Photo by the University of Alberta. The Student Connect centre.
Article by Melissa Padfield, Deputy Registrar, University of Alberta,
and Norma Rodenburg, Senior Advisor to the Vice-Provost and University Registrar on Strategic Planning, University of Alberta
Run-around, duplication of services, confusion for students, inconsistency of service delivery--these are just some of the challenges that come about as a result of the complex bureaucracies in higher education. As student services professionals, we all do our best to support our students, but there comes a time when a fundamental change, and a reimagining of how we do things, is required to address these issues.
Like many large institutions, at the University of Alberta we operate in a decentralized environment. We support approximately 40,000 students across three main campuses in our province; we have 180 staff and 80 student volunteers in the Office of the Registrar (RO); and in the 2015/2016 academic year, we had a total of 104,252 interactions across all three channels (phone, email, and in-person). This volume has presented us with a challenge; our old, decentralized model was not enough to ensure we could help students access key services easily.
In 2010, the RO at the University of Alberta began a journey to redesign what front line student service would look like. At the time the RO supported seven service points for students. Something needed to change and that change became our our “one-stop”, supported by a new student focused RO strategic plan. Our mandate was "to develop an ambitiously transformative service delivery model for the RO that is student centred, that challenges the University of Alberta to become a leader in providing top notch student support, and that is responsive to the needs of the Campus community."
This article explores what we learned through the development and implementation of our new service model, and shares some of our successes and outcomes thus far. If you are looking to transition to or improve a one-stop student services model on your campus, we hope you will find the recommendations below useful.
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