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Top-Ranked University Keeps the Learning Going Through COVID-19


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Since 1873, Texas Christian University has been continuously providing award-winning college education at its Fort Worth campus. But as the coronavirus outbreak turned into a pandemic, academic institutions of all types—from elementary schools to colleges—were among the first organizations to send people home. For the first time in its 150-year history, TCU had to quickly become an all-virtual university.

As Chief Technology Officer Bryan Lucas explains, the university’s faculty and administrative staff had a much easier time transitioning phone services to a remote-work environment than they expected. For that, Bryan gives a lot of the credit to RingCentral.

Equipping hundreds of faculty and staff to work from home

With the decision to close its campus, TCU had to work quickly to set up its nearly-1,000 employees to work from home. Most of these employees used physical desk phones in their campus-based offices, so getting everyone’s communications environment set up in their homes could have been a difficult and time-consuming undertaking.

But because RingCentral allows people to take and make calls from their business numbers from anywhere, on any device, the staff was easily able to get up and running on the system at home. “Being able to use the RingCentral apps on their smartphones or computers made for a very smooth adjustment period,” Bryan explains.

Keeping productivity and efficiency high

Another issue TCU could have faced as its entire staff adjusted to remote work was how to route calls to different employees if people became unavailable. At their university offices, the staff could easily redirect calls to colleagues or to their other phones if they were unavailable or away from their desks.

But would this still work without having IT support a few doors down?

RingCentral, again, provided the solution. Because anyone on the staff can easily access RingCentral’s administrative portal online, and because the portal is so user-friendly, TCU employees can log in and update their call-routing rules in seconds, as often as they need.

Providing support to each other

If the university were still using its previous call center solution, which required employees to be onsite to take support calls, the COVID-19 pandemic would have left TCU with no choice but to close down its Help Desk. That would’ve left the university’s hundreds of faculty and administrative staff—all adjusting to working from home—without a reliable way to contact IT for help.

“Thanks to RingCentral, all of our support agents were able to sign into the system remotely, handle their normal call queues, and keep the Help Desk open for our staff,” says Bryan.

How do you keep 10,000 students learning when a campus is closed?

For TCU, having to transition its entire operation so suddenly has been both a shock and a challenge. Nobody could have imagined just a few months earlier that the entire university would have to figure out how to educate its students remotely.

But because its team put the right communication technology in place, TCU has been able to keep its 10,000 students learning, keep its nearly 1,000-member staff communicating, and—perhaps most important—keep the university’s promise to educate tomorrow’s “ethical leaders and responsible citizens.”

“This transition hasn’t been easy,” says Bryan. “But in a lot of ways, RingCentral saved the day for us.”

Originally published Apr 08, 2020, updated Aug 11, 2020

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