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|AQIP Systems Portfolio 2009|
CATEGORY 6: SUPPORTING INSTITUTIONAL OPERATIONS
WNMU determines its student support processes with its mission and vision in mind and based on services essential to providing a quality learning environment. Many times these needs become evident to faculty and staff in their day-to-day interactions with students and/or student workers in their classes or department/units. This informal information gathering is reinforced, or new information identified, by reviewing feedback from the NL survey, student feedback from faculty and course evaluations, assessment results, the SPP (SWOT analysis), ASWNMU, faculty and staff governance, and usage statistics. Section 3P1 provides additional detail on how WNMU identifies student needs.
Identification of support service needs of employees occurs through the SPP; regular department meetings; departmental secretaries; completion of purchasing, travel, consultant, and other official university forms; faculty and staff orientations; staff and faculty governance committees and meetings; book request cards; university committees and Action Project Teams; accreditation standards; faculty evaluations of administration; usage statistics; and training. For example, during deliberations for the 2009-2010 budget, and in spite of a two-year budget shortfall for the state, WNMU leadership approved adding the key position of Director of the First Year Experience. This position was identified as critical to supporting the University’s mission by both the Foundations of ExcellenceÒ (now First Year Experience) and Strategic Planning teams. Furthermore, all budget decisions made for this fiscal year were aligned with the SPP.
Identification of stakeholder support service needs occurs in a number of ways including feedback from alumni surveys and contacts, alumni association meetings, foundation board meetings, usage statistics, job fairs, participation in community meetings, interaction with public school systems, community involvement in multicultural awareness programs, continuing education enrollments, and other input brought to the strategic planning process. In 2008, WNMU contracted Research & Polling Inc. to conduct a public opinion survey of Grant County. Feedback from this survey, which revealed that county residents with a household income of over $60,000 per year tended to view WNMU less favorably than those whose annual income was below $60,000. This “environmental scan,” as well as other data from on and off of campus, helped construct the WNMU Marketing & Controls Plan, in which a number of community stakeholder needs and expectations are addressed. In response to this gap in community satisfaction, WNMU now administers the Western Institute for Lifelong Learning (WILL), a very successful continuing education program offering short courses on a wide variety of topics.
As referenced in 6P1, support service needs of faculty, staff, and administrators may be identified in a number of venues. The process of identification may be formal or informal, and need is generally driven by employee expectations (see Figure 6P4.1 below) combined with an identified gap in meeting those expectations. Alignment with the WNMU Mission, Strategic Plan, legal and/or regulatory guidelines, as well as availability of resources, ultimately impact the feasibility of implementing new support service needs.
Key support processes related to physical safety and security are designed by the process owners and may be generated by any number of factors, including regulatory compliance and recommendation from governance bodies, AQIP Teams, or committees on campus. For example, after the Virginia Tech shootings on April 16, 2007, the VPSA organized a group of key personnel to revise the WNMU Crisis Response Plan. The new plan incorporates updates emergency response tactics, including use of technology for communications both during and after a disaster. Like many dynamic documents at WNMU, the Crisis Response Plan is always labeled as a “draft.” This and other policies and procedures related to safety and security are available online, including the WNMU Inclement Weather Policy and the Western New Mexico H1N1 Plan.
Also, a proposed new professional development program on campus, generated by the AQIP People First Action Project Team, includes a session on safety. The need for more formalized and consistent safety training was identified by the Maintenance staff during this department’s strategic planning process. While Maintenance was identified by the AQIP Student Work Experience Team (a subset of the former Scholarship of Teaching & Learning AQIP Team, now retired) as the model for student safety training, custodians, skilled craft workers, and groundskeepers at WNMU recognized the gap in employee safety education from their day-to-day interactions with faculty and staff. Their recommendation for safety training was taken to the People First Team and moved forward through this channel.
With the onset of the H1N1 flu season, the WNMU Student Health Services Nurse Practitioner visited faculty and staff governance meetings, all sections of the Student Success Seminar, and other venues to talk about preventative measures, answer questions, and encourage use of the Health Center by all of our students. Similarly, the WNMU Mental Health Counselor makes presentations to students, faculty and staff, as needed, and widely distributes brochures throughout campus. Access to these and other services related to safety and security on campus, including Campus Police, is made available in the WNMU website in a number of locations.
The VPs empower their supervisors, deans, chairs, and other unit leaders to manage key support processes and provide responsive, reliable service in support of the institution’s mission and vision (see Figure 6P4.1). Feedback from students and key stakeholder groups goes to the unit/body most directly associated with the issue or concern raised to take appropriate action. It is not uncommon at a small institution for a unit leader to experience daily contact with the VP; similarly, unit members expect and usually have daily interactions with their supervisors. Nor is it unusual to work in a 2 to 3 person unit; few departments/units have more than a dozen people. Thus, proximity and small unit sizes facilitate knowledge sharing. Innovation often occurs because resources are short and unit leaders and members are trying to “make something happen.” Within the university, knowledge sharing occurs through such channels as formal councils, committees, Action Project Teams, and governance activities. Processes are documented through minutes of meetings, the WNMU Policies and Procedures Manual, and final reports of committees and Action Project Teams.
