Jay Rozgonyi

Associate Vice Provost for Innovation & Effectiveness, Fairfield University

Supernova Award Category: 

Future of Work: Employee Experience

The Company: 

Fairfield University is a private university that has 4000 undergrads, 1,100 graduate students, 600 faculty members and 600 staff. It is located in located in Fairfield, CT, Fairfield University's vision is to change the education system by redefining the technology learning stack while ensuring that learning is engaging. Fairfield University believes in a multi stimuli approach which includes face to face, on line, community and online learning. They have a CAE (Center for Academic Excellence) which is the epicenter of innovative technologies that expand the teaching tool kit. All staff and faculty have iPads and Apple TVs throughout. Approximately 99% of students come with devices to the school. 

The Problem: 

Fairfield University was using an off the shelf educational product that was not engaging the learning ecosystem, students, faculty and staff weren't engaged in the tool. The flaw in existing educational tools is that they are static, which limited engagement and stifled the learning process. In an effort to force this product to work students , started using “work arounds” Students were writing their follow-up thoughts as paragraphs in Word and then pasting back into the tool. Students didn’t follow up on the discussion board because it was not dynamic. Discussion boards actually were actually killing the discussion. The ripple effect is faculty grew frustrated with the lack of participation and quality of engagement. Students and staff were struggling with creating a dynamic learning environment that maintained its relevancy as a project progressed. Jay and staff knew they needed to find better tools and that what they were looking for was likely not in the education technology space.

The Solution: 

Jay personally championed the search for new learning tools. He mapped the features of the perfect product and concluded that what he was actually looking for was an amazing “collaboration” platform. That is where Quip came in - he found the collaborate writing space, history, and the ability to communicate about the document fascinating and applicable. And he loved the mobile friendly functionality which was much more in line with how students liked to work. Once he put the product in motion, the learning dynamic shifted dramatically from passive to passionate.

In addition, content is always relevant and instant push notifications keep everyone informed in real time. The once static, outdated discussion becomes more student centered and driven which accelerates learning. It is analogous to the class room but can happen anywhere including mobile devices. This facilitates a “learn on the go” model that connects with today's learners.

The Results: 

Jay was so successful in implementing Quip that faculty started creating their school work for the students in Quip. Use cases included: replacement for online discussion boards, LMS Course structures & materials, notebooks for classes, and tech documentation for staff and faculty.

Learning is happening faster and more broadly because interaction and collaboration with students has increased dramatically.

Further, Fairfield University uses Quip for its incoming Freshman orientation (1000+ students) and has them sign up for their Quip account before school starts so they are ready to go on the first day. The expectation is that students are expected to engage in the readings and answer one or more reflection questions using Quip before their freshman orientation webinar. https://www.fairfield.edu/undergraduate/academics/resources/academic-cal...


Fairfield University has about 340 faculty/staff users, the vast majority of whom are faculty. Approximately 50% of faculty have tried it or are using it in their teaching.

As for current students, approximately one-third use it. However, all 1000+ of the incoming freshman class are assigned its use. The numbers - especially of students - are growing rapidly. Fairfield University has only had it for 2 years (half a year of testing and 1.5 under our campus-wide license).

The Technology: 

Fairfield University selected Salesforce Quip as the basis for their collaboration platform.

Disruptive Factor: 

Jay is a disruptive thinker. He is always thinking of way to improve the status quo. He isn't afraid to try new ideas or pivot when those ideas don't come to fruition. The staff and faculty have come to expect Jay to try to new things to improve learning.

Because the user interface of Quip was simple, adoption from the staff, faculty and students came naturally. Jay didn't have to spend a lot of time on training or telling people they must use it. They just did.

Shining Moment: 

Quip ended up being instrumental in changing the model of how they teach at Fairfield University. Staff started using Quip to create their own curriculum to collaborate better with students.

About Fairfield University

The moment you arrive at Fairfield University everything feels different. Our 200-acre idyllic campus is situated on Connecticut's coastline, providing for beautiful, unforgettable surroundings. But it's more than that - it's our dedication to each and every student's personal growth that makes our environment so unique.