Automation and unexpected value keep focus where it belongs: on the students
“It’s been three years since we sent out a paper schedule,” Cheryl Thomas, Registrar at St. Joseph’s College of Nursing, says with pride. Cheryl has worked at the college for 37 years, so she has seen the full evolution of administration operations, “I’ve gone from pencil, paper, and a calculator for figuring cumulative grade point averages, to masses of tablets for scheduling, to typing every transcript, to what we have now. Sometimes I think to myself, ‘How did I do it?’” Through long, painstaking hours, but not anymore…
A few years ago, St Joseph’s made the transition to Jenzabar® SONIS, a powerful yet cost effective student information system (SIS) designed specifically to help smaller and specialized higher education institutions improve efficiencies across their campus for all of their on-the-go constituents. Jenzabar SONIS empowers users to manage all aspects of their school’s administrative tasks online and provides integrated services for admissions, registration, grading, billing, course management, and other administrative functions.
“Jenzabar SONIS gives me and everybody else what we need to get the job done, easier,” says Cheryl. The robust yet flexible features of Jenzabar SONIS automate many processes that used to monopolize St. Joseph’s administrative staff, allowing them to now spend their energy where it really counts: with the students.
Not all student information systems are created equal
Jenzabar SONIS wasn’t the first SIS that St. Joseph’s tried. They originally switched to computer-based administration in 1991, but the results were far from perfect. Even with the new software, the staff at St. Joseph’s was still performing many tasks by hand, such as manually entering and retrieving data.
“About 6 or 7 years ago, support was beginning to decline”, Cheryl recalls. “Every time I called our old vendor, there would be fewer and fewer support people on board. It was at that time we were made aware of SONISWEB. This made us realize it was time to change.” So St. Joseph’s began looking at other systems. “We compared several options, and Jenzabar SONIS was really the best value,” says Cheryl. Jenzabar SONIS had everything that St. Joseph’s needed to ease the administrative burdens they had been struggling with for years and the top-notch customer support to help them thrive. Yet they couldn’t have anticipated all of the ways that the powerful yet affordable Jenzabar SONIS SIS would benefit the college.
Impact through ease-of-use and automation
Using Jenzabar SONIS has proven to be simple and intuitive for St. Joseph’s. “I find the product to be very user-friendly,” says Cheryl. “Our new Associate Dean of Students easily navigates through the system, accessing the student data and communications he needs in order to be up to date with both incoming and current students.”
“Jenzabar SONIS gives me and everybody else what we need to get the job done”
St. Joseph’s College of Nursing
When Cheryl or anyone else does have a question or issue, the matter is quickly resolved by the Jenzabar SONIS support team. “Some problems are more complex than others, but they work at it until they find a solution for us,” says Cheryl. “I can’t say enough about the support. They walk right through it on the screen with you. And if they can’t do that, they always get back to you with what you need right away.”
Much of the work has been streamlined. Bills are fully automated. In fact, this past year St. Joseph’s didn’t send out a single paper bill. Vital communications to prospective and incoming students are now automated. Cheryl doesn’t even need to hit “send” anymore on some emails. Instead, these messages are strategically scheduled to reach exactly the right audience at the right time. Additionally, Cheryl no longer needs to double check for holds on accounts. Jenzabar SONIS automatically alerts Cheryl about holds and other parameters that conflict with any of her tasks.
Many St. Joseph’s administrators are more effective in their jobs through Jenzabar SONIS. “Our Director of Alumni Relations uses Jenzabar SONIS as much as she can,” says Cheryl. “She uses it for communication, for keeping track of donations and gifts, and more.”
Even more value than meets the eye
As the administrative staff at St. Joseph’s used Jenzabar SONIS more, they began to find tools that they had been under utilizing and applications that would work for them in unique ways, amounting to a broad yet deep, custom-fit system. For instance, nursing students must stay up-to-date on certifications such as CPR. The administration tracks a student’s CPR certification expiration that automatically alerts them of students who are overdue.
St. Joseph’s has also found a way to leverage the attendance program for their specific needs. Cheryl explains: “We use Jenzabar SONIS to put those clinical schedules into the system as well as academic schedules. These features provide accuracy for faculty to monitor student progress and easily provides necessary reporting.”
Less screen-time, more face-time
Jenzabar SONIS has freed up St. Joseph’s to use their time and energy where it really counts: graduating successful students. St. Joseph’s College of Nursing is very student-focused,” explains Cheryl. “We are a small school and believe in individual attention, so we all have an open door policy. Jenzabar SONIS gives everyone more time and freedom to personally invest in our students’ success.” This philosophy is a huge factor in why their National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) scores are some of the best in New York State, and the nation.
About St. Joseph’s College of Nursing
St. Joseph’s College of Nursing was founded in 1898 by the Sisters of St. Francis. Since then, more than 4,000 men and women have graduated from its halls.
St. Joseph’s College believes that nursing education is a lifelong process, and prepares its students to adapt to advances in scientific theory, technology, health care and society. Through a holistic approach to nursing, its curriculum goes beyond scientific nursing courses to encompass communication, cultural sensitivity, ethical and legal issues, leadership, conflict resolution and decision-making.