How Advocate at NYU is Transforming Student Conduct Management

With its main campus in Manhattan, New York in the Washington Square Park neighborhood, New York University (NYU) is home to 50,000 students each year, from undergraduate to graduate. Managing its student conduct processes are six staff members utilizing Advocate, a system the institution has had for over 10 years. With a large international student population, in addition to campuses on each continent, NYU is uniquely positioned to utilize Advocate to support its growing and diverse student body. Supporting these efforts and managing Advocate at NYU is Mathew Shepard, Associate Director of Student Conduct and Community Standards. Advocate enables Shepard and his team to accurately report on student data, identify trends, and better manage office operations.    

Responding to Bias

In today’s climate of students needing support to resolve interpersonal conflicts, NYU has had to adapt to the changes happening with their students. This rise in interpersonal conflicts on campus is possibly due to the lack of social engagement students faced during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic with students behind behaviorally and socially. Advocate has been particularly useful to track bias incidents involving students at NYU.  

“We were not initially charged with tracking bias in the past, and we were doing so with a separate office, relying on them to capture all bias reports,” said Shepard. “But we learned recently that they don’t get all the bias-related reports from other entities on campus like residential life. However, once we integrated Advocate into our bias reporting, we could actually see a complete picture of bias reporting and which students and demographics are specifically involved… Advocate is a system that supports students by giving us the most robust and complete picture of bias incidents involving students.” NYU intends to utilize Advocate’s Incident Action feature to build in workflows that specifically automate courses of action regarding bias incidents. In turn, it enables Shepard and his office to build reports for NYU’s General Counsel and stakeholders all the way up to the President’s office.  

Using Advocate’s template letters feature, each time a bias incident is reported on campus, a template letter is sent from the student conduct office directly to the student with available times to meet to discuss resources and potential resolution options. This is also true for all incidents reported in Advocate.  With this feature, Shepard and his staff can save time by automating processes that used to take hours of copy and pasting and follow up. “I’m done in 60-75 seconds in a typical case,” said Shepard. “This is easy and helps the students get a much quicker response while ensuring we are not forgetting the information on the student conduct side. It just saves us so much time, and it’s all captured in the system.”  

"Once we integrated Advocate into our bias reporting, we could actually see a complete picture of bias reporting and which students and demographics are specifically involved… Advocate is a system that supports students by giving us the most robust and complete picture of bias incidents involving students"

 

Mathew Shepard,
Associate Director of Student Conduct and Community Standards, New York University

Intercultural Development Program

With an international student population of 30 percent, NYU is uniquely positioned to support students from across the globe. “Being in New York City, NYU is in one of the most diverse places in the world,” said Shepard. “Students in turn are sometimes coming from very monocultural populations and often struggle to navigate those differences in ways that are culturally appropriate.” Through Advocate, NYU saw a trend in what incidents international students were being reported on. In many cases it was a lack of cultural understanding, unintended bias, and more.

To address these issues, NYU’s Office of Student Conduct recently received funding to start and develop its first Intercultural Development Mentorship program, designed to be a resource for students who are found responsible for bias, discrimination or harassment. The intent is to develop a curriculum that, over a few months, pairs a student with a mentor to guide them through skill development and experiences to learn more about their own biases and navigating cultural differences. “The data from Advocate will help us know what trends are on campus and what we should be focusing on in this program,” said Shepard. “I can also see us eventually tracking this program in Advocate to see how many times someone has engaged with this program and how often they meet with their mentor.” 

Responding to COVID-19

As NYU’s campus began to reopen and classes resumed in the late summer of 2020, Mathew Shepard and his office was tasked with enforcing NYU’s new Covid policies. This included students not quarantining, not wearing a mask in their residential halls, not getting tested, to name just a few. Yet, that summer Symplicity Advocate launched its custom dashboards feature which “literally saved my life,” Shepard said. “Every day I was able to develop reports, and every morning I would update these charts and show how many students were reported for Covid-related violations, what demographics they fell into and report that to the President’s and Vice Chancellor’s office… It helped show and tell the story of students to see which body of students were in need of preventative interventions.” 

"Every day I was able to develop reports, and every morning I would update these charts and show how many students were reported for Covid-related violations, what demographics they fell into and report that to the President’s and Vice Chancellor’s office… It helped show and tell the story of students to see which body of students were in need of preventative interventions."

 

Mathew Shepard,
Associate Director of Student Conduct and Community Standards, New York University

Robust Support

Having someone who understands the student conduct process and how Advocate can support each unique institution, has ensured NYU is successful. “Our client manager never says ‘no’ when I bring up something to them,” said Shepard. Instead, they are open to collaboration and finding a solution, Shepard added. Each Symplicity client is assigned a dedicated client manager who has experience in higher education and knows the system inside and out to understanding the nuances of being a student conduct professional. “That’s refreshing because even when I talk to my IT department, they don’t always understand what we do,” said Shepard. “For us to have a client manager come in and help us set up weekly reports during Covid-19, for instance, saved me so much time!” 

Interested to see what ADV can do for your campus? Schedule a conversation or email us at info@symplicity.com. 

Hear more about how Advocate is supporting NYU with our video below:

 

Reporting, Student Conduct, Advocate, Campus Culture, COVID-19, Title IX, support, Data Sharing, Mental Health Support, wellbeing, Student Wellbeing, CARE Reports

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