How one Texas college is leveraging robust integrations and increased agility to scale the institution
San Jacinto College is a public community college with several campuses throughout the Houston area. Though their Continuing Education unit brings highly valuable programming to working adults, using technologies built for their main campus colleagues made it difficult to scale the institution.
Inefficient processes and poor integration between key elements of San Jacinto’s tech stack meant the unit couldn’t effectively grow its non-credit programs. At a time when most institutions are looking to CE and Workforce Development to drive revenue, senior leadership at the college knew it was time for a change.
San Jacinto turned to Modern Campus Lifelong Learning, a non-credit student management system, to remove these roadblocks and create efficiencies that scale the institution. And the effect was immediate:
Going live with Lifelong Learning in May of 2019, the college surpassed its 2018 enrollment numbers by a margin of 20% over the previous year. San Jacinto College was able to maintain its enrollment overall during the pandemic.
Three areas in particular contributed to the positive impact of Modern Campus Lifelong Learning on San Jacinto College: systems integration, employer responsiveness and multilingual learner experiences.
Problem: Low Integration Limits Staff Capabilities
Continuing Education and Professional Development often requires a hefty back-end to manage non-traditional offerings and learners. Sallie Kay Janes, Associate Vice Chancellor of Continuing and Professional Development at San Jacinto College, said it’s imperative that the college’s many applications were able to “talk” to one another.
“It’s critical that multiple systems are able to talk to each other,” Janes said, explaining that bridging non-credit and for-credit learning is a major driver of revenue for the college. “That connection is extremely important.”
Without an integrated approach to non-credit management, staff resources were often consumed by tedious and unnecessary busy-work—with far less time to be spent growing the unit.
Solution: Robust Integrations Streamline Non-Credit Management
Using the Modern Campus Ellucian Banner Connector (powered by Axiom Elite), Janes said the college is now able to exchange data between Lifelong Learning and Ellucian Banner while eliminating needless hassle when managing and creating integrations.
“It’s beneficial for our staff on the back end to see everything that’s currently running and scheduled,” Janes said. “We’re on a quarter system, which our students don’t know. When they see classes published and publicized for credit, they can also see the non-credit classes.”
The connection also allows for program directors to see what hasn’t been taught in a while, prompting them to convert that course and put it into Lifelong Learning.
“Then it’ll go back into Banner as a new course,” Janes said. “The connection provides a more accessible experience for both students and faculty.”
Problem: Reduced Responsiveness to Employer Needs
The ability to respond to market needs with just-in-time education can be what separates a college from its competitors. Janes said prior to implementing their non-credit SIS, customizing programming for the school’s many different corporate partners wasn’t always easy.
“We oftentimes have several companies working together to provide similar classes that may or may not need customization,” Janes said. She explained that addressing their needs quickly is crucial to maintaining and growing lucrative relationships with their partners. An unintuitive management system meant a barrier to the seamless engagement many partners (and prospective partners) expect.
Solution: Increased Agility Meeting Workforce Demands
Partnering with Modern Campus has enabled San Jacinto College to be a competitive solutions provider for local employers. Janes said Lifelong Learning puts the college in a position to offer programming solutions quickly—often quicker than they’re actually needed.
“They’ll tell us what they need, we customize it, and it’s ready for them. In most cases, we can respond quicker than they need,” Janes said, attributing this to staff’s newfound ability to spend more time on activities that add value to the partnership and less on administration. “We’re able to keep pace with employers’ demands because we can turn on a dime with Lifelong Learning. We can get a course into our system within 24 hours and offer it.”
Multilingual Learner Experiences
Problem: Language Barriers Limit Reach
San Jacinto serves a diverse learner base in the Houston area. With a 60% Hispanic student demographic, there was no question that the college had to meet its learners halfway. “There was no question about it,” Janes said, “we had to make sure that our Spanish language component was in there.”
“We tried to do early on-courses years ago, but we couldn’t offer them in Spanish,” Janes said.
Without a means of speaking to the learners in their area, Janes said the college couldn’t always provide the accessible education it’s known for.
Solution: Improved Accessibility to Key Demographics
With Modern Campus Lifelong Learning’s Language Packs, San Jacinto College can improve engagement with current and prospective students of all backgrounds. Janes said the multi-language website and self-service portal is crucial to communicating with their audience.
“Our Hispanic community could easily read what we had and didn't have to wait to speak with someone,” she said. “It’s a really strong component of keeping in touch with our community, and keeping them in touch with us.”
Seamless Non-Credit Management Drives Enrollment and Revenue
As a result of these three major benefits, alongside the eCommerce expertise Lifelong Learning delivers, San Jacinto saw immediate and significant impacts on its business—both in terms of enrollment and revenue growth. Janes credits much of San Jacinto College’s success to its use of the flexible non-credit management system.
“The fact that we moved forward during this pandemic is amazing. COVID didn’t affect the technology of Lifelong Learning,” Janes said. “It was Lifelong Learning and the technology that we used for registration that helped us get through this.”
We’re able to keep pace with employers’ demands because we can turn on a dime with Lifelong Learning.
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 Lifelong Learning, 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.