UniSQ is renowned for a high-quality student experience and student-focused commitment to learning and teaching. Across its campuses is the core value of providing a healthy and safe place of work and study, through a range of services and responses to support student safety, and address concerning experiences.
The need for an enterprise case management system
Supporting over 27,000 students globally, UniSQ in early 2020 performed an internal review for their management of student safety and wellbeing. They reviewed areas such as policy, procedures, monitoring of complaints, reporting, training, education, and awareness of student support when reporting unwanted behaviors. After completing the review, the University recognised the importance of needing to implement a centrally managed reporting and complaint system. This would enhance UniSQ’s ability for improved reporting, data analysis and quality assurance in managing student safety, support, and wellbeing.
Many reports of unwanted behaviors were being managed in a CRM, which was not purpose-built for reporting unwanted behaviors and complaints of student safety. This included minimal reporting capabilities for effective decision making, and a lack of efficient workflows for managing complex cases.
As UniSQ has a focus on ‘trauma informed responses’ to student support, particularly when students have reported they feel unsafe in the university environment, it was important to implement a purpose-built solution to manage complex cases and student needs at the university.
UniSQ was looking for a system which allows for information sharing across the university between relevant staff, such as the Safer Communities Team, the Grievance Management Unit, and the People Portfolio. A seamless interface between multiple departments, and the ability to run configurable reports, means the university can have ‘big picture data’ when it comes to their capacity to manage and track students of concern.
"Having a system like Advocate allows us to be trauma-informed in our responses to students, and how we manage their safety and wellbeing."
Safer Communities Coordinator, UniSQ
Additionally, another reason for adopting Advocate was to manage UniSQ’s students reporting sexual violence and track how it was supporting students from the time of a report, through to report closure.
Using Advocate at UniSQ
Currently, Advocate is being used by the Safer Communities Team, the Grievance Resolution Unit, and the Appeals team at UniSQ. With Advocate, UniSQ has now created an environment where students can easily report issues or request support. UniSQ have developed a public portal on their website where anyone can report a concern or issue.
“We have tried to keep the form as simple as we could, and really try to channel a survivor-centric response. How people experience trauma is diverse, and we wanted to make sure the form was easy to use and understand,” said Erin.
“The form has a total of 10 questions, none of which are mandatory, except for the privacy and security check question. UniSQ does get a variety of responses, some are incredibly detailed, with screen shots attached,” said Erin.
From there, UniSQ can reach out to offer robust support based on the incident and work across campus offices to find a way to help them.
In Advocate, UniSQ can create customised Care Scores of different types of concerns to determine students at risk. This ensures that UniSQ can quickly respond to types of concern which are considered more serious, such as sexual assault, and are given a higher score to reflect a more serious issue.
"You can give a score of low, medium, or high. You then assign a number score to each of those rankings, and you set a threshold limit. Our threshold is 300, and once someone's score reaches 300, they become a student of concern. Care scoring is extremely helpful in prioritising our workload, especially in a small team. It helps us weigh the risk and to determine the cases we need to take the most seriously, which is particularly important when you might be stretched for time,"
Safer Communities Coordinator, UniSQ
Additionally, tracking students of concern allows the Safer Communities Team to quickly run a report on Care Scores, generating a list of priority students and cases. The team is then able to determine which cases require the most urgent action for early intervention, additional support, or further investigation.
Plus, with Advocate, UniSQ can be efficient and save time by requesting information from a someone who isn’t an Advocate user, such as internal stakeholders, a GP or external psychologist. With Advocate, external parties can easily add a file directly into the system that is then associated with a student.
“You can also forward any relevant email history to Advocate that may relate to a particular case and add it to the file. It creates a note for you, and attaches any relevant documents to the file. This is helpful as it saves you the time of not having to retype case notes from emails,” said Erin.
Data driven decision making
From the start of implementation, UniSQ worked closely with the Symplicity team to ensure Advocate was configured correctly to capture the specific data they need to make informed decisions about student wellbeing. The robust reporting within Advocate allows UniSQ to review, at any time, the type of incidents or concerns which occur across campus to get a holistic picture about what trends are occurring.
“We have been live with Advocate now for a year, so we have a large amount of data in the system to report on. I can create a report that’s clear and I can start to track trends across the institution. We can track against different time periods and investigate why there are increases in a particular type of complaint at a certain time, or how come a program or cohort has a spike in reports or issues. We can use the data to make informed decisions about student wellbeing and support,” said Erin.
Being able to obtain more accurate data from Advocate over long periods of time, and across different faculties or departments, has been particularly important to UniSQ’s Behavioral Risk Management Group. This group operates across multiple departments within the University and meets regularly to discuss complaints and risks on campus. With Advocate, this group can now make more informed decisions and ‘close the loop’, by enabling cross-institutional collaboration and enhancing the specific support required as identified through the data collected.
With better data, reporting, and communication, Advocate allows UniSQ a more detailed account of specific types of behaviours. Students can now more easily request assistance, and the university can quickly connect students to the right department for more enhanced safety and support.
If you would like more information on how Symplicity Advocate can assist your institution with student wellbeing, please contact our team today.