Eliminate barriers to student success with Steven Tolman

Steven Tolman was tired of playing email tag to find a time to meet with his students and fellow educators. The tedious process lost him days in a year and made him almost inaccessible.

He went searching for a solution and stumbled upon YouCanBook.me. Ever since then, he has been using our higher education scheduling software to eliminate barriers to student success and has even written a research paper about its impact.

Tune in (or read below) to learn how Steven provides students with frictionless access to information, the biggest changes he’s seen in higher ed, and why technology is at the center of student achievement

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Listen to episode 29


In the episode “Eliminate Barriers to Student Success,” we discuss

  • How Steven ended up in higher education: from a “bad kid” to RA to college admin
  • The biggest change in higher education in the past 15 years: removing student barriers to learning
  • How YouCanBook.me helps Steven boost student engagement and achievement 
  • The value of student data and how it lets Steven tailor programming to unengaged students
  • How endless email tag trying to find a time to meet led Steven to YouCanBook.me
  • How education scheduling software lets Steven meet with 3x the number of students
  • Why Steven decided to write a research paper for educators about YouCanBook.me
  • Tips for implementing new software: start by identifying your problem
  • What’s next for Steven: a book contract and researching the impact of education scheduling software

Favorite quotes

“We have all these data points on students and we can start to see where they're going, who's involved, and who's not involved. It's cool because you could start to connect some of these dots and you can actually do some predictive modeling of figuring out which students are at risk because they're not getting involved on campus.” - Steven Tolman

“They would just give up and get tired of the email tag. So I said, ‘Enough is enough. I have to find a better way to do this.’ And that's how I then stumbled upon YouCanBook.me, integrated it, and then I've never looked back from it. It has been my go-to and it's been seamless.” - Steven Tolman

“I said, ‘If you ever have a question at all, no matter how big or small, go right to my YouCanBook.me. Put yourself right on it.’ And they do it. And so I find that eliminates that barrier and students are much more likely to schedule with me as a result.” - Steven Tolman

“It just integrates and synthesizes everything together. I think there are so many ways that you could utilize YouCanBook.me from an administrative perspective that are just amazing and you could really harness that power to be efficient with your time.” - Steven Tolman

“This idea of presence and connection that I have with students and how they can see how available I am to them outside of the classroom. And that's the piece that I think is my favorite about YouCanBook.me. It isn't just the savings of time and the efficiency, it's the connection and the way that students resonate with me having this platform for them.” - Steven Tolman

Meet today’s guest, Steven Tolman

Steven Tolman

Steven Tolman, Ed.D. is an Associate Professor of Higher Education Administration and Ed.D. Program Director at Georgia Southern University. Additionally, he serves as the editor of the Georgia Journal of College Student Affairs.  

His previous roles included serving as a Higher Education Administration Program Director and 12 years as a student affairs administrator in Residence Life, Student Conduct, and Student Life. He holds a Doctorate from Rutgers University, a Master’s from Texas Tech University, and a Bachelor’s from Central Michigan University. 

His research is theoretically informed and guided by the tenets of student development theory. In particular, he explores the application of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, Kolb’s Experiential Learning, Sanford’s Model of Challenge and Support, and Astin’s Theory of Involvement. This theoretical framework is intertwined with the two streams of his scholarly agenda: 1) The profession of student affairs and 2) The residential and co-curricular experience of college students.

Steven, his wife Danielle, and their three amazing children live in Savannah, GA. They love ALL products Apple, being early adopters of technology, and are avid golfers.

Productivity resources to explore

“Eliminate barriers to student success” full transcript

This transcript has been slightly edited for clarity and readability.

Ben (00:00):

From YouCanBook.me, this is Get More Done. The blueprint for managers to lead happy and productive teams. I'm Ben Dlugiewicz and my mission is to help you stomp out inefficiencies so you can focus on work that will grow your business. How can you make a good impression with your client, students, or customers? Setting up an automated scheduling system not only helps you save time but also the people you are meeting with. On this episode, I chat with Dr. Steven Tolman, the Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership and Higher Education Administration at Georgia Southern University. Steven shares how he uses YouCanBook.me and how it's helped him tremendously, so much so that he has written a research paper about it to help his colleagues in higher education.

