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University of Pennsylvania College of General Studies Enrollment Services Consulting Report. Wayne Sigler Maureen O’Mara Carver AACRAO Consultants July 25-26, 2007. Table of Contents. Introduction AACRAO Consultants Assigned to This Project Project Approach
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Maureen O’Mara Carver
July 25-26, 2007
AACRAO Consultants Assigned to This Project
Project Findings, Conclusions, and Recommendations
Suggested Next Steps
Documents & Publications Provided
Individuals and Groups Involved in the Consulting Visit
The College of General Studies (UPCGS) at the University of Pennsylvania contracted with the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers’ (AACRAO) Consulting service to perform a review of UPCGS’s Enrollment Services structure, staffing, and business practices to determine areas of potential improvement.
AC conducted this evaluation from its knowledge base of best practices in these areas. Combined with the expertise of current UPCGS staff, recommendations were jointly developed for improving service levels to students and among departments within the institution.
The AC Project Manager for this project with UPCGS is Wayne Sigler, AC Senior Consultant and Director of Admissions at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. He just completed a two-year term as President of the Association of Chief Admissions Officers of Public Universities (ACAOPU). Dr. Sigler has 30+ years experience in enrollment management with particular expertise in transformational leadership and management, strategic planning, recruitment, marketing, business processes, and customer service.
Prior to joining the University of Minnesota in 1992, Wayne’s work in higher education included 10 years as Director of Admissions then Dean of Admissions/Assistant Vice President for Enrollment Services at the University of Houston (TX), 2 years as Dean of Student & Academic Services at Southwest Texas State University, and 9 years as Associate Director then Director of Undergraduate Admissions at the University of Maryland, College Park. He completed a Master of Arts in Education (College Student Personnel Work) and Ed.D. in Higher Education at The George Washington University (Washington, D.C.)
Wayne is the author of a new book on higher education management that was published by AACRAO in July 2007. Dr. Sigler’s book features the nationally-recognized Tri-O management game plan that he has developed and successfully implemented over a thirty-year period. Tri-O (the shorthand acronym for outcome-oriented operations) is a management operating system for a major organizational and program paradigm transformation from a process and activity orientation to one that is focused on consistently achieving the outcomes that stakeholders value and expect.
AC Senior Consultant Maureen O'Mara Carver has 25+ years of experience in higher education administration. She currently serves as Assistant Dean for Student Records and Registrar at Villanova University School of Law. Prior to this position, she served as the law school's Director of Admission. In all, Dean Carver has over 17 years of experience with Villanova University School of Law.
Dean Carver began her career at her alma mater, Loyola University New Orleans, in the Admissions Office. During her time at Loyola University, she was exposed to all aspects of admissions from recruitment to data systems administration, with chief responsibility for recruitment of non-traditional and under-represented students.
Further recruitment and administrative experience was gained during the four years Dean Carver worked at large law firms as Attorney Recruiting Administrator. She was fortunate to be charged with the task of developing recruiting-related databases, at a time when this was an emerging field.
Dean Carver is active professionally in a variety of organizations, including the National Network of Law School Officers, and the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, where she served three years as chairperson of the Graduate and Professional Schools Interest Committee.
Dean Carver holds a B.L.S. (Philosophy) from Loyola University New Orleans, an M.S. (Counseling and Human Relations) from Villanova University, and has undertaken course work towards a doctorate in Higher Education at the University of Pennsylvania.
A site visit was conducted by the consultants on July 25-26, 2007. The consultants met with 30 UPCGS personnel during the visit to obtain as many perspectives as possible on issues outlined in the scope of work. A list of individuals interviewed is attached as Appendix B.
The consultants wrote this draft report which includes observations and recommendations related to the charge defined in the scope of work.
A second site visit will be made on September 4, 2007, to present the report.
The consultants commend all the UPCGS personnel who gave their valuable time to speak freely and candidly with the consultants. Several of the meetings actually ran over the scheduled amount of time due to interest of the participants. Everyone was cordial, frank, open, honest, and very hospitable, which helped to make the consultation visit productive and enjoyable.
We want to emphasize that many of the challenges that currently face the Enrollment Management Unit are relatively normal when an organization is transforming its mission and culture. Under these circumstances, an organization must employ a “plan by doing” approach which brings with it some degree of organizational flux. Indeed, we applaud the UPCGS for moving ahead with what Peters and Waterman term a “try-it, fix-it, try-it” approach instead of being frozen by delay and inaction.
