Global Engagement Solutions for Higher Education

Case Western Reserve needed a better way to manage its outbound and inbound students.

Today, Case Western Reserve University’s international education program is robust with an active and engaged population and leaders who are committed to its success.

But, eight years ago, it was a different story at the top-ranked private research university in Cleveland, Ohio. The paperwork for the university’s study abroad program fit inside a single desk drawer of an administrator. Nine full-sized filing cabinets were stuffed with paperwork required for the university’s international students. And, if a crisis struck, there was no quick and easy way to notify students abroad or stay in contact with international students who had returned home.

Case Western Reserve needed a better way to manage its outbound and inbound students and keep them up-to-date.

They got it with Terra Dotta. As the COVID-19 pandemic turned the world upside down, the solution has paid dividends.

COVID-19 Response
Like higher education institutions across the country amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Case Western Reserve moved to online classes, canceled spring study abroad programs and saw many international students return home.

For both study abroad and international students, Terra Dotta’s tools proved invaluable.
As the pandemic grew, Terra Dotta and, in particular, its Locator Search function, made it possible to immediately pinpoint students in affected areas of the world and elsewhere, communicate with them quickly about their options and rapidly bring them home.
Having this accurate set of data, as well as a robust and easy-to-use way to access it, was such an immense resource during a time when world affairs changed on a nearly hourly basis.

—Alec Jokubaitis
Business Systems Analyst in Case Western Reserve's Center for International Affairs

The success of Case Western Reserve’s experiences with Terra Dotta’s study abroad services led the university to add its International Student support in 2018.  As a result, Case Western Reserve could still serve its international students—those that still on campus as well as those who have returned home because of the pandemic—and as university staff work remotely.

With all requests online through the platform, students can still interact with the office from wherever they are in the world, and Case Western Reserve officials can continue to assist with their visa needs without having to see the students in person.
Terra Dotta has also allowed us to easily send communications to our international students. By running saved queries, we were able to quickly send targeted updates out to different parts of our population, from all enrolled international students to all living on campus.
Before Terra Dotta

Case Western Reserve’s homegrown study abroad program was led by a dean who worked on it part-time. There was no easy way to expand the program while keeping the same paper-based application system.

REQUIRED: Efficient way to make the operation bigger and better.

With Terra Dotta
When Case Western Reserve deployed Terra Dotta Study Abroad, the solution streamlined the application process and, along with the addition of new staff to support study abroad and international programs more broadly, helped the program grow from a handful of students to 400 each year.

Terra Dotta’s standard online template for each program makes it easy for students to log in and, at their own pace, learn more about programs of interest, so they can ask informed questions when they meet with staff.

No desk drawers are required for this web-based solution. Through the online portal, students can fill out the required paperwork, track their applications and stay on top of other requirements.

With just a few keystrokes, Case Western Reserve’s team now can pull up a variety of insights and take action as needed. For example, when leaders noticed a growing gap between students who started applications and those who actually went abroad, they launched a survey to find out why and made changes to begin to close it.

You don’t have to be a computer expert to use the site and to be able to be successful to build things on the site. It’s very doable, and it’s very easy to get things built.
Before Terra Dotta
Case Western Reserve relied on batching software that wasn’t meeting its needs. The solution was updated only when the government required it, and those updates were difficult to install.

Meanwhile, Case Western Reserve still maintained paper files. Those paper-based processes led to plenty of headaches.


  1. Students had to visit the office to complete documents — a challenge for those doing remote thesis work or who were OPT after graduation.
  2. The overflowing files were hard to manage, and it was easy to lose information.
  3. When paperwork wasn’t filled out properly, processing time took longer and staff and students grew frustrated.
  4. To move information where it needed to go, staff had to manually enter it into SEVIS or the batching software.
  5. It was impossible to get any actionable insights from nine overflowing filing cabinets.

REQUIRED: Less paper, more automation.

With Terra Dotta
When it deployed Terra Dotta’s ISSS solution in March 2018, Case Western Reserve got rid of those filing cabinets and moved the application process online, allowing for greater consistency and convenience.


Before, it was much more difficult to identify trends. Being able to look back a few years and see these trends really allows us to take information and make changes.

It really allowed us to take that rare look back at what we were doing and why we were doing it and helped streamline the process. It makes everything so much easier and so much better.

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