It’s time for schools and universities to serve all learners, especially in an equitable and accessible environment.
National Louis University, under the visionary leadership of Dr. Nivine Megahed, is reshaping education and lives to meet this ever-present need. Their commitment to equity, employability, and social transformation stands as a beacon in the evolving educational landscape.
NLU’s focus extends beyond degrees, emphasizing continuous learning, skills, and economic stability. By addressing challenges faced by marginalized students, NLU exemplifies a commitment to inclusivity and success for all.
In an era where education is redefined, NLU’s model reminds us of the power of personalized support and empowerment. As we celebrate NLU’s recognition for social mobility, their journey exemplifies that education isn’t just about degrees; it’s about tangible impact and transformation.
Listen in to hear more of this very timely and necessary conversation.
About Dr. Nivine Megahed:
Dr. Megahed has worked in higher education for over 35 years. As an educational entrepreneur, her passion is building innovative student centered organizations focused on student success and empowering our most marginalized populations to achieve social and economic mobility through education.
Jump in the Conversation:
[1:40] – Nivine’s story of school transformation
[3:02] – National Louis University and the needs it addresses
[5:19] – Building programs with best practices and data
[7:33] – Helping students find jobs
[10:04] – Creating a career bridge for students and taking responsibility
[12:14] – From internship to post graduate jobs
[15:39] – Educational equity in a university
[20:37] – How NLU compares to prestigious, pricy universities
[23:20] – Meeting the mission of public good
[25:40] – Turbo Time
[33:25] – Nivine’s Magic Wand
[34:36] – Maureen’s Takeaways
Links & Resources
- National Louis University
- Follow Dr. Megahed on Twitter
- Connect with Dr. Megahed on LinkedIn
- Email Maureen
- Maureen’s TEDx: Changing My Mind to Change Our Schools
- The Education Evolution
- Facebook: Follow Education Evolution
- Twitter: Follow Education Evolution
- LinkedIn: Follow Education Evolution
- EdActive Collective
- Maureen’s book: Creating Micro-Schools for Colorful Mismatched Kids
- Micro-school feature on Good Morning America
- The Micro-School Coalition
- Facebook: The Micro-School Coalition
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 0:03
Hello fellow parents and educators. Thank you for joining me at Education Evolution, where we are disrupting the status quo in today’s learning models. We talk about present day education, what’s broken, who’s fixing it, and how. I’m Dr. Maureen O’Shaughnessy, your host and founder of Education Evolution, micro school coalition, and co founder of Edactive, I consult and train with schools and leaders who are fiercely committed to changing the narrative, reimagining the education landscape and creating learning that serves all children and prepares them to thrive. If you are new, welcome to the podcast. Please subscribe on our website to get it delivered to your inbox weekly. If you’ve been around a while, have you left a review?
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 1:08
Nivine it is so good to have you on Education Evolution.
Dr. Nivine Megahed 1:12
It is so great to be here.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 1:14
And listeners. today I’m chatting with Dr. Nivine Megahed president of National Louis University in Chicago. NLU is creating equity and access in a modern urban university setting. Let’s dive in. Nivine, our schools and universities must evolve to serve all learners and equity is more important than ever and more on our radar than ever. Where did this story of school transformation begin for you?
Dr. Nivine Megahed 1:45
Oh, thank you for asking. You know, about seven years ago, I was in the middle of thinking about what where do we need this university to go and where do we need it to be. And at the same time, every single day, you would read articles about higher ed is too expensive, higher ed is failing. Students who are getting in are not finishing students who are finishing are not getting jobs for you know, it is just not doing what it’s supposed to do. And I finally one day went to our board said I want to completely re envision undergraduate education to address these issues, we have to make it affordable, we have to figure out what it takes to help students be successful. But particularly students who are often forgotten or left behind who feel like they don’t have the opportunity to improve their lives through education. And it was really just sort of felt like this is a really big issue, and we need to solve it. And so we went about doing it and launched a whole new undergraduate college that would address these issues.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 2:46
Wow. That is so impressive. universities don’t usually say, hey, we need to do an overhaul we’re going to look at things differently. I think NLU is a powerful example of evolving education. Can you tell us a bit about your university and the specific needs it addresses?
