Graduate Recruitment Processes Streamlined in Slate Implementation

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November 29, 2023
Information Technology Services

Graduate Recruitment Processes Streamlined in Slate Implementation

This year Gonzaga University's Graduate Enrollment Management (GEM) team made a significant leap forward with the implementation of Slate for Recruitment as their primary constituent relationship management (CRM) solution, vastly improving the admission and application process for both domestic and international graduate and doctoral students.

The Grad Slate environment initially went live in late October 2022. The following March, the project team successfully executed the migration and go-live of an integration to connect the Grad Slate environment to the application system managed by Shorelight, Gonzaga’s international recruitment partner. GEM’s move to the Slate solution has enabled a smoother, more unified admission process.

The University’s CRM Product Manager, Mary Jean Spadafora, reflected on the accomplishment, saying the implementation of Slate and migration of Shorelight processes to the new environment were “game changers in the [graduate] admissions landscape. [It] streamlines the process, making it more efficient and user-friendly for our prospective graduate students.”

Tennille Brown, Senior Director for GEM, oversees graduate recruitment, admissions, marketing, and student services, joined the department this year. Brown explained a wide range of common issues with the old system, adding that something as simple as resetting your password was difficult for a student to do online.

“Who knows how many applications were just lost because students just got frustrated, and rightly so,” she said.

Jodi Brant, Assistant Director and CRM Lead for GEM, is responsible for processing applications and faculty reviews for nearly 40 graduate programs at Gonzaga. Brant described the prior CRM system as a “headache” with multiple pain points which were relieved by the new system.

“The process has definitely become a lot smoother since we moved into Slate,” said Brant. “It’s an easier integration into our system, which makes processing time a lot faster, and we aren’t having to track down as many missing materials which we were doing a lot of previously.”

Chris Barton, Project Manager, highlighted the role of teamwork in this venture. Barton stated the successful integration of Shorelight and Grad Slate required “extensive cross-departmental collaboration.”

GEM partnered closely with Information Technology Services (ITS) to validate solution requirements, inform the design of the user interface, and test the solution before going live. ITS’ efforts were applauded, particularly their approach to User Acceptance Testing (UAT), which involved end-users early on, provided intensive training, and facilitated an effective feedback process. This approach received praise for its transparency and efficiency, leading to a successful implementation.

Brown described the benefits of the Shorelight integration, including “having smooth operations, both with the students, prospective and current, and also between our colleagues on campus.”

She also noted that the new system offers better recruiting processes such as finding more qualified leads and improved organization of applicant information. Brown mentioned that Shorelight is much less “clunky” than the old system from the student’s perspective, which benefits both the applicants and the GEM team.

Brant added that GEM’s collaboration with other departments has also vastly improved since the adoption of Grad Slate. She noted that the best part of the new system was the faculty review process: “We used to have all kind of upload issues, so the faculty would be frustrated, we’d be frustrated, but now the process is really streamlined for faculty review which then helps us speed up our processing time."

Increased collaboration was also evident between the GEM team and Admissions Operations. Gregory Salisbury, Slate Administrator of the Grad Slate environment in Admissions Operations, explained, “I’m a big fan of Slate and think it can be utilized to a high degree of individualized success for institutions.” Admissions Operations, also supports the university’s Undergraduate and Law Slate environments, allowing for more opportunities to establish best practices across recruitment CRMs in the future.

Spadafora summed up the impact of this endeavor: "This project is about more than just implementing new software; it's about rethinking the entire admissions process. Collectively, our teams' dedication has led to a significant positive impact on admissions, setting a new standard for excellence and efficiency."

The integration of Grad Slate and Shorelight serves as a testament to the team’s commitment to fostering innovation and improving the student experience at Gonzaga University.

For any difficulties you may encounter with Grad Slate or Shorelight, please enter a support ticket to at