IT Strategic Plan

Goal #2: Support the success of our students

Initiative #4: We will work with our partners to assemble a suite of tools that help CMU to manage recruitment and retention.

We will work with the Enrollment Management Committee, the ESS division, Academic Affairs, and Global Campus to build and/or integrate a suite of tools that will streamline and improve the engagement between prospective students and CMU and lead to more efficient and user-friendly enrollment processes.  In FY14, we are planning to revise the campus visit forms, expand the use of CMU's Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software to Undergraduate Admissions, and implement digital imaging in the College of Graduate Studies. We are currently gathering requirements for a set of revisions to the admissions application.  That project will be scheduled as resources become available.  FY15 and FY16 will see the extension of CRM into Graduate and International Admissions.
Several years ago, the VP for Information Technology began meeting regularly with the VP for Enrollment and Student Services, the VP of Global Campus, and the Interim Vice Provost for Academic Affairs to build a strategy focused, not just on providing better advising tools, but on using those tools to drive the success of our students. Our strategy is to integrate 1) predictive analytics regarding academic progress, 2) planning tools for advisors and students, and 3) personalized notifications capabilities built into CentralLink in ways that enable proactive engagement between our students and appropriate campus advisors - addressing potential problems before they can become real problems.
We began executing this strategy in the spring of 2012 and have thus far begun a phased implementation of our Advising Workbench, introduced a Student Success window into our campus-wide SharePoint portal (CentralLink), established it as a mini-portal into the Student Success environment, and contracted with the Student Success Collaborative (SSC) for use of their online, software-as-a-service (SaaS) system. Iterative expansion of these tools, or, in the case of SSC, initial implementation, is currently underway. We expect to complete implementation of both Degree Audit and SSC in an iterative, degree-by-degree, side-by-side rollout over the next two years.
Use of the SSC system serves an important role in our strategy. This predictive tool will allow campus advisors to more quickly and accurately identify and intercede with at-risk students.  The combination of the Advising Workbench and the SSC system will provide advisors with a user-friendly, holistic way of viewing and understanding a student's academic progress. Ultimately, we expect that our integration of the Advising Workbench and SSC systems through the Student Success Portal will provide both students and advisors with a personalized, “one stop shop” through which they can manage their portion of the vital advisor/student relationship.

In FY14 we will fully enable the Student Success Collaborative tools recently obtained by CMU and are currently working with Academic Affairs to coordinate a roll-out plan for campus advisors.  FY14 will also see the completion of Phase II of our Advising Workbench which contains degree audit capability for all degrees, majors and minors;  program planning (degree mapping) capabilities; and online course substitutions and requirements modifications. FY15 will see substantial completion of the Advising Workbench with the addition of a "My Advisees" worksheet for advisors and online grade changes.  As the SSC tools mature, we will be looking for opportunities to surface the alerts it generates in the CMU portal and/or the Advising Workbench, as possible and appropriate.
This initiative contributes directly to the first priority in CMU's Strategic Plan - Student Success - addressing CMU's desire to increase the Freshman and Sophomore Retention Rate, the Four-Year Graduation Rate, and the Six-Year Graduation Rate.  Because the planned web services will be delivered using Responsive Design - adjusting the design to meet the requirements of the device accessing these services - this initiative also by aggregating a range of advising services into the Advising Workbench, this initiative contributes to the strategic need to help faculty and staff do their work more effectively. Baseline and success metrics will be designed into all projects undertaken as a part of this initiative. 

Initiative #5: We will stabilize and enhance the CMU web environment.

The new CMU websites, launched in April of 2012, have been designed to provide CMU with a better opportunity to sharpen its brand and messaging, hopefully contributing in turn to better communication with all of its various constituencies, especially prospective students.  Since the launch of our new sites, we have regularly reviewed input from help desk tickets and scheduled sessions to collect feedback on CMU web sites with significant campus stakeholders, and these practices will continue. Beginning in the fall of 2013, we will publish a 1-2 year roadmap for CMU website development, with the initial release of this plan to be followed by annual refresh and update.  
FY14 will see the migration of our websites to SharePoint 2013, as well as numerous fixes, enhancements, and extended capabilities.  In addition, we will begin implementation of a campus-wide events calendar, build a plan and timeline for incorporating content from various university databases (such as curricular and faculty-publication information), and determine opportunities and strategies for incorporating Office 365 into our web environment.  FY15 and FY16 details will be outlined in future iterations of our web plan.
As the web serves as one of the university's primary communications vehicle, this initiative supports all of CMU's strategic priorities.  By serving as the primary point of contacts between so many students and both the business and academic activities of CMU, the web strongly supports the success of CMU's students - from before admission to after graduation.  In addition, enhancement of the web environment support our strategic need to foster effective use of technology, allows a vehicle for delivery of effective IT services, and allows CMU to manage its data more effectively. We will use survey results, as well as broken link and other web analytic reports, to document the success of this initiative.​