Student Services Staff Outreach Summary

OE Student Services Initiative: 
Student Services Staff Outreach Summary

During fall 2010, the OE Student Services Initiative Team used multiple outreach methods, including 11 focus groups, an online survey, meetings, and presentations, to engage student services staff whose main roles reside outside of academic advising in conversations about their core values and responsibilities on the job, as well as their concerns. While our outreach generated hundreds of comments, our analysis revealed several common threads, reflected in the four themes below. These themes will be instrumental in the development of our recommendations.

For more information visit: Student, Staff, and Students Outreach | Meetings Calendar

1. Valuing Human Contact with Students - Student services staff value and enjoy providing personal attention and support to students.
Example Statements:

  • I most enjoy the reciprocal teaching and learning between staff and students. I enjoy learning about this generation. As you’re teaching, you’re also receiving.
  • Seeing a student in crisis get better: that’s the best feeling for me. That’s what keeps me here.

2. Identifying and Eliminating Inefficiencies - Student services staff spend time on tasks that could be handled centrally and could be streamlined.
Example Statements:

  • We need more efficient business processes. Paperwork and processes should go online.
  • Time spent on hard copy transcripts required for admission is very time-consuming and unproductive.
  • We really need to develop an online course evaluation system. There are many at other universities where students do not receive grades until they complete the evaluations.
  • Address classroom utilization issues. I spend a lot of time scheduling classes only to get assignments for five out of 30 sections each semester. I wind up redoing the schedule again and again.
  • Develop a tool that creates greater communication and collaboration across student service areas, which would make access to information more seamless. Students often get the "run around” and go to multiple offices for help on a single issue.

3. Providing Cultural Support - Student services staff display commitment to equity, inclusion, and diversity in their interactions with students and the greater campus community.
Example Statements:

  • Collectively we provide hope, trust, encouragement, empowerment, and a safe space where one does not continue to feel marginalized by campus.
  • There is still a lot of subtle racism on this campus and we need to address it. If we get knocked off this work, we lose the whole battle.

4. Improving Communication, Transparency, and Clarity - While enhancing communication around Operational Excellence design and implementation is not the focus of the OE Student Services Initiative, we want to recognize that this issue was raised frequently in our conversations with student services staff.
Example Statements:

  • There is dissonance between what we are hearing on the ground and what is being said publicly at a high level.
  • Large group meetings about OE are unclear and add anxiety.
  • I would prefer fewer emails and more in-person dissemination of information.

Comments or Concerns
Do you have comments or concerns about this summary? Please feel free to share them with Student Services Initiative Manager and University Registrar Anne De Luca at We encourage you to review our summaries of what we have learned from students and academic advisors.