SA OE Updates - Aligning Initiatives

Aligning the Org Simplification and Student Services Initiatives


The OE Student Services initiative encompasses a broad array of functions, staff, and facilities that support students, staff, and faculty members. Our overarching goal is to be student-centric in our focus. The following is a window into the initiative’s preliminary thinking as we’re beginning the process of framing Student Services recommendations, due in March 2011. These can be viewed as a set of core values from which we will work. We will be seeking support and assistance from student services staff in programs, departments, and school and college offices to develop the details over the next six months.


Valuing Human Contact for Students 

  • The Student Services Team recognizes that no technology can take the place of human contact. A faculty or staff member understands a student at an individual level and can provide tailored counsel and support from that student’s initial transition to Cal through his or her graduation.
  • Identify those staff whose primary responsibility is based on building relationships with our students through admissions, recruitment and curricular advising. We recommend that these services are supported as close to the departmental level as possible.
  • Within this set of staff, which of their current responsibilities are transactional and bureaucratic? Consider both technology tools and business process analyses that streamline steps and work flow. Ask: What shouldn’t be done by hand anymore? Identify and communicate those tasks which need technological support, so that staff members can spend more of their time advising students.

Identify and Eliminate Redundancies 

  • What are the tasks that are common to many departments, which do not involve individual contact with students or detailed knowledge of a program? These are areas which may be candidates for centralization or specialization in order to gain greater efficiency. Some specific examples are:
    • Commencement
    • Processing graduate program applications to ensure completeness
    • Managing course evaluations
    • Scheduling departmental classrooms or making requests for general assignment space
  • Are there new alignments of campus-wide services that can better support your mission? We welcome feedback about your ideas. 
  • We recognize that a one size fits all approach is not relevant due to the demands of all the student populations we serve, including the difference between working with graduate and undergraduate students, student athletes, or students with disabilities.
  • There are some national performance standards related to student/advisor ratios and while we are not endorsing these pro forma, we will be looking at them bearing in mind Berkeley’s unique campus needs. Recommendations in this area are likely to be aimed at rectifying any extremes in either direction.
  • There are a range of options with regard to advising service centers. (These are not the shared service centers in IT, HR, and Finance that are under consideration as part of the Organizational Simplification effort.) Some approaches to consider are:
    • Keeping advisors within departments
    • Clustering advisors from smaller programs that are similar in curricular offerings
    • Centralizing services at the school or college level.

All of the above are viable options and will depend upon your student populations and their needs. We do not expect that all campus advising will move to a service center approach.

Improve Opportunities for Staff Development 

One of our goals is to create clear pathways for staff in these service areas. We plan to recommend a common set of values, professional training, and promotional opportunities for staff who wish to make a career of advising, at UC Berkeley or elsewhere.

Contact Us   

In response to the spans & layers and budget targets, you may find yourself contemplating choices that you believe will dramatically change your advising structure or the anticipated needs from central services such as the Office of the Registrar, or Financial Aid and Scholarships. Please talk to us. We want to engage in a dialogue so that our forthcoming recommendations are in alignment with the changes resulting from Organizational Simplification.


Vice Provost Cathy Koshland

Vice Chancellor Harry Le Grande

University Registrar and Initiative Manager Anne De Luca