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How a Theology School Manages Both Graduate and Continuing Education Programs

Overcoming technological and cultural barriers with a single platform

Colleges often juggle multiple programs and professional development tracks, but Hebrew College’s multitasking is next-level.

The Newton, MA-based college offers offers graduate leadership programs for rabbis, cantors and Jewish educators that require three to six years of study, and community learning and professional development courses for adults and teenagers.

Hebrew College recently moved to a shared campus with a local synagogue, Temple Reyim, and several other Jewish organizations, to create a Jewish learning and education hub.

The focus on the Jewish community unites the school’s two tracks, however, managing two different programs demands a flexible technology solution. The College’s legacy SIS, an older version of Jenzabar, couldn’t support its needs. 

Hebrew College: A Snapshot
Graphic of location and statistical data for Hebrew College

“We needed a system that could manage the entire student experience from applicant, to new student, registration, billing and transcripts, not a crazy patchwork quilt solution.”

Bob Gielow
Senior Director of the Office of Student Services

The Challenge

Technology Limitations
Its limited functionality couldn’t support both the graduate and continuing education programs.

Cultural Hurdles
Staff were reluctant to adopt a new SIS because of their poor experience with Jenzabar.

Old Challenges and Limitations

Complicated Interface
Multiple modules were difficult to use and integrate.

Poor Data Management
Inconsistent fields and forms made syncing data difficult for users.

Limited Customizations
No ability to create and update forms or integrate with preferred third-party software.

Substandard Functionality
Limitations to manage non-credit learning students and their courses.

Missing Payment Options
No integrated solution to process online payments.

Frustrating Customer Service
Costly and limited opportunities for retraining and customer support.

The Solution

An Integrated Student Information System to Break Data Silos

Before Hebrew College could launch a new student information system, Gielow knew he needed to get all users on the same page.

The new SIS needed a streamlined user interface to promote user adoption and create a single source of truth: “We needed to be able to do all that and not have this crazy patchwork quilt of solutions.”

Finding a single system to accommodate those needs was essential to Hebrew College’s ongoing growth and success, Gielow says. This was the opportunity for the school to have a data management do-over.

Campus Cafe Software offered Hebrew College a fresh start on an easy-to-use platform. The system handles their dual student populations and provides flexibility, customization, robust training and responsive support for a reasonable price.

Moving to Campus Cafe has helped Hebrew College administrators and staff adopt standard practices, such as common definitions for database fields and operating on a single, integrated platform.

Campus Cafe Meets Hebrew College’s Unique Needs

The Solution

How Each Department Uses Campus Cafe

Registrar’s Office

Manage course registration for graduate students and continuing education learners.

Quickly access data for reporting to the government and accreditation, such as IPEDS.

Alumni Affairs and Development

Track fundraising campaigns and gifts. Send correspondence to donors.

Admissions and Marketing

Communicate with applicants and process applications. Use class lists to advertise upcoming classes.

Business Office

Track student billing, document payments and gifts. Transfer data to QuickBooks.

Graduate Students

Use the online portal to register for courses, check their tuition balances, make payments, and update personal information.

Continuing Education

Enroll in courses via “sign up now” forms and make payments online.


Instructors use the attendance app and digital grade book features.

“We’re both a graduate program and a community learning program. Campus Cafe manages the whole process for very different types of students.”

Bob Gielow
Senior Director of the Office of Student Services