Located in the metro Atlanta, Georgia area, Kennesaw State University (KSU) is the third largest university in Georgia, enrolling nearly 45,000 students each year, with many who commute to the campus or are enrolled online. Since 2012, Kennesaw State has been using Advocate to provide students with the right support for students facing mental health, housing, and food insecurity.
At KSU, case management responsibilities are distributed among various departments, including Counseling and Psychological Services, Care Services, and the Dean of Students Office. The Behavioral Response Team (BRT) also plays a crucial role in supporting students facing mental health crises. Previously, case management was disparate, relying on different systems and processes. KSU sought to consolidate information and workflows into one centralized system, choosing Advocate as the solution.
Advocate has been in use at Kennesaw State since 2012, primarily for BRT. By adopting this multidisciplinary approach, KSU is ensuring a holistic response to student referrals, incorporating academic, advising, and care services. The team's goal is to provide more personalized and effective support to students, moving beyond issuing general resource letters.
Advocate Flex on Campus
In 2023, Symplicity launched Advocate Flex, which allows clients to build end-to-end custom workflow systems. KSU was one of the first schools in the Symplicity network to adopt Advocate Flex as a central hub for managing student referrals and outreach. The system facilitates both faculty/staff-initiated referrals and student-initiated processes. With Advocate Flex, KSU can provide a more dynamic and tailored approach to case management by moving processes online, such as medical withdrawals and re-entries, etc. This has significantly streamlined previously cumbersome paper-based procedures.
"I was able to quickly set those up and make it an online form instead of a paper form,” said Brittney Brackett, Case Support Specialist. “Students can complete it, attach any supporting documentation, and then it's automatically sent to the office for review.”
The flexibility of Advocate Flex has empowered the Case Support Specialist to design workflows that align with the university's unique processes. The tool's ability to create stopgaps and required tasks ensures consistency and completeness in case management. The specialist highlighted how this approach prevents important tasks from being overlooked, especially when team members may not engage with the system daily.
With the introduction of Advocate Flex, the university has integrated various systems into one cohesive platform with a more centralized and efficient approach to case management. The Emergency Assistance Application, for example, streamlines assistance for students facing financial, housing, or food insecurities. The goal is to transition such processes into formal, tracked systems for better data analysis and reporting.
Impact on Daily Operations
The transition to Advocate Flex was supported by a dedicated client manager, who played a pivotal role in addressing questions, concerns, and feedback. The university appreciated the quick response of the support team in resolving issues and implementing the requested changes. Today, with Advocate Flex, KSU has reduced processes that used to take 20+ minutes down to less than 10. The system's user-friendly interface, automation, and robust features have improved efficiency and allowed for more proactive and purposeful engagement with students. With Advocate Flex, KSU evaluated its case management processes to determine what they actually need and the information most useful to them.
The referral process to provide strategic support for students has improved with Advocate Flex. “Our process builds on itself, which I appreciate. It's very helpful to have all the information on one page versus multiple different tabs… It really gives you the full picture of the interactions our office has had with a student,” said Brackett.
“[Now] it's clearly defined in a task in Advocate Flex based on our procedures. I'm able to build the task list based off of what needs to be done next based on the type of risk to ensure each student is getting connected to get support. It’s fool proof... It's given me some autonomy to do other things, but it's also given them some empowerment in the process."
Case Support Specialist, Kennesaw State University
Depending on the type of referral, case managers then must fill out specific information to move onto the intake form. This ensures that all the necessary information is included and helps us to determine the next steps in support. With the reporting tools in Advocate, Brackett and her team can see how often a student has met with her office, who they have met with, and what other offices they’ve been referred to.
In addition, student outreach has increased. “Previously, our outreach might have been a hit or miss. You might e-mail one student or call another student, and they’re not getting the right support they need based on the level of risk we’ve assessed,” said Brackett. “Whereas now it's clearly defined in a task in Advocate Flex based on our procedures. I'm able to build the task list based off of what needs to be done next based on the type of risk to ensure each student is getting connected to get support. It’s fool proof.”
Even when members of Brackett’s team are away, nothing is ever broken. With Advocate Flex, the workflows ensure that no necessary information gets left behind to provide support to a student without needing to rely on another person; all the information is there. “Everyone who needs access has access, and they're putting their own information in instead of me having to track down individuals to gain that information,” said Brackett. “It's given me some autonomy to do other things, but it's also given them some empowerment in the process.”
Kennesaw State University's experience with Symplicity Advocate highlights the positive impact of a centralized and flexible case management system. By transitioning to Advocate Flex, the university has not only streamlined processes but also enhanced its ability to provide comprehensive support to students. The collaborative relationship with Symplicity and the continuous improvement of the platform contribute to a more efficient and effective case management system at Kennesaw State. “Change isn’t always bad,” said Bracket. “Change can be good, and change can be the opportunity that you may need to reevaluate how you're doing things. Because the students are changing, their needs are changing. We need to change too.”