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Dental school says “ahh” to streamlined admissions process

In April, the Rutgers School of Dental Medicine (RSDM) began using Salesforce Education Cloud, a constituent relationship management (CRM) tool designed to facilitate relationships and interactions with current and prospective members of the university community.  

For the dental school, the addition of Salesforce ensures data submitted by prospective students on applications for admission to academic programs can be transmitted easily to Banner, the school’s student record system. For Rutgers, this change—part of the Scarlet Journey Cornerstone initiative—is the first step toward transitioning the university’s professional schools to use of a single CRM.   

The decision to begin with RSDM resulted from data irregularities that surfaced during the school’s 2021 application cycle. “It wasn’t a difficult problem to spot,” recalls Rosa Chaviano-Moran, DMD, associate dean for admissions. “According to the numbers we were seeing, one segment of our student population had almost doubled in a single year.” 

“For example,” Chaviano-Moran continues, “if 50 percent of the students in the prior year’s class were women, but the data show that ratio jumping to 75 percent this year, that would be a red flag. So, when we saw a segment spike in 2021, we knew something was wrong.”    

After determining that the shift in the data could not be explained by broad demographic trends, other statistical phenomena, or recent administrative actions, the school undertook a manual data verification process.  

“The process took a tremendous number of hours,” says Emily Sabato, Ph.D., associate dean for academic affairs. “Eventually, we decided to feed data into Salesforce and have it, in turn, feed Banner.”  

This is exactly the kind of important work this project team has been doing for the university since the August 2021 launch of Salesforce as part of the Scarlet Journey initiative: implementing valuable enhancements and “fixing what needs to be fixed,” notes Scarlet Journey project lead JoAnn Molnar, a senior project manager in the division of University Finance and Administration.  

“Some of these behind-the-scenes changes aren’t necessarily glamorous,” Molnar says, “but all components of this project are vital.”  

Now, with the implementation of Salesforce complete, all that is left to do in this effort is to conduct a final data validation once the incoming RSDM classes arrive in Fall.  

In Other Scarlet Journey News …   

Adding Salesforce to the admissions process for Rutgers School of Dental Medicine is not the only achievement for the Scarlet Journey initiative in recent months. The project team has completed several other important updates, including:  

  • Implementing Salesforce Marketing Cloud, a communications and marketing tool, now in use by Rutgers Global and Rutgers Business School–Newark and New Brunswick  
  • Including a scholarship widget for Camden and Newark merit-based scholarships that applicants can view directly on their portal. New Brunswick is not using this widget.   
  • Automating application fee waivers for all Camden and Newark program applicants who are Rutgers alumni. New Brunswick plans to adopt application fee waivers by the end of May.