UMass Boston



Streamlining Recruitment & Admissions

Recruiting students to enroll in college is no easy feat nowadays given the demographic decline in college age students in New England and across the nation. UMass Boston’s Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management John Drew knew that for the university to meet today’s student recruitment challenges, he had to find a better recruitment and admissions business system than the Salesforce TargetX platform his department was using. So, in 2021 Drew reached out to IT Project Management Director Terence Phalen for help, and as usual, Terry turned out to be precisely the right person.

At that point Phalen was already aware of how much enrollment and admissions has changed over the last couple of decades. Things have gotten much more competitive, and schools now must use marketing and recruitment strategies to attract the number and type of students they seek. And in marketing and recruitment, speed is of the essence. “You know how it is. The first person is usually the one who gets the student. So, you have to be able to move fast. You must be able to run and tie your shoes at the same time,” Phalen added in his usual offbeat manner. So, taking that into consideration and researching all the recruitment and admissions business systems available, Terry decided that the Technolutions product Slate would “be the tool that would give us all the deliverables that we require,” he said.

So, about 18 months ago, the project to transition the Enrollment Management office from Salesforce and TargetX to the new Slate recruitment and admissions business system began. Working with John Drew, Phalen and his PMO team worked steadily to the point where April 2022 became the official project closure date. And the folks in Enrollment Management couldn’t be happier with the results.

There is a bit more to the story though. A contributing factor to the success of the Slate implementation was work done on it by some folks in Web Services. It turns out that when you acquire Slate you get a business system that works fabulously but looks, ah, not so fab. It was in desperate need of a total visual presentation revamp, and that’s when Senior Web Developers Peter Tattlebaum and Lisa Link entered the scene. Peter and Lisa were able to use some graphics from the new UMass Boston branding campaign they had been working on, and the end result is a recruitment and admissions system that looks as good as it functions.

Not that it was easy. In fact, as Peter described it, it may have been among the most arduous work he’s ever done. Doing the coding for any new software is a major chore, but the particulars of the Slate package made it even more difficult. Eventually though, the job was done. Peter and Lisa were able to implement the “interim visual look” from the branding project, and better yet, it has the same visuals as those in the new UMass Boston brand that debuted in the spring.

Slate has enabled Enrollment Management to enact much faster and more aggressive recruitment and marketing strategies, and prospective students love it because they can do everything they need to do for admissions in a single portal. So far it’s been a resounding success, or as Phalen puts it, “All operations are enhanced, sustainable, and revenue generating. Efficiencies and effectiveness are in place.” Tattlebaum happily added, “The end result seems to say it was a positive investment.” It also seems to say it is positively another IT success story, and that everyone involved in this multi-departmental effort deserves a lot of credit for enhancing the enrollment and admissions experience at UMass Boston.

“The first person is usually the one who gets the student. So, you have to be able to move fast. You must be able to run and tie your shoes at the same time.” —Terence Phalen, IT Project Management Director

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