, and future of the higher education industry. Featuring in-depth conversations with some of our nation’s higher education leaders.

Debra Iles, Harvard Kennedy School
Nancy Coleman, Harvard Extension School
John Caron, Excelsior College
MindMaxing Episode 15 Kim Rutigliano, Southern Methodist University
Patricia Malone, Stony Brook University
Karen Sibley, Brown University
MindMaxing Podcast Episode 12 Melik Khoury, Unity College
MindMaxing Episode 11 Michael Robertson, Southern Methodist University
Podcast-Episode-10 Lynne Rosansky, Brandeis University
MindMaxing Episode 9 David Schejbal, Excelsior College
Robert Melaragni Robert Melaragni, Fisher College
Nami Shukla, San José State University
Jerry Rhead, Michigan State University
Sarah Caggiano, Rhode Island School of Design
Dr. Laurel Hogue, University of Central Missouri
Kathleen Ehlers, Fisher College
John LaBrie, Ed.D., Clark University
J. Kim McNutt, California State University, Dominguez Hills

Debra Iles, Harvard Kennedy School

Harvard Kennedy School Dean for Executive Education Debra Iles believes that the pandemic has “created the opportunity for us to think differently, to embrace some things that we were perhaps postponing.” Debra and I met virtually for episode 18 of MindMaxing, the final episode in the podcast’s first season, where she reflected on the unique perspective she and her colleagues had throughout the pandemic. Listen to the full episode wherever you find your podcasts or watch it above.

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Nancy Coleman, Harvard Extension School

Dean of Harvard University Division of Continuing Education and University Extension Nancy J. Coleman, Ed.D., believes creating space for reflection is important, especially in higher education. “If we’re truly going to figure out ‘how do we create value for our students?’ … there needs to be some thinking in that. And I found one of the best ways to do that is through connection with my peers, whether it be through UPCEA, or other associations, or other meetings,” Nancy said during our conversation for episode 17 of MindMaxing, our second to last episode of our first season. Listen to the full episode wherever you find your podcasts or watch it below via YouTube.

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John Caron, Excelsior College

Excelsior College Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs John Caron can see a difference in how colleges and universities are networking since the start of the pandemic. One of the things that Excelsior is doing that John finds interesting is exploring partnership opportunities with other schools, exploring pathways from their non-credit courses and certificates to an Excelsior degree program. “There’s an openness maybe as a result of this experience we all went through in 2020 to collaborate and to partner rather than compete with each other,” John said in episode 16 of MindMaxing. Listen to the full episode wherever you find your podcasts or watch it above to hear John’s thoughts on growth opportunities in the face of COVID-19.

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Kim Rutigliano, Southern Methodist University

Southern Methodist University Managing Director of Global, Online, and Continuing Education Kim Rutigliano is hopeful that the positive shifts colleges and universities went through to make classes accessible due to the pandemic will continue to bring about positive change in the future. “I think, at its best, if we continue on this trajectory, the place that we’re leading to is to address issues of access and equity to widen the net of who can attend a college,” Kim said in episode 15 of MindMaxing. Listen to the full episode for her take on what other lessons were learned in the last year.

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Patricia Malone, Stony Brook University

Stony Brook University Associate Vice President for Professional Education and Assistant Provost for Engaged Learning Patricia Malone joined us for an episode of MindMaxing where she discussed the ways Stony Brook adjusted to COVID-19. From pulling together an army of experts who, virtually overnight, launched dozens of workshops for K-12 teachers to learn best practices in teaching remotely, to developing support systems for students and faculty, Stony Brook worked to support large communities across its campus and the globe as we all adjusted to our new normal.

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Karen Sibley, Brown University

Before her retirement earlier this year, former Brown University Vice President for Strategic Initiatives and Dean of the School of Professional Studies Karen Sibley joined MindMax CEO Lee Maxey for episode 13 of MindMaxing. Karen dove into topics like the “crash course” that faculty had to go through to learn the pedagogy for teaching online courses, and her outlook for higher education in the future. She believes that in the next six months, institutions will move away from the idea that there is only one way to do things and that “there will be an embracing of technology in order to do more and serve more effectively in the educational setting.” Listen to the full episode above or wherever you get your podcasts.

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Melik Khoury, Unity College

Unity College President Melik Peter Khoury, D.B.A., expects to see significant changes in higher education post-pandemic in the forms of more closures, more mergers, and more overall transformations. “We at Unity College are trying to transform our model to be one that does not talk about innovation, but one that innovates, to design pedagogy and curriculum and pricing specifically for each different type of student, instead of a one-size-fits-all,” Melik said. “That’s the exciting thing about the future, is we don’t know [how] it’s going to end up.”

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Michael Robertson, Southern Methodist University

After examining the way Southern Methodist University adapted to the pandemic, Assistant Provost for Global, Online, and Continuing Education Michael Robertson believes a willingness to do two tough things will ensure continued growth in higher education in the long run. “We have to be willing to fail and we have to be willing to be uncomfortable at times, that’s just the nature of change,” Michael said during our conversation in episode 11 of MindMaxing, which puts a spotlight on leadership in higher education.

