When institutions create silos, customer service suffers. Stated another way, when colleges and universities organize and create policies and practices from an internal point of view (e.g., administrative convenience, job security, etc.) versus a vision of how the institution looks from the outside, navigation can be a nightmare, service gaps are routine, and redundancies are rampant.
Let me cite two examples of administrative dysfunctionality, one that crosses divisional boundaries and one that exists within an administrative unit.
First, registration policies that do not take into account the unique need for timely course availability for newly enrolled transfer students can add considerably to time to degree. At a minimum, the admissions office, the registrar, and academic departments need to be “on the same page” presenting a unified front that guarantees this new cohort can find the upper division courses they need to graduate on time.
Second, when the financial aid office utilizes a financial aid application as a supplement to the FAFSA or requires a separate endowed scholarship application, in both cases for the convenience of the financial aid staff, it both puts the student through additional steps because the information already exists (or could) and potentially places the institution at a competitive disadvantage if asking for additional forms the competition is not.
Bottom line: An annual, comprehensive review of policies and practices with an eye toward streamlining, combined with conducting annual exercises of navigating the institution’s policies and practices the way a prospective or enrolled student would, can be both enlightening and instructive.
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About the author: President Jim Scannell's special area of expertise falls in recruitment - from mentoring admissions leaders to building new demand through data analysis and the development of strategic communications. Jim's administrative career spanned over 25 years of leadership in admissions, financial aid, and enrollment management at Boston College, Cornell University, and the University of Rochester.
In addition, Jim has authored numerous publications on enrollment management including On Choosing a College that is Right for You (Peterson's Guides), The Effect of Financial Aid Policies on Admission and Enrollment (The College Board), Working Together: A Cooperation between Admissions and Financial Aid Offices (The College Board), and Shaping the College Experience Outside the Classroom (University of Rochester Press).
Since partnering with Kathy Kurz to start the company in 1996, Jim and Kathy have consulted at over 250 institutions nationwide on over 350 projects. They are regular contributors to University Business and Jim speaks at national conferences and seminars such as the Snowmass Institute for Enrollment Management, the College Board, and NACAC, etc.
Connect with Jim on LinkedIn.