Streamlining the Residence Life Staff Selection Process at Duke University

Located in Durham, NC, Duke University is currently one of the nation’s leading private universities. As of 2014, the university enrolls around 6,600 undergraduates and 8,800 graduates, and about 82% of those students live in college-owned, operated or affiliated housing.

The Residence Life team at Duke University is responsible for helping shape and maintain positive residential communities on campus. In order to achieve this goal, the office must effectively recruit and onboard the best student leaders and staff to serve as role models for residents and others in the university community. With about 350 applications submitted a year for those roles, this is no easy task, and the office quickly sought a solution that would allow them to automate the application, interview, selections, and supervision components of the process in one place.

We spoke briefly with Graduate Assistant for Central Campus and Staff Development Bradley Taylor about how his team successfully implemented Insight to streamline the staff selection process and go paperless.

“Our goal was to streamline our residential life selections process into one system and Symplicity has helped us to accomplish this goal.”

Bradley Taylor, Graduate Assistant for Central Campus and Staff Development at Duke University



  • Reduced administrative processing by 50%
  • No more paper filing of student application materials
  • Improved administrative process flow by 50%
  • Able to reallocate time saved to implementing new initiatives
  • Eco-friendly system
  • Real-time communication between students and administrations office


Before Duke implemented Insight, their student residential life staff application and evaluation system was a complicated and time-consuming process. The organization operated essentially by filing papers and using spreadsheets to search for individual students, slowing down productivity and the general administrative process. Bradley explained how the associate dean would spend two full Saturday’s entering evaluative metrics into Excel, and then the following weekend, tabulating all of this data to assess their ranking of the candidates. Understanding the inefficiency of their system and the increasing competition among universities, Duke University knew it was time to modernize its interactions and communications with future prospects.


  • Streamline student leader application process and current student leader role evaluations
  • Become sustainable so to not waste paper and significantly decrease print costs
  • Become cloud-based so to avoid disorganized files and inefficient work


Bradley enthusiastically described the many ways Insight provided them with the exact tools they needed to see their vision come alive. Now, the team wastes no extra hours or weekends on tedious data entry. Each new candidate’s information is entered into Insight and reports and rankings are calculated in minutes. Bradley relayed that now his team has more time to devote to other projects and can really focus on their students. It has also helped the three residential campuses at Duke to access student leader records and evaluations with the web-based access that Insight provides.

Reporting, Workflows, Data Sharing, Insight

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