The University of Cambridge Disability Resource Centre (DRC) offers a confidential and accessible support service for all disabled students. Its primary aim is to support access to teaching and learning during a students’ time at Cambridge. DRC is a student-centred service, committed to supporting disabled students to achieve their academic potential.
The University of Cambridge has more than 5000 disabled students currently studying across all 31 Colleges and every School. This number has grown year on year, from approximately 800 five years ago. The DRC is the location where any student or applicant requiring any support with any element of their university life can make themselves known. DRC are very much the first step in supporting the students. The DRC then advise the colleges and departments on needs of individual students.
Roberta Verlini, Operations Manager for DRC explains, ‘At Cambridge, we have moved away from the term disability and prefer the term Impairment. We support students with both physical, as well as mental impairment. These impairments may include, for example, dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD, apraxia, depression or issues with food to name just some. So it is a wide range of conditions that we classify as a disability. Everything is related to what support students need. This support covers a wide range of services, from note taking to assistance when taking exams’.
First Implemented Maximizer
The University of Cambridge Disability Resource Centre (DRC) first implemented Maximizer CRM in 2006. At that time, it was fulfilling a very different need. Over the years Maximizer CRM has been constantly upgraded and iterated. Within the DRC we have needed to iterate Maximizer in line with the changing legal and departmental requirements. Critical to this is the relationship that we have with ProAptivity, our Maximizer CRM Solutions partner. ‘We have been trained to be able to make changes to the database structure ourselves. We can apply these changes as and when required, knowing that we have the support of Proaptivity when we need them.’ states Roberta Verlini
Benefits that Maximizer offers
Maximizer CRM is our bible. Maximizer CRM is used daily by both advisors and the administrative team as it holds all the information we have on our students. One of the great benefits that it offers is the freedom to record all information that we need to successfully support students. This information includes all compliance documentation, all email, medical evidence, communications, all case work, case notes and much more. Whatever information we need to support a student it is within Maximizer CRM.
Fields can be easily created without the need to pay for expensive software development services. This is very useful as the information we need to record is constantly changing. Subsequently, this helps greatly with ongoing data management and reporting.
In addition to the data capture, the dashboard indicators also allow us to keep track of large volumes of data. The dashboards offer great insight into the services provided by DRC. The department has created indicators that enable easy reporting on, for example
- The numbers of students that meet a certain criterion.
- Newly created records that need to be tidied and students contacted.
- Specific tasks, for instance which students need a student support document.
- Any students’ records that are missing information.
Maximizer CRM offers other great functionality as well. For example, we use a bespoke importer utility to take information from the main student database and import it into maximizer. This saves huge amounts of time on creating records, updating information and eliminates duplication of data. Without the importer it would not be possible to keep these records accurate.
Maximizer CRM is also fully integrated with Microsoft Outlook, Word and Excel. With the export to MS Excel function, we have the ability to interrogate data for reporting purposes. Integration with MS Outlook enables the storing of important emails in relation to a student on their record. This reinforces the importance of having a central repository for all information as it happens in relation to a student.
Maximizer CRM has also greatly streamlined our communications. It offers the ability to easily send group emails to students in a very time efficient way.
Due to increasing hybrid working, maximizer has proved vital and has increased the freedom of where and how we work.
Student Self Service
Increasingly Maximizer CRM has enabled the DRC to substantially reduce our administrative time through student self-service. One example of this is how students can submit the First Student Information Form (SIF) via the Cambridge website. This information is then posted directly into Maximizer. Prior to this, a student was submitting the SIF via email and all forms were having to be manually inputted into the system. Each SIF took approx. 20 minutes to manually input. We have approximately 1,500 new SIF’s per year, plus SIF’s for any current student required to resubmit the SIF due to a change in their circumstance. Now the information is automatically posted into the database, saving time and money. This student self-service portal has also eliminated a number of data entry steps and makes information evidence available faster.
Roberta Verlini concludes by stating ‘In terms of the system, it is absolutely brilliant. Using Maximizer CRM the way we do allows us to keep information up to date, report accurate information and most importantly store all the information we need in order to support a student. In terms of the people and customer service that ProAptivity offer, it is spot on, exactly what customers expect. Reliable and efficient, always keen to help us.