With the growth of technology-based services and stakeholder expectations to have access to more convenient online services, many key support processes are experiencing rapid change. Managing key support processes, particularly in the “pilot” phase of technology-based service implementation, requires initial process mapping and continuous attention to workflow issues and solutions. For example, the Student Affairs division recently mapped processes in Admissions, Registration, and Financial Aid to assist the CSI Action Project Team in creating an online graduate student services flowchart. From this chart, team members were able to identify gaps and create solutions. One need immediately addressed was that of automating correspondence to students of at different points in the admissions process. As a result, the Director of Admissions, working with Banner Web staff in IT, created dozens of templates for corresponding electronically with all types of students at every possible point in the application process.
Financial Aid correspondence is fully automated, and the Business Office is in the process of transitioning to TouchNet, a payment and award dispersal system that interfaces with SCT Banner. Preparing for fully online admissions, registration, payment, and financial aid award services necessitated extensive mapping and monitoring of day-to-day workflows to ensure seamless, online delivery of these key services to students.
As explained in 6P3 and 6P4, process mapping and documentation are driven by changing technologies, changing expectations, and/or the need for improvement as identified by stakeholders. Knowledge sharing occurs through sharing of department, committee and AQIP Action Project minutes and documentation, as well as through formal and informal training. Also, because of the University’s small size, sharing of ideas is an ongoing practice, and innovation naturally comes from these interactions. For example, the Office of Institutional Advancement is currently documenting support processes such as those for event planning, fundraising, and contacting alumni. The Event Planning Checklist was developed last year and shared with the WILL Board for use in planning the first annual “One Day University.” Feedback from the WILL representative who used this document was positive and appreciative; in addition, this individual was able to offer the Institutional Advancement Committee useful suggestions for enhancing the checklist.
Figure 6R1.1 provides a listing of key MOEs for support processes.
In 2009, WNMU Early Childhood Programs participated in New Mexico’s Pilot Quality Survey Review. All rural, urban, and Native American communities across the state are one of eighteen local “collaboratives;” each was responsible for developing and representing a strong local voice in the planning of New Mexico’s Interagency Behavioral Health Purchasing Collaborative initiative. An important component of work with local collaboratives was the development of an instrument that would produce a baseline examination of recent results for children and their caregivers and the contribution made by local service providers and the system of care in producing those results. In the winter of 2009, a design team met with the directors of Human Systems and Outcomes, Inc. (HSO) to develop this case-based quality review process.
The first pilot test of the Quality Service Review Protocol, Version 2.1, occurred in April 2009, in the Region 6 Collaborative in Grant County. WNMU was selected by the team as a review site. The final report is a reflection of the appraisal of child and caregiver status, child progress, and system of care performance for seven children and their caregivers in Grant County. WNMU Early Childhood Programs rated high in all areas and were recognized for best practices in providing comprehensive services for children and their families.
Figure 6R2.1 Early Childhood Program Enrollment AY 2009-10
Figure 6R2.3 ECP Enrollment & Staffing by Ethnicity
Residence Life results for the 2008-09 academic year included $352,000 in renovations and improvements, and presentation of a number of programs sponsored by Housing staff, including Safe Sex – A guide to STDs and Contraceptives; Study Breakers; Alcohol Prevention, How to Study for Finals, Date Rape; Anti-discrimination; Stress Management, and How to Build Your Resume. While last year’s residence hall occupancy was relatively low (between 58% and 69%), fall 2009 occupancy is over 75%.
Significant technology support upgrades have been made over the past four years that serve all stakeholders. Most notably, the WNMU Help Desk was restructured, with expanded hours, to accommodate student, faculty and staff needs.
Wireless Internet access will be completed this year for all campus building, including the library, where public patrons can benefit from this service, and the Student Memorial Building parking lot. In the case of the latter, student feedback indicated the need for “drive through” wireless service in the largest and busiest parking lot on campus.
Two instructional designers have been added to the staff since 2007. These individuals provide training on Blackboard Vista and assistance with online course creation. The results, effective and consistently formatted online courses, benefits students as well as faculty. The instructional designers provide both one-on-one “as needed” and formal classes on Blackboard and pedagogical issues for online instructors. They also avail themselves to students for instruction on the LMS and provide online and face-to-face students with tips on how to navigate Blackboard Vista. Faculty development results are presented in Figure 6R3.1.
With increased online enrollment and use of the LMS to enhance face-to-face and ITV-delivered courses, visits to the WNMU website have also increased for fall semester, 2009 (Figures 6R2.1 and 6R2.2). Other student and administrative support service results from Information Technology are addressed in Category 7.
Figure 6R2.1 WNMU Webpage Activity October 2008 – Sept. 2009
Figure 6R2.2 WNMU Webpage Visits – Summary by Month
Library tours and instructional sessions are available in the library’s computer classroom at faculty request. Data over three years indicate a trend away from library tours to hands-on instruction or a combination of hands-on instruction, tours, and the online service, “Ask a Librarian” (Figure 6R2.3). Also, year-to-date totals, representing activity statistics from January through August, 2009, indicate increased demand for services in all areas, especially computer assistance. The 23 research and government document workstations adjacent to the Reference Desk are available to all library patrons in good standing, including members of the community with no affiliation to WNMU.
