Empowering Student Engagement and Staff Productivity: University of Southern Indiana’s Transition to StarRez

Learn how the University of Southern Indiana's transition to StarRez positively impacted user experience, staff efficiency, and ongoing support.
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Key Highlights


Addressing Challenges in User Experience and Reporting Functionality


Why StarRez Stood Out as the Preferred Housing Software


Overcoming Obstacles and Achieving Automation with StarRez


Positive Impact on User Experience, Staff Efficiency, and Ongoing Support

University of Southern Indiana
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University of Southern Indiana (USI) is a public university located in Evansville, Indiana. It was founded in 1965 as Indiana State University-Evansville and was later renamed to its current name in 1985. The University offers more than 80 undergraduate majors, as well as master’s and doctoral programs. With a student body of just under 10,000 students, USI is one of the fastest-growing universities in Indiana and is recognized as a leader in higher education. With approximately 3,000 residential students, USI provides a high-quality education that prepares students for success in their careers and lives. The university is committed to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion and creating a welcoming and supportive campus community.

A Need for Enhanced Experiences

The University of Southern Indiana (USI) is a leading institution known for providing an exceptional student experience, and they also understand the importance of giving their administrative and support teams the same level of excellence. The decision to explore other housing software solutions stemmed from a goal to improve in three core areas: the user experience for students and staff, the lack of reporting functionality, and finally the access to resources for learning and support.

Prior to their implementation, USI encountered notable obstacles in enhancing the overall user experience for both their students and staff. While the user experience lacked efficiency, efforts were made to address these concerns and improve the system. For example, the team worked diligently to resolve resident confusion relating to the payment interface, which often resulted in a high volume of calls and occasional payment errors.  The accessibility of their student-facing portal was another source of challenges. Their platform didn’t fully meet current standards and wasn't compatible with accessibility tools students used. Recognizing the importance of efficiency, experience, and inclusivity USI is actively working towards implementing solutions that will enable all residents to easily access and utilize their software for essential housing procedures.

In addition, the housing and residence life staff experienced roadblocks when using reporting functionality that would not allow them to effectively manage their student housing and occupancy metrics. To gather the information that was valuable to senior leadership and area coordinators, members of the team would have to learn high level and very technical SQL coding or would be required to request additional support at a cost from their solution’s support team to gather data like occupancy and vacancy metrics. The team needed to pivot from poor visibility into their data and uncertainty around decision-making that resulted in this costly reporting methods. Finally, the USI housing team was looking for a self-service support experience that would allow them to quickly troubleshoot issues and learn ways they could grow with the software. The team often found themselves in situations where they needed a quick answer or solution that could not be obtained without going through the Support team.

Understanding the Benefits of New Approaches

USI’s Housing and Residence Life team identified the need to transition to a new housing software platform that addressed essential operational needs that inhibited the experience for students and staff. After extensive research, there were very few solutions that could offer the full breadth of features that they required. StarRez proved to be the obvious choice in their go forward platform because it was a single solution that met all their needs while still allowing them to have the opportunity to innovate and grow as their community evolves.  

“As the user, StarRez is just a completely different software solution compared to the competition. It’s not just the aesthetics of the software, it’s the actual thought and consideration that goes into each business process we'll be using it for. It is just completely different!”

Betsy Mullins, Business Operations Coordinator, University of Southern Indiana

The implementation process overall was met with careful consideration due to the extensive work that would be needed to transfer data and information from their previous solution, whom they were long time partners with. During the implementation process, the StarRez and USI teams worked diligently to get all data transferred efficiently and to get USI’s new cloud environment working without any issues. The implementation also encouraged the USI team to outline their business processes and redefine how those processes would work in a new system. This exercise allowed the team to understand and approach their operational needs first, then fitting the software into those needs. After a full year of considerations and implementations, USI has reached a level of automation with StarRez.

A Comprehensive Solution that Meets All Requirements

After their implementation, USI made tremendous strides in integrating StarRez as a community standard. The team is continually learning about the power of StarRez and it has already impacted the residents and staff positively.

One of the priorities of this project was to improve the user experience for both students and staff interacting with the housing software. After the implementation completed, the USI team provided their students and staff an effortless experience whenever they interacted with the platform. First, USI focused on making the software accessible for all students. With the help of StarRez, USI was able to offer students a platform that meets ADA regulations. All students can now engage and interact with the software like never before. For example, they can change their name, gender, and additional personal information directly through the housing portal, something they previously were unable to do.  

Additionally, after their housing selection process completed, the USI team received positive feedback from students about the platform. In prior years, housing selection was always a stressful time because students could not navigate their previous portal and would call with all sorts of questions. Prior to PortalX the USI team would receive 30-40 calls a day during room selection, primarily with residents unsure of how to select their room. With PortalX room selection, the USI team now receives 5-10 calls a day during room selection.  

“Since upgrading to StarRez, we rarely get any calls into our office about troubles using the self-service side of the platform. It’s easier for our students to use, it’s much better to look at, and it’s intuitive. The students love it!”

Betsy Mullins, Business Operations Coordinator, University of Southern Indiana

From a staff perspective, StarRez has made significant strides in work efficiency. Specifically with reports, USI is now better equipped to get the information they need, when they need it. Using built in reporting functionality, it’s easier than ever to take information from separate data tables and create a report that populates information about a space and the resident that’s living in that space. The USI team saves an average of 5 hours a week with the functionality of the StarRez report builder and dashboard. No matter the level of experience with reporting, StarRez enabled the USI team to easily see their data.  

“If you are new to reporting, it’s easy to learn and understand. It allows us to create reports we didn’t have access to before. Using the dashboard to see how many people they have checked in at any given time has been fantastic! For me, it’s all about building the reports we need and making sure people who need them, have access to them.”

Betsy Mullins, Business Operations Coordinator, University of Southern Indiana

StarCare Online has been instrumental in enabling the USI team to push the boundaries on what they can accomplish with StarRez. Previously, the team would have to spend a significant amount of time producing a training manual for staff. With StarCare Online, they can utilize already made (easy-to-follow) instructions, that are specific to the processes they are completing. The team now has access to a wide array of resources from webinars to articles that can allow them to answer questions quickly. The partnership between USI and contact(s) at StarRez aid in the ongoing process improvements that results.

Transitioning to a powerful housing platform has enabled the University of Southern Indiana to enhance their user experience, enable their team in daily operations, and use resources to continue their education and development with their housing software.  

To learn more about how you can enhance the experience for your students and staff with software solutions, connect with a member of our team.