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Reaching students where they are and on their terms has become one of the foremost challenges for advisors in higher education.
To efficiently manage increasing workloads among their advisor staff and serve an international student body, the University of Baltimore needed an all-inclusive suite of tools able to track individual efforts and follow students throughout their academic journey.
When their previous methods started to become burdensome, UBalt turned to Salesforce and Student Success Hub to empower their advisors and showcase the invaluable work they are doing daily.
“Everything was done in the most manual way possible while still using a computer,” Kathea Smith, Assistant Dean For Enrollment – Academic Affairs and Student Services, explains of their effort tracking before Salesforce.
The UBalt advising groups always knew they were doing good work, and that the school had a lot of strong initiatives in place, but tracking what each group was doing was challenging.
“It was like there was a chain-link fence between our data,” Kathea explained. “We knew things were going on, but it wasn’t open or transparent.”
As Stacey Marriott, Project Manager for Office of Technology Services said, “a lot of interactions between advisors and students were on paper or tucked away in emails. When the pandemic happened, advisors lost access to those papers…information could get lost.”
“[Student Success Hub] has increased our efficiency…in a way that provides us with actionable data to make future decisions.” Kathea Smith, Assistant Dean For Enrollment – Academic Affairs and Student ServicesUniversity of Baltimore
Since the school had experience with Salesforce in its admissions department, UBalt turned to Student Success Hub to help centralize tracking and communications for the four schools’ advisor groups.
“We’d been using Salesforce for our admission process for almost eight years, and it made sense for us to build on that.” Dave Riggin, Director of Enterprise Applications, explained.
Student Success Hub offered a solution to numerous problems the advisor departments had been facing. Advisors implement the program to manage appointment scheduling, track student-advisor interactions, and identify different data trends.
At the same time, the program benefited UBalt students as well, giving them one place to make advisor appointments online, see their advisor journey and have a seamless experience when transferring to a new major or different academic advisor.
Having used Student Success Hub in a previous role, Kathea knew what the platform offered. “Having students be able to go in and schedule appointments, without interfacing with a person, is huge. The students aren’t seeing a lag in service. They’re able to work at their pace.”
Three months after implementation, 4,500+ emails had been sent using Student Success Hub. One advisor said the connection to Microsoft Outlook itself was “worth every penny, even if we use nothing else.”
An additional benefit of having a comprehensive view of the advising team’s efforts was that they could quantify the work they had been doing, showcasing each advisor’s work bandwidth and student count. Vital information when measuring the effectiveness of the department and its capacity.
UBalt was able to implement Student Success Hub by utilizing a comprehensive training approach.
“Because we launched during the pandemic, we had to host everything virtually,” Lam Lim, CRM Analyst at the Office of Technology Services explained. “We also created reference guides. A couple of weeks ago we had our first in-person training.”
UBalt also hosted open office hours, so the advisor staff could get specific questions addressed on their schedule.
One of the biggest benefits of implementing Student Success Hub has been how easy it allows students to take control of their advisory resources.
“All of our freshmen have one advisor, and then are assigned another when they declare a major,” Stacey explained. “[Student Success Hub] doesn’t leave it up to the student to figure out how to navigate to their new advisor. It’s transparent.”
“Within the same day of rollout, we had students scheduling appointments,” Kathea added. “It has changed the game.”
Since the rollout of Student Success Hub, 4,382 appointments have been made using Student Success Hub.
Advisors appreciate the ability to receive real-time updates about their students’ experience within the advisee system. “I can, with one click, run a report to find out how many appointments someone’s had in the last six months,” Kathea said.
“It has increased our efficiency, and taken processes from a mostly manual action to electronic, in a way that provides us with actionable data to make future decisions.” she continued.
UBalt has been able to automate tracking a student’s journey across multiple advisors, contact points and when they’ve selected a major. Using Student Success Hub has allowed advisors to focus on the needs of their students, instead of needing to juggle information about transfers, scheduling and email communication across multiple platforms.
Dave sees the tools as a way for advisors to focus on what really matters: “it’s allowed us to focus back on the students in a better way.”
On the initial satisfaction surveys for advisors, staff rated the overall experience of implementation at 4 out of 5. Furthermore, the majority of respondents felt that Student Success Hub improved the ability to support students.
For nearly 100 years, the University of Baltimore has been working alongside students to fit a premier education into their already busy schedules. Since its foundation in 1925, UBalt has always prioritized accessibility and quality across over 70 major programs.
With an average student age of 30, and a 13:1 student to faculty ratio, the school continues to bring world-class education to first-generation college students and nontraditional students.