UCC Mainstream Online

Welcome center prepares for grand opening

Students registering for classes in the early days of UCC
Photo provided by Rick Aman, Vice President for Student Services
Students registering for classes in the early days of UCC

Registration will be easier for students soon, due to a streamlined system that will begin in January. This system involves a Welcome Center which will be inside the current administration building.

Vice President for Student Services Rick Aman says the Welcome Center will be a more efficient way for students to utilize services. “Students can apply for admission, register for classes, review grades, accept financial aid awards, view and pay bills and much more, all at one convenient location,” Aman said.

Aman says the administration building was chosen because its location is closest to the visitor parking lot. “We felt this was the window or the door to the campus.” When prospective students approach the administration building, a person will be there to greet them and ask about their needs. “We would like you to walk up and be met by someone and pointed in the right place immediately,” Aman said. “Everyone agrees that nobody wants to come to school and stand in a line. We are trying to avoid moving students all-around campus and make that enrollment experience as easy and comfortable as we can.”

Four levels of service will be available in the Welcome Center. The first level will be a self-serve with several kiosks where returning students can register for classes. Level two will be at the counter with three computers and advisers to help walk people through short transactions. “Kinda quick, like a teller in a bank,” Aman said.

A third level will be serviced behind the counter for longer transactions such as 30-minute meetings at tables with advisers. Here, two types of advisers will be available: new student advisers and curriculum advisers. A prospective student will sit down with a new student adviser who will help the person decide whether college is the best choice. If so, the prospective student would then take a placement test in the Campus Center and come back and meet with a curriculum adviser to figure out the next steps in his or her educational journey.

Level four will be guidance for those needing to discuss confidential concerns behind closed doors. Several office areas will be allocated for that purpose.

Brian Fleming, analyst at Eduventures, a research service for the educational community, says condensing academic services is beneficial to everyone “to better support diverse and changing student demographics (e.g., first generation, adult learners, digital natives tethered to their smart phones), overcoming operational inefficiencies, and entering the 21st century with a streamlined, adaptable, cost-saving model. It takes time, energy, leadership and hard work to implement a one stop model, but it is well worth the investment yielding more satisfied students, more efficiently run institutions, and higher employee morale.”

While the Welcome Center will not be a complete one-stop center in its beginning stages, it will still offer more convenience to students with numerous transactions. Student surveys conducted this term overwhelmingly agreed that students would like to take care of everything in a central location instead of walking back and forth several times from the administration building to the Campus Center. Aman said he wants students to know, “We’ve heard you loud and clear.”

Aman is also paying attention to students’ requests for convenience. More services will be available online at the kiosks for students who simply need to conduct quick transactions. “We want to enhance our electronic services so we can help students who need the personal touch,” Aman said. 

Because a number of staff members will need to relocate from one building to another and go through some training, Aman anticipates that the transactions to the Welcome Center should be “fully functioning for spring term.”