Notre Dame gets lessons from “The Mouse House”

There may not be a Space Mountain on campus, but Heidi Fletcher hopes the College of Notre Dame of Maryland can be more like Disney World.

When the Disney Institute brought its “Disney Keys To Excellence” professional development program to Notre Dame’s Baltimore campus Sept. 25-26, it could not have come at a better time for Ms. Fletcher.

The school’s vice president for enrollment management unveiled a new concept for campus called E3 (engage, enroll and educate) just before Disney arrived on campus. The plan will use all school community members at the small women’s college in helping recruit new and retain current students.

She was looking for tips on how to make Notre Dame the happiest place on earth … or at least in Baltimore.

“It’s basically doing a lot of the things we’re learning here,” Ms. Fletcher said. “I’m actually asking every member of our community to make a commitment and sign a pledge that says ‘Yes, I will help.’ Everyone has a way to get involved.”

The Walt Disney Company pulled back the curtain on its entertainment empire with lectures detailing its approach on leadership, management, customer service and loyalty.

The first day was for any local businesses, while the second was for anyone from the Notre Dame community.

Disney representatives showed a clip of “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” where light from a moving lamp shadowed animated and human characters. Attendees were asked to “bump the lamp” in their own operation to provide small “wows” for customers that add up to overall satisfaction.

“It’s really the same sort of thing,” she said. “You’re at a place you want to believe in – the values, the integrity. The mission of the college is much like the mission of Disney in the fact that you narrow it down to the individual. It’s what you do. It’s what I do rather than what the corporation does that makes the difference. It’s very applicable.”

The event was organized by Grant Disharoon, a parishioner of St. Joseph in Taneytown. Mr. Disharoon’s business, Solution Infusion, has often worked with Disney. His wife also was an academic dean at Notre Dame before moving to a similar position at Mount St. Mary’s University, Emmitsburg, in recent years.

He said Notre Dame can execute the Disney plan locally.

“If you look at what Notre Dame is doing – they’re really dedicated to developing the young women population to be leaders of tomorrow,” he said. “It’s about excellence, leadership and service.”

Catholic Review

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.