The University of Gibraltar has been awarding higher education degrees since 2020, after its establishment in 2015. Offering courses that align with UK standards, their small class sizes and work experience opportunities allow for exceptional student experience – with 97% of graduates in employment or further education within 6 months of graduating (2020-2022 Graduate Survey).
The university has exciting growth plans, including scaling its student intake and improving the student experience. To support their students and help boost their engagement throughout their degree courses, the University of Gibraltar invested in Tribal’s ebs and Engage in 2020 as an appropriate solution for their student population and future ambitions.
I spoke to Krystle Robba, Registrar, and Christian Camilleri, Recruitment and Student Experience Manager, at the university to understand how they use the system to drive positive outcomes.
Replacing their previous system to enable their ambitions, the team were suddenly confronted with an enterprise transformation project just as pandemic lockdowns started. The pandemic meant they couldn't have people come on-site to set up, and at that time, no one knew how long the restrictions would last, so they needed strong remote cover. The University of Gibraltar relied on Tribal for remote support to deploy the new student management systems.
Christian said: “We took Tribal ebs onboard, and I think it's a system to which we’ve very much warmed. We’re a lot more self-sufficient. We can create the reports and workflows that we want when we want. That has helped us massively.”
Krystle added: ebs was most suited to our university size and will scale to our needs now and in the future. We also have the opportunity for integration with other systems, which is important for us. We wanted to improve how we engage our students. An app like Tribal Engage seemed like a useful growth opportunity.”
By investing in both ebs and Engage, the university has found a more effective alternative to email for student communications. Research suggests that ‘instant messaging’ is more effective for real-time communication, instantaneity, and a more personal approach. A study published in the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication in 2021 found that IM users were more likely to report feeling connected to their friends and family than email users. The study also found that IM users were more likely to use IM to share personal information and build relationships.
Christian continued: Our students live on their phones. They engage regularly and expect their phones to support their lifestyles, commitments, and planning. Notifications on the app are a big part of how they manage their lives and experiences. Suppose we need to advise students about changes to timetabling on campus or a weather warning. Personalised notifications are the best way to communicate individual messages to students promptly and conveniently. Engage does work very, very well.”
Christian believes Engage will help drive student recruitment to the university:
Adding Engage into our recruitment process will provide applicants with a unique gateway into our existing student population. They can start to understand the nature of our campus community. They’ll have the chance to talk to current students and understand more about campus life before confirming their place. It also provides a great jumping-off point helping to break down barriers when they start. They’ll have a ready-made community in their pockets.”
Krystle added: To reinforce the use of Engage and as part of one of our sustainable moves this year, we will be implementing the virtual Student ID card via the Engage app. We currently provide this, but we are discontinuing physical cards for students unless specifically required."
Staff are encouraged to communicate with students through Engage, reinforcing the university’s engagement culture. Unlike other messaging apps that often require a visible mobile phone number, Engage allows staff and students to communicate safely without sharing personal information, reducing potential safeguarding concerns.
Drawing the conversation to a close, I asked Krystle and Christian to describe their experience with Tribal and the solutions in three words.
They said: We had a complex set of requirements. We have big ambitions; our location means we need great partners and are time pressured. For us, Tribal was revolutionary, responsive and efficient.”
If you’re interested in learning how Tribal can support you at your institution, get in touch to discuss our solutions with the team.
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