Dr. Nivine Megahed 3:07
Absolutely. So you know, where university was founded back in the 1800s, and 1886. And I always say the incredible thing about our history was were founded by a woman. And it was, and it was a woman who, who actually began to work in the United States around helping other women educate children. And I always say that, that was our pioneering beginning, because one is the 1800s, we didn’t believe in, you know, nurturing the creativity of kids, we didn’t believe in helping them engage with the world, we were like, you stay in the corner and behave yourselves. And so this was a whole new movement to engage children. And she also worked with women who are also often immigrants, who did not have prospects for how they were going to survive in this country. So I go, that is our DNA. And throughout our whole history, it’s always been then how do we serve those who are being the ones left on the sidelines? And how do we help those who are most in need. And so today, what that looks like is an institution that serves almost 11,000 students and undergraduate college that about 3500 students. And we very intentionally try to sort of students who are often on the marginalized side, up 70% of our students in the undergraduate college are what we call Pell eligible, which means that they’re coming from the lower income brackets. 70% of them are bipoc. And 70% of them are the first in their family to go to college. And to me that is truly living out our mission of serving those who often feel like they don’t have the opportunity and are being left behind.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 4:53
Wow, any one of those three populations would be impressive that you have Well over 50%. But in all three of those areas, boy talk about reaching out to the ones that can be underserved or marginalized. You guys are doing it,
Dr. Nivine Megahed 5:13
totally doing it. It’s like a, it’s like a, it’s a really deep commitment and up and up. The programs that we built, were built using every best practice that we could come up with. And then really studying all the data that was coming in to say, how do we keep improving what we’re doing. So we developed clear pathways for them to complete their degrees, we embedded career support for them throughout their education. And part of that was I had a very deep belief that we fail if our students graduated and are not employed. And so I wanted to make sure we built in ways for them to get prepared to transition to life and employment, and that we actually help them get that first employment. So I always say we don’t measure our success by graduation, we measure it by employment. And we built predictive analytics so we could proactively intervene when we thought a student was struggling. We flipped the learning model, we gave everyone a success coach, I mean, we built this model, to ensure that we were trying to do everything we could to help our students succeed. And so we were super excited about it. And then we brought that in, when we came in, it was $10,000 a year. So essentially, students who could not afford education between the Pell grants that they got the government and our state MAP grants, they had no costs to their tuition, it was basically covered through those grants. So we were solving the affordability issue, the trying to support them issue, we were having them only have to come in two days a week. So they could work part time because most of them did have to work part time anyway. And it was basically a design, you know, is a design problem to solve, like, how do we design this in a way that addresses the needs of individuals who often don’t have the time and have a lot of commitments, but yet need the opportunity to advance their lives?
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 7:07
Oh, my gosh, I, there’s so many parts of that, that I want to unpack. One. Let me start with the career piece. My daughters are in their 20s. And I hear their friends and even them at times saying, Yeah, I have this degree. My friends have the student loan debt, and wet I’m going to work in a cubicle to pay it off. And what next? And how and where are the jobs? So not only are your students not slammed with that, and having their options limited to pay it off? But how do you get them ready for careers? And how do you help them get their first job, I am thrilled that you have an outcome metric that is not graduating, but they they’re graduating and employed. So tell us more?
