Supporting over 6,000 students, New Mexico’s San Juan College (SJC) is largely made up of first-generation college students, Native American students, Pell Grant eligible, and non-traditional students that are making career changes. With a median age of 27, SJC’s Center for Student Career and Employment plays a critical role in student success. Since 2015, SJC has been a Symplicity CSM partner to provide lifelong support to students.
In 2015, SJC was looking for a platform to help streamline its operations and provide more robust support to their students. For Jill Bishop, Director of SJC’s Center for Student Careers and Employment, the biggest switch was the need to move away from an Excel spreadsheet that was “terrible” in helping track of students’ engagement with the office. In addition, not being able to adequately keep track of notes, relevant documents, and more ate up valuable time. Plus, the lack of a system meant there was also a lack of organization and streamlined support to students across the campus in an overall career journey. SJC was keen on finding a platform that could do all of this, with customization, and increasing communication across campus and with staff members. With CSM, SJC found a partner to ensure it provided its students with quality opportunities that can be the ticket to their success.
“Keeping track of notes and not having documents stored somewhere was becoming an issue. Now, it makes it so much more efficient it has allowed us to keep graduates organized, keep their contact information in one place, and then utilize the survey function to collect those responses in kind of an organized way.”
Jill Bishop, Director, San Juan College Center for Student Careers and Employment
Since adopting CSM in 2015, Bishop and her team have utilized the platform to create efficient office operations even in the wake of COVID-19, “Sometimes we have our staff working from home some in the office, so not all of us are in same space,” Bishop said. “So, it’s nice to not have to worry about our quality of assisting a student and providing service to them since it’s pretty much all in there for all of us to see. Without CSM, it would have previously caused a student to wait around for an answer. However, CSM makes things so much easier to communicate within our office and with students… it is so efficient and helps really clear up any confusion.”
With the built-in reporting features, CSM has enabled Bishop and her colleague Lauryn Gonzales to identify students fit for specific job opportunities. Earlier this year, SJC received a grant from New Mexico State to place Native American students with specific majors with paid internship opportunities. To execute on the promises of this grant, SJC has been using CSM to help identify students to receive this grant. “It lets us pinpoint groups of students without having to go through an endless list and we can easily filter the list by categories. This allows us to advertise those opportunities to specifically targeted students that meet this criteria,” said Bishop.
Since adopting CSM, the career services office has seen an increase in student engagement customizing the system that is integrated with the university’s overall branding and student utilization. For this, SJC uses the survey module for “virtually everything” to gauge graduate tracking, student employments, registrations, and much more. The survey feature enables SJC to monitor its student experiential learning opportunities and track career goals, pay, industry, a student’s major, how they got the opportunity, and so much more. This enables the office to properly report to administration and see trends among its students and get insight into what is going on in their office monthly to plan for each semester. With CSM, the response rate from students is consistently mid-80 percent, which is a far cry from the previous 20 percent response rate the office used to see. With the time and cost savings CSM has brought SJC, Bishop and her team are looking to expand their use of CSM by using the Pathways and Employer Relations modules to further streamline overall operational processes.
“I can’t imagine my job without Symplicity. I really rely on it a lot to support our students and office.”
Lauryn Gonzales, Administrative Assistant, San Juan College College’s Center for Student Careers and Employment