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Case Study - Higher Education

THE CHALLENGE

The University of Alberta (UofA) was losing competitive advantage when attracting and graduating top research talent from across North America and around the world. A transformational change program was initiated by the senior executive to replace and unify the Graduate Student lifecycle process from student application through convocation and into alumni for the breath of the University’s 70 graduate departments. The IT-lead team was tasked with leading the assessment, scoping, planning, purchasing, configuration, delivery and business roll-out of the first project of this multi-year transformational change program.

THE OUTCOME

The new, world-facing online graduate student Admission solution was rolled-out within 9 months (6 months early) to a handful of “early adopter” graduate departments, to run their admissions process and provide feedback to the project team. The full roll-out to the balance of the UofA graduate departments was delivered a few months later as planned. All departments and graduate applicants now use a common, streamlined admission process and software.

ABOUT THE CLIENT

The new, world-facing online graduate student Admission solution was rolled-out within 9 months (6 months early) to a handful of “early adopter” graduate departments, to run their admissions process and provide feedback to the project team. The full roll-out to the balance of the UofA graduate departments was delivered a few months later as planned. All departments and graduate applicants now use a common, streamlined admission process and software.

Business Case

Higher Education (HE), i.e. Post Secondary (PS), institutions are under a mounting barrage of increasing costs, reduced public funding, and growing student enrollment. Escalation on all these fronts have driven the leading HE institutions to optimize common interfaculty processes to improve, automate, and leverage IT solutions as the foundation of their enduring business architecture. Each business improvement is framed within a common arc, i.e. “the student journey”, which spans from initial contact with the potential students, through admissions, undergraduate study, possibly post graduate research, convocation, and transition to alumni.

Upstream processes, like Admissions, ensure high-quality students are encouraged to apply through an easy–to-use online process. This automated Admission solution reports the important business metrics and retains each applicant’s essential data, i.e. their student record, which follows them through their educational journey at the institution and ensures high quality student data is available for downstream student record information and processes.

Business Solution

ARC lead the provisioning of an HE Admissions solution to deliver an engaging, easy to use customer experience; a simple, configurable set of administrator tools and processes for all faculties; a robust process to capture high quality applicant data; and streamlined Admissions processes to accelerate the end-to-end process from student application to institutional offer-acceptance. Some business solution highlights that were delivered, are itemized below:

  • Web-based Application system for online gathering of applicant’s credentials, keyed-in academic grades, online academic references, and fee payment.
  • Workflow optimization that accelerates identification of top-quality candidate’s and streamlines administrative and academic assessments.
  • Automated online academic offer and applicant acceptance.
  • Designed Faculty and Department online Admissions Dashboard for management
  • Compliance with legislative, legal, policy, business, security, and privacy governance at the institution, by integrating the student data directly into the intuition’s “system of record”.
  • Administrative tools for tracking, searching, and remedying errant applications.
  • IT solution deployed with the intent for seamless integration with planned IT program of Student Record system improvements, such as: scholarships & awards selection, student progress tracking, convocation planning, and alumni management.
  • Institution-branded website, usage analytics, campaign performance tracking, etc. for digital marketing management.

ARC successfully dealt with the project challenges of a multi-stakeholder (i.e. all faculties and departments), multi-data center implementation in a tight timeframe.

"ARC’s Program/Project Manager was personally, and officially, congratulated by the senior Program/Project stakeholders for the Early Adopter release".
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