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Suzanne Spreadbury Transcript

Suzanne Spreadbury Transcript

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Published by: binnofactory on Mar 25, 2010
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09/30/2012

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Suzanne Spreadbury Transcript[CHRIS FINLAY]:
As you mentioned we’re sort of crossing a largespectrum of -- of the design -- or sorry, the educational experience andyou know she said you had a -- you covered a particular interestingspace and might be some of those you talk to, to start to fill in ourknowledge about that. So, I wonder if you could just maybe start bytelling us a little bit about you and what you’re up to and the programthat you run.
[SUZANNE SPREADBURY]:
Sure. So, you know, we are thecontinuing education kind of arm of Harvard University. So, we’recharged to opening up Harvard to the local community and througharound the globe. Most of our students are working and going toschool part-time, usually taking just one or two courses in the evening,more balancing family and work and so a lot of -- so I’m in charge of --mostly I’m in charge of the undergraduate degree program. So, I workwith students who maybe have gone to school for one year or one anda half years and had to -- to leave school for whatever reason and arenow back. They’re usually working full-time and they want to finishtheir undergraduate degree and they want a high quality experience,it’s going to be their time, their money, they wanted to be somethingsignificant so they’re choosing to come to Harvard and to do it in theevening and through distance education of course we’re seeing likeother schools are large increasing enrollments around distance ed.And certainly not just from people from other states and othercountries. We’re right here in Cambridge we want their convenience of being able to study online and still work and go on business trips andcare for children and all that sort of things.
[SUZANNE SPREADBURY]:
So, I do oversee a lot of the professionalmasters programs as well and these are people who already have abachelor’s degree and they’re coming back for some professionaleducation, the master’s degree and environmental management or ITor easy in studies or journalism things like that. Who are eitherchanging careers or who have reached to point in their career wherethey need some more credentialing to move up, or simply interested inthe topic and once we’re in more -- but you know I think a lot of peopleare thinking about the environment more and want to change into thator thinking about journalism and wanting to make an impact in, eitherthe governments and commenting and so and we provide high qualityeducation at a fairly affordable price. We have a lot of our instructorscome from the university or they come from local institution so like MITand Brandeis and they come and they teach in the evening. And our --and our course of action it’s pretty much based on what the instructorwww.businessinnovationfactory.com/sxl
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 wants to teach, we don’t have a core curriculum that we go out andhire people to teach we say which our expertise, what would you liketo teach, we’re looking for something in environmental management,what can you bring to the table and so, you know we have a great --what’s wonderful about it is that you have a lot of students who wantto be here and then you have a lot of faculty who want to be hereteaching courses that they really want to teach so it’s great -- it’swonderful synergy in the classroom.
[CHRIS FINLAY]:
Nice. That sounds really exciting.
[SUZANNE SPREADBURY]:
Yeah, it’s really and, you know I thinkwhat makes us very unique is that we’re open enrollment so, you cancome and just take a course or you need to do today is the first day of registration actually so you can jump online and find the course you’reinterested in and just register. We don’t require anything else, if youwant to join a program you need to take courses for that first and dowell. So, like for the undergraduate program you have to take threecourses, earn grades to D minus or higher in those three courses, oneof them is a required writing class, the other two could be whateveryou’d like. And as long as you can do the work then you’ll be admittedinto our program, we don’t look at CTs or prior college work we say,you know, democratically if you can do the work then we want to admityou.
[SUZANNE SPREADBURY]:
Most of our students are 31, 32 years oldlooking at a CT courses, not something that would be at all informativeto the process.
[CHRIS FINLAY]:
Yeah.
[SUZANNE SPREADBURY]:
And, also students have been to schoolten -- ten years ago or so, I mean again looking at those kinds of transcripts to evaluate students teams not at all what these people aretoday, they’re very different people. And so we want to judge themwhere they are and where they are is -- is what they can do now andwe certainly want to make sure that they have strong writing andresearch skills, so a lot of the masters program require a researchcourse at the beginning as well to make sure that they’re entering theprogram with strong writing and critical thinking and research goalsand our writing courses are small, they’re limited to 15 students sopeople getting a lot of attention. So, it’s a perfect kind of gateway intothe program and you know students really responded as they -- andespecially adult students they want to be judge in who they are nowand not who they were when they were 15, 16 and it’s -- it’s, youwww.businessinnovationfactory.com/sxl
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 know, is a perfect match and it works very, very well.
[SUZANNE SPREADBURY]:
I think one of the big things that we -- Imean we have one of the highest retentions rates, I mean in the end of graduate program I’m looking at around an 88 to 89 percent retentionwhen we get our students they stay, they don’t leave -- they had thequality of the teaching, the academic advising and the ease that wemake it for them, giving their working schedules, you know, they find ita way to complete their degrees so I mean I think that speaks a lot tothe success of the program, you know.
[CHRIS FINLAY]:
It’s very exciting based on what -- what we’vediscovered in our last month, it’s a -- it’s a pretty sharp programyou’ve got going. How -- can I ask how you guys were able to come to-- to develop this program to make it so accessible and dynamic and ---
[SUZANNE SPREADBURY]:
Well, I mean we have, you know, we’relucky that, you know, at the turns of century a lot of innovation wasgoing on around education there was kind of a whole revaluationwhere people were saying, you know, these big universities need tostart to getting back to the community and luckily so we’re -- we’recelebrating our centennial this year so we have been around for a 100years.
[SUZANNE SPREADBURY]:
So, you know at the beginning presidentof Harvard was very much part of this movement and he haveestablished the extension school. And from the beginning we weredesigned as an undergraduate program. So, with open enrollmentclasses and we were kind of charge with the idea of pretty mucheducating teachers. There was a lot of people, a lot of population wasgrowing and there wasn’t enough teachers and people needed to workas teachers and get proficient at it. So, we were -- that’s pretty muchour history.
[CHRIS FINLAY]:
So -- sorry, the -- so the extension schools has beenaround for 100 years?
[SUZANNE SPREADBURY]:
A 100 years, yeah and ---
[CHRIS FINLAY]:
Wow! And what could you tell me the philosophy of that is like, do you guys have like a mission statement or somethingthat’s guided you through that 100 years?
[SUZANNE SPREADBURY]:
Yeah, I mean I think the mission hasbeen to, you know, kind of open the gates of the resources of this verywww.businessinnovationfactory.com/sxl
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