When Southern New Hampshire University’s Innovation Lab established College for America (CfA), it sought to redesign the college education model with working learners in mind. CfA delivers an innovative solution to the most pressing problems of cost, access, and quality in higher education throughout the United States. Brian Peddle, Chief Technology Officer at CfA, was tasked with launching an Associate Degree program in a staggering 4 months. “We were allowed to do anything we needed to do to get this done. The only way I saw this coming to life was with Salesforce,” said Peddle. CfA adopted Salesforce as a fast, scalable solution to manage student data and launch the program. CfA embraced the Connected Campus concept from its inception, using Salesforce to connect recruiting, student success, marketing, and IT departments. The college also built its competency-based Learning Management System (LMS) on the Salesforce Platform along with numerous backend business processes. “It’s all invisible to the student. To them, it’s just a user experience that we’ve customized,” explained Peddle.
The college securely tracks all student activity from the application process through graduation in Salesforce. Peddle and his team customized Salesforce to quickly integrate with a variety of solutions, making all student data accessible from one tool. “We’ve got a 360 degree view of the students and we know where they’re at in the program at all times,” Peddle explained. Using this panoramic view together with Salesforce Pardot, the college was able to launch a new initiative within an astonishing 3 weeks. The college also tracks student progress and success in Salesforce. Each student is assigned projects they must complete in order to master competencies in specific areas. The projects are tracked in Salesforce, where a reviewer can then evaluate the student’s work and make notes directly in the student’s record. In addition, CfA has created an early-warning system for students who might be struggling with their assignments. If a student submitted an assignment they didn’t master — yet didn’t try to resubmit it — his or her assigned coach can intervene because of the visibility into the student’s project progress with Salesforce. CfA is extending the reach of Salesforce to not only track student progress but to offer additional support to students as they learn. The college uses Salesforce Knowledge articles to encourage self-help, but also uses Live Agent live chat to support students when they have questions. The college can create cases in Salesforce, sourced from a variety of channels, to help solve issues quickly and effectively. With the help of Salesforce, College for America at Southern New Hampshire University is paving the way for working adults to learn the skills they need to advance their careers at record pace. With plans to massively scale the number of enrolled students over the next couple of years, CfA is determined to make education affordable for everyone. “We’re very mission-focused on moving forward and disrupting higher education. Salesforce has enabled that to happen for us,” said Peddle. “The big takeaway is that, without Salesforce, we wouldn’t be able to move this fast.”