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Q&A: Lauren's #1 Piece of Advice for Providing Support at Scale. Start with Data.

What’s your current role at Emeritus?

Associate Director of Academic Delivery, Professional Certificates

We are a team of 14, soon to be 17, that is poised to double in size over the next year. Made up of Academic Delivery Managers who implement our programs and manage Course Leaders, Success Coaches, and Career Coaches. The team is young, last year this time we were a team of 3 so all of this growth has happened in the last year. The bootcamp portfolio has existed for 3 years, but up until last year, we were only running a couple of programs. We now have 17 different programs, with multiple cohorts concurrently running.

What did you do before Emeritus?

I’ve been in the bootcamp space for quite some time. Prior to Emeritus, I worked at Thinkful (acquired by Chegg) for 4 years, where I saw the organization scale from about 50 employees to over 200, where I managed the Student Success and Customer Support Teams. Prior to that, I worked at General Assembly’s DC campus where I managed part-time, and later full-time programs.

In my past life, I worked as a Web/GIS Developer which is how I found my way into Education Technology.

What’s been the “the same” or “different” across the organizations you’ve been a part of?

It’s been very interesting to see the implementation of bootcamps in 3 very different organizations. What I would say is the same is all of the organizations I’ve worked at have a strong mission orientation, and a focus on making education more accessible. They have all been staffed by really passionate people who want to make a difference and I have met some incredible folks through these roles.

The main differences I’ve seen have been how the organizations focus on developing their portfolio and how they think about growth. Emeritus is the first organization I’ve worked with that partners directly with traditional higher education institutions to have faculty build our courses with an in-house design team. The portfolio of courses offered at Emeritus is also very diverse so bootcamps are just one piece of the pie. (We even have some courses that are focused on k-12 through our acquisition of idTech). At Chegg/Thinkful, the offerings were not all course-based so the institutional focus was more spread out.

I know you think about support@scale a lot. What’s one piece of advice/practice that you have seen effective for supporting learners at scale?

Support at Scale has been my guiding focus over the past 5 years of my career. One of the biggest things that has helped me is starting with data and asking a lot of questions. What does the data tell us about where students are struggling? Where are students dropping out most frequently? At what point in the program do students need an extra push because they stop submitting assignments? If I don’t have this data, I figure out how I can get it. Sometimes this has meant being scrappy or manually collecting data for a while until we have systems that can do this for us. But what this has enabled me to do is focus resources on that which will make the biggest impact on the student experience and run experiments to understand what moves the needle. This alone has been the biggest factor in allowing me to figure out what my team and students need most to be successful, take on bigger challenges, and help more students reach their goals.

If you're interested in being a part of a community of operators and educators focused on supporting adult learners succeed, consider applying to the Learner Success Guild.


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