Six Higher Education Institutions Recognized for Commitment to Student Well-Being, Innovation and Digital Transformation
$150,000 in Grants Presented to Winners During Ellucian Live 2021
April 14, 2021—RESTON, Va.—Ellucian, the leading higher education technology solutions provider, today announced the winners of the 2021 Ellucian Impact Awards. The annual awards celebrate visionaries in higher education who are inspiring others to push the boundaries of technology and innovation. The announcement was made during Ellucian Live, the industry’s top global technology conference.
The winners—Community College of Baltimore County, University of Southampton, Ajman University, University of Hartford, University of the West Indies-Cave Hill and New Jersey Institute of Technology—leveraged technology solutions in novel ways to support students, faculty and staff. Selected for their positive impact across categories of student well-being, innovation and digital transformation, each institution will receive a $25,000 grant.
“It has been inspiring to see how these Ellucian customers are using technology to operate more efficiently, overcome challenges, and offer a unique student experience. This year’s Impact Award Winners truly exemplify what it means to be a transformational, digitally focused and student-centered institution. I’m honored to recognize them for their remarkable efforts and look forward to continued partnership in navigating the future together,” said Laura Ipsen, President and CEO, Ellucian.
More information about the winners is below.
Community College of Baltimore County – Baltimore, MD
CCBC is located in Baltimore County, MD, with three full-service campuses and three extension centers as well as fully online programs. CCBC has a diverse student body, both in regard to ethnic and socioeconomic representation and in terms of students’ life experiences, making it an anchor institution in the community. Of the more than 54,000 students CCBC served last year (close to 25,000 credit and 29,000 noncredit students), approximately 80% received full or partial tuition assistance and 48% worked more than 20 hours per week.
When CCBC campuses closed in March 2020 due to the pandemic, the college launched CCBC Cares, a multi-pronged initiative that made a big impact on access, retention and success for its widely diverse student population, especially vulnerable students who needed technology to pivot easily to remote learning. Initiatives under the CCBC Cares umbrella addressed: academic supports such as changes to instructional methods that made on-campus learning safe and gave students the option to attend classes remotely; technology supports that used student-facing pages and forms to communicate vital information to students; and financial supports to distribute CARES Act funds directly to targeted groups of students impacted by the pandemic, such as those who needed laptops or Wi-Fi to work remotely.
The combination of targeted messaging using the Ellucian Banner Student System and knowledgeable staff who knew how to deliver support were critical components to the success of CCBC Cares. The initiative touched close to 10,000 students and resulted in summer and fall enrollment numbers that surpassed the enrollment budget by 108 percent and 104 percent, respectively.
University of Southampton – Southampton, England
Given that much of its student population traditionally resides on campus, the University of Southampton buzzed with activity pre-pandemic. Most students lived on campus and various welcome and registration events happened in person. Once Covid hit, the university intently followed and used Home Office guidance, and worked closely with the City Council and the National Health Service to move critical processes online. To avoid running afoul of social distancing practices, the university developed Banner Action Item Processing and PageBuilder workflows to bring identity checks, international “right to study” checks and graduation applications 100% online. Processing activities could be handled safely and virtually, and the university saved £15,000 in staff time alone by moving these processes online. The university also used a PageBuilder form to give students access to a saliva-based test and tracing system. This proactive testing resulted in the university’s experiencing no significant increase in cases while their surrounding community spiked.
Ajman University (AU) – United Arab Emirates
2018 was the year of transformation and innovation at Ajman University. Since then, AU is focused on developing strategies for improving work cycles, adopting smart solutions that focus on both digital and “green”, and automating manual processes.
Some of the key improvement initiatives the university has undertaken include:
Digitization of 86% of its processes
Conversion of 100% of its documents to electronic archived format, including more than 75,000 student records
Adoption of digital signatures for contracts and official documents
Integration of the online request system with the digital government application program, UAE Pass
The above initiatives helped improve student satisfaction score to an impressive 91%.
In view of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Office of IT at AU successfully developed an innovative campus accessibility management system to ensure the safety of students, staff and faculty members. The accessibility solution which is integrated with the existing SIS Banner system uses unique QR codes to validate Covid-19 test status of individuals and determines their eligibility for access to the campus. This has proven highly effective in ensuring a safe environment within the campus for students and staff members during the pandemic.