Dr. Nivine Megahed 8:01
Yeah, so I’ve actually known across the state of Illinois, as the person who keeps talking about higher ed has to own employment outcomes. Not very popular amongst my fellow presidents, because it’s a huge, it’s a huge commitment. So what we did to solve it, and particularly because we were dealing with a lot of first gen kids who didn’t have access to a lot of resources, right, so we first knew that we had to embed it in the curriculum, our students actually have a required course, every year, that’s building skills towards employment. And it starts with career exploration, working up your first resume, laying out your LinkedIn profile, even though it’s not much to say, when you start, but learning how to position yourself building your brand, what is it gonna be, and and then it’s it continues to build on those skills and those we call durable skills, the soft skills, they’re going to need to be able to be effective in the workplace. And in their third year, they go on internship, so we work on helping them prepare for what that’s going to look like, and how do they communicate, and how do they interview. There’s practice sessions with them, and we do the work all the way through with them through their third year to their internship. And then in their fourth year, we’re working with them to actually be applying for jobs. So we do a lot of the traditional career fairs and career work and working with employer partners. But we also actually coach them on specific job openings with their resumes and how to position themselves and how to take the interview. And then we debrief with them. So we’d literally like do the work straight through until they’re employed. And you know, you’re talking about your kids, and how they’re struggling with that. And I have nieces and nephews, who also and they have parents who’ve gone to college and who have jobs, and they needed so much help to get started. So they had an ad to the university president helping them with all of their statements and all of their resumes and, you know, how do you write the thank you Though that how do you negotiate your salary? And how do you apply for the next thing? And I thought, like, the kids that we’re serving, they have none of that. And how are we? How do we possibly think that it is not our responsibility to help them create get that bridge to employment. So, I mean, our kids get that. But I feel like every kid should get that when they go to college, that’s just be part of the college experience. My big mantra is, you know, 98% of people are going to college to get better employment. They’re not going just to be enlightened. Their big goal is like, do I get a job in the end? And can I sustain myself? Or do I feel like it gave me what I needed to be marketable out there? So I think you have to be very intentional about that. And we’ve made sure that we are,
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 10:49
well, I guess, and I know, because my micro school, tries to help juniors and seniors get an internship on Wednesdays on an expeditionary day if they want. Boy getting internships are hard. Yeah. How have you gone about making this happen as something that everybody in their third year has access to?
Dr. Nivine Megahed 11:11
Well, we’ve made a big investment, right. And, you know, we sought out funding to help us get started, we have a whole department called the career bridge, and they have in their employment relations managers, and their job is to keep reaching out to employers and build partnerships. And then we have our student coaches on the employment side who work with the students and connected with the employers. So it’s just a lot of like, blocking and tackling and building the bench strengths to have the positions. And then I think the Employers appreciate that we follow up, and that we’re asking them to debrief with us also. And what else do we need to do to better prepare our students, so they are the people that you want to hire. And so it becomes a sort of virtuous cycle that we’re always working to, to fulfill their needs, and help our students be better, competitively prepared, but also help our students present themselves better. So it just becomes you. We just made the commitment and thought it was a really important piece of, of the experience our students needed to AF.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 12:13
Yes. Does it ever turn out that the internship leads to a post postgraduate job?
Speaker 2 12:21
Totally. So that’s one of the reasons internships are great, because a lot of times you can get 50 to 60% of those becoming a job offer for a student when they graduate. So then you’re only worried about the self exam, find their jobs, and they transition. But yeah, it’s it’s one of the ways to really help yourself to get them to get the foot up in the door to get employed.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 12:42
Boy, this kind of change and looking at it so differently from traditional universities dispense information, and kids get credits, and they’re done. They graduate, they’re done. And the university is done with their job. At the end of each class, each quarter of taking this responsibility. It has to be systemic. I mean, it has to be inside out how has NLU succeeded in creating this change? Because you’re talking about we here’s where we are, but how in the heck did you get from something more traditional to something that is so student centered?
Dr. Nivine Megahed 13:18
Well, we have always described ourselves as student centered. And I think that we just really started to push ourselves in terms of what does that really mean? And if we’re really student centered, what do our students really need? And how do we know we’re getting it for them? And I think it was sort of it inevitable to reach the conclusion, right. But it did take a lot of consistent messaging over and over and over again, across the institution. It’s no, there’s probably not a meeting that goes by at the university level, where one of us is that saying, if our students graduate, but they’re not employed, we have failed. That is our mantra. So and so we hold that barred say, they’ve got to be employed, you know, unless they have taken themselves out saying I, you know, whatever, I’m pregnant or whatever, I’m going to take time off. Yeah. So it’s, it really is, I feel like it’s just the morally right thing to do. And so we do it. And I’m hoping other institutions will eventually follow. Because I think that’s what students want is they want to be