Implementation Guides Overview
Implementation requires careful strategic planning, communication, and promotion. The Implementation Guides provide useful and valuable information for effective and successful implementation.
The Implementation Guides Overview provides information that is essential to utilizing Pathify Implementation Guides. It is advised to begin with The Implementation Guides Overview before proceeding.
Provide for a seamless Implementation, informing stakeholders, promoting effective use, and empowering an institution.
- The institution must identify all stakeholders.
- The institution must showcase the platform solution.
- The institution must evaluate existing initiatives.
- The institution should consider existing portals.
- The institution should consider ways to promote platform use.
- The institution should consider ways to communicate platform value.
- Successful Implementation for all stakeholders
- Lasting usage for student achievement
- Positive and clear communication for all users
Strategic Plan Checklist (Action Items)
Identify All Stakeholders
Identifying key stakeholders does not mean all stakeholders have a role or responsibility in the initial implementation. However, as the platform integrates more with institutional objectives and initiatives, and acts as a conduit for culture, it is an effective practice to identify all stakeholders from the outset. The following is a sample list:
- VPAA / Provost / Sr Executive “sponsors”
- AVP / Directors / Deans / Divisional Managers
- Staff who push out communication
- Club or Department leaders
- Library stakeholder(s)
- Sr VP of Student Affairs / Sr Executive “sponsors”
- AVP / Directors / Divisional Managers
- Advisors / Counselors / Leaders of student consumption products (bookstore, writing center, etc.)
- Staff who push out communication
- Student leadership / Students who are known to push out communication
Admissions / Enrollment
- Sr VP of Admissions / Sr Executive “sponsors”
- Advisors / Enrollment Counselors / Staff who will use the platform to connect with students, parents, etc.
- CTO / CIO / Sr Technology “sponsors”
- Integration stakeholders (typical: SIS, LMS, Productivity suite, Early alert system, CRM, CMS, etc.)
- Owner of current “portal” platform
Advancement / Alumni Relations
- Sr VP of Advancement / Sr Executive “sponsors”
- Staff who connect alumni with content or communication
- Staff who connect alumni with current students, etc.
- Head coaches
- Promotions / Marketing staff
- Team captains
- VP of Communication / Director of Comm / Sr Executive “sponsors”
Institutional Effectiveness / Review
- VP of Data Management / Sr Executive “sponsors”
- VP of Student Success / Retention
- VP of Human Resources / Sr Executive “sponsors”
- HR staff
Other: Many colleges and universities have other departments acting independently of the above categories. For example, eLearning might be its own department or even college. Therefore, it is important to consider the context when creating a list such as this.
Showcase the Solution
Showcasing Pathify Implementation must be viewed through a strategic lens by the sponsor, executive, committee, and/or other institution promoters.
Consider the following best practices:
- Invite and gather the stakeholders (potentially from the list above).
- Carefully craft language in the invitation and description such as “imagination session,” “ideation,” or “innovative experience."
- Show stakeholders what a “full” implementation of the platform can look like.
- Consider demonstration and discussion regarding the mobile app, communication efficiencies, new forms of data, new paradigms of content delivery, connection to resources, how to better connect any/all people, etc. (This can be performed by Pathify Customer Success, in conjunction with Pathify, etc.).
- Provide access to training materials or sandboxes for appropriate stakeholders.
- Allow for reflection and inquiry from stakeholders as well as time to ask questions, encourage conversation, exploration, and ideation.
Evaluate Existing Initiatives
An institution might have existing initiatives or strategies already earmarked for the Pathify platform. The institution may also have specific departments or divisions set for initial rollout. Consider dovetailing any predetermined departments or initiatives with those who are excited about the possibilities of the system.
Consider the following best practices:
- Encourage early adoption by any group or division that sees a way to meet a need via the platform.
- Conduct a short survey or send a follow-up email asking if a department wishes to be included in the initial rollout.
- Ensure executive sponsorship for departments; a director encourages use throughout the department or (at least) agrees to the time and resources necessary for their people to participate in the implementation.
- Ensure inclusiveness as all appropriate stakeholders are part of the communication plan, training schedule, and implementation process moving forward.
Consider Existing Portals
If an existing portal is going to be deprecated, even over time, one effective practice is to bridge students, faculty, and staff between old and new experiences.
