Western Illinois University Thrives With Unparalleled Support

How Modern Campus Presence's award-winning Customer Support & Success teams help a rural, public university streamline everyday processes to boost student engagement

About Western Illinois University




undergraduate students



international students



registered student organizations

In this case study: Nick Katz, Director of Student Engagement and John Moore, Graduate Assistant of Leadership Programs

Customer support is one of the biggest elements of our success with Presence. I can send them a message—either an email to my Customer Success Manager or a chat in the backend of the platform—and then they'll respond super quickly, usually within minutes. With our last platform, it usually took three or four days to get a response. That would never happen with Presence.

John Moore

The Challenge

Western Illinois University tried a different student engagement tool prior to onboarding Modern Campus Presence, which helped them clarify what they truly wanted out of a co-curricular platform. After several years, they realized two main goals for their platform usage moving forward.

Goal #1: Increase excitement and usage of the platform, with an easy-to-use interface that students and staff would intuitively understand how to navigate. 

Our previous platform was not very user-friendly for our students. They had a hard time navigating the platform and accessing the content. It was getting a negative connotation around campus. Even the most passionate student leaders didn’t want to use it.

John Moore

Goal #2: Accelerate and optimize the benefits of co-curricular engagement with reliable, accessible and hyper-personalized Customer Support and Success. 

When we would ask questions or request help from our previous platform, it would take way too long to hear back. So we’d often try to solve things on our own, but then we’d hit a lot of roadblocks.

Nick Katz

WIU’s Student Engagement team needed a platform that would do more than keep their office running and engagement stagnant. They needed their platform to be a triple threat: provide outstanding features, encourage widespread usage and serve as a reliable partner, clearly invested in their success.  

The university decide to make a change: switch to a platform that would undeniably provide a strong return on their investment.

The Solution & Results

Prior to selecting Presence as their new co-curricular engagement tool, WIU’s Student Engagement team sought opinions from everywhere and everyone. Katz and Moore showcased the platform’s innovative features and user-friendly interface to student leaders, as well as their colleagues in Academic Affairs, Athletics, WIU’s satellite metropolitan campus and more. 

Many people were nervous about changing platforms, but they were impressed by Presence. The Student Engagement team discovered that Presence had a matching solution to meet the goals of each WIU department. 

So, when WIU onboarded Presence, they had widespread buy-in and support from all corners of campus.

Unparalleled customer support and ease of use allow WIU to make the most of Presence

The real test would come down to Presence’s Customer Success and Customer Support teams: would they hold up to their word as ongoing, reliable partners?

It’s safe to say that Presence’s award-winning teams continually ace that test.

Nick Katz and John Moore frequently connect with Michele, their dedicated Customer Success Manager. Over a mix of video calls, phone calls and emails, Michele is a trusted partner in helping WIU Student Engagement develop the right strategies to meet every day goals and make long-term visions a reality.

We’ve never ever felt like Presence’s customer support reps are in a rush to get to another customer or end a meeting. With our previous platform, I felt like we were very little fish in a very big pond. The company didn’t have much time for us. That’s not true with Presence at all. They really care about our success and will take the time to help us through even the smallest hurdles.

Nick Katz

Additionally, Katz and Moore, along with any Presence user with administrative access—including students—can open up a chat with a live Support Associate, right through WIU’s engagement portal, any time. Student leaders and collaborative partners can troubleshoot problems, discover new functionalities and learn clever tactics without needing to ask The Office of Student Engagement. Presence takes care of the heavy lift, so WIU’s Student Affairs team can focus on what they do best: boosting co-curricular engagement and learning.

Presence’s comprehensive library of support resources also boosts usage. Staff and student leaders can access Q&As, support articles and recorded tutorials any day, any time, right from the engagement portal itself. Unlike with other engagement platforms, there’s no need to remember another URL and log on elsewhere. 

Katz appreciates that Presence’s support resources were clearly designed with today’s learners in mind.

Students are used to getting information quickly and visually, often through YouTube, Tik Tok or Instagram. So I love that the support resources they can access to teach them to use Presence are so video based. It goes a long way in empowering them to take full advantage of the platform.

Nick Katz

Presence’s user-friendly tools remove barriers to engagement, improve programming and foster collaboration between departments

Customer Success wouldn’t matter if Presence didn’t have the right tools to help WIU meet its goals. 

Fortunately, WIU has been wowed by that too. Multiple features are fostering greater engagement on campus, including:

One-Stop Shop Branded Web Portal & Mobile App: Without a student engagement platform, WIU students would have to search the halls for posters, scour multiple websites and social media pages, or stop by the Student Engagement office to find out about opportunities to get involved. 

But Presence simplifies the search. Its branded web portal and matching mobile app—which WIU named Leatherneck Link after the university’s mascot—centralize every student club, organization and event in one highly accessible place. Filters and tags make it easy to find the right opportunities any day, any time, from any device connected to the internet. 

Digital Event Check-In: WIU has traded paper sign-in forms for Digital IDs. Students no longer need a pen or even their physical IDs to check themselves into events; instead, Presence has created a unique digital ID for each student to save to their phone. Any staff or student volunteer can then check students in with a simple scan from their own mobile device. It’s fast, easy, efficient—and generates a complete, accurate attendance list every time. 

Optimized Co-Curricular Experiences: WIU’s New Student Orientation team is excited by how Presence can help advance orientation events and opportunities. Thanks to Presence’s Experiences feature, they can:

  • Use drag-and-drop technology to quickly build beautiful display pages that detail and advertise each event within Leatherneck Link
  • Empower collaboration by granting other WIU departments admin administrative access to design their own Experiences
  • Assign skills and levels to each experience to promote deeper co-curricular learning and track student outcomes

Live Data & Analytics Dashboard: Katz and Moore love the dynamic visual reporting that’s automatically generated to their Presence administrative dashboard. They’re even encouraging student leaders to dive into the data through custom demographic attributes.

In the near future, The Office of Student Engagement plans to work with Enrollment Management in order to connect engagement data with retention. Like Valdosta State University, they hope to uncover concrete evidence proving that engagement supports student persistence. 

Presence has finally given WIU what staff and students have long hoped for: student engagement and development tools that simplify processes, promote greater involvement and encourage campus-wide collaboration. Just as importantly, they can confidently rely on Customer Success and Support teams that are easy to reach, quick to respond and always helpful in offering creative solutions. 


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About Modern Campus

Modern Campus is obsessed with empowering its 1,200+ higher education customers to thrive when radical transformation is required to respond to lower student enrollments and revenue, rising costs, crushing student debt and even school closures.

Powered by Omni CMS, DIGARC, Presence and Destiny One, the Modern Campus modern learner engagement platform enables innovative institutions to create a “learner to earner” lifecycle that engages modern learners for life.


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Learn how Modern Campus is leading the modern learner engagement movement at moderncampus.com and follow us on LinkedIn.


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