Ben (00:37):

Steven shares how technology is changing at colleges and universities and how it is becoming important to provide students with frictionless access to information. All of that, and then some, on Get More Done starting now. And welcome back to the Get More Done podcast where we talk about all things productivity and helping your team level up. On today's episode, I'm sitting down with Steven Tolman, Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership and Higher Education Administration at Georgia Southern University. So Steven, welcome to the podcast.

Steven (01:18):

Thanks for having me.

Ben (01:20):

Awesome, super excited to learn everything that you've been researching and all the cool stuff that you've been doing at Georgia Southern. But before we do that, we'll have an icebreaker question to help you break the nerves up a little bit and get more comfortable because podcasting is not really something everybody does every day like me. But for this question, what is one thing that you have to do to fall asleep?

Steven (01:42):

Yeah, so I tend to fall asleep listening to podcasts. So every night I listen to a podcast and fall asleep. I'm a big podcast person. Love listening to them. I've really fallen in love with it in terms of my commute and then being around the house, going to the gym, and just listening to a podcast. And so at nighttime, I listen to a podcast and one of my favorite podcasts, which I can't listen to when I fall asleep, is kind of funny. Do you listen to SmartLess Ben?

Ben (02:04):

Yeah, absolutely.

Steven (02:04):

I just listened to George Clooney's, relistened to the George Clooney one. It was interesting because he had given a shout-out to podcasts and how he listens to them to fall asleep. And I laugh because very similar to what his response was is I can't listen to something like SmartLess as a podcast before I fall asleep because I stay listening to it and I'd engage and would listen to the whole thing. So I ended up falling asleep to something like SportsCenter or something about football or golf. One of those types of podcasts that usually puts me out in just a few minutes. So I listen to something like that.

Ben (02:38):

Absolutely. I was going to say, because when I listen to podcasts, I'm attentive, actively listening and I can't be doing other things, but having it just be something in the background, it makes a lot of sense. Where you don't really need to be engaged, but yeah SmartLess is great. Shout out to SmartLess, so good. Awesome. So tell us a little bit more about yourself, Steven.

Steven (02:58):

All right. So this is my least favorite question, whether I'm on a podcast, whether I'm doing an interview for a job. You never know how much to share, how little to share. But so for me, I'm a college administrator at heart and so I was in residence life. Residence life, student conduct, and overseeing student life for what, 13 years as a college administrator. Loved it.

Steven (03:21):

I did my undergrad at Central Michigan University. My Master's was in Education Administration at Texas Tech. And then my doctorate was at Rutgers University. Love being a college administrator. And then now I'm on the faculty side of the house, teaching people to be college administrators. And so I kind of have the best of both worlds. And then I get to dip my toes into administration, but then I get to help prepare those being in the role. So I absolutely love it. I'm here at Georgia Southern University as an Assistant Professor in our Higher Ed program. I serve as the Director of our Doc program. So preparing folks to go on into senior administration positions. Absolutely love it. And the weather down here in Savannah is pretty nice too. So you can't complain.

Ben (04:03):

Yeah. You can't complain at all. That's really cool that you're taking your field experience and bringing that into the classroom to help other people prepare. But I'm curious about the RA stuff because to me that seems like herding cats and trying to do everything. So what made you fall in love with that side of things, the student life?

Steven (04:20):

Yeah. Yeah. It's interesting. I was an undergrad. I was a double major in Biology and Chemistry with a minor in Physics and I was an RA in college and I was actually the student that you don't want to be an RA at first. And then what actually happened is I was a bad kid during my freshman year in college. And so I got in trouble. I won't tell the stories online here, but I got in trouble. And then the hall director who oversees a residence hall met with me and said, "Listen, I'm going to give you two choices. Number one is that you can pack your bags and move out of the residence hall as of 5:00 PM today. Or number two is you can start working at the front desk and going to hall council starting tomorrow." So I chose option two. I worked at the front desk.

