Innovation in technology can play as a “force-multiplier” in teams with responsibility for student wellbeing.”
Lee Rawlinson, Director of Institutional Research at Student Ventures.
Our previous blog in this series on the mental health crisis in HE revealed how an institution’s support provision is now likely to have a direct impact on future student pipeline. Indeed, students are demanding more and more from their universities, calling for a step-change in culture to transform HEIs into mentally healthy settings. Today, we look at how technology has a vital part to play in bringing about this step-change and how it can be a “force-multiplier” for teams with responsibility for student wellbeing. We will also share how Tribal is using the findings from the State of the Nation report, published earlier this year, to shape its solution roadmap around the specific pain-points universities are facing.
Most UK universities are already on a journey of digital transformation; to improve their student experience, help staff work smarter and future proof operations in the cloud. The pandemic served to accelerate the process for many institutions as adopting new technology became the only way to enable staff and students to stay connected. Generations Z and Alpha are particularly hungry for digital communications, self-service and hybrid learning environments, having been fully immersed in technology throughout their lives. So investment in the types of student support solutions that will delight digital natives is not only key to engagement, it will also make it easier for the institution to:
- Promote support services effectively so that every student knows where to find the help they need, when they need it.
- Make it easy for students to access support by eliminating any barriers to service provision.
- Allow students to switch from online support, to face-to-face support, should their situation escalate – with full traceability of their communications and services they have accessed.
- Use self-service options and external partnerships to provide access to contextual support around the clock.
As with all elements of your university’s technology strategy, data integration is key to ensuring that students can navigate seamlessly between all your support services. The accuracy, availability, and accessibility of student data is thus crucial to improving support services of all kinds. The good news is, that ‘student data’ is one of the easiest things to get right with the help of software to ensure your data capture processes:
- Comply with GDPR and that all data is stored securely and safely,
- Detail needs at recruitment/enrolment stage,
- Store data centrally to enable effective monitoring and granular reporting,
- Allow for effective categorisation of information to generate actionable insights,
- Seamlessly (and securely) enable data sharing across departments with role-based permissions according to data sensitivity, and
- Capture the effort involved in mental health cases to fully understand the demand for services and inform workload planning.
Future-proof solutions will also empower you to improve the Student Experience at every touch point by enabling:
- Blended service delivery to include online and flexible services with single sign-on and personalised access to everything a student needs via their chosen channel and device.
- Remote and mobile ecosystems, to help keep students on track, deepen their sense of connection with the curriculum and extra-curricular, and provide collaborative, supportive spaces in which to learn and achieve.
- Community building via apps and private social networks that facilitate communications and feedback whilst keeping students and staff safe and secure, with traceable interactions.
As well as helping universities across the UK to capture data more accurately and streamline their service delivery, Tribal’s Student Support & Wellbeing solution enables institutions to further enhance their Student Experience by being proactive with their data, rather than reactive. Providing a 360 degree, holistic view of each and every student from a central record, the solution is designed to report data, insights and notifications to the correct teams to ensure the appropriate multi-departmental response to even the most complex of cases – from enquiry through to resolution. Moreover, some universities are using our technology to identify ‘at risk’ students, before they disclose or seek help, so that they can tailor interventions in time to make a difference. This capability could be truly transformative for HEIs that are committed to making mental health a strategic priority. For wherever your university is on its journey to addressing the full welfare agenda - at the very beginning, or at the top of the league - Tribal has a solution to help.
Our team is dedicated to working closely with HEIs to ensure we are equipping them with the best solutions ‘on our watch’. As publishers of the State of the Nation report, we are also using the research to shape the roadmap of our specialist Student Support & Wellbeing solutions around the specific pain-points that we understand our users now face, including:
- Centralising student records – allowing all forms of student support to be managed centrally with built-in best practice case management that can handle even the most complex of cases, allowing multiple departmental resources to be assigned and managed through to resolution.
- Maintaining compliance at all times - restricting access to only nominated users of the system. Staff can also push files securely to ensure compliance with institution privacy policies.
- Utilising cloud and multiple channels securely – supporting case creation and management via multiple channels including live chat, video, email and student portal. Students can easily escalate a chat session from a bot to a human, or vice versa, without switching channels or repeating details as the student’s context is preserved across the journey.
- Personalising support for everyone who needs it – making it easy to identify, record and personalise services for any additional needs following an assessment, from funding requests and approvals, to a complete list of student interactions with support and welfare teams.
- Automating incident alerting across departments - providing the ability to notify other departments about behavioural incidents of concern, to capture a 360 degree view of each and every student in the university’s care.
- Streamlining and enhancing processes - defining workflows to and from ongoing caseloads and providing more out-of-the-box analysis and reporting on trends that need to be monitored.
- Increasing management information and insights – improving the visibility of audit and interaction points, and making it easier to capture the time invested in cases, record academic sanctions, and validate student consent.
- Technology is clearly a vital part of the solution to the mental health crisis in Higher Education. Not least in its resource-saving automation capabilities that free up university teams to design and deliver better, more efficient, more effective support services. But it will only ever be part of the solution defined in a university’s action plan and the onus is not just on university leaders to put in place the right people, process and technology. It requires commitment across the sector - from governing bodies, accreditation agencies, university associations, qualification authorities, mental health advisors, and solution providers – to shape, fund, implement and support total reform.
If your university is looking to navigate the great challenges that lie ahead for our sector in these unprecedented times, you may find these short video resources useful . Alternatively if you are ready to see how Tribal’s Student Support & Wellbeing CRM could help transform your service provision, get in touch today .
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