Recipes for Success with Stu Draper, CEO of Stukent

Recipes for Success with Stu Draper, CEO of Stukent

When he was little, Stu Draper’s mom helped him prepare a speech for school. Playing off his name, she decided to incorporate the idea of making a stew (like Stu), and each ingredient represented an idea in his speech. 

Today, Stu Draper is the CEO and founder of Stukent®. Using the same stew metaphor, Stu shared his insights on the need for change and his recipes for success in education, in his 2023 Marketing ProfCon presentation titled, “Recipes for Success.” If you missed Stu’s presentation, you can watch it on-demand on the ProfCon 2023 Recap page. Or, read on for a review of Stu’s insights and remarks!

Current Challenges in Higher Education

News outlets around the nation are painting a concerning picture for universities and colleges. 

Headlines such as “Why More Americans Are Skipping College” and “Colleges in Crisis” prompt us to question the measures to address these challenges. And, perhaps more importantly, what we can do to resolve them.

Stu acknowledged the current issues plaguing the higher education system: Enrollment numbers are down, and it’s getting harder for students to engage with college courses. He stressed the importance of evolving the traditional education model to provide students with a valuable and practical learning experience.

“How are we addressing this?” Stu asked. “Are we paying attention? What can we do to fix it? The traditional higher education system must evolve or die, and as a society, I believe we can’t afford for it to die. We need a higher education system that’s powerful but that works — one that provides the level of experience that prepares a student for the real world.”

Stu firmly believes that everyone, including educators and publishers, should take responsibility for addressing these challenges. He points out that although everyone plays a part, publishers can do more to improve in this area.

“Our mission at Stukent is to help educators help students help the world,” Stu said. “So when I see those headlines, I go, ‘Yeah, but watch what Stukent’s going to go do to help all of these educators.’”

Stukent’s Recipe for Perfect Pedagogy

Stu’s speech centered on the concept of effective pedagogy. He emphasized the need for a multimodal approach to cater to diverse learning preferences. Stu presented five options: audio, visual, kinesthetic, reading and writing, and a combination of the above.

Citing Edgar Dale‘s research, he underlined the significance of experiential learning, illustrating how real-world application and hands-on experiences enhance knowledge retention. 

“There’s a saying, ‘It’s like riding a bike,’” Stu said. “Once you’ve done it, you’re going to remember it. … Can you imagine teaching [your child] to ride a bike, [but] all you did was sit down with your seven-year-old and say, ‘Okay, today you’re going to learn how to ride a bike. Let me read this book to you about riding a bike. Okay, now go outside. Your bike’s out there. Go ahead and figure it out.’ That doesn’t make any sense. Right?”

Stu believes business education is like riding a bike, but he feels there can be more hands-on learning opportunities in education. 

“At Stukent, we have a recipe for the perfect pedagogy — courseware plus Simternships™ plus good educators equals a great educational experience,” he said.

He introduced Stukent’s formula for the ideal pedagogical experience, combining courseware, internships, and good educators. Some highlights include:

  1. The courseware pairs perfectly with the Simternship, teaching students the foundational ideas they need to perform well in the simulation.
  2. Hands-on experience cements learning for a lifetime. The Simternship and the courseware are almost symbiotic — they work together to provide a great experience for students. 
  3. Educators benefit from the Stukent formula because it provides them with hundreds of resources made for educators, by educators, which saves them the hassle of creating the content themselves.

He also emphasized the importance of high-quality courseware authored by individuals with practical industry experience, plus the need for regular updates to keep educational materials current.

Stu also emphasized the importance of concise content, removing unnecessary fluff to engage students effectively. By eliminating excessive information, he believes educators can create more impactful and focused learning experiences.

Don’t Wait for the Catalog: Embrace the Evolution of Education

Stu talked about the influence of Simternships: “This world of Simternships that we’re building is one that we feel is a big part of the future of education,” Stu said. “We’ve done it for marketing, and we’re going to continue to make [our marketing materials even] better.”

Stu shared a video demonstrating how students can sell their Simternships™ during an interview. The student in the video describes how the Simternship is similar to an internship, what she accomplished in the Simternship, and what she learned from her experience.

Stu said that education is constantly evolving. He discussed how teachers used to restrict calculator usage, emphasizing the need to remember information without relying on calculators. However, now, calculators are readily available — after all, every smartphone has one!

With the growth of artificial intelligence, Stu pointed out that some educators are uncertain of this new technology. He references Sal Khan‘s TED Talk, “How AI Could Save, Not Destroy Education,” which dissects the positives of AI in the education realm. 

Instead of dwelling on the negative aspects of the new technology, Stu encouraged educators to embrace AI’s potential for good and utilize it to prepare students for the workforce. He urges professors to explore ChatGPT prompt engineering and stay ahead of industry changes, highlighting the importance of adapting quickly without waiting for formal catalog updates.

“Rather than take so much time worrying about the cheating side and the other downfalls of AI, think about how you’re going to use it for good to help your students get ready for the workforce,” Stu said. “Don’t wait for the catalog to change.”

Stu closed by announcing that Stukent plans to incorporate AI into student feedback in Stukent Simternships and courseware!

Marketing ProfCon 2023 was a three-day academic conference held from June 14 – 16, 2023. Each year, ProfCon presents actionable tips and strategies for marketing educators to use in their classrooms. To watch sessions on-demand, visit the Stukent Webinars Library.

Stukent is here to help educators help students help the world. To learn more about our first-in-the-world Simternships and courseware, or to get FREE instructor access to our products, visit our website.

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