Steven (04:59):

A semester later I was promoted to be the manager of the front desk and then that led me to become an RA myself. So then in undergrad, I became a resident assistant, an RA, and I fell in love with being an RA. It was just such a cool position. Really fits my personality. And it was my senior year, I was already accepted to medical school so I was going to go to medical school and I went and met with my hall director at the time, my supervisor, and said, "Hey, listen, I'm thinking about staying on one more year as an RA so that I can get a third major in physics. So then I would be a triple major: biology, chemistry, and physics." And my hall director, my boss at the time, looked at me much like you're looking at me Ben, like why would you do that? You're already into medical school. What are you thinking? And I had this epiphany, the only reason I wanted to do it was so that I can continue to be an RA.

Steven (05:44):

So because of that, I put medical school on hold, and then I went down to Texas Tech, did my Master's in Higher Ed, and have been doing this type of work ever since. So absolutely love being an RA in the work that we do, but you're really right. It's much like herding cats in a lot of the works. So yeah. Yeah.

Ben (05:59):

Wow. That's an amazing story of maybe kind of going down the wrong path and then you just get course-corrected and then now the rest of your future is kind of set with all of that. That's really cool.

Steven (06:11):

Yeah. My mom was disappointed at first because she always wanted a son that'd be a doctor, but once I got my doctorate, she could now say she has a son that's a doctor, just not a medical doctor. I have a daughter. She is turning 10 this year, but you know, four or five years ago, she was at five, six years old and we were in a restaurant and somebody was choking and somebody said, "Is there a doctor in the house?" And my little girl says, "My daddy is. My daddy is." Like, "No, he's not."

Ben (06:38):

Not that kind of doctor. That's great. That's great.

Steven (06:41):

Exactly. Not me.

Ben (06:42):

So throughout your time, in the university space over the last decade and a half nearly, how have you seen student success evolve? How have you seen that change?

Steven (06:54):

Yeah, I was thinking about this and I really think that the biggest change I see, there's been a lot of changes, let's be clear. Right? But I think one of the coolest, most meaningful changes I've seen really is this idea of eliminating barriers. Barriers for success to students, barriers for students and the work that they're doing and to education, to access to education. You know, I think one of the most prominent ones that we're seeing now on college campuses is this idea of a one-stop shop. And so when you think about it, student services used to be scattered all throughout the campus and it was hard. You go to one office like, "Oh, you actually don't need to meet with me. You need to go to the other side of the campus and meet with this other person." And they would kind of shuffle you around. And then you think about a campus like Michigan State.

Steven (07:37):

Michigan State has its own zip code for its campus. So they're technically their own city when you look at it like that. You have to take a bus from part of campus to part of campus. Or you look at some of the schools in New York City, like the New School, where you're taking a subway from one part of the campus to the other and trying to shuffle students around. So we've moved over to this idea of this one-stop-shop of having all these folks in one convenient location so they can go to one place and get their answers. And I think those have been instrumental in terms of eliminating barriers.

Steven (08:06):

You look at the things that we're doing online. So much is at our student's fingertips through all these online portals. They can go in and do a degree audit through their degree works program right there at their fingertips. They can get all the questions they need, all their information is right there. So this eliminated another barrier. I think with the work with YouCanBook.me and what I'm doing here and what you're doing with YouCanBook.me, it just eliminates another barrier for students to be able to get meetings with folks and talk to folks and not have that barrier between them has been great. And then you look at some of the work on the student life side of the things like CollegiateLink or OrgSync of these platforms that are interacting and engaging students in this campus life arena and it just eliminates these barriers and gets folks engaged right off the bat.

