Universities across the world are taking on the challenge of transforming their student services, knowing full well that it will impress on them a change in culture, processes and technology.
Take the University of Nottingham, for example, which is currently embarking on ‘Project Transform’. It is already some way down the road on the project – last year it introduced five new student service centres across all its UK campuses. This summer, meanwhile, it will roll out MyNottingham, a self-service portal which will allow students to “complete administrative processes online at any time, from any location”.
So, what makes a successful student services transformation? Higher Ed IQ offers up a seven-point action plan:
1. Outline a clear vision
Like any project, establishing a clear vision on what you want to achieve is crucial. In the case of universities, existing administrative support services tend to be disjointed and duplicated. Leaders need to identify ways of ensuring information can be sourced simply from across the organisation.
2. Justify the project
A business case needs to demonstrate major value to the entire institute rather than just one or two departments.
3. Build a student-focussed strategy
Your strategy should be primarily concerned with improving the student experience. Ultimately, how well you manage to satisfy students’ needs after the project is complete will determine how successful you have been.
4. Look to new tech
New technologies can help you deliver student services more efficiently and effectively. In fact, without them, the services are likely to be out of reach for some students.
5. Strip out inefficient services
It is unlikely that all the student support services you currently offer are proving effective – don’t just continue to offer them for the sake of it; strip them out of your offering or look for a better way to deliver them.
6. Collate student data
Student data can provide the insights to drive service improvement, as well as help you to optimise resource allocation, by revealing which services are and aren’t being used.
7. Communicate with stakeholders
Keeping interested parties up to date with how the project is developing can make it easier to implement changes, assess progress and evaluate outcomes.
The more open and transparent you are, the easier it will be for others to get on board with the project – collaboration is key to any successful business endeavour.
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