In the summer of 2019, Florida State University (FSU) became the largest university in the U.S. to have an experiential learning (EL) graduation requirement. “Research shows that participation in high-quality experiential learning improves students’ academic performance such as higher GPAs and graduation rates and also improves students’ post-graduation outcomes, helping them secure employment or enter graduate school,” noted Sally McRorie, FSU Provost. “These experiences have the potential to help students find their passions, build their skills, broaden professional networks and deepen their experiences.” To promote these experiences, FSU’s Career Center works with about 400 students a semester for EL and FSU expects to see growth in both number of participating students and EL programs. Heather Scarboro, Senior Assistant Director of Employer Relations, said, “Our university has a new initiative where every single student needs to have a formative experience and the Career Center’s goal is to funnel all of it through our systems. We knew, however, that we would have issues running potentially 30 to 40,000 formative experiences through [the old platform].” FSU’s Career Center knew it was time to look for a new career services management platform, one that would be able to handle their office’s growth and customization needs.
“Moving to a new platform was an easy decision after the University decided that every student would engage in at least one experiential learning opportunity during their academic career. Symplicity allows us to centrally support colleges and departments who offer transformative experiences through their internship courses."
Director of the FSU Career Center
FSU launched Symplicity CSM in the summer of 2020, citing customization as the initial push for the switch. “The primary reason we switched from [the old platform] to Symplicity was because it wasn’t able to meet our needs regarding versatility and customization,” said Kyle Roark, Senior Assistant Director of Experiential Learning, “The old platform had an EL module, but it didn’t have much in the way of customization. With CSM, we have the ability to do everything we want to do right in the system without having to do any workarounds.” For FSU, the ability to customize CSM was helpful for understanding student data, even for departments outside of their Career Center. Scarboro added, “The data is not only used by our office but countless other offices on campus as well. We can easily pull data and share it with our constituents from other departments while also getting a visual of the full student experience.” The ability to track all data has been crucial for a large institution like FSU, especially when it came to running reports and identifying student trends in a virtual capacity.
The team at FSU’s Career Center plans to use CSM for reaching their department’s strategic goals for 2021 and beyond, which include increasing the number of student participants as well as number of EL programs hosted. “Moving to a new platform was an easy decision after the University decided that every student would engage in at least one experiential learning opportunity during their academic career, “said Myrna Hoover, Director of the FSU Career Center. “Symplicity allows us to centrally support colleges and departments who offer transformative experiences through their internship courses.”
As FSU continues to expand their EL programs, the Symplicity support team plays an active role in ensuring that those programs are implemented accordingly. “Any time our team wants to brainstorm utilizing CSM in a new way or implement a new program through CSM, the Symplicity support team will always go above and beyond to make sure we’re happy and that we’re getting the most from the system. In addition, we are looking forward to future updates that will allow us to expand our use of the system to external academic internship courses,” Roark said. FSU currently utilizes 90% of the modules in Symplicity CSM and plans to use more modules, even for programs outside of EL.
“Throughout the years, I have extolled my appreciation for what I think Symplicity can do for different institutions and the value it provides to institutions compared to other platforms. I highly recommend CSM!"
Senior Assistant Director of Employer Relations