The Importance of the Student Experience in Higher Education
Over the past three years, three-quarters of the country’s higher education institutions have shown a nearly 8% drop in undergraduate enrollment. With changing priorities of Gen-Z college students and the incoming workforce, and a pandemic that has altered the lives of thousands of current and future students, universities have had to pivot their student experience strategy to keep enrollment on an incline. Students are focused on a modern, comprehensive, and well-rounded education that is finalized with not just a diploma but relevant life skills to be used for the future.
As a higher education institution, it may seem as if small items such as logistics updates or innovative technology wouldn’t make a difference to students, but we’re here to tell you it does. A strong operational base throughout your entire campus is the building block for students to have a seamless experience as they move about your campus each day, being able to focus on their personal growth and education, while mundane operational tasks such as move-in and move-out, package pick-up, and more are optimized. Today, our campus logistics software experts at SCLogic discuss the importance of the student experience in higher education and how implementing configurable facilities software such as Intra can alleviate many of the pain points your campus faces daily.
Create a Collaborative Environment Through Campus Facilities Design
As many students across the country and world return to campus post-pandemic, their needs have certainly shifted, not only in education but in the entirety of their university experience, including face-to-face communication and collaboration. According to a 2021 Inside Higher Ed study, close to 40% of students were at least somewhat dissatisfied with their on-campus experience. At that rate, universities face a continued drop in enrollment unless they can pivot to create an efficient and welcoming environment for their students. If you’re part of a university facilities team, you’re probably wondering what this might look like. On a smaller scale, this could include modern campus services offerings, such as those in Intra’s Campus Services Workgroup. Workflows such as Conference Room Services or Workplace Requests help students and faculty ensure that they are getting use out of the amenities their campus has to offer. Through Intra, faculty members can request designated spaces for lectures or meetings, giving their students the opportunity to learn from different environments throughout campus with ease.
On a larger scale, we need to take a wider view of facilities designed for higher education. For campuses looking to expand or update their buildings, creating an interdisciplinary space for students, such as the University of Idaho’s Integrated Research and Innovation Center (IRIC), is an incredible step in modernizing campus needs. In 2022 and beyond, there are trends in facilities design and management that are gaining noticeable traction and do not plan to stop soon. One of the most progressive design trends is incorporating biophilic design, or incorporating direct and indirect nature elements within a building. Think of hybrid indoor/outdoor classrooms, extensive greenery, natural light, or buildings that connect seamlessly with stunning natural elements. Biophilic design has been shown to increase attendance, reduce stress, improve focus, and more from early childhood education through post-secondary education.
Minimize Move-In & Move Out Stress with Improved Asset Management
One of the largest stressors at universities for both students and faculty is move-in and move-out. With students returning to campus and the CDC lifting indoor mask guidelines across the country, universities should welcome students back with new and improved facility management structures. Reopening your campus can be an arduous task, but with the help of facilities management and logistics software such as Intra, many of the frustrations of large events such as move-in and move-out are simplified. Our Asset Logistics Workgroup was designed to optimize your campus asset management through workflows such as asset audits, asset ownership transfer, and asset rental and check-out. So, how does this impact the student experience?
Besides college tours and acceptance day celebrations, the first interaction students generally have on campus is their move-in experience. Making this process seamless will set a strong base for your facility’s abilities for students and parents alike. Through our Asset Logistics Workflow, your team can quickly establish rentals and check-outs for dollies for each on-campus housing area, as well as keep track of usage and return times. Additionally, you can configure move-in and move-out schedules by barcoding pallets based on housing, name, move-in time, etc., to ensure that pre-shipped packages and university assets are accounted for. Finally, universities that offer laptop or other asset rentals throughout the year for students can transfer asset ownership to incoming students with ease for a modern, optimized campus experience.
Package Pick-Up Made Easy with Modern Software & Integrations
Besides a hectic move-in or move-out process, one of the most frustrating things students and faculty face on campus is package tracking and pick-up at their university mailroom. You know the deal, lines running across your student center, employees frantically searching for packages in an unorganized and outdated mailroom, and increased frustration for all parties. Fortunately, we have a solution. Our Student & Faculty Mail Workgroup works to alleviate many of the frustrations of an outdated mailroom by offering technologically-advanced workflows that prioritize organization and communication between students, faculty, mailroom managers, and facilities workers.
Implementing workflows within our Student and Faculty Mail Workgroup provides complete accountability and chain-of-custody on all mail and packages that move about your campus. You can reduce turnaround times by quickly scanning in package information and sending out automatic notifications for pick-up, as well as centralize a high volume of requests by viewing your operation in real-time, reducing those long wait times. Additionally, your team can barcode shelves and assign specific locations for student packages to help optimize mailroom storage. Are you looking for more? Our Student & Faculty Mail Workgroup is compatible with a variety of integrations growing in popularity across campuses, including smart lockers and self-service kiosks for even more package pick-up options. The result? A happy student body that sees your dedication to their success through modern solutions.
Put Your Students First with the Help of Intra
As educational needs change, universities become more competitive, and students begin to take a holistic approach when choosing the university that offers the greatest value for their investment. The student experience is no longer just an afterthought for universities but an integral part of their growth and expansion. Creating and fostering an environment that has offerings suited to the desires and needs of Gen-Z and beyond can be difficult but know that from their academic rigor to daily facilities needs, an efficient and innovative campus will undoubtedly lead to growth. If your university has been struggling with outdated software and facilities management offerings, our configurable operations software platform, Intra, may be the perfect solution. A one-stop shop to solve your facility’s pain points, coupled with a mobile-first experience and extensive integrations? You really can’t go wrong. If you’re interested in learning more about our Intra EDU workgroups, email [email protected] or schedule a demo with one of our team members today.