March 19, 2021

Wayne State to streamline communication for current students using artificial intelligence

Fuel innovation

In an effort to stay informed regarding important university dates, deadlines and policies, students can get overwhelmed by communications and to-do items from various departments, professors, financial aid, advising, groups and organizations. Wayne State is helping ease this burden by offering students the ability to use artificial intelligence (AI) to navigate important university information regarding registration, financial aid, accounts receivable, student services and more.

The university has partnered with Admit Hub — a platform proven to impact student outcomes — to offer W the Warrior chatbot and texting. W will be available in two virtual formats. The first is a web chatbot that will roll out for Welcome Center services and continue to branch out as the AI knowledgebase becomes more intelligent. The second form is text messaging.

Wayne State is excited to launch this innovative communication to provide students with high-level messages that will support student success in academics and student life and help them navigate processes for registration, financial aid and account services.

“It’s important for us to meet students where they are with key messaging to help them navigate university systems,” said Dawn Medley, associate vice president of enrollment management. “Missing an important financial aid or accounts receivable message can cause undue stress for students. Our AI chatbot for Admissions has performed successfully for nearly three years. It makes sense to continue offering this proven communication method to current students throughout their time at Wayne State University.”

Students will receive a welcome text message from W the week of March 22 instructing them on how they can pause or stop communication should they not want to participate.

“We are working carefully to provide students with information that is useful to them.  We encourage students to pause their messaging rather than stop it if they need to take a break, so that they will be able to opt back in later.” said Monica Brockmeyer, senior associate provost for student success. “The team behind the chatbot is working hard to ensure messaging is not burdensome for students, and offers important information that will assist them with moving toward their degree completion goals.”

The chatbot provides a familiar and easy way for students to get support on demand, when they need it most.

“Important Information can often go overlooked by an abundance of emails,” described David Strauss, Wayne State’s Dean of Students. “This system will provide vital information that allows students to take control of essential tasks that will keep them on track. We will also be able to use the tool to understand where we can strengthen our service to students.”

The web bot is currently up and running on Financial Aid and Student Service Center pages for students to ask questions about university processes. Students will be directed to the W Chatbot information page to understand more about why they’re receiving text messages and who to contact with questions.

“Experts from all over the university helped to populate W’s knowledgebase,” said Amanda Rosales, enrollment management project director. “The web bot responds in less than two seconds when it’s confident about an answer. When W identifies a ‘priority’ answer or doesn’t know the answer, questions are sent to a human team member, who will respond directly to the student. As our subject matter experts answer new questions, the knowledgebase will grow and W will essentially become ‘smarter.’

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