About Oklahoma State University
Founded in 1890 and located in Stillwater, Oklahoma, OSU is a public land grant institution with approximately 20,000 undergraduate and 4000 graduate students. OSU has five academic colleges, a veterinary school, and an osteopathic medical school. OSU is a Division I Athletics institution in the BIG 12 Conference and is classified as an R1 Doctoral University with very high research activity. 74 percent of OSU students come from in-state.
First Generation Students
Students On Campus
Increasing student retention is a goal of nearly all colleges and universities. At Oklahoma State University (OSU), their student staff members in the residence halls are a key part of this process. As peer mentors and advisors with students, student staff members are best positioned to identify early warning signs when a student is struggling, or identify those students who are thriving.
Although OSU knew their student staff members were regularly interacting with their residents, they couldn’t easily identify which students needed more support or understand trends in student issues occurring across communities. OSU needed a way to identify which students should be targeted for more outreach and better understand the types of conversations that were occurring.
“College students today are experiencing quite a bit of loneliness. We create events and opportunities for residents to engage in order to create a sense of Belonging. Data analysis helps us accomplish this goal.“
OSU’s residence life department utilized Roompact’s software to help get a handle on their data. Their process began by using Roompact’s Forms to build a Weekly Report for their student staff members to complete. This weekly report included questions about how the staff member was doing, shoutouts for fellow staff members, and also asked which residents the staff member had significant interactions with that week.
Tag, You’re It!
Tag questions in Roompact’s software allow you to make associations between your data collected and students or locations (halls, rooms, etc.) on campus. When using tags, it makes sure your data is clean and also enables more flexibility in how you can view your data and what you can do it.
By using the “Tag” type question in Forms, student staff identified which students they interacted with and left brief notes. By tagging the students, this ensured that Roompact’s software made a connection between the note and the individual student’s record. This allowed OSU to view the notes in aggregate, in a table format, and the staff could also view it on an individual student level, by looking up a student’s historical Timeline.
See Who Has Been Interacted With
(And Who Hasn’t)
Student affairs research consistently finds that engaged students are more likely to persist. With Roompact’s data collection and insights, you can identify which students completed an intentional interaction and which ones did not, allowing you to do better follow up and check-in with students who may be struggling.
Because OSU used Roompact’s Tag capabilities, weekly and cumulative reports could be run to see the frequency of check-ins student staff members were conducting with specific students. This report listed all of their students and the number of times each student was tagged in a checkin conversation. This then allowed staff members to see which students were interacting with their staff a lot and which students never or rarely interacted with a staff member at all. OSU then identified students for targeted outreach to ensure that the students were engaged on campus and that they were getting the help they needed.
Individual Resident Views
Providing better student support requires that you understand your data in aggregate, so you can identify trends and direct broad-based efforts, but its also important to understand on an individual student level, so you can address the unique needs and experiences of your students. Through Roompact’s multiple data views, you’ll have access to understanding your students’ journeys as a whole and as individuals. With resident timelines, you can view your entire history of interactions with a student.
Now that OSU has the data and has identified its students, in the future they hope to deepen supports for students who seem to be less engaged in their communities. This could include developing additional follow up check-ins or more formalized referral tracking. It could also include improving support systems through better advertising and proactive outreach. Roompact’s messaging and community map features may be particularly useful for these efforts.
Since Roompact’s software saves historical data, OSU could do longitudinal analysis to see if resident-staff member check-ins are a useful metric tried to retention. These check-ins could also be expanded to other types of interactions such as program attendance or more formalized intentional conversations. Roompact’s event and tracking capabilities could be used to gain even deeper insights.
Moving beyond quantifying points of contact between students and staff, Roompact Tags could also be used to identify emergent issues discussed during the check-ins. Identifying issues such as homesickness, roommate conflict, or academic difficulty could be useful for identifying trends in the student population and better inform administrators where to direct their time and budgets. It could also be used to improve student staff member training and procedures regarding certain student issues they encounter.
Re-create this on your own campus! Roompact campus partners can download detailed Ace Guides and Ace Cases through our support portal to re-create similar processes on their own campuses. Our Roompact Advisors “RAs” are also on hand to consult with you and guide you on how to begin processes to most effectively meet your needs and goals.