The Digital Horizon: Education Student Services 2.0
The ESS switches from paper and filing cabinets to online software
The McKay School of Education Student Services (ESS) has cleared out its paperwork and gone completely digital.
Previously, as students would come into the ESS to receive help with scholarship support, internship placement, advisement, or fingerprinting, paperwork was created for each student to document needs and tasks. After the advisement appointment, the paperwork would be filed and categorized based on various criteria, and then archived upon the student’s graduation.
Seeing the need for a system reform to better serve students and the advisors, ESS created a software system over the last several years that will store everything in a computer database. For the past two years, the office has kept all the records both electronically and on paper to ensure that no data would be lost in the transition to a digital format. “Paperwork can weigh down the staff, and we wanted to eliminate that burden,” said Jay Oliver, Director of ESS. “Technology has made it easy and more efficient.”
The new database allows for a student’s information to be pulled up every time they come in for assistance. Comments can be left directly in the database so advisor’s interactions with students can be recorded and referenced at a subsequent meeting.
In addition to the digital change, ESS switched to an appointment-only operation model. Previously, students could meet with any available advisor, which often resulted in a long wait time. Now, students will be assigned an advisor specific to their major who will work with them through their entire time at the McKay School. The change will enable ESS to reduce the wait time for students and better meet their needs. This change is based on feedback from students who did not like meeting with a different advisor each time they came in the office.
“We used to do walk-ins and everyone was a generalist. Now, after doing some research and asking students for their input, they’ve asked us to be specialists,” said Oliver. “We’ve now specialized, so each student has been assigned an advisor. They’ll go from freshman year to graduation and licensing with one advisor.”
The new process has been underway since May, and the ESS staff is successfully managing the increased overload of students this fall semester and is serving even more students with this new and improved method.
With the filing cabinets cleared out and paperwork gone, ESS is now out of the dark ages and on to the digital horizon. “We had a vision, and needed to get rid of the files to better serve our students,” Oliver said.
October 23, 2012