Service Community Subcommittee Report
Academic Year 2000

The work of the service community subcommittee has been focused on moving from the defining of values and constituents established during the previous year, to providing a set of recommendations for actions necessary for achievement of excellent service to the university community.

The list of recommendations is based on information provided by departments and divisions with major service responsibilities, committees or task forces previously charged with evaluation services at the university (i.e. ASRT), and committee member input.

The university community has been broadly defined as existing within three categories, or constituencies:

  • Students
  • Employees (faculty and staff)
  • The outside public

Each recommendation will be addressed as it pertains to each of the 3 constituencies.

Each will also be "assigned" to a suggested division, department or office, with the understanding that accomplishing of any recommended action will depend on having someone in charge. These suggested assignments do not insinuate that an office or department is currently responsible for inadequacies, but that they might be most effective or appropriate for leadership.

All of the recommendations are submitted with the understanding that discussion and reaction are important and may result in modifications. Recommendations are also presented with a level of confidence that they represent a well-educated response to uniformly expressed needs of the service community, and respond to the accepted themes of strategic planning at SCSU.

Service Community Committee Recommendations

Technology

The university must allocate resources necessary to facilitate service and communication.

  • Hardware & software
  • Training and sufficient staffing

Recommendation 1.
Establish and maintain a toll-free number for the university
Responsible unit: Admin Affairs, Univ. Comm.

Students: Access to university services from outside St. Cloud area

Employees: Staffed separate from other functions

Outside public: Improve access for prospective students, alums and broader community seeking university services

Recommendation 2.
Virtual kiosks - one-stop shopping, on-line services to students
Responsible unit: Admin Affairs (Records & Reg., Admiss., Career, Bus. Off., R&R), U. Comm.

Students: General registration (Drop & add, Pay bills, Contact faculty, Check grades and other academic records, Update personal information)

Employees: Check class lists, Access student data, Advisee information, Grade lists, Degree audits, Update personal info., Check master schedule (Room use, Events)

Outside public: Alums - access personal career info., Prospective students contact the university, Public - access univ. services and event info.

Recommendation 3.
Real Kiosks, Student and visitors' interactive information service (University directory, Map, University calendar - academic and events, Parking information, Admissions connection)
Responsible unit: Univ. Comm., Admin. Affairs, Admissions, Student Life

Students: Access daily information updates

Employees: Access daily information updates

Outside public: Assist visitors (locating services, parking info., events & schedules)

Recommendation 4.
WWW - communication within and with the public: Interactive, interfaced admissions communication, Interactive communication for public service (i.e. Career Services)
Responsible unit: Admin Affairs

Students: Improved internet access

Employees: Improved internet access, Improved efficiency processing applicants and info requests

Outside public: Immediate response to on-line applicants and prospect inquiries

Recommendation 5.
Accommodation must be made to include groups and/or individuals who are out of the loop because of no on-line connections. This includes many grounds and custodial people. Suggestions have included general access computer stations and specific written communication.
Responsible unit: Admin. Affairs

Employees: Communication/inclusion

Advising

General Recommendation: The importance of advising to success in a higher education setting can not be understated. Students: Retention & graduation rates will result, Greater student satisfaction. Employees: Those best suited to advising will be assigned, Mentorships can result. Outside public: The public perception will be positively impacted by retention and grad rates.

Recommendation 1.
Maintain a professionally staffed advising center to coordinate and facilitate academic advising
Responsible unit: Academic Affairs

Students: Improved access

Employees: Focused attention

Recommendation 2.
Centralize general education advising
Responsible unit: Academic Affairs

Students: Improved efficiency and accuracy

Employees: Eliminates extra duties

Recommendation 3.
Advising must be directly tied to orientation
Responsible unit: Academic Affairs

Students: Greater satisfaction

Outside public: Parent satisfaction

Recommendation 4.
Departments should handle major advising

Students: Connection with dept.

Employees: Better prepared, Mentoring

Recommendation 5.
Train all peer and department advisors through the advising center.

Students: Greater accuracy - better experience

Recommendation 6.
First year students should be given access to at least one small class

Students: Better first year academic experience

Recommendation 7.
There must be clear instructions to faculty that advising is a requirement and expectation
Responsible unit: Academic Affairs

Students: Improved access to advising of advising responsibility

Employees: Better understanding

Recommendation 8.
Reward, recognition and assistance for those doing advising
Responsible unit: Academic Affairs

Students: Better advising

Employees: Improved attitude

Outside public: Happier, more successful students - happier parents, alums, etc.

*The committee cited concrete reasons and benefits connected to the recommendations plus additional suggestions for accomplishment of these recommendations. They are available as Appendix A Service Community Committee Recommendations

Student Success

Recommendation 1.
Early intervention practices regarding student progress must be established and followed. Consider: Mid term warnings, Advising input required for withdrawals, Advising days, Study days prior to finals
Responsible unit: Academic Affairs

Students: Will improve retention and graduation rates

Employees: Will enable better outcomes in related work areas

Outside public: Will result in more satisfied parents & alums - improved reputation

Recommendation 2.
The university should establish class attendance policies & assure administrative support
Responsible unit: Academic Affairs, Student Life & development

Students: Improved academic attitude and performance

Employees: Increased interaction with students & improved morale

Outside public: More satisfied parents & alums - improved reputation

Recommendation 3.
The university should follow the established preparation standards and require students with deficiencies to make up or test out of classes missed.
Responsible unit: Academic Affairs, Records & Reg.

