Managed Services Partnership Transforms Technology & Human Resources at Drew University
About Drew University
- A Phi Beta Kappa liberal arts university comprised of the College of Liberal Arts, the Drew Theological School, and the Caspersen School of Graduate Studies.
- Location: Madison, NJ
- 136 full-time faculty
- 2,200 students
The ability to operate a highly effective contemporary IT organization is increasingly out of reach for many higher education institutions. To address this, Drew University partnered with CampusWorks to lead and transform University Technology and Human Resources operations.
- IT Managed Services
- Human Resources Managed Services
- Finance Support
- Network Monitoring
Our CampusWorks partnership and on-campus leadership team are paving the way towards a modern IT organization and advanced infrastructure that truly matches Drew University’s vision.
- Successfully transitioned University Technology staff and operations to a managed services model, enabling a five-year IT transformation journey
- Developed a five-year Technology Master Plan to guide the transformation
- Secured over $500,000 in state funding to support a major network rebuild
- Expanded partnership to provide operational support and strategic leadership of Human Resources and Payroll to build a world-class HR organization
Aging Systems and Increasing Competition Create Challenges for Drew University
Drew University prides itself on being a one-of-a-kind, leading-edge path for learners to pursue their educational goals. Its LAUNCH undergraduate experience is an all-encompassing, student-focused program that promises every student will graduate with a purpose, sought-after transferable skills, a network of mentors, and an experienced-based resume. Underpinning this promise was a technology stack that relied on an aging on-premise Banner enterprise resource planning (ERP) system.
In recent years, four-year private institutions have experienced declining enrollments, creating significant fiscal challenges that have led to many closures. Drew University takes a unique approach to operations, forging strategic partnerships to outsource most functions, except Academics, Student Life, Enrollment, and Advancement. A competitive procurement process led to the decision to partner with CampusWorks as a managed services provider to lead University Technology (UT) operations and lay the foundation for a transformation that would increase institutional effectiveness and deliver the student experience Drew promised.
Transforming University Technology
CampusWorks provided a seasoned higher education CIO to lead the UT transformation initiative. To ensure a smooth transition, the CIO developed a robust 120-day Transition Plan outlining high-priority initiatives. As part of this plan, 11 members of Drew’s UT staff were onboarded as CampusWorks employees and positioned to play a key role in the transformation process. CampusWorks’ cost-effective approach enabled Drew to restore its director of enterprise systems position — a role that had been cut due to budgetary issues — to drive better use of Banner. Additionally, CampusWorks’ CIO focused on enhancing UT’s culture to become a strategic collaborator within the organization.
CampusWorks’ CIO developed a five-year Technology Master Plan that prioritized key initiatives — such as migrating Banner to the cloud, developing an enterprise data strategy, enhancing knowledge management and information exchange, rewiring the campus, and deploying a software defined network — while addressing existing technical debt. The Plan also forecasted the University’s major technology needs and anticipated capital and operating expenditures. By executing this plan, UT will strengthen its cybersecurity practices, expand project management capacity, improve systems, services, and standards, and more. It will shore up areas that had fallen behind and enable UT to become a highly effective contemporary IT organization.
One of the first achievements towards this vision was the implementation of a user-friendly ticketing system, R0B0SQRL, that enabled technology users to submit Service Desk requests and access documentation for common issues. “We wanted the design of R0B0SQRL to reflect something fun and approachable,” said Vaughn Swanson, the visionary behind this project. “Since squirrels practically outnumber students at Drew, they’ve become an unofficial mascot of sorts. Combining the iconic critter with sci-fi design and a cartoon-esque style, we accomplished just that.” ROBOSQRL immediately improved service delivery by helping UT streamline their work and enhancing accountability.
Beyond leading the transformation of UT, CampusWorks’ CIO also helped the University explore the impact that generative pre-trained transformer (GPT) technology will have on core office and communication software costs for universities as well as the opportunities and pitfalls created by the arrival of ChatGPT — which led to the publication of an article, “Generative AI: Thinking About Thinking” for Higher Education Digest. The article explored the strong reactions and fears that emerged in response to the democratization of computing power and explained the new opportunities AI creates as a teaching and learning tool and in achieving greater productivity and efficiency. “I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t warn and advise the institution about the road ahead,” said Dr. Robert Clougherty, CampusWorks’ CIO at Drew University.
Beyond Scope: Creating a Lasting Impact Through a Technology Infrastructure Grant
When institutions partner with CampusWorks, they gain invaluable access to our network of talent and expertise. This played a key role in helping Drew University secure more than $500,000 in grant funding to support a major network rebuild.
During the first year of our partnership, the State of New Jersey made $400 million of funding available through four bond programs. This represented a critical piece of the State’s commitment to directly address funding for the preservation, renewal, and construction of facilities and equipment at its institutions of higher education as well as their technological needs.
Drew’s provost identified an opportunity for grant funding and turned to CampusWorks’ CIO, who had a successful track record in grant writing, for help applying for a Higher Education Technology Infrastructure (HETI) grant. CampusWorks’ CIO collaborated with Drew’s Advancement grant writer to develop and submit the application. The State received more than $1.2 billion in funding requests and ultimately allocated $400 million across 64 awards. The HETI bond program received $32.5 million to fund 24 awards, of which Drew received more than $500,000.
This funding will play an instrumental role in supporting an initiative to rebuild Drew’s network — a $1.5 million upgrade, the largest in the University’s history. Once complete, this upgrade will supercharge the network’s speed and connectivity to become five times more powerful in supporting the campus community’s needs.
Expanded Partnership: Human Resources Managed Services
CampusWorks’ managed services model worked so well with UT that Drew’s leadership decided to expand the partnership to include Human Resources (HR) Managed Services. During this five-year engagement, CampusWorks will manage Drew’s human capital and HR-related processes. This partnership will encompass a wide range of functions, including talent acquisition and recruitment, employee onboarding and offboarding, payroll and benefits administration, HR compliance and policy development, performance management, training and development, and employee relations. By entrusting these tasks to CampusWorks, the University will be able to streamline HR operations, improve efficiency, reduce administrative burdens, and focus on its core objectives, ultimately enhancing overall organizational performance and employee satisfaction.
Want to explore IT Managed Services? Not sure where to start? Conducting a Technology Assessment can be an informative first step.