A Symphony of Efficiency: Berklee College of Music Modernizes their Housing Operations with StarRez

Learn how Berklee College of Music orchestrated a harmonious transformation from THD to StarRez for enhanced student and staff experiences.
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Key Highlights


Per placement cycle by digitally processing room applications.


In student engagement with increased housing satisfaction overall.


In room change requests per semester, saving valuable staff time.


In annual residential applications after implementing StarRez.

Berklee College of Music
Northeast, USA
Higher Education
Active Since
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Berklee College of Music is a renowned private music college in Boston, Massachusetts. With over 6,000 undergraduate and graduate students, Berklee stands as a global leader in contemporary music education. The institution offers a rich variety of programs in performance, composition, production, and music business. Recognizing the importance of fostering a vibrant and supportive living environment for its students, Berklee identified a need to enhance its student residential experience. Berklee implemented StarRez, a comprehensive housing management solution designed to streamline housing operations and improve the overall residential experience. This initiative underscores Berklee's commitment to providing an exceptional and holistic educational journey for its students.

In the heart of Boston, Berklee College of Music is well known for its creative energy and commitment to nurturing the next generation of music professionals. Yet behind the scenes, Berklee's residential and housing operations faced significant challenges that were at odds with the innovative spirit of the institution. To reach maximum impact on the student experience, the team of three at Berklee College of Music’s Housing Department aimed to elevate its operations through the implementation of StarRez, changing the way they managed housing for a vibrant community of artists.

Navigating Housing Hurdles

Before transitioning to StarRez, Berklee College of Music's housing operations were managed using The Housing Director (THD) platform. While THD provided essential functionalities, it fell short in several critical areas that Berklee needed to propel their housing operations forward along with the direction of the institution’s Berklee Bridge initiative - aimed at enhancing accessibility and simplicity across the campus. Teisha Miles, the Assistant Director for Residential and Housing Operations at Berklee, highlights the challenges faced during this period.

“With THD, user functionality was limited, particularly in terms of self-service options for students. It wasn’t easy for them. Room assignments were done manually, using paper, which consumed significant time and resources for our team.”

-Teisha Miles, Assistant Director for Residential and Housing Operations at Berklee College of Music

One of the most significant issues with THD was its lack of advanced integration capabilities into Berklee’s student information systems (SIS), Ellucian Colleague, including housing placements and billing. The disjointed systems required the housing operations team to manually handle housing placements and then manually input billing for approximately 1,500 students - which would take a team of three people 2-3 business days to complete. This time-consuming process drained a team that could have been better utilizing time elsewhere. Room assignments were another area that troubled the housing team, causing distress. The team had to manually assign rooms to students, a process that took over a week to complete.

"We had to manually assign rooms, and it took a significant amount of time to handle assignments for all our students. This not only delayed the assignment process but also left little room for addressing any issues or special requests from students.”

-Teisha Miles, Assistant Director for Residential and Housing Operations at Berklee College of Music

The small housing operations team, consisting of only three members, was stretched thin trying to manage these labor-intensive processes. Despite their best efforts, the inefficiencies of THD meant that essential tasks were often delayed, adversely affecting the overall student experience. With only three team members handling these tasks, they constantly felt under pressure, and potentially affecting the quality of service they could provide. These operational challenges highlighted the need for a more efficient, integrated, and student-friendly system that could support Berklee’s growing housing needs and enhance the overall experience for both students and staff.

New Processes Align with Institutional Goals

The decision to transition to StarRez was a strategic move that aligned with Berklee’s broader institutional goals. Particularly, this strategy placed emphasis on alignment with the Berklee Bridge initiative to promote accessibility and simplicity across the campus. StarRez had the potential to make housing accessible for all students with simplified, inclusive processes. The implementation process with Berklee and the StarRez teams were meticulously rolled out piece by piece to ensure success.

"We focused on making the transition for all as simple as possible. We had to think about the language we used and how we explained the new system to different groups, including students, families, and staff."

