Some of the efforts arising from the university's five-year Student Services Excellence Initiative are highly visible, such as the rollout of the Handshake career services platform to all Johns Hopkins University students or the fact that students using the Semester.ly planning app can now connect directly to the university's course registration system.
Others are happening behind the scenes, including the development of a system making it easier for potential graduate students to apply for admission.
SSEI's leaders say each step moves the initiative forward in its mission to give the Hopkins community positive, streamlined interactions with student services using modern technology that meets their needs.
"A great deal of research and planning has gone into the SSEI program since it launched in 2016," says Sunil Kumar, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. "Now we are seeing the implementation phase bring real changes that make life at Johns Hopkins easier for students, faculty, and staff, and there are more exciting enhancements coming."
Career services has been an area of focus for SSEI this year, leading to the implementation of the Handshake platform—previously used by the Homewood Career Center—for all students and alumni across academic divisions. University leaders say the effort will increase opportunities for students and foster collaboration between schools.
Since Handshake launched universitywide on Aug. 6, more than 8,000 students and alumni have activated their accounts, and the system had received approximately 200 new job postings per day. New users can get started at jhu.joinhandshake.com.
The university's overall career services strategy will continue to take shape under the leadership of its first vice provost for integrative learning and life design, Farouk Dey, who joined JHU last month. In addition, The Johns Hopkins Medicine Professional Development and Career Office and Homewood Career Center have been increasing training and development opportunities for PhD students and postdoctoral fellows across the university, including strengthening relationships with employers, creating the PhD Biotech Industry Mentorship Program, and establishing the Graduate and Postdoctoral Professional Development Consortium.
After seeing the popularity of the Semester.ly app, which was developed by students as a tool for planning course schedules, SSEI leadership worked with a computer science class in the university's Whiting School of Engineering to connect the app with the SIS registration system for most schools. Now once students identify their classes in Semester.ly, they can register with a few clicks.
With support from an SSEI working group, University Registrar Tom Black is also working on changes that will make it easier for students who study across divisions. For example, in the spring, undergraduate students in the Public Health Studies program at the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences will be able to register digitally for the first time for more than 80 courses in the Bloomberg School of Public Health.
"The opportunity for cross-divisional study is a great benefit to our students," says Kevin Shollenberger, vice provost for student affairs. "Administrative elements such as scheduling and registration should not stand in their way."
Another team led by SSEI and IT@JH's University Information Systems group has begun implementing a platform called Slate to manage both the recruitment and admissions of graduate students. Applicants will benefit from more consistent automated features, such as notifications about when an application is complete, and the divisions will be able to track information and share it across programs.
The rollout will be in phases, with the Krieger School, Whiting School, School of Education, and Carey Business School in the first group to implement the software this fall.