employed. Now, I’ll tell you, like our, our, we do things to when we roll out our programs, and when we are coming up with things. We’re we’re always thinking about them from the perspective of what problems are we trying to solve, right? And so for us, it really was about trying to drive social and economic mobility for our students, because we felt like That was our best way of impacting communities. If our students who came from some of the most blighted neighborhoods were able to economically move they were gonna And it was interesting the percentage of students who said, I want to help my community when I graduated from here. So it just really felt like if we can drive them to economically grow and stabilize themselves, they’ll be able to give back in ways that eventually impact their community and others will benefit from this as well. So we sought to do this whole program, and build our whole undergraduate colleges, while it was really around this idea of not just that we’re here to educate, but this is how we transform our communities. So what was interesting is one of the things we learned when we really talked to our students is, we were still losing a lot of students, even though we made it affordable. We supported them in every way. And when we unpacked it, we saw that many of them had such economic hardship going on in their lives, and so many competing priorities, that we were not truly thinking about it from their side. And so we are now in a whole new initiative, which will I think disrupt the world again, which is we flipped that around and said, What if we give our students a six month credential that gets them a job really quickly, that stabilizes them? And then what if we create a different kind of pathway to complete their degree while through their work, and get them out in like three years. So we’re trying that now, because we think that part of the issue for our students is, even though they don’t have any tuition costs, working part time on the side wasn’t going to help pay the rent, fully cover their living expenses, their food expenses. So now we’re like completely re redoing the model, again, to see what this other model work better at helping students complete, who are coming from backgrounds where there’s just so many things going on.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 16:49
That is brilliant. And I’m hearing more about Google having certificates, Microsoft having certificates. At that, do we really need the full four year, four year plus degree to get that job? Or do we need skills? And then can we go back? And as you said, Ken, are there some ways that we can stack things and keep going? So looking at, again, non traditional, it doesn’t have to be consistent year after year? Right now, how far along in that process? Are you?
Dr. Nivine Megahed 17:20
Well, we have the front end credentials, we had like three of them built, we’re building a few more. And now we’re starting to envision how do we use the work environment to build the rest of the programming around it? So it’s gonna probably take us another year to really have sort of a prototype to try out. But, you know, again, it’s like, for us, it’s like, how do we solve the problem of helping more people get through and advance their lives? And you’re right, that there has been, there is such a big question out there around the value of higher education. And I find it, it’s so irritating, and irksome. Because the data is still so clear that if you have your bachelor’s degree across your life, you have so much more earning power than if you don’t. So yes, you could start out with a credential. And so I like to think of it as like, we should be thinking with our learners is that they are lifelong partners. And our goal is to try to get them to higher and higher credentials, because that improves their earning power. And everyone’s always thinks so dichotomously, like, it’s one or the other, you don’t need a college degree, or you do need a college degree. The fact of the matter is, each credential you earn is going to position you in a in a more competitive light. And people shouldn’t be thinking of it as like, Oh, you don’t need College? or Yes, you do need college. It’s like, they may need to be employed first and they be economically stabilized and then advancing themselves is just a good thing.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 18:50
Absolutely. Boy, you’re doing so many things to dive into access. How would you describe educational equity? What would it look like in a university? What are some of the attributes? Because I think you’re living it. And I think naming it always helps make it clear.
Dr. Nivine Megahed 19:09
So I would say, we are definitely living the access mission. So you know, we definitely will give people an opportunity. The equity mission is one that has a much harder one, because we are trying to drive equity in outcomes. And so we have to pay a lot more attention to what are the supports of our sort of black or brown students, that that helped them to stay and persist because we see the same issues that everyone else sees nationally, like men of color, in particular drop out at much faster rates than anybody else. But if you want equity, you gotta like find a way to figure out how do you engage them to stay so you’re not having differential attrition rates. If you want equity, you got to find ways to help them achieve close achievement gaps between men of color and And men that are not of color. And so it’s a constant for us a matter of experimentation. So we recently developed like sort of different affinity groups for men of color and one for our women of color. And, you know, we’re trying to give them a better sense of belonging while we support them academically, but it’s like constantly just trying to unpack what are the issues getting in the way of both academic achievement and persistence for those groups? And that, to me, achieving educational equity would mean you find the magic sauce that that helps to close those gaps, so that everyone’s performing really well.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 20:37
That makes good sense. Yeah, I know that there’s this prestige around the top 1% of the universities and, and there’s super pricey, and so many people apply to such a small amount of the universities. And I think the the thought is that these top ranked universities, that cost a lot must be the only way to go. I think NLU is proving that’s not true. Tell us, what do you find as you compare yourself to some of those elite schools?
