Episode 69 – Philomena Mantella – How to be the First Woman President of a Midwestern University

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For high school graduates, the expectation to obtain a college degree seems higher than ever, but greater still is the pressure to pursue a marketable course of study to offset the heavy price tag. The student loan crisis signifies that it’s time for a change in how we view higher education, and Philomena Mantella, a leader in higher-ed innovation and the new president of Grand Valley State University, has a plan to redefine higher education. The first female president of GVSU, Philomena joins Lynne Golodner on this episode of the Make Meaning podcast to share her vision for fusing earning with learning, making education more accessible to a diverse group of students, and why viewing education as a linear path is old-school. Tune in here: 

Philomena Mantella recently came to Michigan from Northeastern University, where she spent the last 18 years as Senior VP of Enrollment and Student Life and CEO of the Lifelong Learning Network. Known for being a change agent in expanding global markets and lifelong learning efforts, her vast knowledge from both sides of the educational market – with both students and employers – informs her work as she strives to redefine the mission of higher education at GVSU. 

In this episode, Lynne and Philomena discuss: 

  • Addressing the student loan crisis 
  • Curtailing cost escalation of higher education 
  • Fusing learning plans with earning plans 
  • Shifting the model of college admissions from exclusive to inclusive 
  • Addressing the needs of lifelong learners 
  • The role of relationships in pursuing purpose 

Links and Resources 

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Coming up April 20th on the Make Meaning Podcast: 

Jason Kadlitz, owner and operator of the Berkley Chop Shop, talks with Lynne about how he has created a place where everyone matters. Tune in to hear how Jason treats every customer as more than just a haircut, and how he builds a community on relationships not only with his customers, but among his customers, as well.