Avila University had a communications problem. Or rather, a communications coordination problem.
A flawed process prevented admissions representatives, coaches, department chairs and others from knowing what each had told prospective students. The confusion hindered administrators at the private Catholic school that prides itself on getting to know every single one of its 1,800 students.
"Students were frustrated because our right hand didn't know what our left was doing," said Sue King, vice president for information services and vice provost of academic affairs at the Kansas City, Mo., school. "We like to be really involved with prospective students, but we had a challenge of keeping up with who told a student what and when."
Avila met that challenge by making use of technology solutions already in place at the school—Jenzabar's Internet Campus Solution and the Jenzabar EX enterprise resource planning system—to create its own "admissions notepad." The goal was to track every touch a school representative made with a prospective student. The project earned the school this year's Jenzovation Award, which recognizes an exceptional innovation within the Jenzabar client community.
"We were thinking there had to be a way for us to create a portlet so everyone could pull it up and see what other folks had told a student, and put their own notes directly into it, so we could get around this cumbersome communications process," King said.
The admissions notepad is now used whenever any university staff member—coach, department chair, teacher—communicates with a student. If a letter is sent, a phone call made, it's recorded in the notepad.
"It's simplified our life amazingly. Faculty love it. Admissions staff love it."
"It's simplified our life amazingly," King said. "The faculty love it because they always wanted a better way to communicate faster with Admissions, rather than having to send emails and wait for a reply. Admissions staff love it because they can immediately see what someone has told a student."
Students will give their feedback next spring during the school's annual Campus Life Survey, which includes questions on the admissions and application experiences.
"What we'll look at in terms of ROI is not only student satisfaction, but whether that satisfaction resulted in more students registering," King said. "We always watch the yield funnel. We know yield is a combination of many factors, and this is one of the pieces to the yield funnel. They are consumers, and our quality standards start when they become part of the admissions process."
Avila has shared its admissions notepad with Jenzabar so it can be used by other schools. The technology company leverages best practices from its client institutions when developing core software solutions, which will be reflected in the release of an upcoming CRM admissions module.
"Jenzabar understands the admissions process and is very open to us being creative and sharing with one another," King said. "At the Jenzabar Annual Meeting in June, they have their software programmers and architects there so we can talk with them and tell them what we want, how we are using their products, what could be improved—and they listen.
"We've had a very, very good working relationship with Jenzabar," she added. "We do a lot of software implementation, and they've been the most responsive and open vendor to work with."
The volume and variety of information gathered by Jenzabar products continually assists Avila University.
"With Jenzabar, we can use our report writer and pull information out, analyze it, and use it to make better decisions as to how we recruit students," King said. "Jenzabar is a very integrated system. We can data mine a lot of information."
For more information, visit www.jenzabar.com.