The Herman Trend Alert
July 25, 2018
The Future of Private Universities
Some years back in 2005, a transformational event took place in High Point, North Carolina. A serial entrepreneur and world class speaker Nido Qubein took over the leadership of High Point University (HPU).
Armed with the grand vision to make HPU a nationally recognized university and a $2 Billion USD investment to make it happen, Qubein began working to make his dream a reality---for the community, for the parents of the students the university would serve, for the thousands of students the university would touch, and for the society that would be positively affected by the remarkable graduates HPU would produce. This Herman Trend Alert details what can happen when the right person is in the right place at the right time.
Holistic Learning Environment
Not only is HPU dedicated to giving its students extraordinary experiences, but the entire environment is engineered to support students to be who they can be in the world, as happy and productive citizens, who routinely give back to society. There is even a service learning component for many academic courses and all students are encouraged to volunteer.
Freshman Life Skills Seminar
Taught by Qubein himself, this extraordinary learning experience teaches students time and energy management, fiscal literacy, communication skills, and much more. Qubein educates his freshman to be "not problem-solvers, but solution-finders"---a subtle, but important difference. Imagine if you could have a self-made multi-millionaire teaching your children all of his brilliant short-cuts and clever tactics for creating the lives they want for themselves. This course is just their first exposure to the HPU entrepreneurial mindset. Qubein wants his graduates to be "job creators not job takers".
Freshman Success Coaches support new student success
Housed in HPU's Center for Student Success is the open, glass-walled Freshman Success Coach Space. There, the dozen or so coaches monitor and support the activities of the new students at HPU. Their goal is to help them integrate into the environment and work with other students to create engaged communities through service learning projects, joining clubs and organizations, or other collaborative ventures.
Experiential Learning at its Best
While being one of the premier life skills universities, HPU creates a comfortable and transparent environment in which students may grow. Not only does HPU provide help with arranging internships and study abroad, but career advisors help students to communicate the value they derived as advantages for their prospective employers.
An upscale restaurant to teach dining
Also on campus is a tablecloth restaurant called 1924 Prime. There students are exposed to proper dining etiquette and a monthly changing menu of ethnic food from around the world. Weekly visits to this fine dining establishment are part of the standard dining plan for all students. In addition, there are learning opportunities onsite, featuring speakers who cover important topics like dressing for success and managing chance encounters to make valuable connections.
Within the last few years, Qubein has engaged distinguished faculty like Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, as "Innovator in Residence" and Mark Randolph, co-founder of Netflix, as "Entrepreneur in Residence". Moreover, he attracted Joe Michaels, 20-year director of the TODAY SHOW, as a full-time faculty member, teaching television production. Most recently, our author's speaking colleague Scott McKain came aboard as their "Corporate Educator in Residence", helping students know what corporations are looking for.
A model for colleges and universities worldwide
While many colleges and universities do not have the resources of now award-winning HPU, what is most important (and free) is its orientation to prepare students for what comes next in a caring and supportive environment. HPU has led the way for student-centric higher education. Expect to see many more private universities following their lead.
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