Founded in 1898, Des Moines University has a strong history of innovation in the field of medicine and health sciences education. Comprised of three colleges that collectively offer nine graduate degrees, from Doctorates to Master’s of Science, DMU’s educational and research programs share a mission of improving lives in our global community by educating diverse groups of highly competent and compassionate health professionals.
With a new state-of-the-art campus underway, DMU will pioneer the use of technology — including artificial intelligence and virtual reality — in education, training, and clinical services. As DMU designs the medical and health sciences university of the future, Kira Talent is helping them deliver an admissions process to match.
A quick and seamless transition
DMU first engaged Kira in 2018, looking to add Asynchronous Assessments to the admissions process for their Doctorate of Physical Therapy program. When the pandemic put traditional admissions processes on hold, DMU was in an enviable position as they were able to quickly and seamlessly bring their other programs onboard.
“The coaching from the Kira team enabled us to act quickly and create a process that was both engaging and scalable,” shared Molly Moeller, Director of Admissions and Recruitment at DMU. “We’re always trying to be efficient and innovative in what we do while also being mindful of our applicants. So when the pandemic hit and we started understanding what the magnitude could be, our priority became securing a stable process for our applicants.”
Leveraging new tools to enhance traditional processes
The efficiency and ease of both the transition and the new process have lifted a weight off of both DMU’s admissions team and applicants.
“It’s not only that the technology is so intuitive, it’s also the Kira team,” explained Moeller.
“Kira did a lot of the heavy lifting to bring the process online so seamlessly. As we’ve moved through the cycle, the customer service, from assisting our admissions team or supporting our applicants, has been exceptional.”
DMU uses Kira’s Asynchronous Assessment in conjunction with an optional live group interview, where applicants can engage in informal discussions with faculty members from the program. The group interview, Moeller explained, helps DMU get a glimpse of applicants in an interactive setting while the Kira assessment provides a consistent process for all applicants and mitigates the potential for bias.
“Our committee looks at how applicants performed in each event,” she continued. “It’s a twofold approach, one doesn’t outweigh the other.”
With Kira incorporated into the admissions process, DMU has not only reduced travel costs for applicants but has delivered an engaging and professional applicant experience.
“Students have been very appreciative of that stability,” shared Moeller. “They appreciate the thought that went into the experience we were able to deliver over this past year.”
The reviewer experience got high marks as well, with faculty and staff highlighting how applicants seemed as authentic in their Kira assessment responses as they would have been in an in-person interview.
“The feedback has been very positive,” Moeller continued. “I think they didn’t expect it to be as genuine as it turned out to be. They still get a really good sense of the applicants.”
Powering the future of admissions
In the long term, Moeller and her team at DMU see significant value in continuing with a virtual admissions process.
“Right now we have public health concerns that we want to help mitigate, and we don’t know how long that will go on,” explained Moeller. “But beyond that, schools need to look for ways to meet the applicants where they are.”
“In-person interviews, as we have always done them, are not sustainable,” Moeller continued. “It’s a big expense for candidates.
"Kira fits with who DMU is and who we continue to become. It’s one of those pieces that we see as being part of our future, long-term.”