Southwest Texas Junior College: Proactive Intervention
Southwest Texas Junior College needed to institute a multi-campus campaign to identify at-risk students in order to proactively contact them through email, traditional mail, and phone. They also wanted to measure the results to see how effective the campaign was at ensuring the ongoing success of these students.
As Dean of Admissions and Student Services, Joe Barker oversees all counseling and advising across the four SWTJC campuses. He found it difficult to manage retention efforts and get data from the school’s student information system, Datatel Colleague.
The process of identifying at-risk students involved advisors manually reviewing the student’s degree plan, GPA, and test scores when they came in for registration, and many users found it prohibitively difficult to get even simple reports such as a list of students enrolled in the current term. They often relied on a programmer to run more complicated reports, such as which students were re-taking class, and this process was expensive and time-consuming.
It wasn’t just a matter of retrieving the data, but of recording it as well. Contacts with students and appointment notes were handwritten on scraps of paper or not recorded at all, so there was no way of tracking student contacts with each advisor or what was said in each session. This meant that SWTJC had no reliable method of determining whether interventions were successful or not. There was no ability to run reports on which students were served or how much time advisors were spending on each activity/agenda.
Using ZogoTech, Barker and others at SWTJC are now able to see, at a glance, how many students are enrolled for any given term. Easy access to student information has also given them the ability to record student contacts for future reference, assessment, and auditing.
ZogoTech has replaced the tedious manual entry of student data while also consolidating information silos, meaning that accurate and comprehesive student information is now available on-demand. Users can create their own ad-hoc queries and reports in a secure, central location—all designed from the ground up for specifically for higher education, and customized for the precise needs of SWTJC.
Integrating with Datatel Colleague, ZogoTech provides a user-friendly interface for advisors to run reports. A list of students retaking classes is easily obtained and sent to advisors at each campus. ZogoTech enables these advisors to mail-merge letters, create mailing labels, send personalized emails, and easily retrieve the phone numbers of at-risk students.
The ease of accessing information is a large part of the reason ZogoTech is so effective. According to Barker, “Intervention programs used to take weeks to assemble all of the data and contact students. However, if a student is at risk, every day makes a difference. With Estudias, I can get a list of high-risk students with a few clicks.”
As advisors make contact with students, ZogoTech can record the contacts for future reference and assessment. Advisors (with proper permissions) can see all contacts the student has had; gone is the need for handwritten scraps of paper.
According to Barker, “We see so many students that it can be difficult to remember what was said. With ZogoTech, you can look at the contact notes and refresh your memory.”
Typically, one of the most significant problems with retention efforts is coordination between departments. Previously, this would have required calling all departments, giving them a list of students and hoping that they remember to talk to the student when they see him or her. Now, using ZogoTech, this process is automated. When an advisor in any department (advising, financial aid, student support services, developmental education, etc.) looks up the student, ZogoTech notifies the advisor that the student is at-risk. Advisors are alerted if the student is retaking a class, is enrolled in internet classes, has not passed state-mandated tests, has a low GPA, or is enrolled in developmental classes, among other factors. The speed and accuracy with which data is delivered has enabled SWTJC to intervene with at-risk students, and track the success of those interventions.