Student services model improves retention, satisfaction

By Sarah Langmead, Assistant Editor, @eCN_Sarah
February 17th, 2013

When Ivy Tech Community College needed to revamp its student services model, it turned to Blackboard.

A year ago, Ivy Tech Community College, a statewide community college in Indiana, was struggling to answer and reroute phone calls to and from its many different campuses.

Overly complex systems were mostly to blame for the college’s failure to answer phone calls in a timely manner, and students were beginning to post angry comments on the college’s Facebook page. Administrators faced a shifting landscape, and they knew that if they wanted the college to remain competitive, they would need to make some dramatic changes.

Ivy Tech operates 31 campuses across 14 administrative regions—meaning that within the community college there are 14 different financial aid departments, admissions departments, and so on.

“We needed one level of service [to] accommodate … all of our students and all of our needs,” said Jeff Fanter, vice president of communications, enrollment, and marketing at Ivy Tech, during a recent Blackboard webinar.

Students frequently dialed the wrong campus, and they grew frustrated that Ivy Tech lacked a clear-cut path to access information. Administrators recognized the unnecessary complexity and were concerned that student conversion and retention rates were suffering.

Fanter’s goals were to provide a consistent experience to students, enable them to access information more quickly during all hours of the day, and become more proactive with prospective and current students. To meet these goals, Ivy Tech weighed its options: Build a new system itself, or partner with another company?

(Next page: How the Blackboard Student Service model helped Ivy Tech reach its goals)

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