Symplicity Spotlight: David Lutman

Each and every day, our client managers across the globe help make our clients' day-to-day just a little bit easier so that they can better support their students. With a client support team that comes from across the student success spectrum, clients continuously speak to the dedication of our client support team, and we at Symplicity want to give them the attention they deserve.

In our new series, Symplicity Spotlight, we’re pulling back the curtain on our client support team.

In our first installment, we chat with David Lutman who joined Symplicity in 2021. David supports our Career Services Manager (CSM) clients with expertise, care, and passion.

Tell us a little about your career history in higher ed?

Before I joined Symplicity, I worked primarily in student housing as a housing and residence life coordinator. What I loved about the role, beyond helping people, was the need to be well-rounded and skilled in a variety of areas, that no day looked the same, and that every day was an opportunity to improve.

What got you interested in higher education?

I worked in an office environment, retail, concession, and food service before becoming a resident advisor (RA). The RA role checked all the boxes for me—it felt meaningful, it required excellence in many different skill areas (there’s no way to get bored!), and it made me a better person. I believe in the power of education both in and out of the classroom and I have a great deal of respect for the awesome responsibility we have to support people in their growth and development. While working directly with students used to “fill my bucket,” now I find meaning in helping the helpers—working with incredible career services teams across the country to optimize their processes and provide meaningful student employability and career development opportunities for their students.

What brought you to join Symplicity and look into a career in education tech?

I looked into joining the world of education technology because I believe in both the transformative power of education and the power of a good system to help people. In my opinion, a good system is one that increases access, automates, and makes life easier for its administrators and users. I’ve lived within the “do more with less” culture of Higher Education and recognize the ways in which we, as practitioners, are called upon to be everything for everyone. I like our system at Symplicity because it is robust, customizable, and centers the client to create the best experience possible for their unique student population. Moreover, it helps tackle that “do more with less” culture by automating, centralizing, and streamlining processes, ultimately opening more time for higher-level learning and student development opportunities.

I am grateful to be a part of the Symplicity team because our values are aligned—helping clients perform at their best in service of students and meeting their unique needs.

How does your previous work in higher ed translate to your work supporting Symplicity clients?

My background in higher education is key in partnering with clients because I understand the higher education context, student development theory and practice, and how each instance of CSM can be customized to support clients, their users, and their goals. Moreover, I bring both empathy and enthusiasm to the role—empathy and understanding of the nature and importance of the work and enthusiasm for bringing my best effort to help clients do the same.

What are some of the biggest changes to student success roles in higher ed in the last five years?

I think it’s fair to say that institutions of higher education often move at a snail’s pace while the world seems to be moving at warp speed. We struggle to let go because we aspire to be so many things to so many different people. Moreover, we struggle to be proactive and innovative because we are so busy catching up, responding to the next emergency, and being pulled in so many different directions that we hardly move an inch.

In a perfect world, we would have more capital (human, financial, cultural) to help us thrive, but in our less than perfect world, I believe a good system is critical. At the very least, a good system will allow students who are self-sufficient to get what they need while opening more time for us to support those who want and need a little help. 

What’s the biggest pain points for clients and career services professionals today?

Competing for attention and engagement, managing unmanageable ratios of professional staff to students, supporting those most at-risk, responding to the ever-changing world—COVID-19, extremism, war, social media, etc.—that shape our context (thank you, Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory).

Tell us a story of a client’s struggle that you helped them solve with CSM.

A client was hosting a group as part of their school’s accreditation process and needed to tell their story through data. They are a one-person office and wanted to be able to demonstrate the value they have added and their students’ positive outcomes. Since nearly everything in the system is reportable, we were able to put together reports on student engagement, job postings, counseling appointments, and career outcomes, year-over-year for the last five years. What came out was a story of increased engagement, increased opportunities, and increased interactions. The client was thrilled to be able to share their story, not just by telling, but by showing their positive impact over time. I love this because collecting data was passive but was readily available when they needed it. 

What’s your favorite feature within CSM and why?

I love how customizable it is and how creative our clients are. One of my favorite examples is how one client turned their “Sponsors” section into “Meet the Staff.” Instead of logos of companies, they uploaded pictures of themselves and linked it to the Counseling module for students to schedule time with them. What an easy and clever way to enhance approachability!  

What’s a feature you think people don’t use enough?

Help / Hints. I love this tool as an easy way to help users navigate the system and make extra information needed readily available!  

What is one thing you would tell someone considering CSM?

CSM is powerful, robust, and customizable. I am confident in the system’s ability to meet the needs of our clients and help them achieve their student employability and career development goals. However, I believe what separates us from others in this space are our values and the people who help bring them to life. As former higher education practitioners, we understand the importance of the work our clients do in positively influencing students’ lives and we bring our best effort every day to make sure their unique instance of CSM is the best possible version for them.

Outside of work, what do you enjoy doing?

My favorite thing is hanging out with my family! I also love being outside, reading, learning new things, yoga, running, basketball, and almost anything with zombies.

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To learn more about Symplicity and how our expert team can support you and your institution, e-mail us at info@symplicity.com.

 

CSM, Symplicity, client experience, Symplicity Spotlight, client success

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