About University of Oklahoma

Founded in 1890 and located in Norman, Oklahoma, OU is an public research institution with approximately 22,000 undergraduate and 7000 graduate students. OU provides 152 baccalaureate programs, 160 master’s programs, and 75 doctorate programs. OU is a Division I Athletics institution in the BIG 12 Conference and is classified as an R1 Doctoral University with very high research activity.

Residence Halls

9

Beds On Campus

~5800

Percent of First Year Students On Campus

85%


The Problem

Housing operations and residence life functions are both integral to the student experience. When these different units are aligned and working together, it can provide better service to and educational opportunities for residents. At the University of Oklahoma, these two functions are committed to advancing their work in tandem, including aligning their work with a residential curriculum model and the learning goals and outcomes they’ve identified for their students.

Looking for ways to more seamlessly share information and better communicate about issues that arise, the University of Oklahoma turned to Roompact’s software.

“Utilizing Roompact is another tool to help end student information silos. By having information ready for the entire Housing & Residence Life team to see, we are better equipped to help students in their times of need and create an environment where they can be successful. As a housing operations team member, these tools are vital for the retention and support of our students during their time on campus.

– Ann Schafer, University of Oklahoma

Ann Schafer

Goals


The Solution

Roompact’s residence life software is complementary to housing operations use of a housing management system. When both are working together their unique strengths combine in a way that can benefit all staff. At OU, the housing operations staff utilize StarRez to maintain housing assignments and billing. However, the operations staff also have access to and utilize the data that their residence life colleagues store in Roompact’s software. Because Roompact’s software acts as a centralized clearing house for residence life’s curriculum and interactions with students, the information can be paired with StarRez’s data to provide a more complete picture of a residents experience in campus housing.

The following are three ways OU’s housing operations staff utilize Roompact’s software to enhance their work:


3 Pillars of Software for Residnece Life including Roompact, your HMS, and your Student Conduct Software

Designed for residence life and education, Roompact’s software fills the gap between your Housing Management Software (HMS) and your Student Conduct Software. Working in combination, these solutions can be a powerful tool for promoting student learning and success.


1. Responding To Parent Phone Calls

Sometimes parents will call the OU housing office to ask questions about or on behalf of their child. Using the student look up feature in Roompact’s software, the OU housing staff have access to all of the notes left on a resident and a record of all of the forms they were tagged in, including duty reports and intentional conversations. Having this contextual information from the residence life team means the OU housing staff can better respond to parent inquires.

After a call is over, OU’s housing staff leave their own notes, viewable by residence life staff. Using the labeling feature on the note, it can be quickly classified as a parent phone call for easy tracking later on. To coordinate any necessary follow-up, Roompact’s Staff Alert allows a quick message to be sent directly to the staff member responsible for the resident. Follow-up actions by residence life are logged as a resident staff note in return.


Screen Shot of Resident Timeline with Dropdown Filters

Historical Timelines of All Your Interactions

Roompact’s software makes it easy for you to see the history of all of your interactions with your students. Each resident has their own their own timeline that includes a chronological listing of messages exchanges, notes kept, forms filed, and other actions related to that student. The timeline can be filtered and follows the resident, year over year, as they journey through housing.


2. Retention Committees

Campus housing has a central role to play in any institutional retention efforts. Because of this, the staff in OU housing and residence life serve on OU retention committees and are able to provide data and information to guide overall institutional retention efforts. The powerful combination of data and information contained within OU’s housing management system, their student conduct software, and within Roomapct provides a better overall picture of a student’s circumstances and journey.

When providing individualized support for students, housing staff are able to call up information from Roompact on residents and help coordinate responses. Additionally, when viewed in aggregate, Roompact can give insights into trends in the resident population. Giving access to Roompact’s software to key partners can help facilitate communication across silos and surface insights that might not be possible from an individual staff member’s or individual department’s perspective.


Roomapct Software Room View. With different colored rooms.

Map Where Students Are Struggling On Campus

Through Roompact’s visual layouts, you can get a better handle on where your trouble spots are on campus or where students may be struggling. As a useful tool for supervisors, you can easily track the relative health of your communities and follow up with your student staff members.


3. Off Campus Housing Releases

OU’s housing staff coordinate the housing release process that allows a resident to request to move off campus. The committee reviews these requests and the applications of individual students. By having access to resident data stored in Roompact’s software, committee members are able to get a more complete picture of the student’s circumstances and situation. Often times, the information provided to a resident assistant by the student can verify and provide further information about the student’s request. This has allowed the committee to make more informed decisions and eliminates the need to seek more information from a student in ways that could be burdensome or even re-traumatizing depending on the student’s circumstances.


Control Access and Customized Views

Every user of Roompact’s software is assigned a permission. This permission not only helps ensure student records are kept private and FERPA-compliant, but also means that your views will be tailored to you and will surface the most relevant information about your communities.


The Future

The University of Oklahoma has already seen success in better coordinating their efforts between their housing operations and residence life functions. As they look to the future, there is the possibility of deepening this relationship as they solidify processes and workflows. This could include better tracking of parent interactions, more communications between staff, and better documentation of information.

As a residential curriculum school, OU is also looking for additional creative ways to infuse the curriculum into housing operations. They hope to make operations more educationally focused and increase overall alignment with the goals and outcomes identified for residents. This could include changes to housing selection, student releases from housing, and building use.


Suggestions on how you can apply lessons learned from OU to your own Roompact usage:

  • Ensure All Staff (Including Housing Operations staff) Have Access – Roompact’s staff access permissions help ensure the right staff have the right level of access to stored data and manage student data security. When setting up staff member accounts, don’t forget to include your operations staff. Access may be particularly useful for staff members who may be working on assignments.
  • Train Staff and Set Up Process and Workflows – Software comes to life when you actively discuss and make plans for how to use it. Make sure all staff are trained on Roompact’s software and that processes that use our software are discussed, documented, and actualized.
  • Use the Resident/Staff Notes Feature – Leaving notes on individual resident and room timelines can be an excellent way of ensuring information is shared and made available when needed. Encourage staff to utilize Roompact’s ability to leave notes on resident timelines and provide consistent reminders. The more this feature is used, the more useful it becomes.
  • Make Sure Staff Know How to Access Form Data – Make sure you have a consistent training program in place so that all of your staff members know the basics about how to access data. Through our support portal, Roompact provides a number of walkthrough videos and downloadable/editable presentations. Furthermore, make sure staff are aware that Roompact Insight Reports can provide customized reporting solutions that can enable even deeper analysis opportunities. Reach out to your RA, Roompact Advisor, for help.
  • Consider Using Room Status Colors Uniformly – Roompact’s software allows you to assign colors (red, yellow, and green) to individual rooms. These colors can provide a visual sociogram of a residence hall floor. When Roompact first launched, these colors were intended to indicate if there was a roommate conflict in a room and it’s level of severity. These colors, however, can be used to denote any situation or status you wish. Making a commitment as a staff to use these room statuses in a consistent way means that staff can immediately understand what they mean across the entire campus.