Dr. Nivine Megahed 21:13
Yeah, so your, you know, the elite schools are in their own class, right. And they are always going to sort of attract these big numbers of students and, and there’s probably, you know, if you’re coming out of Harvard, and you say, you went to Harvard, that, that gives you some instant credibility that you don’t get when you’ve gone to a state school or a different kind of school. So there, it’s definitely a institutional privilege. And if you’re lucky enough, that you’re one of the poor students that’s funded to go there, God bless you, that’s a great thing. But the majority of students in this country are served in the middle tier institutions, the majority, I mean, I’d say 80% of education is happening in the middle tier institutions. And so I always think two things like one is, I’m really glad to see that the ratings game is starting to get completely questioned, because it has always been based on the inputs and the outcomes. So I proudly tell people that, you know, other institutions rate excellence by how selective they are. And you know, how, how high the GPA and Sats are of their students, so I go, educating those students as a piece of cake, they educate themselves, I know that there’s no courage in that there’s no nobility in that institutions like ours, it’s a we will give that to Whoa, a try, who couldn’t do very well on the LSAT at all, because that person’s got grit, and they want to do better for themselves, and they’re gonna fight to make their lives a better place. And I believe that’s where the real courage and nobility of education exists. That’s where the true impact of trying to impact communities and you know, and transform lives matters. And the outcomes they find in the long run, whether you’ve gone to the elite school or to the non elite school, end up being relatively the same, the amount of mobility that happens is relatively the same. So it’s kind of a misnomer, that you have to go there to get that, to get that special advantage. And you, you know, if you happen to have really wealthy parents who could flip the bill, it’s great. If you don’t, you can do it affordably and still get all that benefit. I though will have to say I was particularly proud when we were ranked in the bought the Washington Monthly magazine this year, number 18 nationally as an institution that was working to improve the world and improve having, you know, sort of meeting the mission of public good. And amongst our other 18 Comrades was every one of the other elites. And so you know, you’re going down this list, every elite, elite, elite Elite, and then you see a National Louis University, and I’m sure everybody was like, who’s National Louis convexity. I think we got more hits to our website after that than ever before. But we were also ranked like number three in social mobility. Number three of all those schools, so our students based on where they were coming from what happened when they left, we’re doing you know, the movement up was tremendous. And we were like, like, number two for best paying if you’re back in the Midwest, all of that just like felt like such validation for the work we are trying to do on behalf of our students.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 24:28
Wow. Yes. And improving the world. Meeting the mission of public good. Hello, not how many valedictorians or how many this or that but not counting widgets, but people that are impacting and shaping our future. That has to do really good.
Dr. Nivine Megahed 24:50
It was it was it was the happiest I had been what I got that at a lot of time. I was like, Wow, I can’t think of a better way to start a day. See something like this
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 25:00
Dr. Nivine Megahed 25:03
Because it really just said to me, we were doing what we believe was most important about higher ed, really social mobility, economic mobility. I just can’t think of a more important thing, particularly when you’re dealing with first gen, and low income students. I remember for all students, like you said, even your kids are like, how do I get into the workforce? How does this work? And I just think it was really, it was very sweet victory day.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 25:30
Completely. Nivine, I want to pivot. I think it’s always fun to get to know a little bit about the person behind the university or organization. May I ask you a few turbo time questions?
Dr. Nivine Megahed 25:43
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 25:44
Wonderful. What’s the last book you read?
Dr. Nivine Megahed 25:48
Oh, you’re gonna last. My first grand niece was born. And I was running down to meet her. And the last book I read was good night moon.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 26:01
Oh, that is iconic. I love that.
Dr. Nivine Megahed 26:06
I was like, she must hear this from me right now.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 26:14
Two inspirational folks you’d like to meet? And they could be dead or alive. And they can even be fictitious like Professor Dumbledore.
Dr. Nivine Megahed 26:23
Well, I am so sad that Jimmy Carter is in hospice. Because he has always been someone who was a soul I wanted to be I thought he, there was just something incredibly noble about him that just wanted to beat him. And then I think the other person I really wish I could have met was MLK. I just, I would have loved to have sat down and had a conversation with him.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 26:48
Dr. Nivine Megahed 26:51
He wasn’t pretty. I mean, it speaks for himself what he’s done, but I like you, I like to sort of know the person. So I would love to like sit down and to tell me tell me all about you. What makes you want to do this? This is like, so risky. And it’s so big.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 27:09
Yeah. What’s the passion that you bring to equitable adult education?
