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Patrick van Gijzen, BUas: “Quality through insights”

Patrick van Gijzen, Breda University of Applied Sciences (Photo: Kitty van Gijzen Photography)

It has been 18 years since Patrick van Gijzen started working at Breda University of Applied Sciences (BUas). As advisor and project manager he is in part responsible for the portal and students app. In everything he does, there is only one question at the center: how can we optimize our services for students and staff? “We really involve them to find out what they want and how they want it.”

As one of StuComm’s first clients, Patrick has been working on the MyBUas app for a long time. “When we started our partnership with StuComm there were many apps available”, he says. In the end they chose StuComm. “Many of those apps were for free, in exchange for being able to push ads to our students. For me that was strange. It is not at all what we want for our students at BUas and I cannot imagine any other institution would want that for their students. The fact that StuComm really put the student first, convinced us.”

Student needs

The main focus of BUas is student success: finishing a study on time in a comfortable environment. That means it is not just about the education itself, but also about all other services and resources. Everything needs to fit the student’s needs and wants, which is why it is important to find out what those needs and wants are. Patrick: “Active needs come directly from students, for instance through our service desk. We also use the Dutch National Student Survey (NSE) which is important for us to find out about student satisfaction. Once we identify room for improvement, we start a project and consult with students from the start. Their voice determines our direction.”

While these methods have proven to be effective, BUas would also like to monitor how students use the various services and resources. “When you create something for your students to use, it is not finished right away”, Patrick says. “It is the first version and you monitor how your students use that first version. Because of that, certain analytics are important for us and that is what we told stuComm as well. I am really happy we now have their Data Dashboard which we can use to get the insights we want.”

Data Dashboard

After implementing a new platform, such as the StuCommApp, you want to see how it is being used. With the Data Dashboard, that is possible for the StuCommApp. “We are adding new features to the MyBUas app that should add value for our students. However, we do have to see if they will be used. That is where the Data Dashboard comes in. We can easily see how many students are using the app and the specific features they are using. For instance, when I look at the Dashboard right now, I can see that 7,100 of our 7,500 students are actively using the app.”

“You want to know how students use your app and specific features, especially during the pilot phase. If something is not working, we can make adjustments. The Data Dashboard is a trigger for us. Are the numbers promising? Great, we know we are heading in the right direction. Are the numbers lacking? Also great, because now we can look into what we are doing together with StuComm and our students, and make adjustments where needed. This way, we make sure that our MyBUas app meets the needs and wants of our students”, Patrick concludes.