Tom Downey
Broader Applicant Pools, Quicker Decisions, a Streamlined Process: The GradCAS™ Formula



The University of Tennessee at Martin (UT Martin) is a comprehensive public university providing high-quality undergraduate and graduate educational programs to students from West Tennessee and beyond. It offers graduate degrees in Agriculture & Natural Resources, Business Administration, Counseling, Educational Leadership, Teaching, Family and Consumer Sciences and Strategic Communications. UT Martin recently joined BusinessCAS™ and GradCAS™, the Centralized Application Service (CAS™) Communities for graduate management education and graduate education, respectively. Shortly thereafter, Liaison spoke with Joseph Mehlhorn, Ph.D., Interim Dean of Graduate Studies, and Jolene Cunningham, Student Services Specialist, to learn more about their experience with the CASs so far.

What was your application experience like before you joined BusinessCAS and GradCAS? 

Jolene Cunningham (JC): Gathering all of the necessary documents was piecework. We received one submission at a time, and we had to spend a lot of time and effort just trying to keep it all organized.

Joseph Mehlhorn (JM): The old process made it a nightmare of a job! That’s one of the reasons we were looking to streamline with BusinessCAS and GradCAS.

Can you tell us more about your experience so far?

JC: Really, I think CAS has improved everything for us! Now, all of our admissions documents and data are stored in one central location. And it’s been a lot easier for us regarding verification and transcripts, especially with international students.

Thanks to CAS, we were ready to go remote even before COVID-19 closed our campus. Our coordinators didn’t experience any delay in engaging applicants, and they could easily see communication histories for each contact.

JM: Despite the challenges introduced by the pandemic, our application numbers are actually up. I don’t think we could have processed all of the applications we received this year on our old system. There’s no way that we could have physically managed our workload without the complementary support and application processing services that come with CAS.

What advice would you give to others considering joining the CAS Community? 

JM: If you want to focus your staff on engaging applicants rather than coordinating application packaging, CAS is for you! Not only that, but it’ll also give you an easy way to report to university leadership about how many applications you’ve received and the status of each one, and it’s a must if you have a small staff but a large application processing workload.

JC: You’ll be in good hands with Liaison’s staff from the very beginning. They walked us through the onboarding process step by step. It was a fantastic onboarding experience!

Tom Downey

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