Admin promises better student experience

By Emily Senger

In September, the hundreds of students who had to wait in line at the Registrar’s Office were appeased with free popcorn and coffee, television, and comfortable seating. Changes like these are indicative of things to come as University of Calgary Student and Academic Services makes an effort to improve service over the next year.

As part of a larger project to assess performance, SAS conducted a survey of students in September. Once the results are compiled they will be used for “Project Insight,” an action plan to better student services.

“We’re doing a complete review of all student services,” explained Administration’s Special Advisor to the President on Student Life Sheila O’Brian. “We’re looking at the life cycle of a student. We’re going to map that, find out where we have disconnects and we’ll fix that.”

Of the 1,898 student respondents to the survey, 73 per cent rated their overall experience in the first week of school as mostly smooth or very smooth. But, there were areas for improvement. Food Services, parking and directions around campus were some areas with which students identified the lowest levels of satisfaction.

A major part of the plan is to determine how to lessen wait times across campus, according to O’Brian.

“If by the time students get to class they’re frustrated, then they don’t get as much out of the class,” she said.

In addition to the survey, Project Insight will look at what other educational institutions and business are doing well.

“We’re examining the best practices to see who provides the best service,” said O’Brian. She added that the new line management procedures at the Registrar’s Office were designed to emulate models used by Disney.

Another part of Project Insight involves a staff survey which began Wed., Oct. 5. The results of both surveys will be reviewed in November and students will see changes as early as January 2006.

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