We reviewed an impressive list of 2007 priorities for implementing the strategic plan. However, we believe that the list of priorities for 2007 is overly ambitious and does not provide for sufficient recovery time from the inevitable false starts and delays. Not all of the items marked “complete” seem to be fully implemented. Also, we did not see a fully developed plan for operationalizing each priority.
The scope of this consulting project is “to review UPCGS’s Enrollment Service structure, staffing, and business practices to determine areas of potential improvement.” We have met this objective in this report.
It is, however, clearly evident that all of the units in Enrollment Services and the college itself impact the work and success of each other and the college as a whole. Therefore, UPCGS should develop a coherent holistic plan for developing a state-of-the-art enrollment management approach that will help it achieve its ambitious and exciting objectives. The units in the UPCGS also need to move toward a more stakeholder-focused, outcome-oriented paradigm instead of its prevailing process-oriented model.
There is no single “formula” for how long it takes to transition from one operating culture to another. We estimate that it will take approximately three years to complete the transition while realizing definite improvements during this time period. The key is to make absolutely certain that the organization continues to meet its goals during the transition period. As one business leader observed, “there is no time out in business.”
The units in Enrollment Management need greater mission definition, accountability, and emphasis on customer service for its internal and external stakeholders.
For example, the mission of the units must be more clearly defined to eliminate some of the current overlapping duties in the matrix model. By doing so, it will facilitate a collaborative, teamwork environment and help prevent a devolvement back into the previous silo-based situation.
By implementing Tri-O, the UPCGS would:
Achieve even greater success by focusing on its stakeholders and consistently delivering the outcomes they value and expect.
Better focus the organization by identifying, implementing, and tracking the vital few factors that are necessary to achieve success year after year.
Save time and money because the majority of the college’s time would be devoted to achieving results and not managing its system.
Get everyone in the college on the same page.
Be in much greater control of their destiny.
UPCGS should view a strategy of “extra-mile” customer service as a major competitive advantage for the college.
The importance of customer service is reinforced by Davidow and Uttal--“Though nobody has developed a general model of service costs and benefits and applied it to different industries, we can confidently make one assertion: In all industries, when competitors are roughly matched, those that stress customer service will win.” (Total Customer Service: The Ultimate Weapon, 1989)
If the UPCGS fully adopted a model of “extra-mile” customer service, combined with the Penn brand, quality, and mission, it would have a virtually unbeatable strategy. Students are willing to pay extra for quality coupled with convenience.
To accomplish this, the UPCGS must transform its culture and operations to meet this objective.
UPCGS should seek to maintain Penn’s high standards while eliminating non-contributing barriers to enrollment success. Red tape and bureaucratic runarounds should not be mistaken for institutional and academic quality.
In determining the goals of the service provided to customers by the Enrollment Management Units, UPCGS should be guided by the work of marketing experts Berry, Parasuraman, and Zeithaml concerning what service quality customers expect:
Tangibles: the physical facilities, equipment, appearance of personnel;
Reliability: the ability to perform the desired service dependably, accurately, and consistently;
Responsiveness: the willingness to provide prompt service and help customers;
Assurance: employees’ knowledge, courtesy, and ability to convey trust and confidence; and
Empathy: the provision of caring, individualized attention to customers.
(“The service quality puzzle”, Business Horizons, September-October 1988)
The College of General Studies needs to find a way to use the talented and committed staff in the Enrollment Services Office in a way that best fits their strengths and the College’s needs.
The ES staff cannot be experts in all areas and programs of CGS. This expectation is placing tremendous stress on the staff and is not benefiting current students. There needs to be ‘go to’ people for all areas in the ES office. This will help the staff develop a sense of mastery, and ultimately it will help reduce redundancy of effort.
Dividing the work in ES by areas of expertise should help to improve communication between ES and the EM departments. To facilitate better communication, it is recommended that a mutually agreeable protocol be established for departments to communicate upcoming needs to the ES Office. This should involve communicating with the ES Coordinator, as well as with the staff in ES responsible for the work of the particular departments.
The ES Office needs to divide responsibilities in the office into distinct areas that will allow for the staff to be experts in their particular areas. This would involve a further division between the recruiting/admissions work and the processing work.