What are your performance results for administrative support service processes? [6R2]
The Help Desk, for those with technology questions, serves as an example of a “just-in- time” and “just-for-you” learning opportunity. In 2005, Help Desk hours were increased to assist students and faculty during the evening. It was also relocated to better serve the general university population.
Faculty development for online instructors is also available. Figure 6R3.1 illustrates the number and nature of trainings conducted by one of WNMU’s two instructional designers since she joined the staff in January of 2008.
The use of information and results to support improvement is always a challenge. WNMU’s diligence in pursuing CQI encourages the use of information and results to support improvement. Use of our Student and Administrative Information System (SCT Banner) was identified by Quality New Mexico as a best practice. Using Banner, individual department/unit leaders access data through prescribed and custom queries. Banner access is available 24/7 to students, faculty, and staff through Mustang Express. Data are used in day-to-day decisions, from advising students to revising budgets. Information is used in a summative manner in SPP and development of unit operational plans. The addition of a Director of Data Analysis and Research to the staff (an AQIP Action Project Team recommendation) greatly enhanced the University’s capacity to capture, analyze, and use data for improvement. Results throughout this Systems Portfolio were mined from Banner, and support process improvements, particularly in the areas of Business and Student Affairs, are or will soon be directly linked into the web-based applications of this system.
Student satisfaction results are available for national and year-to-year comparisons. Another relevant comparative picture is accreditation efforts at WNMU.
Alumni satisfaction rates of New Mexico universities is presented in the Council of University Presidents’ (CUP) Performance Effectiveness Report for 2008, and illustrates the WNMU is consistent with other state institutions in alumni satisfaction rates from 1995 – 2004. Other comparative data in the CUP report includes audit results and FTE student enrollment growth in NM; these data, however, are from early 2008 and do not reflect the significant growth in enrollment that WNMU has experienced over the past year. This positively impacts tuition revenues and, in the future, formula funding from the state.
In the spring of 2009, WNMU broke ground on its latest campus improvement project, the expansion and renovation of the Juan Chacon Building. This facility will house student services such as Admissions, Registration, Academic Support, Special Needs, Career Services, and Residence Life. This will not only facilitate “one-stop shopping” for the students, it will also bring together under one roof the various departments within the Student Affairs division that are currently dispersed across campus.
The focus of the Customer Services Improvement Action Project Team is to enhance student support services in the areas of Admissions, Registration, Financial Aid and the Business Office. Process mapping, conversion of Admissions correspondence to an electronic format in an interface with the Banner Communications Plan, and eventual automated admissions, tuition/fee payment, and financial aid award collection online will be realized in the next year with acquisition of TouchNet. This recommendation was put forward by the CSI Team and approved by WNMU administration in 2009. Business Affairs developed a deployment and training plan that will be launched in the fall of this year.
The Office of Institutional Advancement, established in 2006 to promote the University, raise funds to support the WNMU Capital Campaign, and strengthen relationship with alumni and the community, was a 2009 recipient of the Quality New Mexico Piñon Recognition. Improvements include verification of contact information for nearly 6,000 alumni through the work of the Call Center. Furthermore, funds raised through the efforts of the VPIA and the IA Office have increased exponentially every academic year since 2006, supporting scholarships, capital projects, and campus improvements. Details of the accomplishments of the Office of Institutional Advancement are provided in Category 2.
Finally, the WNMU strategic planning process is instrumental in identifying and setting targets for improving a number of processes that support institutional operations. The Student Affairs Operational Plan, for example, ties strategies and goals directly to the strategic plan, addressing improvements in Residence Life (Housing), Career Services, the Academic Support Center, Dual Enrollment, the Special Needs Office, and the Office of Multicultural Affairs/Student Activities. The numerous improvements generated by this division are detailed in the July 2009 updates column of the Operational Plan.
The SPP is the institution-wide mechanism for anticipating changes - through the annual SWOT environmental scan - and for planning and adjusting specific processes, as needed. For example, when area mines closed operations twice in one decade, most recently in 2008, WNMU leadership responded by implementing re-training programs. In the latest incident, the University responded by launching fast-track vocational education programs in which 155 laid off mine workers are currently enrolled.
AQIP Action Project Teams are also instrumental in identifying needed improvements in processes related to supporting institutional operations. Improvements in the recruitment/hiring process, admissions, financial aid, business affairs, and services to first-year students are all being addressed by AQIP teams on campus. New technologies, staff, and procedures are in place or being put in place to meet the rapidly changing needs of students, alumni, and other stakeholders through CQI efforts at WNMU. Selection of processes is determined through SPP prioritization, economic needs of the community, and feedback from students, staff, alumni, employees, and the community. WNMU’s small size facilitates communication and rapid response in an environment that expects and demands both. Targets for improved results are tied, through divisional operational plans, to the institutional SPP.
PO Box 680 Silver City, NM 88062
Phone: 575-538-6149 Fax: 575-538-6243