Located in University Park, PA the Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) is one of the largest state-related institutions in the United States, serving more than 100,000 students. With 24 campus locations, including its overseas and remote campuses, Penn State has been using an enterprise Symplicity CSM since 2018 to serve both undergraduate and graduate students and alumni.
With CSM, Penn State offers a seamless, streamlined experience for students and alumni across its many fields of study and multiple locations. With a system tailored to fit their institutional needs and their strong relationship with Symplicity’s support team, CSM has enabled Penn State’s career services staff to streamline operations, improve communication with students for career readiness opportunities, and provide better reporting to stakeholders.
Supporting all these students, from undergraduate to PhD to alumni, are the career services teams, both at individual colleges, campus locations, and in the centralized main career office. For an institution as large as Penn State, that’s unique. “We work and collaborate so well across all career units. We are tasked with serving every student regardless of major, location, or affiliation and we work as a team to accomplish that goal,” said Leslie Pollard, OCI and CMS Manager at Penn State. “Being part of the Symplicity network has given a large institution like Penn State the flexibility to customize our information for each of our targeted populations while still providing a holistic view of our data and the impact of our career services initiatives across the Commonwealth.”
With CSM, Penn State’s career services units, no matter which student populations they support, can work as one, cohesive team to ensure the success of all students. With CSM, Penn State has been able to share targeted, relevant events, positions, internships and more with their students as they can filter opportunities that are customized to a student’s interests, skills, major and more. “A student doesn’t have to sift through multiple engineering positions when they are searching for an IT position,” said Brianne Lippert, Assistant Director of Corporate Engagement at Penn State’s College of Information Sciences and Technology. “It’s easy for our students to find what best meets their individual needs. "
"Being part of the Symplicity network has given a large institution like Penn State the flexibility to customize our information for each of our targeted populations while still providing a holistic view of our data and the impact of our career services initiatives across the Commonwealth."
OCI and CMS Manager, Penn State
Part of the Team
Instrumental to Penn State’s continued streamlined success has been the support they receive from Symplicity’s client support team, particularly from their longtime client manager Rebecca Florey. At Penn State, Florey is “really like the fifth member of our Project Team,” said Pollard. “There is a personalization there that I think is really valuable.”
“It’s a total game-changer having Rebecca as part of our team,” said Lippert. “She never says no, but rather is always willing to problem solve with us on how the system can be configured to do what we need. She has such a deep knowledge of how our system and CSM work and brings an added value of a background in higher education. She gets us, speaks our language, and knows what we are trying to do as a team. Understanding the complexity at Penn State and how we need to balance all of our users and end goals of our students and employers, is invaluable.”
Alongside the support of their client manager, Penn State also relies on Symplicity’s other client support resources including the Help Line and Help Desk. Penn State CSM managers work through Amanda Prendergast, Career Management Systems Specialist at Penn State, to troubleshoot issues and request system improvements. Prendergast serves as the bridge between Penn State and the CSM support team which ensures consistency in communication and documentation, allowing for a smooth transition and onboarding of new managers. When Prendergast started her role, CSM at first appeared overwhelming, but she quickly learned the system to be able to train and resolve issues for users. “I feel like I learned the system pretty quickly as it’s pretty intuitive,” said Prendergast.
"[Our Client Manager] never says no, but rather is always willing to problem solve with us on how the system can be configured to do what we need. She has such a deep knowledge of how our system and CSM work and brings an added value of a background in higher education. She gets us, speaks our language, and knows what we are trying to do as a team. Understanding the complexity at Penn State and how we need to balance all of our users and end goals of our students and employers, is invaluable."
Assistant Director of Corporate Engagement, Penn State College of Information Sciences and Technology
Data, Data, and More Data
Two of the most utilized features within CSM at Penn State are the reporting and analytics tools. As one of Pennsylvania’s largest public institutions, Penn State has many stakeholders across its campuses. With the reporting and analytics tools in CSM, all the different career units across Penn State can compare how one campus’s engagement relates to another, to see if what’s working on one campus can be replicated at another.
This reporting is enhanced by CSM's kiosk feature which Penn State heavily uses to track career services activity. The feature allows Penn State to gain better understanding of how each student interacts with their career services offices. Moreover, with this feature, Penn State showcases to stakeholders how many students they are impacting, along with how many employers they are engaging
The office gets many reporting requests including who checks into a career fair, how often a student has met with career services, and the demographic of students in need of support. “The information isn’t cookie cutter like with some other systems,” said Lippert. “Through the enterprise system, we are getting more accurate data because we don’t have to try and combine all the data we have from multiple systems. Instead, the robustness of the reporting module allows us to see a full picture of how students and employers are engaging across the university while also providing the ability to drill down into the engagement of the specific populations of students that we work with. That’s my favorite feature within the system.” Ultimately, the reporting and data tools within CSM enable Penn State to get a holistic view of how to better build programming and engagement.
As a longstanding partner with Symplicity, Penn State has been able to upscale its career services efforts since launching its enterprise system in 2018. Penn State has been a collaborative partner with Symplicity and has expanded its system to fit what it needs.
“It’s your system, your data, your logo, and you can choose to name it whatever you want. It’s totally your system,” said Pollard. “We have the ability to really drill down and do so many things to customize CSM. You can make CSM your system and make it work for you and your institution.”
To learn more about how Penn State is utilizing CSM to enhance their operations, check out our interview with them from our CSM User Conference back in 2019.
"It’s your system, your data, your logo, and you can choose to name it whatever you want. It’s totally your system. We have the ability to really drill down and do so many things to customize CSM. You can make CSM your system and make it work for you and your institution."
OCI and CMS Manager, Penn State
Interested to see what CSM can do for your campus? Schedule a conversation or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.