The work of the Enrollment Services Unit should be organized around three primary functions:
The portfolio of job duties of the Enrollment Services Unit and its Coordinator should be redefined to make it more realistic and effective.
The data reporting and analysis aspect of the position should be moved to another Enrollment Management unit. One of the new staffing lines should be devoted to this function.
The recruitment and outreach functions should also be moved to another Enrollment Management unit. One of the new staffing lines should be devoted to this function.
The day-to-day work of each functional area with ES should be supervised by a staff member who would report to the Coordinator of Enrollment Services. These supervisors should work with their staff and directly with customers.
The Coordinator of Enrollment Services could then concentrate on strategic planning duties, as well as actual supervisory/tactical work. This will eliminate the staff having to wait for orders and enable the unit to play much more offense.
The re-branding of UPCGS is not yet fully developed.
Revenue is critical to UPCGS and to its parent unit, the School of Arts and Sciences.
A goal of the Strategic Plan is that UPCGS recruits students and retains them through program completion and beyond.
The Strategic Plan calls for budgets that are enrollment and tuition-driven, as well as generating surpluses that support the School’s mission and initiatives.
The Enrollment Management Office and ES are working toward a one-stop student-centered environment.
One of the goals outlined in the Strategic Plan is to facilitate students’ progress toward program completion by improving academic and non-academic student services.
Communication between departments at UPCGS is problematic.
Numerous offices expressed a desire to know more about the upcoming projects and campaigns that would affect their areas.
It is not clear what role the ES staff plays in recruitment and admissions and what role the Recruitment and Admissions Unit plays.
The job description for the Enrollment Services Coordinator calls for he/she to work with the Director of Enrollment Management to organize and manage UPCGS efforts to identify, recruit, and retain academically qualified students and to meet enrollment targets.
The job description for the Recruitment and Admissions Coordinator calls for coordinating efforts to identify and recruit academically qualified students to meet UPCGS strategic enrollment targets for all UPCGS programs.
It is not clear what duties the ES staff is expected to do in relation to the Student Services Office.
The College wants to move to a one-stop, student-centered environment to facilitate students’ progress toward program completion by improving academic and non-academic student services.
This will make it highly imperative to implement the Tri-O Management Operating System components or another model that will enable the college to achieve its desired outcomes.
The college should avoid the inherent challenge of the one-stop model that can emphasize efficiency over effectiveness.
Communications between the various units in UPCGS must be improved to:
Make certain the college speaks with “one voice.”
Eliminate much of the “sniping” and criticism between units.
Facilitate the work of each unit instead of surprising the staff with unexpected workload due to the actions of other units and/or new policies and procedures.
Since it is unclear what role the Recruitment and Admissions Unit, ES, and the departments and programs play in the admissions process, the following should take place:
The Enrollment Services Office needs to have a clear understanding of where their responsibilities in relation to admissions and recruitment begin and end.
The Recruitment and Admissions Unit needs to help the ES Office successfully represent the college, and understand that the whole ES staff is, in effect, the college’s recruiting office. Recruits are being lost because the ES staff is not able to get answers to questions and because published decision deadlines are being ignored by programs and departments.
The ES staff is acting as a buffer between prospective students, the Admissions Office, and program directors. It is like the old adage, ‘this would be a great place to work except for the students.” Everyone, up and down the UPCGS system needs to see that job number one is the students. If the goals of the college are to be met, the focus needs to be on recruiting and enrolling the best students possible, and the only way to do this is with a customer-centered approach.
Many of the same issues as outlined above seem to exist in relation to the Student Services Office. With the departure of the Student Services director, each office’s roles should be clearly defined. It would be of great benefit if the ES staff with responsibility for student services could work with the ES Coordinator and the new Student Services director to clarify the expectations and responsibilities in these areas.
Staff turnover in Enrollment Services is high.
Many of the ES staff is new and only one or two have been with the office for more than a year.
It was reported that there is pressure on the ES staff to work overtime. Last year, $22,000 was spent in overtime pay.
There is some concern for the safety of staff working overtime.
Four new staff positions have been approved for Enrollment Management.
UPCGS should strongly consider more extensively outsourcing some of its workload for which the college does not wish to maintain or develop core competencies.