Ben (08:49):

That's really amazing to hear just on the progress toward making it easier for everybody, right? Getting the information you need and giving that front and center. And like you said, with different technology tools, like YouCanBook.me, how have you seen technology impact student life?

Steven (09:05):

Oh yeah. So I mean, when I look at it, I really think that we are doing such a better job of assessment and evaluation and that we've realized there are so many data points of what we have for our students. And it's kind of cool and kind of creepy all in a way when you start to realize how much information we actually have on students. Right? So think about the ways that we utilize data that students have to swipe into their dining hall, right? They have to swipe into their residence halls to be able to have access to their rooms, at times to get into the building. There are campuses where you have to swipe into the classroom where we check students in that way.

Steven Tolman Quote 1

Steven (09:39):

You go to student events now and they'll swipe you in at the basketball game. They'll swipe you in for the pizza party that they're having in the quad. And so we have all these data points on students and we can start to see where they're going, who's involved, and who's not involved. And when you think about it, it's kind of cool because you could start to connect some of these dots and you can actually do some predictive modeling of figuring out which students are at risk because they're not getting involved on campus. Right? And we can start to figure out which populations of our students are not participating and are not engaged in our community. And then we can start to program around them specifically.

Steven (10:12):

So we can figure out that this one population has gone to the basketball game, they're at the gym every day, but this other group of students, they're not doing anything on campus. So how do we create something around their needs? And so it can really change the way that we're doing programming and outreach on a college campus.

Ben (10:28):

Wow. That's awesome. I wouldn't expect that to be that cutting edge, of taking the data points and doing modeling or maybe some machine learning, that type of stuff, because to me the university space, it seems a little bit reluctant to adopt some new technologies and kind of move forward into that. But that's really cool to see.

Steven (10:45):

Yeah. I think the biggest piece is when you think about all the data that's out there, how do you start to centralize some of this data? Right? Because in a lot of ways on college campuses, we're siloed from department to department and division to division, but each one of those departments and divisions has a wealth of information on students. So then how do you start to connect some of those dots together? When we can do that, we could really harness some great power there to be able to help our students even more.

Ben (11:11):

Totally. That cross-collaboration is very important for sure, for just sharing that information and where it could be going. It could be very impactful. So speaking about YouCanBook.me specifically, you wrote an academic paper, I think probably the first person to ever write a paper about us, which is really awesome. And it explains just how our tool can impact things and you quoted that the faculty and administrators should give consideration to creating seamless mechanisms for students to initiate conversations. So how have you seen YouCanBook.me help with that?

Steven (11:47):

Yeah. And it comes back to the question we talked about earlier of what college campuses are doing well and it goes back to this idea of eliminating a barrier. And let me kind of talk to you then about how I got to YouCanBook.me. I'd never heard of it before. And then I stumbled upon it because I had a need. And so I literally said, "Okay, I have a problem. I have to fix this problem. What can I do?" And then I went to Google and I just went into this rabbit hole of finding a solution. I didn't care what it was going to take, how much I was going to have to pay to do it, but I had a problem. I had to fix it.

Steven (12:16):

So as a college administrator, I've always supervised individuals. I've always worked with students, but that number of folks has been a smaller number, if you will. It's always been 5, 10, 15, or 20 people. And then even with that, it's challenging trying to get on people's schedules. You do so many Doodle polls that you can do. You get Doodled out of trying to make all that happen.

Steven (12:34):

And then when I went over to the faculty side from college administration, I then was serving as a Program Director and so I had a hundred students, plus all the prospective students, plus all the faculty. Every single day, I was getting three to four emails a day of people needing to schedule a meeting with me. And I've always done this as an administrator, but much smaller volume. So then I would email them back the next day like, "Oh, this sounds great. When are you available to meet?" So then it takes them three or four days. They email me back like, "Oh, I can meet with you tomorrow at 8:00 AM." Well then, sure enough, I wouldn't read the email until after 8:00 AM the next day. I'm like, "Oh wait, I'm sorry. When are you available again?" And like you play this email tag back and forth, back and forth. I would go through 6, 7, and 8 emails, and then that's one thing just to take that much work but then the worst part is you're not being able to meet with that person.

