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* SCC redesigning interface with students

Shoreline Community College officials are looking to redesign several key pieces of the way the school interacts with students.

 

“We need to assure that our programs and services are flexible, responsive, and timely.,” Vice President of Student Success Dr. Tonya Drake said. Now might not seem like the time for such a move, given layoffs and other impacts of state budget cuts, but Drake said it is exactly those factors that mandate change.

 

The redesign includes five elements and Drake is quick to point out that it is not just her plan. “We’ve been meeting, talking, and involving as many people as possible,” she said. “We even conducted a design institute to bring everyone together at one time to talk about ideas and solutions.”

 

Perhaps the most visible change to students will be the “one-stop concept” in the Enrollment Services and Financial Aid areas. “With all the cuts, we just physically couldn’t continue with the same process,” said Drake, who called the current system the “industrial” model. “We move the student along, station to station, through the process.”

 

The current model allows an employee to become expert in a specific piece of the process. However, Drake said that staff reductions mean more flexibility is needed to adjust to student needs or times of heavy demand. “Where we’re headed is having more people trained in a wider variety of duties, so that a student can come to one person and get most if not all of their needs taken care of,” she said. “Even though the departments will have fewer people, we’ll still be able to give students great service.”

 

Drake said the change will involve more training for some employees and, ultimately, a different physical layout to reflect the new service concept. “We’ll start with the training, but it could take up to a year for full implementation,” she said. In describing her vision for the new model, Drake invoked the image of a crowded grocery store with just one checker: “As soon as two or three people are in line, they call for help, work through the crush and then move back to what they had been doing.”

 

As part of the one-stop idea, responsibility for student entrance testing will be consolidated in the Office of Special Services, under Director Kim Thompson. “We are consolidating services, for example, we had Compass testing in one area and Special Services did testing in another area, so it just made sense to put it all in one place,” Drake said. That switch is scheduled for July 1.

 

Several other changes will also occur, including shifting the position responsible for the Information Management System and some Web development as a direct-report to Drake. In addition, the enrollment recruiting position will move to the Office of Advancement. “Advancement is responsible for marketing, community outreach and college events,” she said. “Recruiting can be a big part of those efforts.” Those changes are scheduled for July 1.

 

Change is also coming for the advising and counseling area.  Drake said the focus will remain on academic advising and try to build on the success the department has had with two dedicated advisors for the Humanities and Science divisions. Drake said she’d like to explore expanding that arrangement to other divisions. While discussions are continuing, Drake said the adjustments could occur as soon as December.

 

Also included in the redesign are the equity and student connections areas, meaning the Women’s Center, Multicultural Center and student government. Budget cuts meant the loss of a director-level position so multiple hats will be the dress code here. In this case, the Assistant Director of Student Services for the International Program will also serve in a temporary appointment to oversee the programs. “Mari Kosin will be in this dual role and we know it’s a lot,” Drake said. “We have great confidence in Mari’s abilities and we will reassess for the following year.”

 

Another switch involves athletics.  “Athletics has a strong connection to the Student Success Division because the athletic teams are primarily supported by student-controlled funds,” Drake said, noting that athletic teams and physical education classes come from different funding sources. Starting July 1, the Athletic Director will report to Drake.

 

One thing that isn’t changing under the redesign plan is the Parent-Child Center, Drake said.

 

Another thing not changing is the mission, she said: “We’re staying focused on students, their learning and their success.”

 

SCC/Jim Hills

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