Reimagining the student onboarding experience through collaboration

As the newly appointed assistant provost for academic operations, I was brought back to Carlow University in Pennsylvania to solve basic problems and reorganize the way we operate. Specifically, I was tasked to look at the student onboarding experience and the student transition from admittance to attendance.

What made me uniquely qualified for the role of assistant provost, which includes overseeing the Student Hub (financial aid, student accounts, and registrar), was my previous experience as Carlow’s University registrar and my additional background in a large-scale student services office at West Virginia University. This afforded me the essential skills required to step into a leadership position and define the most critical needs of the student experience, which would be more challenging to someone without knowledge of Carlow’s culture and history. Even though I had an understanding of what changes had to be made, I knew that in order to make an impactful difference for our students, collaboration with other departments was vital.

Student onboarding is a collaborative process

My first task was to assess the purpose and scope of coordinator of advising position. For years, this position existed to serve, but the question as to whom it served became muddier each semester. What started as an extension of the Student Hub and an advising support for when faculty advisors were unavailable soon became a catch-all for everything advising. The coordinator’s easy accessibility caused students to circumvent their faculty advisors, creating confusion and tension. In addition, this position had no tangible jurisdiction over faculty advisors, and initiatives coming out of this office were often disregarded or not clearly articulated.…Read More