Students: Improved academic success

Employees: Decreased frustration with poorly prepared students

Outside public: Improved relations with secondary school officials, Improved academic reputation

Recommendation 4.
Establish extended library hours

Internal Marketing & Morale

Recommendation 1.
The university should work to build pride in the institution and in the work/contributions of all employees so as to improve morale.
Responsible unit: President & council

Students: Benefit from increased employee satisfaction

Employees: Recognition increases job satisfaction & performance. Fewer public complaints

Outside public: Better impressions

Recommendation 2.
The university must establish and support a continuous, specific, concerted effort to Promote SCSU to students, faculty and staff with positive information and credit for accomplishments. Establish an internal marketing committee with specific goals aimed at student and employee constituencies
Responsible unit: University Communications

Students: Pride by association, Increased satisfaction with choice of SCSU

Employees: Pride by association, Better public communication

Outside public: Pride of alums, Improved public perception

Recommendation 3.
The university should establish policies and practices that build pride in work and the community. This should include updated job descriptions that reflect current expectations and what is actually done.
Responsible unit: President & Council, Admin. Affairs

Students: Improved academic attitude & performance

Employees: Improved opportunity to excel in jobs, Feel more control, Feel more competent

Recommendation 4.
Base training on current job expectations
Responsible unit: Administrative Affairs

Employees: Improved job efficiency and satisfaction

Recommendation 5.
Address lack of communication: Systematically seek & use input from affected services before making decisions, Systematically share information with other service areas to increase communication at all levels, Each administrative unite should have full unite meetings to bring together all members - not just directors
Responsible unit: Administrative Affairs, Student Life & Development

Students: Improved reaction time, Reduced "run-around", Improved understanding between offices will improve service to students

Employees: Improved job efficiency, Improved awareness of who does what, Will improve understanding and shared problem solving

Outside public: Improved reaction time, Reduced "run-around"

Recommendation 6.
Provide more opportunities within units to make decisions that will effect service
Responsible unit: All Admin.

Students: Improved service from happier employees

Employees: Improved attitude due to ownership of shared decisions

Outside public: Improved service from happier employees

Recommendation 7.
Plan to assure that growing enrollments are matched with sufficient resources, Allocate necessary resources to carry out good plans, Address fact that many are asked to do too much without adequate help
Responsible unit: President & Council

Students: Improved capabilities will positively effect education outcomes

Employees: Will be better able to accomplish goals. Or, attitude will improve if challenges and contributions are acknowledged

Outside public: Will avoid the pitfalls of real or perceived inability to provide for timely, strong educational outcomes

Recommendation 8.
Get all bargaining units on the same schedule
Responsible unit: Admin. Affairs

Students: Will perceive greater efficiency

Employees: Fewer hassles, less confusion

Outside public: Will perceive greater efficiency

General

  1. The university should examine all policies and practices that have resulted from situational concerns or "quick fix" approaches to university business and may be causing long term problems affecting student success, university image and internal morale.

    The committee identified a number of such policies and practices that should be corrected and avoided.

  2. The University should look at alternate ways to offer courses to groups beyond the traditional, such as senior citizens and other non-credit/non-degree seeking groups to build headcount and support. (These are potential donors.)

  3. The university should more fully focus on appropriate use of distance education to increase service and revenue, but with the understanding that this is an additional, alternative method for course delivery, not replacement for traditional classrooms.

Appendix A

The following refers to discussions the subcommittee had regarding possible approaches to improve the service of academic advising. Based on the premise that effective academic advising is central to the missions of a college or university, this was given priority standing. The impact of good support and practices in academic advising is important to all constituencies. Reasons are included in the notes form meetings reported below.

The committee acknowledged that major improvements in advising have already been made. Some are in response to earlier recommendations made by an advising task force. The Service Community subcommittee members agreed that further recommendations should address the following:

  • Training of advisers
  • Reward and recognition
  • Clear instructions to faculty that advising is a job requirement and expectation
  • Some flexibility within colleges and/or departments regarding the structuring of advising - to enable the best approach
  • Assistance for departments working to create mote effective advising

Several recommendations centered around on-going concerns:

  • A student "education" component - to introduce and fully acquaint all students with availability, advantages and procedures. (An informational video was made several years ago to address this with new students in residence halls. An updated version would be possible.)

  • Models for various departmental approaches to achieving advising goals should be examined, approved and shared to allow creative, effective choices. Examples: Release time for one or two faculty members to handle advising, Peer advising.

The major recommendations with some elaboration are as follows:

  1. Maintain a professionally staffed advising center to coordinate and facilitate academic advising

  2. Staffing may include part time and graduate student advisors.
    Center staff will train and supervise any and all peer, student and part time academic advisors.

  3. General education advising should be centralized and handles through the advising center

  4. Advising must be directly tied to orientation

  5. Departments should handle major advising, but advisors should be trained through the advising center.

Any departmental system that includes peer or part time advising staff should work to set up the program and train advisors through the advising center.

The importance of advising to success in a higher education setting can not be understated. The committee cited concrete reasons and benefits connected to the recommendations:

  1. Retention - a major university goal

  2. Connectedness for students - especially

  3. Mentoring - enabling these relationships also contributes to student success and persistence.

  4. Improved graduation rate - another major goal

  5. More satisfied students.

Definition of systematic

The term systematic is used when recommending in communication and decision-making areas. The subcommittee defines systematic as a means to assure that a consistent overall approach is being used, to attempt to get everyone onto the same page.

An example of this is found in the Affirmative Action Handbook recently prepared by the SCSU Affirmative Action officer.

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