Steven Tolman Quote 2

Steven (13:20):

So they have a need, they needed to meet with me and I'm delayed by 1, 2, 3 weeks at times. Or they would just give up and get tired of the email tag. So I said, "Enough is enough. I have to find a better way to do this." And that's how I then stumbled upon YouCanBook.me, integrated it, and then I've never looked back from it. It has been my go-to, and it's been seamless.

Steven (13:41):

And I'll share with you that as I think about others utilizing the software, like how do they get into it? How do they start to think about how to do this themselves? Jump right in. It's something that literally I was able to stumble upon within a day, integrated with my calendar, and then I've never looked back. I've never had a problem with it since. It's just been finding ways to further perfect it, if you will. I created my first platform, my booking, and I then added new features to it. I added descriptors of what does he want to meet with me for. I realized that if I was running late, I didn't have a way to get ahold of a student in time. So I asked him, "What's a phone number I can text you at if I'm running late?"

Steven (14:20):

But it's been an amazing feature for me and it's eliminated this barrier between me and students, to where my students just go right into my YouCanBook.me platform and schedule a conversation with me without even asking. They don't email first. I tell them, "Just schedule an appointment with me."

Steven (14:36):

And one of the pieces in my course evaluations with students, so my students that I teach use this as well to reach out to me, and they share often in their ratings of instruction of me, the course evaluation within the semester of how much they love this platform and how they feel connected to me at all times, that they can reach out to me. They know they can get right on my schedule and that they feel that my availability and presence are the greatest they've ever had in any course because of eliminating that barrier. And how cool is it that I can have this for them and that they always feel they can be connected to me in a moment's notice? It's just amazing.

Ben (15:09):

That is some great feedback, as you're seen as more professional, more available, just by having that option available to them. So how many more students are you meeting with now having YouCanBook.me in place than you were previously?

Steven (15:24):

Yeah. It's interesting. I looked at this a few years ago and then I estimated probably two to three times the number of students I now meet with as a result of using YouCanBook.me of just how quick and easy it is to do. In the past, what I would find is a student saying, "Oh, you know what? It's not worth scheduling a formal meeting and going through all these emails back and forth to try to find a time." Now, if a student has a 5-minute question or a 30-minute question, either way, they just go right in and then schedule a meeting with me.

Steven Tolman Quote 3

Steven (15:52):

And so, I find that I have so much more interaction with my students as a result of it. It's been absolutely amazing. It really does get back to that idea of eliminating a barrier and there's something to be said about having to reach out to somebody and say, "Can I meet with you for this?" And having to have that back and forth as opposed to knowing I encourage them. I said, "If you ever have a question at all, no matter how big or small, go right to my YouCanBook.me. Put yourself right on it." And they do it. And so I find that eliminates that barrier and students are much more likely to schedule with me as a result.

Ben (16:22):

Yeah, totally. And what prompted you to write up a research paper about it? Was it just seeing it work and seeing all the light bulbs connect and you're like, "This is great."

Steven (16:34):

Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. And so the journal is the Georgia Journal of College Student Affairs, and in there, there is a book review section of it, in this academic journal, but there's also a software media platform review. And I wanted other administrators to be able to think about this because there are some really cool ways that you can use YouCanBook.me that folks just don't even think about. Right?

Steven (16:57):

And so one of them is what I'm doing, I'm trying to get people to meet with me. But I think about other areas. Let's come back to herding the cats in RESlife with the RAs. Think about RA selection, I've coordinated that for years and I've worked at some large institutions and we'd have 200 candidates that would need to schedule their interviews. So they'd have an individual interview, may have a second-round interview and then we'd have these group process interviews. And so then a lot of it was not high tech then. We'd have on the side of a door, they'd have to walk across campus and write on a piece of paper when they wanted to schedule an interview. You could then utilize YouCanBook.me to then create a schedule there that students could go to in real-time and schedule those interviews. And it just integrates and synthesizes everything together. I think there are so many ways that you could utilize YouCanBook.me from an administrative perspective that are just amazing and you could really harness that power to be efficient with your time.