At AU, we aim to take innovation to new heights, where a culture of innovation is embedded among students, faculty and staff members, as well as all our stakeholders and partners.
AU is ranked among the top 2.5% universities worldwide, #35 in the Arab region as per the 2021 QS Arab Rankings and one of the top 150 young institutions worldwide.
University of Hartford – Hartford, CT
Despite the pandemic, the University of Hartford believed it was imperative to remain on campus to provide all students a safe, flexible, and residential experience. The university created an integrated analytics “workbench” that took data from various sources and applied a predictive analytics model to proactively identify potential areas of infection risk. Data points were supplied from innovative practices like wastewater testing and pooled saliva testing—the first private institution in the region to implement these efforts. They also utilized a daily health survey. The University prioritized hiring an external, professional nursing staff to manage contract tracing, along with student health ambassadors to monitor compliance with social distancing and mask rules. As a result, the university had one of the lowest positivity rates among institutions in the State of Connecticut (.4%). In addition, the university was intentional about providing meaningful student support services, and celebrated one of the highest rates of first-year student retention in the institution’s history, including a significant retention increase in students of color.
University of the West Indies – Cave Hill
Aiming to revolutionise its delivery of educational and other services, The UWI Cave Hill launched its Smart Campus Initiative (SCI) in 2017, seeking to integrate information and communications technology into all aspects of its higher education provisions and related operations. The University made this strategic investment to enhance the student experience, in addition to providing anytime/anywhere access to services; engaging in data-informed decision-making; increasing revenue and cost savings; and increasing both revenue and cost savings. As a result, the University was able to pivot quickly to support their students when the COVID-19 impacted the island. Student-experience focused efforts included: working with local Internet providers to provide “zero-rated” access to students; providing students with laptops and tablets to continue learning uninterrupted; offering its first-ever online new student orientation, which was received favorably by students and which saved the University over $70,000 (Barbadian) (or over US $35,000) at a time when the economy was declining due to lack of tourism; integrating apps to track student movement against the spread of COVID (at the time the award application was submitted, the University had no reported COVID cases on Campus); offering services like psychological and career counselling, health insurance support, and disability services online; and providing students with an online student success hub to teach study skills and prepare them for academic success.
New Jersey Institute of Technology – Newark, NJ
Prior to the pandemic, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) created a new delivery model for several classrooms to blur the lines between online and in-person learning experiences. When the pandemic hit, this Converged Learning Model (CLM) was immediately expanded to facilitate socially distanced attendance for the Fall 2020 semester. The onset of the pandemic also brought opportunities to improve online service delivery and create a global campus supported by a synchronous experience like that of the CLM. As a result of these innovations, 44% of all classes were offered in the CLM and more than 70% of all undergraduate students had an in-person experience that still provided social distancing for students and faculty. In addition, NJIT was able to minimize the spread of Covid on campus: NJIT’s positivity rate never reached 2.5% and was well below 1% for most of the semester, while the surrounding city of Newark had a positivity rate of 19%. NJIT also successfully maintained its enrollment, with the undergraduate population increasing in Fall 2020 and Spring 2021, and student academic performance remained comparable to prior semesters. All student support – including advising, psychological counseling, and student events – is available through online and digital services. NJIT will continue the digital options for students as part of the global campus, whether they are on campus or attending remotely.
For more information on the Ellucian Impact Awards, visit: https://www.ellucian.com/impact-award
Ellucian is the market leader charting the digital future of higher education with a portfolio of cloud-ready technology solutions and services. From student recruitment to workforce analytics; from fundraising opportunities to alumni engagement; Ellucian’s comprehensive suite of data-rich tools gives colleges and universities the information they need to lead with confidence.
Working with a community of more than 2,700 customers in over 50 countries, Ellucian keeps innovating as higher education keeps evolving. Drawing on its comprehensive higher education business acumen and suite of services, Ellucian guides its customers through manageable, sustainable digital transformation—so that every type of institution and student can thrive in today’s fast-changing landscape. To find out what’s next in higher education solutions and services, visit Ellucian at www.ellucian.com.