UPCGS must greatly reduce staff turnover in Enrollment Management units.
Retention of students is a high priority for UPCGS. Retention of staff is equally important. The cost of hiring and training staff in a high turnover environment is quite high. If the same energy and resources were redirected to staff training and morale building, the benefits to the college as a whole would be tremendous.
Examine the salary structure, especially for entry level staff, as one positive measure to enhance staff retention. Salary, of course, is not the sole determinant of staff retention but it may be a real issue with entry level staff in the college along with the need to make their jobs more predictable and satisfying.
It should make certain that its salaries are close to market rates at peer institutions and then hold all staff accountable for consistently delivering outcomes.
The college has recognized that additional staff is needed in Enrollment Management and we concur with this assessment.
It is difficult for us to determine exactly how many staff members are needed because of the lack of effective outcome-oriented job descriptions, mission statements, individual accountability, and workflow analysis of the processes in the office. There is no empirical data to aid in decision making. However, we believe that the four new positions are appropriate at this time.
Much of the work of Enrollment Management and its sub-units is seasonal. To avoid staffing on a year-round basis when this is not necessary, we recommend the continued strategic use of temporary staff.
It is clear that work is backing up and mission critical projects are not being handled in a timely manner. The staff in Enrollment Services is, for the most part, highly competent and committed to doing the best job possible. Involving them as fully as possible in the redesign of the department will ensure success.
The Enrollment Services staff need to feel they have a stake in the success and continued growth of the UPCGS. The first step toward making them stakeholders is to involve them in the process of creating job descriptions that have realistic expectations and gives them the assurance that they can master their responsibilities. Secondly, they need to be given the necessary tools to succeed. This will involve training, support, and an understanding of where they fit into the overall plan for the college.
Without clear direction, the staff will continue to feel frustrated and under-appreciated. The ES Office is the frontline for the UPCGS. This is often the first office prospective students encounter when making inquiries about programs in the UPCGS. How well this office is able to handle inquiries will have a significant impact of the school’s ability to meet its goals.
Training for Enrollment Services staff is relatively haphazard and minimal.
There are no training manuals or standard operating procedures (SOP) for the staff.
In the Strategic Plan there is a call to assemble appropriate information management systems and technology and train staff to use them effectively.
Front office personnel in Enrollment Services are expected to answer questions about all UPCGS programs and act as de facto admissions counselors.
Departments are not providing the ES staff with the information they need to answer questions from prospective and current students.
There is often no one to whom ES staff can refer questions from prospective and current students so the calls inevitably come back to them for some type of resolution.
More effective staff training must be an immediate priority. This will be greatly facilitated by the development of process mapping, user-friendly policy manuals, operations calendars, clearly stated job skills expectations, and employee enculturation, as recommended in the “Business Practices” section below.
With the introduction of new technology, the staff needs to be trained in its use. Of particular concern is the new email system and Apply Yourself. The staff still has concerns about both programs and would benefit from additional training.
If Enrollment Services is to be the frontline office for all Enrollment Management offices and for the program offices, then they need to be given the tools to perform this function successfully. Each department and program needs to put in writing the information the ES staff needs in order to deal competently with potential and current students. As new programs are developed or changes are made to existing programs, this needs to be immediately conveyed to the ES staff.
The UPCGS does not have a culture of “extra-mile” service across all of its units which negatively impacts the staff of Enrollment Services. The college needs to move to much more of a “people over paper” approach.
For example, some departments are not answering or returning calls sent to them by ES. They are also not responding to prospective and current student emails in a timely fashion. There are different procedures among the program units in how and when appointments are scheduled.
While we received conflicting viewpoints about this problem depending on which unit and persons to whom we were talking, we strongly believe that this is a serious issue that must be addressed.
Some concern was expressed about the college’s vulnerability due to its current FERPA practices. However, we were assured that this is actively being addressed in concert with the University’s central policies and procedures.
The need for stable, predictable and effective business processes is acute in the Enrollment Services Unit. This is one of the areas that we rated as a 9.5 on the scale of urgency. This could be accomplished by utilizing management tools such as process mapping, user-friendly policy manuals, and operations calendars. We recommend using a triage approach to determine which processes to address immediately, medium-term, and longer term.
Because the data systems at UPCGS do not ‘talk’ to each other, reporting and data management has become a problem.