-Teisha Miles, Assistant Director for Residential and Housing Operations at Berklee College of Music

Mastering the art of open communication during the transition

Communication was a major player throughout the transition. The rollout of StarRez enabled better relationships between Housing and their campus partners. The integration of data between systems helped with transparency, collaboration, and accuracy between different teams across campus, with everyone now able to easily access the same information through one source of truth.  

For students, the team developed a robust education strategy involving webinars, instructional materials, and transparent communication about the changes brought by StarRez. They attempted to maintain familiarity by using the same terminology used in the old system. They wanted to empower students to navigate StarRez confidently and associate old ways of understanding housing procedures within the new landscape. "We wanted to empower students to navigate the Portal and feel confident in their housing choices," Teisha says.

Immediate success helps to shape future development

One of the most immediate improvements throughout the implementation experience was the streamlined application process. With StarRez, the application process became a quick, personalized journey that fits the needs of their students. Additionally, the Housing team began to feel immediate relief with the time they saved. Previously, it would take 20 hours to review and process student’s housing applications manually in addition to the time it would take to assign students into housing. Now, processing applications takes 20 minutes. This efficiency enabled the team to explore other areas of improvement in reporting, with functional dashboards and comprehensive data that facilitated better communication with senior leadership.

From Paper to Progress

The implementation of StarRez has significantly transformed housing operations at Berklee College of Music, bringing about a new era of efficiency, accessibility, and student engagement. The most immediate impact was increased student engagement and autonomy. The student engagement office noted an increase in engagement by over 10%, which relates to the increase in students securing housing on campus accommodations and being satisfied with campus living. The visibility and accessibility provided by the StarRez portal empowered students to make informed decisions about their accommodations, prompting them to make choices regarding on campus living and community engagement. Students are now able to select rooms that match their accommodation criteria, ensuring inclusivity and a uniform process for all residents.  

Operational efficiencies gained from StarRez were substantial and far-reaching. The team now handles room assignments and billing digitally with far greater speed and accuracy. The housing assignment process now enables students to intuitively complete their housing applications and staff process those applications in less than 20 minutes. With accurate applications and better processing techniques, student satisfaction has increased. Prior to implementation completing, the team processes over 65 room changes for the fall semester. After implementation, they only processed 25 requests for the spring semester and only received 3 requests during the term. The decreased number of room change requests indicates that students were better able to navigate the portal and proactively manage their housing needs.  

"Process graphs have saved us so much time because they help us make precise and clear processes... The ability to create custom fields has also been crucial in understanding and addressing specific student needs. We can now better understand, communicate, and place students in appropriate housing more easily – making them happier.”

-Teisha Miles, Assistant Director for Residential and Housing Operations at Berklee College of Music

The successful implementation of StarRez has also opened new possibilities for the housing operations team. They are excited to be planning to run their first online room selection for continuing students, a process that will be more efficient and student friendly. Additionally, the opening of a new residence hall and the inclusion of accessibility features for accommodations have further enhanced the student housing experience.  

Ongoing support helps foster continued learning and evolution

As the Berklee team continues to learn and adapt new methods to execute their operations, Teisha noted that the StarRez Support Team has been phenomenal at helping aid in that process. The comprehensive support system has been invaluable in ensuring that the housing operations team can fully leverage the capabilities of StarRez and meet the needs of their community.

“StarRez support has been amazing at breaking things down, so we understand it. StarCare Online has also been a huge help – there's an article for everything!"

-Teisha Miles, Assistant Director for Residential and Housing Operations at Berklee College of Music

Reflecting on the journey, Teisha emphasizes the importance of embracing the learning curve and maintaining clear communication.  

"It was a necessary conversion when you think about students and technology. Our main goal was to improve the student experience, and we’ve accomplished a lot in the first year. I’m excited to see what’s to come."

-Teisha Miles, Assistant Director for Residential and Housing Operations at Berklee College of Music

The transition to StarRez has significantly improved the efficiency and effectiveness of housing operations, ultimately enhancing the student experience and setting a strong foundation for future growth and innovation. In addition, this implementation has helped the Berklee Housing Team support the institution’s Berklee Bridge initiative, connecting students to important resources and helping them achieve success in their academic career.  

Learn how you can propel your housing operations forward with the help of StarRez.