Steven Tolman Quote 4

Ben (17:50):

And speaking of time and your time, how do you find all of that time to write all those papers that you write? I assume that's a lot of research and it takes a lot of your time. So how do you find time to get all that done?

Steven (18:05):

Yeah, it's a good question. Think about this recently in that I'm very fortunate in that... So as a faculty member, there are three anchors to a faculty member role. They are teaching, service, and then scholarship. And so service are the things that you're doing for your program. Advising students, coordinating the program, doing assessments and evaluations of the program, and serving the campus community. All of those are service-related pieces. Right? Think of all the committees we serve on, that's all service. And the scholarship is your research. And then teaching is obviously your teaching. And what's cool about what I do is everything's kind of inextricably linked together. So my teaching, my service, and my scholarship are all around this idea of professional preparation. So we're preparing college administrators. So what's great is that I'm teaching it in the classroom, preparing them for this, but then I'm also researching it and then doing it in our program. And so because of that, it's all linked together, which has been great. And it allows me to be able to do quite a bit of that writing there.

Ben (19:00):

Awesome. And do you have any other tools that you're using, any other software tools or processes in place that are helping you save time and optimize your workflow other than YouCanBook.me?

Steven (19:11):

Yeah. There are probably two that are my go-to's. The first that has really been big for me is the text-to-speech readers. There are a lot of them, great ones, out there that you can take a journal article, a PDF, and then you can just listen to it. So I talked before about podcasts and how they're so important to me. Well, these text-to-speech readers are also important to me because then, I have a commute, so I commute about 45 minutes to an hour each way in the day, and then I utilize that time for work time.

Steven (19:37):

So this morning on the way in, one of my doctoral students, I'm chairing their dissertation. I was able to listen to their dissertation manuscript on the way into the office. And then as I'm driving home this evening, there is a journal article that I want to listen to so that I can utilize that to be able to write a piece on it soon. So I'm constantly listening to something and utilizing this time that I have to be efficient. And so Text to speech readers have been amazing for that.

Steven (20:01):

And the other piece that I use in a way that a lot of folks probably don't use as I think about technology is there's a lot of great survey tools out there, like Qualtrics is a good example. And then what's cool about Qualtrics is I use the Qualtrics survey tool, not to collect surveys, but actually to give out information, so I reverse the flow of it. And in Qualtrics what's cool, and a lot of survey tools like it, they have what they call logic. Are you familiar with logic statements, Ben?

Steven (20:27):

So I utilize the logic in there to be able to give information, let me give you an example here. So I say to a student, I create a Qualtric survey for information about our program, for example, I say, "Which questions do you have about our program? A, B, C, and D." So if they check A, I use logic then to take them to a page that gives them information about A. If they have questions about B, it takes them to a whole different page that gives them information about B. So rather than using Qualtrics as a survey to bring information to me, I utilize it to get my information out based on what it is that you need. So it's kind of like a choose your own adventure book when we were kids. And so then folks get to pick what it is they want to know from me and I utilize Qualtrics with the logic statements to give them only that information, which is kind of a cool way to be able to do it.

Ben (21:11):

And I don't know if you're aware, you can do that in YouCanBook.me with conditional statements to say, if you choose X, then I can show you information just about X and links and all that stuff. So that might be something I'll send you some documentation on that.

Steven (21:24):

That was very cool. Yeah.

Ben (21:25):

Yeah. You could take me out of support, but it's always in my blood. So you mentioned briefly the advice of just getting started and iterating and kind of moving into a scheduling system for others. But what other advice would you give to a program or faculty member looking to set up an online scheduling system?