In the Strategic Plan there is a call to assemble appropriate information management systems and technology and train staff to use them effectively.
Although it is being actively addressed, UPCGS does not have sufficient, comparable operating data to support its work.
The new Apply Yourself database has been implemented but the ES staff still needs training.
The UPCGS must make much better use of technology to:
Support and facilitate the work of its staff
To put more “jetties” in front of its staff so that the constant incoming workload is better directed to self-help technology that will assist prospective and current students with their transactions and obtain answers to their questions.
We understand that Enrollment Management currently has a document imaging system that it uses to serve the Applied Psychology Program in the admissions process. Assuming this system has the functions needed and is reasonably state-of-the-art; its use should be greatly expanded to most of the operating functions in Enrollment Management.
The college’s web site should be utilized to provide much greater service to prospective and current students.
As a medium-term project, the college should consider installing a state-of-the-art Client Relationship Management system with components such as:
Knowledge-based content system
We need to emphasize that effective process mapping and stabilization of business processes must occur before new technology is applied or the situation will be made even less stable.
Admissions, General Team Functions List
Admissions, Task/Time Tallies, Recruitment Specialist
‘Bubble’ Charts, College of General Studies Organization
CGS Organizational Chart
CGS Standing Committee Membership 2007
Enrollment Services Task/Time Calculations
HS Coordinator Work-Flow, Admissions
Position Information Questionnaires: Administrative Coordinator: Audit and Compliance
Position Information Questionnaires: Administrative Coordinator: Student Records and Support
Position Information Questionnaires: CGS Staff Writer
Position Information Questionnaires: Director of Enrollment Management
Position Information Questionnaires: Enrollment Services Coordinator B
Position Information Questionnaires: Enrollment Services Specialist (2)
Position Information Questionnaires: Enrollment Services Specialist and Associate Dean’s Assistant
Position Information Questionnaires: Marketing and Publications Manager
Position Information Questionnaires: Prospect Management, Youth Programs Coordinator A
Position Information Questionnaires: Recruitment and Admissions Coordinator
Position Information Questionnaires: Recruitment Specialist
Position Information Questionnaires: Student Services Manager
Position Information Questionnaires: Student Services Specialist
Position Information Questionnaires: Web-Based Communications Coordinator B
Staffing Comparisons 4/6/07
SoundBits: Faculty, Partner, Current Student, Prospective Student
Strategic Plan 2007-2011, University of Pennsylvania, School of Arts and Science, College of General Studies, (Division of Liberal and Professional Studies)
Student Services List of Responsibilities
Gerianne Bartocci, Administrative Coordinator for Student Records and Support
Lisa Ben-Shoshan, Marketing and Publications Manager
Sonja Bhan, Recruitment and Admissions Coordinator
Kristine Billmyer, SAS Associate Dean and CGS Executive Director
Kara Bundy, Marketing Coordinator for English Language Programs
John Ceccatti, Associate Director of Programs in the Natural Sciences
Amy Coe, Enrollment Services Specialist
Nadia Daniel, Market Research and Implementation Manager
Janet Distel, Student Services Manager
Camille Durocher, Enrollment Services Coordinator
Jay Esposito, Enrollment Services Specialist
Heather Haseley, Prospect Management and Youth Programs Coordinator
Grace Hershman, Associate Director of Pre-Professional Programs in Life Sciences
Dallas Kenny, Director of International Programs
Jen Kollar, Recruitment Specialist
Nora Lewis, Director of Enrollment Management
Maggie Lucas, Student Services Specialist
Jessica Lundeen, Enrollment Services Specialist
Jeff Lyons, Web Communications
Marsha Mallet, Director of Finance and Administration
Julie Nishimura-Jensen, Director Post-Baccalaureate Program Department of Classical Studies
Cindy O’Neill, Administrative Coordinator for Audit and Compliance
Chris Pastore, Associate Director of Programs in the Humanities and Social Sciences
Kim Peurifoy, Senior Business Administrator
Kris Rabberman, Director of Programs in the Humanities and Social Sciences
Margaret Sanborn, Staff Writer
Alex Shrake, Special Projects Coordinator
Marni Baker Stein, Director of Program Management
Debbie Swick, Associate Director of the Master of Applied Positive Psychology degree
Yuni Thornton, Administrative Coordinator