The student affairs division is implementing a new set of customer service standards, meant to be fully active by the beginning of next school year. This initiative is called “No Wrong Door,” because the idea is that no matter where a student or faculty member connects with the student affairs division, they will get where they need to go. “Our hope is that […] no matter who [the student] connect with, it’s not a wrong door for them,” said Ata Karim, the vice president of student affairs.
The initiative came about as a part of the Bellevue College Strategic Plan, a plan folding out over the next five years to better the college. An issue that came up during meetings for the strategic plan was that students would have to move back and forth between sections of the student affairs department when seeking help, so much so that “we’ve always called it the BC shuffle,” said Michelle Robertson.
The student affairs division, located by the bookstore, is a place where students can come to get help with various things such as enrollment, financial aid, assessment taking and Student Programs. The issue has been that each section has been too specialized and focused on their task and are often unable to answer questions or help with simpler tasks pertaining to other sections that don’t need specialized knowledge to answer. As Robertson puts it, “We’re really tired of not […] feeling like we’re able to give [the students] more information.”
With this initiative in place the hope is that some steps may be eliminated. Instead of students having to go to Student Programs for a Student Programs related form and then being sent over to financial aid to ask questions related to financial aid, the people at the financial aid desk may be able to get the form for the student and answer their questions at the same time. “It is about actually going to the next step. To say […]that’s not necessarily what I do, but let me help you, let me get you an answer or let me take you to the right place,” said Karim.
The initiative will also make things easier when the B building, where most of Student Affairs is located, is remodeled and the division is dispersed across campus so that “we’re not going to be physically located next to one another […] so you have to institute things that can work in any situation,” Robertson elaborated.
The initiative is only in its early stages, the team in charge has met in an official capacity two times, and therefore there is no official way that the initiative will be fully implemented yet. The plan so far is for managers to set aside time for their employees where they can work together with other sections of the student affairs division and learn key things, big picture ideas that will save time and make the experience better for students. Each of the members of the team will also try out their own way of fixing communication issues, and then share the solution so the good practices that are found can be implemented fully.
This is the reason for the initiative only being implemented full scale at the beginning of the next school year because each quarter brings about its own set of circumstances. The summer quarter is especially different because it is more condensed and some students take fewer classes during this time, bringing about new issues that may not have been detected in previous quarters. “Until we’ve gone through a full school year … we’re not really going to know if [the initiative] is fully functioning on all levels,” said Robertson.
Eventually the initiative may be broadened to other divisions of Bellevue College, but for now the student affairs division will be the testing ground for the No Wrong Door Initiative.