Enrollment Services goes high-tech, eliminates jobs
Published: Thursday, February 14, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 14, 2013 22:02
Miami University began a project to move Enrollment Services out of the Campus Avenue Building (CAB) and onto the Internet. In an attempt to increase efficiency and customer service, the project will transform 90 percent manual transactions into automated ones, making a number of current positions obsolete.
Senior Associate Director for Enrollment Center Operations Mandy Euen described in an email-conducted interview what the final product will be.
“The Enrollment Center (EC) is a virtual service initiative for all students, faculty and staff supported by a physical space where best in class customer service is provided on a 24/7 basis to meet the growing business needs and demands of the current and changing student populations across all campuses,” Euen said.
Associate Vice President of Enrollment Management Michael Kabbaz said the online enrollment center will combine nearly all transactions students would normally travel to various locations on campus to complete.
“Right now Miami is really a pretty manually based place,” Kabbaz said. “We produce lots of paper, lots of signatures and what we’re really looking to do is to ensure that our policies and procedures still fit in place and that the support structures are still there, but that many of the processes and procedures can be moved online.”
Kabbaz said some of the services will include that of the bursar, registrar and financial aid offices, and confirmed that staff cuts and attrition will take place over the next couple years as a result.
“We know over the coming years that as a result of this EC process that it will require less staffing …” Kabbaz said. “Through this we will identify processes that can be moved to virtual and then as a result of that we should be able to reduce staffing over that period of time, over the next year or two.”
Kabbaz said is it not yet certain what portion of staff will be affected, but that they’re calculating the savings it will allow the university. Staff members have been notified, according to Kabbaz.
“We’ve been working with staff since early fall to let them know that we are in the process of working through identifying processes that can be more efficient and things we can do more efficiently to reduce overall staff,” Kabbaz said.
According to Kabbaz, the LEAN Initiative, a program that works to increase efficiency by analyzing processes, is being put to work.
Director of LEAN Initiatives Al Ryan is currently working with Euen and Kabbaz. He said though staff will be reduced, the LEAN Initiative’s purpose is not to make cuts.
“LEAN is not about eliminating people, it’s about eliminating waste in the processes, and it’s focused on the customer,” Ryan said.
According to Kabbaz, it is this focus on the customer and society’s tech-based transformation that make the change necessary.
“Students today are much more demanding to be able to do things through technology versus in person,” Kabbaz said. “The idea that students have to fill out a piece of paper to drop and add classes, to change majors, to change minors, to pay their bill, to adjust financial aid—we’re looking through all our processes and finding ways to deliver much more of our services proactively, 24/7 online.”
According to Kabbaz, the majority of transactions will be available online, though more complicated ones will be handled in a physical location with hands-on assistance.
“We’re aspiring to be a 98 and two model, that 90 percent of all transactions related to these offices should be able to be done online, 24/7, 365 days of the year …” Kabbaz said. “We envision about 8 percent will require a phone call or some kind of in person visit to some physical structure, and then probably 2 percent of all transactions will require complexity beyond the ability of the Enrollment Center.”
To attend to the 8 percent of transactions that require in-person assistance, Kabbaz said manual service will be provided in a centralized location.
“Lets say a student comes into this physical setup in the future, they would come to a one-stop enrollment center, and that person that helps them could solve [their] problems on the spot, we wouldn’t be bouncing students between offices,” Kabbaz said.
Euen said the online Enrollment Center is to be taken on in steps.
“The EC will be introduced in phases, with phase one being the virtual service and phase two being the physical location,” Euen said. “Virtual services will be rolled out incrementally as they are developed, with the expectation that initial virtual services will become available in fall 2013.”