Global Engagement Solutions for Higher Education


Digital Infrastructure: Equal to Adding 5 FTEs to the Team

March 1, 2024


In this 2:24 video, Paul talks about how implementing a digital infrastructure can revolutionize the world of international education. By automating mundane tasks and freeing up time, staff can focus on making a real impact and finding career satisfaction. This transformation can enhance staff retention and the needs of students and faculty, ultimately leading to greater success in the field.

From a podcast interview with Paul Hofmann,  a professional whose expertise is over four years as a Senior International Officer at the University of Louisville.

“I now believe that Terra Dotta may be worth four or five FTEs for our office, that it may even be more. I think it’s critical to staff satisfaction and ultimately staff retention.”

Streamlining Processes for Enhanced Staff Satisfaction

One of the primary benefits of digital infrastructure in international education is the ability to streamline processes and eliminate time-consuming tasks. As Paul Hofmann highlights, the world of data entry and double entries can significantly drain resources, preventing staff from engaging in more impactful work. He states, “What that means is you never get to the decision-making part, and the resources of your team that should be much better spent proactively are spent in very mundane tasks.” This not only hampers productivity but also leads to dissatisfaction among staff members.

By implementing digital tools and automation, organizations can alleviate the burden of repetitive tasks, allowing staff to focus on the core mission of international education. Paul emphasizes the importance of this shift, stating, “It allows people to spend more time on the calling piece of this. The reason they got into international education as opposed to the mundane tasks that pull you down.” By enabling staff to dedicate their time and energy to meaningful work, organizations can foster a sense of purpose and job satisfaction among their employees.

Empowering Staff for Career Growth

In addition to improving staff satisfaction, digital infrastructure plays a crucial role in facilitating career growth within international education. Paul highlights the impact of digital tools on staff members’ ability to think beyond the day-to-day tasks and focus on broader concepts in the field. He states, “It gives them that time to think about the international education piece, the broader concepts of that. And ideally, that will lead them to greater career satisfaction and growth.”

By automating mundane tasks and providing efficient tools, digital infrastructure empowers staff members to engage in more strategic and impactful work. This not only enhances their skills and knowledge but also opens up opportunities for career advancement. Staff members can dedicate their time to serving the needs of students, collaborating with faculty, and developing innovative programs. As Paul suggests, “Working with faculty to help collaborate with them to put a faculty-led program together that is truly meaningful, without being bogged down in the details.” This shift from administrative tasks to more meaningful work can increase job satisfaction and retention within the field.

The Potential of Digital Tools for Staff Resources

The implementation of digital tools, such as Terra Dotta, can have a significant impact on staff resources in international education. Paul initially believed that Terra Dotta would be worth two or three full-time equivalent (FTE) staff members in terms of resources. However, as the implementation progressed, he realized the impact could be even more significant. He states, “I now believe that may be four or five, for our office that it may even be more.”

Digital tools not only streamline processes but also allow staff members to grow and delve into the software's capabilities. As staff members become more proficient in using these tools, their productivity and efficiency increase, potentially leading to the need for fewer staff members to accomplish the same tasks. This optimizes resources and allows staff members to take on more challenging and rewarding responsibilities, further enhancing their career satisfaction and growth.


In international education, digital infrastructure is vital in enhancing staff satisfaction and retention. By streamlining processes and eliminating mundane tasks, organizations can empower their staff to focus on the core aspects of their work, such as student support and program development. This shift not only improves job satisfaction but also opens up opportunities for career growth within the field. Additionally, the implementation of digital tools can have a significant impact on staff resources, increasing productivity and efficiency. As organizations continue to invest in digital infrastructure, they can create an environment that fosters staff satisfaction, retention, and, ultimately, the fulfillment of the promise of international education.

To catch the full interview with Paul, CLICK HERE.