About College for Creative Studies
students from Michigan
first-year retention rate
registered student organizations
Having Presence as our online platform has driven a thrilling amount of engagement growth. I can't recommend it enough, especially to other one-person departments and schools with small student populations. If you need to centralize your processes and expedite engagement growth, Presence is key.Katie Gaither
Engagement was low as students didn't know how to get involved
Modern college students are used to finding opportunities quickly and easily; they can order the perfect outfit online in a few simple clicks and watch a near-infinite number of TV shows on demand. The same should be true for getting involved in student clubs and organizations.
A few years ago, that was not the case for the College for Creative Studies (CCS). Students didn’t know how to find events to attend or orgs to join—mainly because there was no central spot housing this information.
As a result, many students were dissuaded from getting involved. It seemed like too much work, plus they weren’t aware of the enormous benefits that co-curricular engagement provides.
Katie Gaither, Director of Student Engagement, knew something had to change. She needed a way to promote individual clubs and orgs, simplify engagement processes, and help her students gain essential workforce skills—and as a one-person department, she needed it to be easy and offer a higher return on investment.
The Solution & Result
Centralized engagement tears down barriers and energizes student life
With Modern Campus Presence as CCS’s co-curricular engagement platform, students no longer need to search multiple web pages or email a dozen offices. Everything related to campus engagement is in one reliable spot: Peacock Pride, the college’s name for their branded web portal and mobile app, powered by Presence.
Anyone can see up-to-minute listings of every student group, support offices, and student events—all filterable by categories and tags, allowing students to easily find opportunities that fit their interests and schedules. In just one click, they can even contact a club’s president or sync an event to their personal web calendar.
CCS’s Presence-powered web portal and mobile app also house all Student Engagement forms. Students can register new student orgs, submit event requests and more.
There are no guessing games. I think a lot of schools confuse students by saying ‘you can find this information over here or on this website or this internal thing that no one's ever looked at or this form that’s super hidden somewhere.’ That's not accessible. It’s just not the world we live in anymore. People want centralized information. They want to find things quickly. They want things to be clear and visually appealing. So the Presence app and portal are huge for us.
When I started at CCS in 2019, we had just 7 or 10 student organizations. Now we have almost 40. I attribute that to students being able to easily find out how to get involved through Presence.
Another Presence feature is helping CCS Student Affairs strengthen its reputation and prove its budgetary worth.
Using Presence’s mobile check-in technology, any staff or student leader can quickly, efficiently and accurately check students into any event. No pen and paper required; any mobile advice will do.
Previously, Katie Gaither had to rely on mere estimates to report event turnout. She still finds herself making guesses at each event she attends… but when she looks at the final list assembled by Presence, she’s frequently delighted to find that attendance was double or triple what she assumed by eyeing the room!
Having a more accurate picture of student life, and being able to back it up with data, has given new life to Student Engagement at CCS. Gaither’s co-workers and institutional leaders now understand the transformational power of engagement to support learning outcomes, student success and retention.
Presence has been incredibly helpful in legitimizing my work. By having concrete data about engagement, I can show why my budget is worth the money and the student employees I have are worth the investment. I really couldn’t do that before, especially as a one-person department. But Presence makes it easy; the numbers can do the talking and convince people in a major way.
🎥 Hear from Katie Gaither ▶️:
Student Affairs becomes central to the college’s mission and vision
The college is soon to release a new strategic plan, and Gaither is delighted to discover that it includes student-centeredness as a primary tenet.
As such, Gaither foresees Presence growing in its importance to the institution, spurred by how seamlessly it drives student engagement.
Peacock Pride, our Presence portal, is going to become an even more important tool for us. It’s an incredible way to promote student-centeredness.
Presence may also soon directly help new CCS graduates impress employees and secure great jobs! With SmartTranscripts, students can showcase their co-curricular experiences and quantify the essential skills they’ve gained. It syncs all of a student’s completed and in-progress experiences, certifications, points, service hours, and skills into one fully-automated, live-updating profile—which students can share with employers.
An employee who sees that a student was a resident assistant may dismiss its value. They may only know that RAs live on campus for free. But our RAs complete two weeks of intensive training. They manage crises, promote mental health education, do community building. They're racking up all of these skills and competencies and with SmartTranscripts, they can accurately convey all that. Same with every leadership position.
Presence is already skyrocketing student org activities through its one-stop engagement hub and enhancing staff’s understanding of student needs through best-in-class data analytics. And in the near future, SmartTranscripts will solidify students’ career readiness, allowing them to showcase the true value of an art degree.
In this way, Presence is more than a niche engagement tool; it’s essential to the entire college’s mission.
We want to graduate students who not only are world-class artists and designers but well-rounded, wonderful global citizens with social and team-building skills. And Presence is an invaluable tool in our toolkit for achieving that.
College for Creative Studies's Favorite Features
Unified Events Hub
Clubs & Orgs Directory
|Promote every co-curricular event, whether it’s planned by staff or students, in your one-stop-shop web portal & mobile app.
Gives students 24/7 access to the information they need to get involved, with a searchable, filterable listing of clubs, teams and departments.
Analyze students participation—live and over time—to visualize involvement trends, identify patterns and gather key insights.
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About Modern Campus
Modern Campus is obsessed with empowering its 1,200+ higher education customers to thrive when radical transformation is required to respond to lower student enrollments and revenue, rising costs, crushing student debt and even school closures.
Powered by Omni CMS, DIGARC, Presence and Destiny One, the Modern Campus modern learner engagement platform enables innovative institutions to create a “learner to earner” lifecycle that engages modern learners for life.
Delivering massive personalization, AI-driven recommendations and a modern e-commerce engine, Modern Campus creates a student-first digital experience and removes silos across campus. Presidents and provosts, marketing and IT teams, admissions, registrars, student affairs and CE divisions can partner to attract, enroll, empower, retain, credential and re-engage students with pathways for lifelong learning.