How Nazareth College uses digital records for better student service

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I recently found myself thinking back to one of the most interesting presentations from July’s NERDUG 2015 conference – the story of Nazareth College.

A four-year institution based in Rochester, NY, Nazareth College uses Colleague by Ellucian and PowerFAIDS as its two critical systems of record. That means those are the two systems they want to preserve as their reliable sources of data above all other applications on campus. So when the university noticed that its Admissions office was becoming a print shop and decided to get serious about building a comprehensive digital student record, both of those systems had to be involved.

It was about this time in the presentation that I noticed a lot of heads were nodding along with the story. Representatives from many other institutions feel the same way about their Admissions offices at times.

Using digital records for better student service
To stop the avalanche of paper and take the student record into the digital world, Nazareth turned to enterprise content management (ECM). The institution now enjoys a paperless Admissions office and eliminated printing more than two million pieces of paper a year.

That’s right, two million pieces of paper. Now, Admissions staff members no longer waste time looking through folders for documents. They find whatever they need right from within the applicant record in Colleague.

It’s a simple, but marvelous, example of an institution empowering its staff to be as strategic as possible.

Sue Geiger, who presented on behalf of Nazareth, helped me realize a crucial detail about the college’s Admissions solution. I always knew that when an organization receives and scans a document, ECM solutions can automatically update Colleague’s communication management track to say that it was received. But for Nazareth, it’s not enough to know that it has received a recommendation. When a parent calls and asks if the college has received the “Band Director’s” recommendation for their daughter, ECM enables Nazareth staff to not only verify receipt, but also see an actual image of that recommendation, right from Colleague.

This enables the institution to provide a high level of service to applicants and their parents – building confidence all around.

Using automated workflows to drive data and processes
Another thing Mrs. Geiger called out that had attendees nodding their heads was Nazareth’s need for workflows that don’t require custom coding or visual basic scripts. Every institution has different processes for freshman admissions, transfer admissions and graduate admissions, so making sure workflows are accurate and easily adjustable is crucial.

One graduate Speech program at Nazareth perfectly shows the importance of predictable, easily adjusted workflows. The administrator uses an eform to set the dates for the year the system uses to decide if it’s time for Admissions staff to begin their application reviews. That way, there is no need to update the workflow every year. Just update the dates in the form.

These effortless adjustments allow Nazareth to use eforms not only to collect data, but to drive data and processes as well.

Another head-nodding moment focused on an elaborate color sticker system Nazareth used to use to mark admissions folders if a student was a veteran, an athlete or part of a special program. The institution has completely automated that process. Now, no one has to waste time putting stickers on folders – they focus on higher-value work like making sure students graduate.

Nazareth’s story was so compelling, we felt it deserved repeating. And you are invited.

Join us on Wednesday, September 9 and 2 p.m. ET to hear Nazareth’s presentation on the positive change it created by deploying ECM. Click here to register.

Laurel Stiller

Laurel Stiller brings her passion for helping institutions strategically maximize their efficiency to Hyland as its marketing portfolio manager for Higher Education. A graduate of Miami University, Ohio, with more than 20 years of experience working to map proven solutions to higher education challenges, Laurel implemented ERP solutions at Dickinson College and University of Oregon Foundation before joining the sales and marketing team at Datatel, now Ellucian, Inc. Laurel offers a deep understanding of higher education, dedication to transparency and a fondness for candid conversations about the solutions Hyland develops and delivers to the market. You may reach her at Laurel.Stiller at onbase.com.

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