Steven (21:45):

Yeah, I think that it's looking at how you want to utilize it and what is the problem you're trying to solve? Right? I think a lot of times when folks hear about software, they think they just need to implement it and they don't realize how they want to use it. So I think start with the problem first of, what is it you're trying to solve? Is it you're trying to figure out how to make your RA selection process more efficient by trying to schedule people? Is it that you're trying to eliminate a barrier between students and faculty and trying to get them to meet with you more easily? What is the problem you're trying to solve? And then from there being able to take something like YouCanBook.me to be able to solve that problem.

Steven (22:18):

So figure out what your problem is first and then from there be able to solve it. I really do think though that when you have that problem with scheduling, whether it's scheduling RA interviews or your own schedule, once you have that, using YouCanBook.me it's very easy to put into place. It's something that you'll take an afternoon, you'll sync it up with your schedules. You're like, "Dude, this actually works." It is pretty cool. And you won't believe it at first how easy it is and you'll send it to a couple colleagues and ask them to schedule fake meetings with you. You'll send it to your friend and you'll realize it just automatically integrates and does exactly what it is that you need it to be able to do.

Ben (22:53):

I think that's great advice of just understanding your need and kind of flushing that out before diving into any tool, whether it's scheduling or anything, because if your process in place isn't the best and what you're looking for, you're just going to throw money at the problem and not fix it. So that's very great advice. Is there anything else that you wanted to add or talk about that we haven't discussed or I didn't ask you?

Steven (23:20):

No, I'm just, as you can tell, YouCanBook.me has been instrumental for me and this is not a paid advertisement in any way. I wrote the article because of how much I loved it and how much I use it. And then I want others to be able to utilize it. And I think what's really cool about YouCanBook.me is that you have two platforms, if you will.

Steven (23:41):

You have the free version and then you have the pro version. And I think that one of those versions can meet somebody's needs no matter what it is they're looking to do. I have a feeling that a lot of folks are going to be, "Let me try on the free version." And then they're going to be immediately hooked and say, "Oh, I want to be able to do this other piece, which would make my life even better or even easier and that's a part of the pro version." And I'm very confident in saying that when somebody upgrades there, they're like, "This is worth the $8 a month." Or whatever it is. Like, "I will pay this gladly to be able to have this other feature." And so it's a piece that I think that a lot of folks are really going to appreciate once they use it and they won't look to go back.

Ben (24:17):

Exactly. You see what's working and then you expand into it like you've done, in modifying features and changing things up. So a question for you is, what's the rough time savings that you've had by using YouCanBook.me if you could quantify that?

Steven (24:32):

Oh gosh. You know, one of the pieces I like about YouCanBook.me too, is in my calendar, I can go back and then calculate all the meetings that I had from YouCanBook.me from the previous year. And I just did this recently for a report that I wrote and I think I had something like 240 YouCanBook.me meetings in the last year. And so then when you take those 240 meetings, each one of those, you have to multiply by like three or four emails of what it would normally be, right? At least three or four emails. Is somebody asking me, going back and forth, back and forth, and then you're eliminating all of that. So 240 meetings times three or four emails each has to save me hours if not days easily. Right?

Steven Tolman Quote 5

Steven (25:12):

And so I think it is been a huge piece for me and that even without the savings of time, which is a big piece of it, it's probably the most important piece to me as a faculty member and as a professional, is this idea of this presence and this connection that I have with students and how they can see how available I am to them outside of the classroom. And that's the piece that I think is my favorite piece about YouCanBook.me. Isn't just the savings of time and the efficiency, it's the connection and the way that students resonate with me having this platform for them.

Ben (25:43):

Yeah. That makes a lot of sense. And it's great to see that you are saving so much time because I think we ran the numbers on all the bookings we've made to date and if we say it's about 15 minutes per booking that you're saving, it's about 1500 years of time that we've saved the world, which is a massive amount. It kind of hurts my brain to think about that amount of time. So one question that just popped into my head about the administration side, let's say you're a faculty member and you're using this tool, how would you go about getting more people on campus involved in using the tool to... How does that work on a university side of things getting more proficiently used throughout a campus?

