A bootcamp on higher ed in flux

February 23, 2021

Catalyst @ Penn GSE Executive Director Michael Golden, seen here at the 2018 Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition, recently led a bootcamp for representatives of HP that brought together experts from across Penn to explain the evolving higher education marketplace.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how every college and university operates.

Now higher education leaders, and the companies that support many vital services on campuses, are working to figure out what comes next. Will colleges try to revert to their pre-pandemic selves? Will a slow evolution in operations continue? 

Or, as Catalyst @ Penn GSE Executive Director Michael Golden asks, will this be the moment—long awaited by some leaders in the sector—when higher education makes a transformative change? 

In January, representatives from HP attended an intensive two-week bootcamp designed and hosted by Catalyst @ Penn GSE to help HP better understand the rapidly changing higher education landscape. 

In sessions featuring Penn GSE higher education expert Robert Zemsky, IT experts from across Penn, and experienced leaders from community colleges, HBCUs, and other sectors, the HP teams learned about the challenges facing different types of colleges. 

Attendees put together a capstone project detailing how they could collaborate with a particular segment of colleges to help assess technology challenges and develop solutions. After presenting their project, attendees earned certificates.

“The HP Team invested our sales organization with Penn to reimagine how HP can serve its higher education clients,” said Todd Gustafson, President, HP Federal and Head of HP SLED.

“We had rich conversations, debates, and dialogues that leveraged Penn’s unique skills and capabilities in workforce development. The learning benefit was tremendous -  with skills developed, shared goals, clear mission expectations and measurable outcomes. This investment for HP through our colleagues at Penn was a game changer for our field organization and we look for additional opportunities to leverage Penn’s strengths.”

This is the second year that Catalyst has developed a bootcamp for members of HP’s higher education team. Collaborating with an industry leader like HP is crucial for an institution like Penn that is seeking new ways to serve its students and community.

“We will not be able to leapfrog into the future without partners,” Golden said. “We won’t be able to identify potentially transformative ideas unless we forge strategic alliances with partners like HP who are creating tools that would allow us to learn and work differently.”