UNICON has over 100 member institutions worldwide that are committed to the development and advancement of executive education. To celebrate our member institutions, we will be sharing spotlights and interviews of some of our members within the UNICON community.
Member Interview: Dennis Lanham, Sr. Assistant Dean of Executive Education and Executive Director of the Silicon Valley Executive Center at Santa Clara University and UNICON Primary Representative
Please describe your role at your institution.
As the sr. assistant dean of executive education and executive director of our Silicon Valley Executive Center, I lead Santa Clara University’s non-degree executive and professional education portfolio. In this role, I drive the continuous growth and innovation of our non-degree portfolio and the global footprint of our center.
How long have you/your institution been a part of UNICON?
I had my first experience with UNICON in 2015 at the Director’s Conference hosted by the GIBS Business School in Johannesburg, South Africa. At that time, I was assistant director of executive education at Georgia State University. Still today, the experiential learning component of that conference sticks with me.
What UNICON activities and resources do you engage in the most? Which activities and resources do you find the most valuable?
I really appreciate the research work that UNICON does on behalf of our industry. I’ve been able to learn a lot as an executive education professional from the articles and publications that UNICON has sponsored. The conference function is also very helpful, especially for newer members of our industry.
Please describe your institution’s approach to executive education.
Being in the heart of the Silicon Valley keeps Santa Clara University, and certainly our executive ed center, on its toes. We approach executive ed with an entrepreneurial and collaboration-oriented mindset. We’re comfortable testing new business models, and collaborating externally with partners who align with our brand, values, intent, and teaching/learning philosophies.
How has your involvement with UNICON made an impact on both your professional career and the executive education program(s) at your institution?
UNICON has been instrumental in helping me to advance my career. From the wonderful people I have met, to being able to stay on top of trends that are shaping our industry, UNICON has always been my number one exec ed resource. It has allowed our center to connect with other centers at institutions across the world and explore potential partnerships. UNICON has helped to spark ideas for new initiatives that I have been able to move forward with in my role at SCU.
How do you see executive education changing in the next few years?
I’m placing my bet on a landscape that becomes very red, very quickly (with much of the growth accounted for by start-ups and professional service firms). In fact, it’s already happening. I think the speed of new entrants will only accelerate as our consumers become savvier in their buying behavior and have more substitutes at their disposal. The competitors who are able to adapt the fastest, be open to external collaborations, align offerings with dramatic future changes in our global workforce, and offer more flexible portfolio options, will have the edge with modern and future buyers. I also think we may start to see a shift away from traditional time-bound learning models to more competency-based learning, and a shift from traditional service-based offerings, to a blend of product-based and service-based offerings in our portfolios.