Steven (26:25):

Yeah, I think that comes up in a few ways. So the first piece is just collegial, right? So somebody goes to schedule a meeting with me, I email a colleague. "Oh just book a meeting with me this way." Like, "Oh, this is amazing. What is this platform?" And so I have several colleagues that have jumped on board over the years of just seeing me use it. Right? Other folks have heard of how engaging I am in the class and the reaction that students have to this. I'm like, "Listen, I hear that students are really gravitating towards this. How are you doing this? How do I replicate this?" Right? So we hear that too.

Steven (26:56):

The other piece that I think is cool, is that with me using this, it's also this mentorship model that in my program, all my folks are going to be future college administrators. So they're ingrained in this, in their grad program. So they see this and what I actually see is when my former students email me something later on and ask me a question about something, oftentimes in their signature line, I'll see a link to their YouCanBook.me because they want to utilize it too. So they see that benefit. So I think this is one of those things that as we start using this, then we're going to start mentoring other people to use it. I think you're going to start to really see this expansion of it throughout colleges as well.

Ben (27:31):

Yeah. We do see that exactly in that way that you had mentioned, somebody picks it up, and then somebody else is like, "Yeah, we want to do that." And then somebody else comes in and is like, "How do we do a campus-wide rollout of this?" So it's really cool. So you mentioned that there's some additional research that you're going to be doing for YouCanBook.me, tell me a little bit more about that.

Steven (27:51):

Yeah. So I have a research team pulling together and so we're excited. We have some folks on the educational technology side that look at technology and what we do in colleges and that type of work and then we have some of our college administrators. So pulling together a cool research team and we're going to look at utilizing YouCanBook.me and the benefits of it. So we're going to be able to then have folks that have a paid YouCanBook.me account, looking at their experience with this and then comparing them with other folks that don't have it.

Steven (28:19):

And so what was that experience like for those that have this platform, how did it change their workflow? How did it change the work they're doing with students and meeting with individuals versus those that don't have it and be able to look at that experience. And so we're really excited to look at that because I have a feeling that we're going to see that a lot of folks are going to find great benefit in this and that they're going to really see that it pays dividends to be able to use it. And it's something they're going to want to continue to use.

Ben (28:45):

Yeah. We're super pumped for that too, Steven. Just to get some more information, because that's always, always great to get that user feedback and all those good stories that we're hearing from people using YouCanBook.me. So apart from the research study, what's next for you? What's on the horizon?

Steven (29:04):

Well, there's always something going on. Right? So in front of me here at my computer, I have my dry erase board with my to-do list of everything going on. And so a colleague and I, we are under contract, we just found out recently, to publish a book. And so we're in a book contract. So we're excited for that to come out. It'll come out probably a year from this August and then it's looking at the profession of student affairs and looking at the voices from the profession of looking at some of the challenges and given different perspectives of challenges that we face as college administrators. So excited for that to come out. And then I have a few other projects in the works. There's always something going on, which is great. And then looking forward to this YouCanBook.me look at the scheduling platform as well.

Ben (29:45):

Yeah. That sounds like a very busy year coming up and I'm glad we could save you a bit of time in between there too, all that work and stuff. But Steven, it's been great to talk with you, someone else that also likes to geek out on productivity and efficiency and all the good stuff. And like I said, we're super pumped for this research that you're going to be doing, and thank you for being on Get More Done and sharing all of your insights.

Steven (30:09):

Great. It was a pleasure being here.

Ben (30:10):

All right. Have a good rest of your day.

Steven (30:12):


Ben (30:12):

Cheers. Thank you for listening to Get More Done. I hope that you were able to see the power of scheduling automation in this episode. If you want to be alerted of more great stuff like this, be sure to subscribe on your favorite platform. Leave me a review and share it with a friend. Want to know how to give your team superpowers and help them save a few extra hours a week? Find out how at YouCanBook.me/teams.

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