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Lynne Rosansky, Brandeis University

In the new, post-COVID-19 world, Brandeis University Rabb School of Continuing Studies Vice President Lynne Rosansky, Ph.D., believes innovation will continue to take shape on and beyond Brandeis University’s campus in terms of its tools and its people. In episode 10 of MindMaxing, Lynne chats with MindMax CEO Lee Maxey and discusses how she envisions the faculty evolving to meet the needs of the students after the pandemic. “I think we will see some really exciting innovation from dedicated faculty [in the long term] who really do want to provide, and know the value of providing, a very amazingly robust and rigorous learning experience to their students,” Lynne said during the conversation. Listen to the full episode wherever you find your podcasts, or via the links below.

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David Schejbal, Excelsior College

For Excelsior College President David Schejbal, Ph.D., the COVID-19 pandemic reminded him just how important the academic experience is and helped him reflect on how it has changed over the years. “I think in many ways, higher education in this country has lost its way over the past couple of decades,” Schejbal said, “because we’ve gone from talking about the social value and the benefit of higher education and how we help improve people’s lives and how we help support the country broadly…And we’ve reduced a lot of higher education to just a conversation about job training. And in my view, that just isn’t what it’s about.” Listen to episode nine of MindMaxing to hear how David believes colleges and universities can truly focus on students’ needs as they look ahead to the future.

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Bob Melaragni, Fisher College

Fisher College Vice President of Enrollment Management Robert “Bob” Melaragni and MindMax CEO Lee Maxey got together (on Zoom) to discuss how COVID-19 has impacted Fisher students, faculty, and staff. As a pioneer in the online learning space, Fisher was well poised to pivot to an online-only model during the pandemic. It also utilized social media platforms and other tools to effectively reach students and their families, and meet their communication expectations. “This prior year has been a good one, a challenging one,” Bob said, “but a good one here at Fisher.” Hear more about how Fisher adapted over the last year and what it plans to do in the coming year in episode 8 of MindMaxing, which you can find wherever you get your podcasts.

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Nami Shukla, San José State University

San José State University Associate Dean for the College of Professional and Global Education Namrata Shukla calls the past year in academia “transformational.” In episode seven of MindMaxing, MindMax CEO Lee Maxey and Namrata, who also goes by Nami, discuss how pivots at SJSU due to COVID-19 have paved the way for positive outcomes, such as the potential for resources to reach more community members, and that students are finding a better work-life balance.

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Jerry Rhead, Michigan State University

Looking ahead after a tumultuous year in higher education, Michigan State University Director of Academic Entrepreneurship Gerald “Jerry” Rhead tries to keep a balanced perspective. “A lot of stuff got done in the last year. Some of it great, some of it maybe not so great, but you have an opportunity to look at that from a balanced perspective and say ‘What worked? What do we want to continue to do? How does that benefit our learner?’,” Jerry said in episode six of MindMaxing. Listen to MindMax CEO Lee Maxey’s full conversation with Jerry to hear more about how he believes the University is positioned in the short term to continue building on changes made due to the pandemic, and his overall outlook on the state of higher education.

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Sarah Caggiano, Rhode Island School of Design

Sarah Caggiano, Rhode Island School of Design Executive Director of Continuing Education, can’t help but think about the old proverb “Necessity is the mother of invention” when she looks back on the impact COVID-19 has had on her team and herself. Over the past year, Sarah oversaw a transition from mostly studio-based art and design offerings to programs that were entirely online, all while ensuring her team remained collaborative, connected, and supported in the face of the pandemic. Hear more of Sarah’s leadership journey in episode 5 of MindMaxing, hosted by MindMax CEO Lee Maxey.

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Dr. Laurel Hogue, University of Central Missouri 

An unintended bonus outcome of the pandemic for the University of Central Missouri (UCM) was the re-examination of virtually every area on campus, from grading and admission criteria, to commencement ceremonies (of which they had 10 to accommodate students and families last year). In this episode of MindMaxing, Dr. Laurel Hogue, Vice Provost of Extended Studies at UCM, discusses the evaluation processes and the value of technology with MindMax CEO Lee Maxey.

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Kathleen Ehlers, Fisher College

Kathleen Ehlers, Fisher College’s Vice President for Online, Graduate and Professional Studies, said 2020 was the hardest year in higher education “to help students in the way they truly need to be helped because of the pandemic.” How did Fisher navigate the challenges presented by COVID-19? Hear more from Kathleen in our third episode of MindMaxing with MindMax CEO Lee Maxey.


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John LaBrie, Ed.D., Clark University

For Clark University Dean of School of Professional Studies and Associate Provost for Professional Education, John LaBrie, Ed.D., the most striking thing across the board when he reflects on the last year in higher education, is that no matter a student’s background, the pandemic has been difficult for them on a very personal and heartfelt level. In this episode of MindMaxing, MindMax CEO Lee Maxey and John discuss the impact of COVID-19 on Clark University and dig into John’s outlook for the future of higher education.


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J. Kim McNutt, California State University, Dominguez Hills

In our first episode we hear from J. Kim McNutt, Dean of the College of Extended and International Education at California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH). When COVID-19 reached the U.S. in 2020, Kim wasn’t too worried. But when the gravity of the situation became clear, he and his team adapted quickly to meet the needs of students at CSUDH. MindMax CEO Lee Maxey sat down with Kim for a virtual discussion on how agile thinking helped his unit find unpredictable success in an incredibly challenging year.

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