Trellis team designs solutions to support faculty, staff and students as they work and learn remotely

Trellis team designs solutions to support faculty, staff and students as they work and learn remotely

By University Information Technology Services
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Darcy Van Patten
Darcy Van Patten

To support remote operations due to COVID-19, the Trellis constituent relationship management team is accelerating efforts to launch additional services.

"COVID-19 and the University's current financial position highlight the importance of having a common, shared platform for our community," said Darcy Van Patten, executive director of digital transformation and student academic technologies in University Information Technology Services. "More specifically, our commitment to making it easier for students to navigate the University has been further reinforced in the midst of our current remote learning environment."

Over the past 16 months, the Trellis team and University collaborators have been developing solutions that reduce the administrative burden for students, improve access to academic advising, and pave the way toward a more unified approach to online support and resources.

With students now attending classes remotely and faculty and staff working from home, "we're in a rapid period of change at a time where COVID-19 is forcing us to look at new ways to connect and engage with people," said Van Patten, who has led the Trellis program since 2019.

"Right now, we're increasing our online, local and global capacity to support students in particular. Their only interaction with the University will likely be through digital means in the foreseeable future, and we need to offer ways to streamline those interactions between students and our campus professionals."

The next significant advance, called Trellis Service, will take existing features within Trellis Advise and make them available to service units and service professionals across campus.

"Students, advisers and faculty have already been in Trellis since fall of 2019. We have tested the ability to communicate, schedule virtual appointments, and manage and track interactions," Van Patten said. "We are scaling rapidly to make these critical functions available to departments that need more efficient ways to interact with students."

In addition to the solutions that have already been developed, Trellis is working on several projects that will move in-person processes online and make them easier for students, faculty and staff to use. These include:

  • Forms and routing In partnership with the Office of the Registrar, Trellis created an online Change of Schedule form that allows students to request changes to their spring 2020 class schedule remotely. The online form is automatically routed to the student's instructor, and then to the authorized college approver and registrar's office for final approval. You can find the form on the Office of the Registrar website.
  • Service Desk Trellis is partnering with the 24/7 IT Support Center, SOS Help Desk and the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid to create a virtual space for students, staff and faculty to find answers to common questions and to request help navigating more complex problems. Service Desk will help create efficiencies and allow teams to respond more quickly to in-demand and one-off inquiries.
  • Enhanced marketing and communications Trellis Marketing Cloud paves the way for a more unified and branded approach to campus communications. In partnership with the Marketing and Brand Management office, Trellis has been preparing to roll out an email marketing solution that will support units across campus in retiring stand-alone solutions and saving money. In response to COVID-19, Trellis and MBM teamed up to support University leadership's need for enhanced communication to faculty, staff and students. Since March 18, 25 emails have been sent to campus, including messages from President Robert C. Robbins and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Liesl Folks.
  • Redesigned student service websites In collaboration with Enrollment Management and THE UAccess Student team, Trellis has been supporting the redesign of degree search and the UAccess Student Center. Updated content, web design and navigation within these highly used tools offer a more modern experience for students to plan and manage their academic journey.

To learn more about Trellis:


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