Here’s how Jennifer is driving real-time insights that are enriching student engagement and providing a well-rounded curriculum.
When Jennifer Griffith, DrPH, MPH, for Texas A&M School of Public Health was invited to a Quick Base onsite training session last year by her colleague and Quick Base builder, Lois Rockwell, she was reluctant to go.
As Associate Dean for Public Health Practice and Instructional Associate Professor, Jennifer doesn’t have a lot of time for extra activities. But Lois’s enthusiasm ultimately convinced her to attend the training with her administrative assistant, Megan Westerman.
Lois, who works as an Executive Assistant II for the Office of Academic Affairs at the School of Public Health, had been searching for an easy-to-use database platform that would work on both Mac and PC computers. She found that and more in Quick Base. After watching videos and taking advantage of a trial subscription, she was sold, and wanted to share her find with Jennifer.
“I didn’t know much about Quick Base, and wasn’t sure about spending two days in training for something I didn’t think would be all that helpful to me,” explains Jennifer. “I realized very quickly why Lois was so excited, and saw how beneficial this platform could be for some of the projects and activities I was tasked to do.”
Jennifer has always been a fan of traditional databases and has used them to support a variety of projects and basic work activities. She is also no stranger to spreadsheets. So, when she received a request from the Dean for a new program called “Public Health Scholars” she intended to use both tools for the new project. The objective was to track and reward students for taking advantage of opportunities beyond the typical classroom experience.
“I was prepared for a time-consuming process involving data collection and cleaning, and planned to manage it all and show changes over time using a conventional database,” says Jennifer.
Quick Base training changed those plans when she learned she could quickly create a powerful app (without code) that would far surpass the capabilities of her existing tools.
A perfect fit for both builder and project
About half-way through the training on the first day, Jennifer began building a Quick Base app to support the new “Scholars” program.
With it, students would be able to conveniently fill out her online surveys from anywhere at any time. Advanced Quick Base report generation became a favorite feature when she learned she could create reports and charts in minutes, curated to her exact specifications. This was something that had been difficult, if not impossible to do with previous databases.
“During the Quick Base training, everything really clicked and I had a working app within a few days,” Jennifer explains. “I’m a very visual person so being able to go in and see tables and relationships was something I could easily relate to.”
Now in full operation, that first app has far surpassed expectations. Instead of spending several days at the end of the semester analyzing surveys, Jennifer and Megan can track everything in real time. They can see what activities students are engaging in, and the kind of training that holds the most interest to them.
That information is also easily shared with others in the School of Public Heath, so when similar types of professional development opportunities arise, they can be quickly promoted.
“I don’t believe we could have launched a program like this as fast, or shown success so quickly, without Quick Base,” says Jennifer.
With that first success in hand, Jennifer and Megan have continued to find new ways to leverage Quick Base to support both big and small initiatives that benefit the School of Public Health. These include apps that:
- Quickly identify undergraduate curriculum overlaps and gaps for improved visibility and decision making.
- Easily track affiliation agreements with sites that host student internships.
- Simplify field trip sign ups.
- Boost participation in a National Public Health week photo contest by replacing cumbersome email entries with an online form that enables faculty, staff, and students to easily upload their pictures.
How did you do that so fast?
A few weeks ago, the Dean requested some information to prepare for the annual “State of the School” faculty retreat. Megan was able to pull up reports in one of her Quick Base apps and give him precisely what he needed in a matter of minutes.
“We’re definitely quicker with Quick Base,” Jennifer says with a laugh. “Instead having to wait for an end of the semester report, we can provide immediate answers on what’s happening right now.”
In Lois’s department, both Mac and PC users are kept fully informed with custom reports that are readily accessible whenever they need them. Lois cites the fast and easy self-service reporting feature as one of the most beneficial, and a helpful time saver for the Office of Academic Affairs.
“It’s success stories like these that help put Quick Base in the spotlight,” says Jennifer.
Getting buy-in at all levels
As word spreads, people from all levels are beginning to see how Quick Base apps are helping Jennifer and others at the School work smarter, not harder, for the same or better results. And they’re also learning that they too can streamline and automate their day-to-day activities with no-code apps they can easily create themselves.
Jennifer believes that Quick Base buy-in at both senior and business operations levels is a circular process, with gains and successes in one area often leading to approval for use in other areas.
“I think it’s a dual ended relationship; you get a little…go a little…get a little more…go a little farther,” she says.
Sharing the message with students
Jennifer feels that the story behind her path to becoming a Quick Base builder is also a great lesson to share with her students.
“My experience with Quick Base becomes a really good talking point about being a life-long learner, and not being afraid to try new things,” says Jennifer. “I thought I knew a lot about databases and had everything I needed, and then I learned about this new tool and took a chance. Quick Base has made everything easier and more fun.”
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