Hear how an innovative approach paid off, big time!
By becoming President of Delaware Valley University, Dr. Maria Gallo broke a very hard, very high glass ceiling, which is why I wanted to repost my podcast with her. In 2020, only 38% of college presidents were women, despite the fact that women represent over half the students in higher educational institutions. And, Dr. Gallo is not only leading DelVal, she’s leading it successfully into the future. For this and many other reasons, I share her story in my new book, “Rethink: Smashing the Myths of Women in Business,” which you can buy here. Seeing that the demographics of students are changing, fast, Maria and her team engaged us to help them find their Blue Ocean Strategy, then they made it happen, brilliantly. A great story. Listen in!
DelVal: Seeing opportunities with fresh eyes, then capitalizing on them
We began working with Dr. Gallo a short while after she became president of Delaware Valley University in Doylestown, PA. Our first task was to help her and her team identify the unmet needs of their current students, as well as the needs of nonusers (potential students) who could be attending DelVal but weren’t. Next, we brainstormed about how to fulfill these unmet needs in proactive, innovative ways. This was very exciting to watch because it’s what Blue Ocean Strategy is all about: creating a new market space, then building demand for your solutions to that new market’s needs, not focusing on what your competition is doing.
As a result of our work together and a university-wide effort on DelVal’s part, there has been change. DelVal’s curriculum is now heavily grounded in experiential learning, and every student completes the Experience360 Program, which may involve opportunities such as internships, research, study abroad and more. Currently, more than 93% of graduates have a job or a place in graduate school when he or she leaves the university. Moreover, those graduates’ employers rave about their attitudes and their aptitudes.
And there’s more (a lot more). Under Dr. Gallo’s leadership, DelVal announced its first endowed professorship, launched a new graduate program in criminal justice, increased its international student enrollment, and invested in hydroponics and aquaponics education. In addition, the university has hosted numerous nationally-renowned speakers, including CNN’s Brian Stelter and NPR’s David Folkenflik, added its first student member to the Board of Trustees, initiated new partnerships with Longwood Gardens and W. Atlee Burpee & Co, and sent more than 100 students to the LeaderShape Institute, one of the premier leadership development programs for college students in the US. Plus, DelVal’s Experience360 Program was named the 2019 Outstanding Experiential Education Program of the year by the National Society for Experiential Education, and its animal science programs are among the top 20 in the country.
Now that’s an innovative approach to growth! That’s a Blue Ocean Strategy!
Background on Dr. Maria Gallo
On July 1, 2016, Dr. Maria Gallo became the 13th president of Delaware Valley University. A plant molecular biologist specializing in crop improvement, she has authored 81 refereed journal articles and nine book chapters. She is also a Fulbright Scholar and Fellow of both the American Society of Agronomy and the Crop Science Society of America.
Prior to coming to DelVal, Dr. Gallo served as dean and director for research and cooperative extension at the University of Hawai`i at Mānoa in the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR). As dean of CTAHR, she also served as chief executive officer and worked with the Advisory Council, faculty, staff and stakeholders to create the strategic vision for the College. As CTAHR’s administrative head, she was in charge of all faculty members, administrative officers and other employees statewide. And as CTAHR’s chief academic, research and extension officer, she provided the vision and leadership for the College’s six interdisciplinary academic departments, four county offices and numerous research and extension facilities on 1,554 acres across Hawai`i.
Prior to joining the University of Hawai`i at Mānoa, Dr. Gallo served as professor and chair of the agronomy department at the University of Florida where she led a productive teaching and research program.
Dr. Gallo currently serves on the American Council on Education’s Women’s Network Executive Council, the Pearl S. Buck International Board, the Central Bucks Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors, and the Bucks County Workforce Development Board. A native New Yorker, she earned her B.S. in agronomy from Cornell University, and both her M.S. in crop science and Ph.D. in genetics from North Carolina State University.
6 posts on higher education and Blue Ocean Strategy you might enjoy:
- Who Are the Successful Innovators in Higher Education?
- Blue Ocean Strategy Can Really Work for Higher Education
- What Higher Ed Needs is a More Powerful, Blue Ocean Strategy
- Higher Education: Ready for Inbound Marketing?
- Rob Westervelt—Thinking Forward for Higher Education
- Seeing, Feeling and Thinking About Colleges In A Whole New Way With Ken Hoyt
Additional resources for you
- My best selling new book: “Rethink: Smashing The Myths of Women in Business“
- My award-winning first book: “On the Brink: A Fresh Lens to Take Your Business to New Heights”
- Simon Associates Management Consultants website