- Leave the old portal available for a period of time, perhaps as long as two years. This will allow third-year students (and beyond), who are already comfortable with the system to continue to access their information.
Make the Pathify portal available to users (which typically sees a lot of grass-roots use in the first 9 months at most institutions), but do not “force” users to change.
- Consider the longitudinal Apple study that suggests it can take up to 4 years for any technology to transform an organization.
Push incoming first-year students toward the new portal first. The Pathify portal will be known to them as “the digital version of my campus.” In year two, continue the strategy, including Pathify access as part of the first-year experience, orientation, etc.
- Deprecate the old portal in or at the end of year two.
By then, all resources should be fully integrated (whether via simple SSO or full, notification based integration). Most students, faculty, and staff will have migrated to the new platform, making the transition far less support intensive.
Promote Platform Use
No community system sees 100% social usage. People are different and find different levels of comfort, need, and even desire to communicate in a networked public such as the Pathify platform.
- Use "social plants." Find a few work-study students and assign them (as part of their work) the task of better connecting people at the institution.
Train them in the system and potentially give them more advanced access, if deemed appropriate (this is certainly not a requirement, but may help in specific situations). Consult with a Pathify Customer Success Manager for further suggestions.
After being trained, ask these students to spend a few hours each week reviewing conversations, questions, and other system activities, promoting connection and recommending community building strategies between students, faculty, and staff.
- Run a campaign or two to generate “buzz” for a desired use of the platform and offer prizes as an incentive (xBox, coffee, pizza, etc.).
Use this opportunity to evaluate desired activities (by asking questions, answering questions, building community, liking posts, joining groups, etc.). Promote a contest or two to encourage those behaviors. Following the contest, highlight winners via content pages or in the All Students activity feed based on any number of metrics or pulled randomly (like from a hat).
- View faculty and staff as more than facilitators. When faculty and staff find personal usefulness in the platform, change management time is reduced and recommended usage to students is increased.
Create specific areas of the system where staff, faculty, and even administrators can have private conversations, ranging from important information (interdisciplinary research, faculty senate agendas / notes, etc.) to community building (Friday afternoon club, Ask an Expert, etc.) to process-based information (HR questions, parking tips, etc.).
- Move beyond formal groups. Most schools allow users to create their own groups, ad hoc, promoting community.
Create groups (using notifications instead of requiring constant monitoring) that allow for 1) tips to be generated (How To Land A Job After College); 2) tricks to be ideated (Finding Parking On Campus); 3) recommendations to be given (The Best Hotels for Conferences); or 4) pragmatic issues to be solved (How Not To Get Scammed by Fake Textbook Offers).
As these groups are likely not going to be “required” in any user’s list, their availability might see an uptick in conversation, helping the institution realize the importance of an issue.
Communicate Platform Value
Notify and inform potential group owners of the platform and the opportunities it can provide two months prior to going live. An effective initial conversation starter could be for any group owner (student, staff, department admin, full administrator, etc.) and should likely be followed by in-person/video conference sessions for these constituents.
Promoting Pathify Email Template
You are receiving this communication as a group leader at our institution. As such, we believe you to be a potential owner of a group in a new technology solution we are implementing called Pathify.
The benefits of having a group in Pathify, as well as being the group administrator are many. Here are a few:
- Members of your group can be notified via multiple channels of announcements, information, events, etc. This includes email, postings, text messages, and more.
- Events can be promoted through this system, including use of RSVP, event update notifications, connecting to ticketing platforms, etc.
- Group members can communicate with one another easily via web, phone, instant message, and more.
- Group administrators can determine who can join, whether to make a group private vs. public, who can post, who can be other administrators, etc.
- In conjunction with Pathify System Administrators, keywords or key phrases can be used to trigger notifications to you, alerting you to specific wording, questions, etc.
There is much more to this platform but hopefully this helps show some of the benefits to you and your group. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact XXX by replying to this email or calling XXX-XXX-XXXX.
As well, know that you will be receiving an invitation to a meeting for this platform, which will go into much greater detail and showcase multiple use cases. The purpose of this email is simply to get you ideating and thinking about possible uses of a tool such as this for your group(s).
Thank you and we will be in contact soon!