In October of 2009, Barton received a Title III Strengthening Institutions Grant. Funded by the United States Department of Education, the grant would span five years (FY 2010 – 2014) and would be funded for a total of $1,949,666.00 over the life of the grant. Barton’s Title III focus is on Strengthening Academic and Student Services related to Distance Learning.
The Title III goal that specifically relates to Student Services is:
- Increase academic and support services at several points in the College’s interaction with students.
- Increase student awareness of academic and support services to 80% by September 2014 .
- Increase student satisfaction with the quality of academic and support services to 80% by September 2014.
To address the goals of the Title III grant proposal, Barton hired 5 Title III staff members. In pursuit of the measurable objectives bulleted above, one of those staff members was hired within the organizational unit of Student Services, the Student Services Concierge. The Student Services Concierge serves as a point of contact for distance learning students and coordinates with various support services developing processes for and ensuring access for distance services.
The following pilot projects are underway for Student Services Title III objectives.
- Awareness and Satisfaction surveys to all eCourse students. We continue to survey our students. Information from the survey has been very helpful in setting priorities and developing projects. Student responses have indicated needs for improved Inquiry Management, Customer Support Training, improved phone system traffic, and more effective engagement with students.
- Early Academic Alert Systems. eCourse students who may be at risk due to grades or other factors are receiving communications alerting them to their status and support services or other resources that may assist them. This information is also provided to advisors.
- Advising. The College’s Advisement Team has been charged with reviewing the current advising system, with particular focus on advising distance students and providing distance advising. Reporting to Advisors is changing to enable quicker distribution and improved information to Advisors. Processes are being improved to provide services for repetitive tasks to Advisors. Systems and processes are changing with the goal of assigning Advisors to Degree Seeking students as quickly as possible after enrollment.
- Communications to students. Email marketing has been implemented for many communications to students. This enables a more attractive email as well as providing data to help measure effectiveness.
- Tutoring. Barton is contracting with Tutor.com to provide 24/7 online Tutoring to Distance Learners. Additionally, online Tutoring is occurring with the Barton Peer Tutors especially for classes and subjects not covered by Tutor.com. Plans are to continue to expand the service provided by the Barton Peer tutors.
- Customer Inquiry Management. Implementation is beginning for a CRM system to help with Enrollment and Inquiry Management. The first phase will integrate with Banner data and web Inquiry forms for Inquiry and Case Management.
- Customer Support Training. Plans are being made for Customer Support Training. The type of training is being determined based on a Survey to the Services Enhancement Committee and a recent focus group of staff.
- Online Scheduling for Support Services. This project involves enabling students to schedule time with Support Services from the Web. Initially the focus with be with key staff in the Advising Center and Financial Aid Department. It is anticipated the project will have a positive impact on phone calls from students and a reduction in student frustration.