A new ‘dynamic’: University of Canberra gets closer to students

University aims to better engage with students throughout their uni experience.

By Jennifer O'Brien
June 9, 2017

The University of Canberra (UC) is on a mission to forge stronger relationships with students and has scooped up Microsoft Dynamics CRM technology in a bid to make it a reality.

UC deputy director of projects and innovation, Rebecca Armstrong, said the university wants to better engage with students throughout their university experience, and deployed Microsoft Dynamics in order to gain deep insights to better support students and help them finish their degrees.

"Engaging with students throughout their university experience is critical for any tertiary institution," Armstrong said. 

Rebecca Armstrong
Rebecca Armstrong

"We need to help new students as they embark on their degrees, often providing relatively simple responses to queries such as 'how do I enrol?' and 'where do I find my timetable?', but also, over the course of their university journey we need to provide the much deeper insights and valued support that will sustain them and help them succeed." 

The University of Canberra has around 13,500 students at any given time - and 1,200 administrative and academic staff. 

In addition to its Canberra campus, the university has relationships with institutions in Sydney, Brisbane and in Melbourne where students can be taught - and Armstrong said she needed to ensure a "streamlined and consistent relationship" between students and the university.

"This is a relationship that can last many years. It's not like an online retailer who would seek to engage the consumer just as long as it takes to buy a pair of shoes - we need to maintain an authentic and supportive relationship with a student over their undergraduate, postgraduate, and alumni years," she explained.


Campus smarts  

She said the university decided to implement Microsoft Dynamics in a bid to get enhanced intelligence. This means when a student calls or goes online for a chat session, university teams (including student advisors, welfare, international student support services, study skills, fees office and international compliance), have timely information available to respond to a student.

Essentially, the university can capture all interactions including inquiries, phone calls, emails and chat sessions, giving it access to a great level of detail and insight. The technology is also integrated with the Callista student management system, enabling the university to get greater visibility and intelligence across student records.

"We needed a system that was intelligent enough to know that if a student asks 'where's my exam held?', and they are studying at TAFE Queensland in Brisbane, they'll be given the relevant location.

"We can see their records and know that they are on track, or whether they may need to take an extra unit over our Winter term. If they did require another unit they might be flagged in the system as an Elite Athlete, then we can talk to them about flexibility for attendance over the term." 

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