Dr. Nivine Megahed 27:16
I think my passion is just, I believe, to the poor, that education is the greatest force, we have to keep our democracy healthy and alive. And that we need to make sure as many people as possible have access to it, because that’s the only way we’re going to navigate our way through some of these really difficult times we’re experiencing. So it’s just my belief is that it’s about building opportunity for people.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 27:42
I agree. Oh, about a favorite thing, or fun fact about Chicago.
Dr. Nivine Megahed 27:49
Oh, my favorite fun fact about Chicago. This will reveal my, my one of my sins. It’s the home of the brownie. I don’t know if you knew that. Dale scented the brownie here at one of these hotels, and it is the most it’s at the Palmer House. Actually, they still have the original brownie that was invented. And when you order it there comes out with the ice cream and the hot fudge and I’m like, oh my god, this is like the most amazing thing like someone else would tell you sports teams or, you know, all the restaurants or the other amazing architecture. I’m like, No, it’s the brownie. Everyone was about the brownie.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 28:29
Love it. Oh, do you think others whether you know, other school leaders, and maybe secondary or college or graduate? How can other school leaders, be activists to help follow in your footsteps, do something similar to ask these tough questions, and then move toward equity, equity, and outcomes.
Dr. Nivine Megahed 28:53
So I talk a lot to other leaders about that. And, you know, when we first did our undergraduate, I remember other presidents said to me, Oh, it can’t be done, and it won’t be sustainable. And yeah, go ahead. It’s just gonna be your route. And I was like, oh, man, that’s even more of a challenge. So, you know, once it got really rolling, and I was being able to demonstrate how the financial model actually worked, and it was sustainable. I now actually have people who pay attention. And whenever we do make a move, they pay attention like, okay, what are they doing now? And sometimes I think that’s the the way that I inspire, if you will, or influence, because I think I often I’m always just looking at how do I solve this? And I have always been a person who’s like, I don’t care what everyone else thinks this needs to be solved. It’s probably why the Gates Foundation call this a bunch of positive deviance. That’s an actual real term a positive deviant as a young sort of an individual or organization that believes that they can solve intractable problems without saying I need a billion dollars to do it. And that has always been us, like, we see a problem like, oh my god, there’s not enough kids who are coming from these marginalized backgrounds who feel like they can get an education, we have to solve that, oh, my gosh, they’re dropping out too quickly, they need stability, we have to sell that, oh, my gosh, we need better teachers, we need to solve that. And so we’ve just always had this sort of can do attitude. And we have a whole team here. And I think if you have that attitude, people who are around you get inspired and excited about it and join with you. And so I would say to them, like, maybe you’re watching, and you think what we’re doing is crazy. But I would say to you, like challenge your teams, to, to think about both developing the can do attitude, and doing the things that they think are impossible, like, think beyond the norms beyond the rules as a what if, and then try it. And one of the things that we have done here, which is to me, also unusual for higher ed is we believe in this concept of fail fast. So we actually try things, and we collect the data very quick. And then we keep adjusting and moving and seeing what improves. And then we iterate and we celebrate what fails, it keeps moving to move towards success. And it’s become sort of a debit to how we work. And people love it and they feel freed up because they’re not worried about what happens if they fail. They feel like I only worry if I don’t try anything, because I know you’re gonna be jumping at me.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 31:39
Yes. That’s wonderful. Yeah. So it’s made a big difference. I love that. And you’re leading by example. What better way is there?
Dr. Nivine Megahed 31:50
Yeah, yeah. And we also developed this concept to help push it for every orientation, which I’ve been at every single one for the last 12 years. Wow, we developed this. Get Out of Jail Free card. That’s from the President. And it’s meant to say you’re expected to make decisions and to try things and to fail, and not to wait for someone to give you the answer. And if your boss comes to you, because you had to make a quick decision and couldn’t consult, you just pull out your Get Out of Jail Free card reminder, our culture is about people making decisions. So people have loved that too. So it’s like sort of just a symbolic way of saying, we fail fast. We decide things. We work on behalf of our students, and it’s just about building that culture.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 32:38
Nice. Final question under turbo time. What is something that most folks don’t know about you?
