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With AACRAO membership you'll be connected to more than 11,000 members from institutions around the world. Facilitate your professional development by attending discounted meetings, gaining complimentary subscriptions to our College & University journal and more.

Why should you join? State higher education coordinating boards, higher education associations, accrediting bodies and international ministries of education and more can collaborate with our members and lend their voices to discussions about practices in the field. 

Annual Membership Price: $710


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AACRAO's bi-weekly professional development e-newsletter

Live from #AACRAO2023: How a Cloud SIS Delivers an Unparalleled Student Experience

Mar 28, 2023, 12:38 PM
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Summary : Making an online-first approach a reality by focusing on the idea that "everything you can do in an office you can do online."
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By Corinne MacIntire, Director of Marketing and Communication at AACRAO

At the 108th AACRAO Annual Meeting attendees were treated to an overview of one member's substantial efforts to completely renovate the student experience. Spurred by the heightened digital expectations brought on by the pandemic, Dominican University, a small institution of around 3,000 students, sought to create a functional streamlined process to enhance student experience and access. 

Working from the idea that “Everything you can do in the office you should be able to do online,” presenter Dr. Todd Kleine shared his work to reduce Dominican’s reliance on paper, eliminate silos, and support collaboration among a remote/hybrid workforce while improving data security. Prior to the pandemic, Dominican had a heavy reliance on paper forms, manual approval processes, and inconsistent staff training on key systems. Kleine knew that in order to support student success, he needed to create a flexible workforce to support their needs. 

Unlocking the Unified Student Experience

The key to this unified student experience was an effective, cloud-based student information system (SIS). By selecting an SIS to serve as the single system of record, Dominican was able to streamline processes across multiple departments and combat attrition points (like manual approval processes not taking place in the summer months). Information previously stored outside the SIS is now absorbed into the system through automations and workflows. Staff has been offered in-depth training on the functionality of the system, which is key in a remote/hybrid environment where you can not simply walk down the hall to ask a colleague for assistance. The more easily accessible data points allowed for the disintegration of silos, as reporting and analytics became immediately available to all parties. It also made it possible for the Dominican team to begin tracking things like turn-around time for applications and to set up automations that helped push schools to make decisions faster, which in turn improved enrollment goals. 

The centralized system of records is just the beginning. Moving forward, Dominican aims to have limited reliance on remoting into computers/servers. Keeping things in the cloud makes things more mobile for both staff and students. Kleine offered a key piece of advice for anyone considering a similar switch: A deep connection with the IT department is very important for a well-functioning office. The intentional selection of technology services is now a key part of Dominican’s strategic plan. 

Refocusing Priorities

With the streamlined internal processes, there is now the opportunity to improve justice, equity, and inclusion. A re-envisioned student portal will support new things like the ability to select preferred pronouns and chosen names, as well as the addition of accents and tildes to names (which is a key support measure for their largely Latinx student population). Systems that create barriers to these points of equity will not be considered for purchase. 

As Dominican continues down the path of digital transformation, they plan to continually look at processes for both staff and students to ensure that they are working in support of the goal of actualizing the student experience as a service. The streamlined internal process and modern SIS has already strengthened relationships and engagement between students, faculty, staff, parents, and other cohorts; and it is on a trajectory for continued improvement. 

Categories :
  • AACRAO Annual Meeting
  • Technological Knowledge
  • Technology
Tags :
  • Annual Meeting
Presenter presenting to attendees at the 2023 Annual Meeting
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