Global Engagement Solutions for Higher Education

Clark University
Transforming ISSS Application and
Enrollment with Terra Dotta

Located in Worcester, Massachusetts, Clark University was founded in 1887 as the first all-graduate institution in the US. Today, Clark welcomes a diverse student body, bringing together creative, passionate and intellectually engaged students from across the globe. In fact, international students make up approximately one-third of the entire student population.

  • Internal support from key stakeholders for a batch processing application and enrollment system took many years.
  • The number of international students skyrocketed and various staff departed.

An automated system was needed to enhance international student service levels and remain compliant with government requirements.

Just two months into implementing Terra Dotta’s ISSS solution, reporting and analytics are “250 zillion times” easier, team members tell us.
Fast Processing
With Terra Dotta, Clark is celebrating two big wins: A record number of I-20s processed—nearly 800 with a staff of four—and following through on a commitment to process all I-20 requests for graduate admissions within five business days. “We could not have done it without Terra Dotta,” said Susannah Marcucci, director,  international student and scholars office.
Elevated Student Experience
To international students, Clark sells ISSS as a “one-stop-shop ISSS portal” where they can get their business done, starting from their first application to Clark. And students agree: They’re already reporting back that it’s quick and painless to use. “It’s so empowering for students to be able to keep on top of their immigration needs and make sure they’re getting their questions answered,” Marcucci said.
Clear Visibility
Clark has restructured how it advises students from a system that’s designed around tasks to one that’s designed around cohorts. Now, each team member advises groups of students from specific departments and schools on campus. Terra Dotta’s reporting capabilities gives the team clear insights into what members are doing, allowing them to reallocate resources as needed and have consistent policies and processes, regardless of a department’s unique requirements.
Less Backend Work
Terra Dotta is reducing the barrage of requests and questions that the team once fielded—from I-20 reprints to rogue profiles. Now, in the portal, students can only make requests based on their particular stage in the application process, cutting down on backend work for Clark’s team. “We can tailor it to where they are in their student cycle, which I love,” said Amanda Desai, associate director, international student and scholars office.
The goal is that with Terra Dotta’s ISSS solution, student “melt” will be minimized. International students can be welcomed and onboarded through a comprehensive portal that immediately makes them feel connected to Clark and less likely to change their minds about attending.
Clark has also expanded its use of Terra Dotta to include Study Abroad, Travel Registry and Agreements Management solutions for a comprehensive approach to gobal engagement that will serve the institution for years to come.
Our foundation with Terra Dotta has allowed us to be more agile and creative with our international programs. The system lets us provide expanded opportunities and possibilities for both students and faculty.

—  Amy Daly
Associate Dean for International Programs

Previously performing all international student program functions manually and without streamlined processes, ISSO staff and international students faced multiple challenges, including:
Monitoring and reporting for the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) were performed without an automated way to track and share information.
Students had little to no ongoing visibility into the status of their I-20 applications.
With over 1000 student records to manage without a streamlined process, there was an increased potential of important deadlines being missed and causing breaks in student status.
Without a centralized database, details were exchanged via individual email, making it harder to track.
Having a cloud offering was critical. The last thing I wanted to do is stand up another rack of servers and have more things for my team to support. So hands down, cloud enablement was one of the critical factors when selecting Terra Dotta.

—  Becky Frieden, Former Manager of
Administrative Applications for IT Services

See for yourself.
Streamline your international education processes with Terra Dotta: