Far & Widener Podcast

The Far and Widener podcast explores the far-reaching world of Widener University and the many ways Widener strives to create a better future while shaping tomorrow’s leaders.

Listen to Our Latest Podcast

Episode 9: Admissions Expert Joe Howard on Successful Student Recruitment, Enrollment Trends, and the Field of Higher Education at the National Level 

In 2023, Widener University welcomed its largest and most diverse incoming undergraduate class in its history. Greg Potter interviews Widener’s Vice President of Enrollment Joseph Howard on the efforts, strategy, and drivers that led to Widener’s recruitment success. They also discuss trends in university admissions, student loans and financial aid, the value and cost of higher education—including the human capital argument, and the importance and benefits of diversity and inclusion. They address the need to tackle issues relating to the sticker price of higher education, financial aid, and student loans at a national level. Greg is the associate vice president of University Relations at Widener University.

Explore Past Episodes

In this episode, Marcus Bagby interviews Amy Franzini, a Widener communication studies professor and a research expert who focuses on popular media. They discuss how caregivers can intentionally watch television and movies with their children, tweens, and teens to help build healthy relationships, find teachable moments, and create a safe space to communicate about difficult issues. They look at the Barbie and Top Gun movies as examples, as well as traditional television, YouTube, and social media. They also talk about the need for moderation, curation, and independence with children's screen time. Amy's work has been published in several journals, and she recently finished writing her book Secret Identities and Double Lives on Tween TV. Stay tuned for her related TEDx Talk on YouTube later this fall. Marcus is the associate director of alumni engagement at Widener University.

Greg Potter interviews Dante DiBattista, author of The Transformational Leadership Experience, host of The Pursuit of Self-Actualization Podcast, inspirational speaker, consultant, and transformational leadership coach. Dante is listed as one of the "8 Top Leadership Coaches to Follow in 2023" by LA Weekly. In this episode, Dante and Greg discuss the need to make higher education more affordable, the value of higher education, tips for succeeding in school and business, and the demand for microlearning. They talk about how Dante's psychology degree from Widener University changed his life. They also talk about the importance of emotional intelligence training in business, psychology research as a data-driven approach to changing behavior, the bottom line of having quality leadership in business and society, the future of work and independent contractors, artificial intelligence and automation, and much more. Greg is the associate vice president of University Relations at Widener University. To learn more about Dante, visit dantedibattista.com.

Marcus Bagby interviews Fred Akl, now-retired dean of Widener's School of Engineering. Akl led engineering at Widener University for a quarter of a century. They discuss the challenges in academia surrounding STEM, how the creation of Living-Learning Communities on campus increased retention and supported engineering students in areas of life, and how Akl spearheaded ground-breaking engineering programs at Widener, including biomedical engineering and the first robotics engineering major in the region. In addition, Akl reminisces about his work with NASA's Glenn Research Center and the Johnson Space Center and chats about his current fascination with the Civil War. Marcus is the associate director of alumni engagements at Widener University.

In this episode, Greg Potter interviews Domenic Colasante, CEO and a founding member of 2X-a pioneering offshore B2B (business-to-business) marketing firm. Before founding 2X, Domenic held several marketing leadership positions with SAP, Siemens, and WGroup. He is also a Widener Board of Trustees member and an alumnus. Greg and Domenic discuss artificial intelligence (AI), especially how it benefits the marketing industry, ethical concern surrounding AI-generated works, AI's possible impact on jobs, and how Widener is integrating AI into its curricula. Greg is the associate vice president of University Relations at Widener University.

In this episode, Marcus Bagby interviews John Vanore, an alumnus, director of Widener's Jazz Ensemble, and Widener Artist in Residence. John is also the head of Abstract Truth, an award-winning band formd in the 80s that combines the intimacy of a small group with no power of a big band. John's fascinating story begins with his interests in engineering and science and how those interests influenced his career in music. After graduating from PMC, John joined the legendary Woody Herman band and later became a mainstay in the trumpet sections for performers visiting Philadelphia, including Tony Bennet, Michel LeGrand, Mel Torme, Louis Bellson, Peggy Lee, and many others. During this time, John also became the director of music at Widener, developing an intensive Jazz Ensemble program. Marcus is the associate director of alumni engagement at Widener University.

Widener student Anthony Pompilii interviews Professor Robert Reutter, director of Widener's Lone Brick Theatre Company, and Luis Aguilar, a Widener biomedical engineering alumnus and longtime member of Lone Brick. They discuss Lone Brick's 10th anniversary and growth over the years, immersive theater and audience participation, and how theatrical productions have had to adapt and change during and after the pandemic. Anthony is a communication studies major in his junior year. In the episode graphic, Reutter (left) and Aguilar, who is covered in stage blood, work together on set.

In this Far and Widener interview, Marcus Bagby interviews Anthony Wheeler, dean of Widener's School of Business Administration, and Jill Alspach, a Widener MBA alumna, adjunct professor, and managing partner of Spock Logistics. They discuss the 4th industrial revolution and the future of work, including how artificial intelligence, machine learning, and automation will impact industry and workers nationally and globally. Marcus is the associate director of alumni engagement at Widener University.

In this Far and Widener interview, Greg Potter interviews Widener University President Stacey Robertson. She reflects on what attracted her to Widener, her first 100 days here, the opportunities and challenges that Widener faces in the future, including the upcoming enrollment cliff faced by all institutions of higher learning, the national discussion about the cost of higher education and the actual long-term return on investment, student loan forgiveness implications, and her values related to the people of the Widener community. She even shares a fun time management tip for saving time in the morning. Greg is the Associate Vice President of University Relations at Widener University.

Meet Your Hosts

Greg Potter headshot

Greg Potter, Associate Vice President, University Relations

Marcus Bagby

Marcus Bagby, Associate Director, Alumni Engagement

Anthony Pompilii headshot

Anthony Pompilii '24, Communication Studies Major

Get in Touch