Symplicity Spotlight: Shawn Knight

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

In our latest installment, we chat with Advocate and Horizons Client Manager Shawn Knight. Bringing his many years of experience in higher education, Shawn supports all clients whether they are just starting up their Advocate system or are seasoned! Learn more about Shawn below:

Before you joined Symplicity, what was your role in higher ed and what topics are you most passionate about?
Prior to joining Symplicity, I worked as a student conduct officer for five years at two different institutions. I’ve been connected to conduct since I was an undergraduate intern/hearing officer in 2011, where I first started using Advocate. My passion areas are organizational misconduct, masculinity – which I’m working on my doctorate in – and process improvement.

What got you interested in higher education?
Like many who work in higher ed, I had positive role models who showed me, during my time as a student, that higher education could be a career path. My time as a student was transformative, so I wanted to help make that a reality for others.

What made you join Symplicity and look into EdTech?
A few things. First, as pandemic restrictions lightened, I saw that value of a remote opportunity and wanted a role that would give me that flexibility. Also, I was interested in Symplicity before that because I’ve also been a “techy” so to speak, and knew that this role would be a great overlap of my higher education background and tech skills. I’m a firm believer that what we do at Symplicity allows our clients to focus on their students, which should be the top priority.

How does your previous work in higher ed help you support clients?
It's critical. When I get on a call with a client, I understand the entire picture of why they might want to use their system a certain way, what the external pressures or influences might be, the cycle they are going through on campus each year, etc. It removes what might be barriers to communicating a need and a solution because we both “speak student affairs”

In your view, what are some of the biggest changes student success roles in higher ed in the last five years?
Without a doubt COVID-19 was the biggest cause of that change. As such, that has sparked a lot of questions about how we interact with students, where we work, etc. I think that has made it even more critical that web-based systems (such as Advocate) are up to date and easy to use so they can enable communication when we are working in different locations.

What’s the biggest pain points for clients and professionals focused on student conduct/residential life/student success today?
Data and metrics. Much of the time I spend with clients is about trying to extract very specific metrics that help them make the case about the work they are doing (for example, time to case closure, or average time spent with a student). This seems to be driving a lot of how we operate and often, we don’t have the data easily available.

What’s your favorite feature within Advocate and why?
Put simple, I really like the Symply Notify tool. It makes it so much easier to ask another user to quickly look at a case and send them a note about it. Plus, it’s available in all three modules.

What’s a feature you think people don’t use enough?
The student interface. It has everything a student might need about their conduct record.

Shawn Knight with the Boy Scouts of AmericaWhat is one thing you would tell someone considering Advocate?
I would tell them that Advocate really can be critical to your day to day work. Building out the system right and leveraging all of its features will give you everything you need for your student support and conduct work.

Outside of work, what do you enjoy doing? Tell us a little about yourself!
Travel is probably my #1. I have trips to Hawaii and Australia planned in 2023. My partner Ryan and I are very much road warriors. Charlotte, NC, where I’m based, has a great beer scene, so always visiting a new brewery on the weekends. And, I love to cook and workout. Finally, I volunteer quite a bit with my Fraternity and the Boy Scouts of America.

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

Symplicity, Student Conduct, Advocate, Student Success, Title IX, residential life, customer success, Symplicity Spotlight, client success

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