Every academic year brings changes like new courses, classes, textbooks and challenges that can be somewhat overwhelming for new and returning students alike. For the 2006/07 year, the University of Calgary Registrar's Office has made some changes of its own, in hopes of providing students with improved services and a welcoming atmosphere.
Located in the MacKimmie Library Block, the Registrar's Office is part of the new Service Stop: one centralized location where students can access services for tuition and fee payment, financial aid, scholarships, registration and admissions.
"Our goal is to enhance the student's experience," said Kathleen Massey, assistant vice-president of enrolment and registrars. "We're doing that in many ways including providing new spaces for students to connect for academic and social reasons, and by providing communication tools such as the e-zine and the electronic bulletin boards to keep them informed and connected with activities and events across campus."
Marchella, a third-year music student, noticed the changes as soon as she stepped into the new space.
"There were more people to help you, and it's much more organized," she said.
New features in the Service Stop include the addition of a wireless lounge area and the removal of the huge counter that used to separate students from staff. A work station meeting area has been constructed with desks and seats replacing the old counter--now students and staff can sit down together to complete administrative tasks. While waiting to see a staff member, students can make use of the lounge that will soon be fitted with computers.
Staff members and many volunteers have also been trained to provide integrated services to students, said Massey.
"They welcome you and tell you that they can do anything to help you," said Saleh, a third-year electrical engineering student. "The new arrangement is more friendly and comfy."
Service doesn't stop at the MacKimmie Library Block, there are many resources on-line and on-campus to help students through the first two weeks of school and the rest of their academic career at the U of C, said Massey.
A team of more than 1,000 volunteers sporting "ask-me" buttons will be all over campus during the first two weeks of classes to direct students to services and answer questions.
Students can also look forward to the installation of flat-screen television "bulletin boards" all over campus to keep students updated on upcoming events.
Although numerous changes have been made to help make life easier for students, the first two weeks of school are always extremely busy. Massey encouraged students to skip line-ups and take advantage of the Infonet.
Fees can be paid on Infonet by credit card or online banking. This year prizes of tuition for a half course will be up for grabs for students who pay online.