The comfort of predictable outcomes in movies and higher ed

embracing disruptive technology

It was Saturday, November 14, and the holiday music was already playing on an FM station in the Cleveland area. I rolled my eyes, bemoaned that the holidays come earlier and earlier every year and then left that station on.

Just a week later, I started a week of vacation. Pre-Thanksgiving, there was plenty to do, but I had a bad cold and for a couple of days all I could do was lay on the couch and watch TV. I discovered that my cable provider had recently added the Hallmark Channel to our lineup.

You know what’s coming next, right?

I started watching rounds of Hallmark Holiday movies. My girls came home from school and were now off on vacation the rest of the week. I think we watched three movies that first night alone. One right after the other.

My husband discovered what we were doing and quickly retreated to another room. The girls and I started a giggle fest identifying the people who would eventually become a couple and what would happen during their story.

And then my daughter asked me why romantic comedies are so fun to watch. I realized the answer was simple: Predictable outcomes. We knew what was going to happen. In the end, we know that the story is going to turn out the way we really want it to.

Something about having a predictable outcome is a nice change of pace in this chaotic world.

Then it dawned on me – that’s exactly what we are trying to do in higher education. We want to confidently say that when you start your degree at our institution, you will reliably graduate in four years. You will reliably graduate with the least amount of debt. You will reliably secure a job. Or you will reliably go on to graduate school.

Predictability would be great.

It is possible, just not with paper

All this is possible when you move to a comprehensive digital student record. No hard copy records to lose, copy or distribute. Shifting away from the slow processes of paper and using digital records allows us to react to change, questions and problems as quickly as possible – ultimately helping us serve students to the best of our abilities.

In the back-office realm, the Human Resources office is watching carefully to ensure that all employees – students, adjuncts and full-time staff – are onboarded successfully and have predictable success moving into their new positions. We want predictable outcomes to ensure diversity in our staff, support of all employees, compliance with regulations and successful audits. We want consistent employee satisfaction, because it ensures consistent student satisfaction.

Just like with student records, all of that comes with a comprehensive, secure, digital employee record. That way, staff submits all forms electronically and you image and associate all documents with HRIS with the appropriate security and access.

When it comes down to it, predictability is what leads to stability. And that’s what you want to see from your processes and staff, because it ultimately leads to student success. All you need is to give everyone the right tools.

That’s a happy ending we can all enjoy.


Laurel Stiller

Laurel Stiller brings her passion for helping institutions strategically maximize their efficiency to Hyland as its marketing portfolio manager for Higher Education. A graduate of Miami University, Ohio, with more... read more about: Laurel Stiller

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