Dr. Nivine Megahed 32:45
Oh, I was born in a palace.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 32:48
Okay, you have to tell us more. That’s very intriguing.
Speaker 2 32:52
So I’m not royal in any way. Let me put that disclaimer in there. But I was my my father was actually the private physician to the Saudi royal family in the 50s. And that’s when I was born in the late 50s. And apparently, if you’re working in that area, you’re delivered at the palace. So I was delivered at the palace.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 33:15
Oh my gosh. That is a very unique. Nivine, I like to wrap up the interview with a magic wand moment. So I’m handing you the education evolution magic wand. And what would you wish with this? What would you wish? Every university provided? Its students?
Dr. Nivine Megahed 33:40
Oh, my gosh. Well, you know my answer. My wish would be that every university provided its students with clear past employment. And that supported up to that employment that I just feel like, we’re not doing our full job. And you know, universities always say like, we’re not career place. It’s not like again, dichotomous thinking, No, we’re not. We were Educating the mind the soul, the body, the spirit, and we should be getting people into play.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 34:09
Yes. What you are doing is truly education. Evolution trailblazing courageous, full of integrity. Nivine, thank you for being our guest today. This is inspirational.
Dr. Nivine Megahed 34:23
Thank you so much for inviting me. It was just the pleasure of spending some time with you.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 34:36
Pioneering definitely is in the DNA of NLU and Nivine. What an extraordinary university truly human centered and crushing barriers to post secondary education. What keeps students from earning a degree and then immediately joining the workforce with their freshly minted degree? Hmm, how about Oh, cost of tuition, needing income while in school and having no ability to work and go to school. No network to gain employment, a vital aspect to Bruce Foundation, Executive Director Leanne Taylor Knight explained in Episode 136, no clear pathways or knowledge of how to apply their degree to the workforce, no awareness of or training in soft skills, no relevant work experience, not seeing other students who present like they do, and feeling different or uncomfortable on their college campus. No job or success coaching for applying for positioning oneself, and interviewing for jobs. These are just a few barriers, and Liu has smashed and they aren’t even close to finished. What if every educational institution, government office and business were ever evolving like NLU asking What does customer centered service really mean? And using that question, and a continuous improvement model to doggedly Chase and apply solutions allowed to fail fast? Yes, please. What if they were putting the human and all related needs in the center of the design problem? What if they were guiding themselves with the determination to be morally right? What problems are you trying to solve in your workplace? Are you listening to the customers to understand their situation? I sure got schooled by Nivine. There’s so much more I can do to make sure I am following her example. She has created a culture with buy in to such a dynamic and service model. And that is beyond impressive. I’m definitely in awe, theory of service into practice with a high bar to measure success. NLU students are blessed indeed, don’t all of our learners deserve to have their barriers identified and torn down, to get to know themselves and be guided by passion, purpose and strength to learn and be able to immediately apply that learning in life education evolution listeners, I will be listening to this interview regularly. Levine’s example is a reminder of how much we can do, even when others telling us we can’t win student or customer centered service is something we make our top priority, not excuses service. I can’t wait to hear what NLU does to continue this path of preparing young adults for real world success. I will definitely have Naveen back on so we can get updates. Thank you for raising the bar and lighting the way Naveen and NLU and listeners, thank you for being a part of the education, evolution.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 38:17
I know how challenging it is to make changes inside your own school or community. I’ve spent years working with schools around the world on creating learner centered programs. And it always struck me how much schools were able to get done with the right tools and guidance. If you’re ready to make changes like this in your own school, let’s talk and put together an action plan. Visit educationevolution.org/consult for a free 15 minute call. And let’s see if we’re a good fit for more work together. Thanks again for listening. To support the education evolution. Subscribe so it lands in your podcast app and gets out to more decision makers. Then rate and review it. For more information and shownotes go to educationevolution.org. education evolution listeners. You are the ones to ensure we create classrooms where each student is seen heard, valued and thriving. We are in this together and we need you. Let’s go out and reach every student today. Thank you for listening, signing off. I am Maureen O’Shaughnessy, your partner in boldly reimagining education.
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