MBU Hosts Annual Community Breakfast

Community members and Maranatha faculty and staff gathered on August 17, 2021, for the Annual Community Business Breakfast that kicked off the fall season of breakfasts. 

In opening the meeting, Steve Board, Director of Development, announced that the Business Breakfast series would be renamed Leadership Breakfasts. This change reflects Maranatha’s mission and the goal of the series: to train leaders and give them opportunities to interact with leaders in the community.  

After giving a few announcements (see below), Board turned the presentation over to Dr. Matt Davis, CEO of Maranatha Baptist University, who presented “Macro Trends in Higher Education.” 

Macro Trends in Higher Education 

The Problem 

Davis got right to the problem stating that higher education is in a financial crisis. CFOs and trustees of colleges across the nation are recognizing this financial crisis as the market demand for higher education isn’t what it used to be. There aren’t as many students and there are more degrees and campuses than students would need or want. Students are also choosing alternative pathways for their education.  

 When looking at alternative pathways, Davis shared a graph from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) that stated the division between online and residential learning has changed significantly over the last decade. Students want options and flexibility which results in 50% of current students being online instead of residential. 

In the workforce, Davis shared that most people will change jobs 17 times through five different careers. Employees aren’t on career paths anymore; they’re on career journeys. And it’s not always a journey upwards; many steps on the journey are purposeful, lateral moves so that the employee can try something new.  

The Solution 

 So, what has higher education done in response to these trending problems? 

  1. There are more certificate programs being created. These certificate programs provide an alternative learning pathway in that they take less time, less money, and can be stacked towards a degree. They are perfect for someone starting a new career or looking to boost their skills. 
  2. Companies are establishing corporate tuition benefit agreements with institutions to encourage their employees to further their education. Skills-based programs have become an important market segment and companies need people who are not only competent but specialize in a specific aspect of the workforce.  
  3. Identifying as a transfer student is becoming normal as students seek to break out of traditional learning styles and customize their degree programs. Davis shared that 75% of students attend more than one college. Universities are working to change the landscape of higher education to attract students with numerous credits from numerous institutions.  

Davis ended the presentation with four reflection questions: 

  • Am I willing to meet the market where it is and where it’s going? 
  • Am I willing to acknowledge that things are vastly different than when we were in college? 
  • Am I willing to accept that change is accelerating and our resolve to address it will be vital to future success?  
  • Am I willing to partner with employees and higher education?  

Upcoming at Maranatha 

The next Leadership Breakfast will be on September 8 and feature Watertown Mayor Emily McFarland and Alex Allon, Director of Strategic Innovation and Development. McFarland and Allon welcome your feedback during this presentation detailing the Main Street Reconstruction Task Force project. Learn more.

Also on September 8, MBU will host a job fair and we invite your business to participate. You will have the opportunity to meet students looking for off-campus employment and have conversations with them about your company. Contact the Development Office at development@mbu.edu for more information.

On October 13, Thrive Economic Development will have its annual meeting as part of our Leadership Breakfast Series. The keynote speaker is Chris Czarnik, who will present “Winning the War for Talent: Becoming and Remaining an ‘Employer of Choice.’” 

Susan Marshall, CEO of the Backbone Institute, will be speaking on November 11 and will present “Living Fearlessly in a Fearful Time.” 

You are invited to enjoy the comedic production, “You Can’t Take It With You” on November 11 through 13. There will be three evening performances and a matinee on November 13. Learn more. 

Looking to encourage your employees to pursue higher education? Learn more about MBU’s Corporate Partners program. Give your employees the tools and discounts they need to grow in their skills.  

Another resource available to you through Maranatha Baptist University is the Maranatha Music Prep School. If you have or know children who are interested in learning an instrument, explore MBU’s Prep School