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This article applies to: Cornell Student Experience Initiative

What is the goal of the CSEI?

The overarching goal is to create a personalized, integrated, and coherent student experience by providing digital applications that help students explore and engage in the wealth of opportunities available to them.

Our vision has three main components:

  • Service tools to help advisors and staff more effectively support, advise, and mentor students.
  • Discovery tools that will make it easier for students to find and participate in Cornell programs both on and off campus (scholarships, international experiences, research, engaged learning).
  • Analytical tools to help university leaders better understand the student experience, so they know what is working and areas for improvement.

What is the timeline?  

The vision for the CSEI is long term and we will work incrementally towards it. Key project milestones are:

  • March 1, 2017: Project Kickoff
  • June 1, 2017: Development began
  • January 21, 2018: Project #1 Go Live (ILR; meeting management tools)
  • Spring 2018: Project #2 Go Live (Live now at
  • Spring 2018: Project #1 Go Live (CALS and ILR; "service console")
  • Summer 2018: Project #1 Rollout to colleges

How will we get there?

The university as a whole has long been developing and dedicating resources toward modernizing the landscape of technologies that support the student experience. The CSEI will take this a step further by implementing an enterprise-wide constituent relationship management (CRM) system called Salesforce. This will be our cornerstone technology for enhancing student engagement.

During the first phase, one clear focus is to make sure we have the operational foundation to create a predictable, secure, and scalable IT service. Once that foundation is in place, we can look forward to reaping the tangible and far-reaching benefits of a platform for innovative student engagement. A ‘Central Org’ will establish the foundational data set, that will allow us to add “Apps” targeted to specific business processes.

The first app is focused on automation of the processes of Student Services teams (appointment scheduling and case management); the second app is focused on automation of the processes of Student Activities (applying to programs and managing student participation). Other “Apps” to be added to the system could include tools for email automation, group communication, and event management. As we launch these tools, CIT will provide training to allow people to get comfortable using them.

With an enterprise implementation, we will also create a roadmap to make sure we are addressing the needs of users and have a clear path forward. Our plan requires collaboration on what services the system will provide. There will be tradeoffs, but we are doing our best to build in flexibility.

Who is involved?

This project is a partnership among the Office of the Provost, the colleges and schools, and the Division of Student and Campus Life, in collaboration with the Office of the Chief Information Officer. There is a Steering Committee led by Kevin Hallock, Dean of the ILR School, which will determine priorities of the initiative. A Working Group, led by Ryan Lombardi, Vice President for Student & Campus Life, includes representatives from the colleges and program units to ensure a consistent student experience. Under the guidance of Steering and the Working Group, we have established project teams, comprised of a mix of subject matter experts, pilot “customers” and technical leads.

What if my unit has ideas that we want included?

If you are initiating or would like to initiate any new Salesforce or CRM project beyond the scope of what is described above, you need submit a Statement of Need. These submissions are important to help us establish a roadmap for future projects and development. If you have questions about the Statement of Need process or whether your project requires one, please contact

How can I find out more?

For more information or to be added to the email list for this project, contact

The CSEI charter has additional details on the IT aspects of this project. Access is restricted to university senior leadership, IT directors, and senior business and finance officers.

About this Article

Last updated: 

Tuesday, February 13, 2018 - 1:18pm

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