Thursday, January 29, 2015

Colleges Do Not Care

After working with colleges and universities in various academic, administrative and consulting capacities, I have come to a disturbing thought
. Most colleges and universities really do not care about their students. They of course say they do but they do not show it. Individuals on the campus may well care but the institution – not so much I fear.

Colleges care about themselves and their well-being but not so much about that of their students. They are more concerned with their reputations and standing than the success of students and their welfare. Students are not the end focus of too many colleges. They are a means to an end. That end being the success of the institutions,

Colleges are now more like corporations focused on the bottom line and attainment rather than in creating great products. They care about their own preservation and perks more than those of their customers, their students and their families.

Take for example the issue of sexual assault and rape on campuses. There are currently 76 schools being investigated by the US Department of Education for non-compliance with title IX  for not responding to rape allegations on campus. And very many more could be investigated for not taking rape seriously enough. For example, when a fraternity was found guilty of a gang rape at John Hopkins, the fraternity was suspended for a year but no expulsions or arrests were made.

When a student reports an assault on campus, she is often ignored or her complaint is shuffled to the bottom of the deck to avoid bad publicity at the school. If a rape is reported most schools do not take the most appropriate step and turn the case over to the police. No, they try to handle the issue internally so the disclosure does not get out and taint the school’s image. Most normally, a charge of rape is investigated by a college committee that places institutional image above the student’s well-being. There have been too many cases in which a sexual assault or a rape has been either denigrated or even dismissed with a minor sanction than what the criminal system demands. The victim is left traumatized and feeling guilty from the outcome. The school’s image is more important than a student getting justice.

Or just look at the appalling percentage of students who actually graduate from a college. Just over 50% of students who start at a college actually receive a diploma from that school. And it isn’t because they flunk out. The number of students who flunk out is insignificant in comparison to the number that leave because they believe the school does not care about them enough to help them succeed through basic services such as academic assistance. Colleges do all they can to recruit students with promises of personal attention and help when needed but they are seldom supplied in the quality and quantity promised in the marketing. For example, most colleges use peer tutoring rather than have faculty provide the extra assistance. The undereducated leading the less educated too often.

Why? Because student success is too often not as important as faculty and administrative happiness at too many schools. To make full-time faculty tutor students would be to take them away from doing research or sitting on their tenured laurels. That would lead to complaints making the administrators have to deal with so faculty are not pushed to provide the basic service of extra help and/or tutoring to students in need. Student success is just not as important as a calm faculty.

The whole issue of college’s selecting students who can succeed at the school is a basic myth by the way. There are certainly the 300 name brand schools which can and are selective but the other three thousand plus do not care about admitting students who they know can succeed at the school. Students are admitted if they can pay tuition and fees. Sure some students get scholarships to help pay for school but each one of them is seen as a revenue point for the school. In many cases, the partial scholarships are just a “loss leader” to get the bulk of the tuition and fees  from the student. A scholarship of $5,000 for a $30,000 school is just part of the recruitment package to get students to enroll. The schools have figured out how much they need to provide as an incentive to get the enrollment just like a car company giving “away” $1,000 off the price of the car to get the buyer into the sale. They know they’ll make it up on extras such as fees, housing, books and other costs. The scholarships are a planned part of the sales package to attract students and fill a recruitment quota even if that student is wrong for the school in many, too many cases.

Why?  Students bring in the money through tuition, federal assistance and state reimbursements that the school needs to do what it wants whether that be provide release time for faculty, pay a football coach millions or however else it spends the per student headcount money that comes in. Numbers count but the individual students too often do not.

Simply put many too many  colleges will accept anyone who can pay all or at least part of tuition when the school is not meeting its enrollment numbers. They do this knowing that a great many of those they admit will not succeed and will need to be replaced, but they will help pay the bills for the semester they are there. This is crass commercialism similar to recruiting 5’4” me to a basketball camp. The success of the student is just is not as important as the revenues of the institution.

Other examples of not caring about students can be seen in how schools operate. For example, most schools have evening classes yet the operational offices all close down for the day by 5:00. Students cannot get their needs attended to. This is done fully knowing that most of the evening students are non-traditional students coming from a nine-to five job . These people cannot get to campus during the day but there are no or very few provisions made for them to get their school business done after 5:00.

Just look at the parking on a campus and you can tell who is least important. At most schools there are reserved lots for administrators and faculty close to the buildings. Student parking lots are furthest from the classrooms and are very often inadequate in the number of places available. What message does that send? One that says the faculty and administrators are more important than the reason the school exists, the school’s customers, its students.

Classes are not scheduled around the needs of students but the desires of faculty and institutional priorities. Faculty decide when they want to teach a course not when it is best for the students who need to take them but when they prefer to teach.. Often students have to choose between required courses scheduled at the same time rather than being able to take the both of them if they were scheduled with student needs taken into account. Most often if the school decides that there are not enough students for a course to be allowed to go even after students have signed up for it, students will find out in the week or even days before classes start. The students are left short of the courses they had already signed up for and scheduled their lives around. They have arranged their work hours, babysitting and  schedules around the hours they had signed up for but at the last moment the school puts its own priorities in place over those of the students they have contracted with. The class is cancelled and most normally the student is left high and dry without a course needed to move forward to graduation because the school decided at the last moment that there were only with students in the class so that is not enough.

These are but a few examples of how colleges do not care about students. There are many more and I am sure you can name some on your campus too. These are all customer service issues that need to be addressed. Academic customer service which is not coddling students but making certain they receive the services and attention they need to succeed.

If this makes sense to you, you should get a copy of the new best seller

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Is Free Community College Tuition Really a Good Idea?

President Obama has made a bold proposal when he wants to have community college tuition free for all but is it really in everyone’s best interest? Really?

Consider that the community college completion rate is around 34% nationally. That means that 66% of students start but do not complete. That means that at this time 2,804,305 started community college in the fall but 1,794,755 of them will not achieve a degree. Now on the good side that means that close to a million students will achieve a degree and that is good of course but fare too many do not complete their program. And some of the 1,794,755 will transfer before getting a degree but the  numbers are still  bad on graduation.

Most community colleges have not yet found the solutions to attrition at such high levels. Granted some of it is from students who just are not really prepared for college study. They will simply walk away or flunk out. That’s just the facts of it. But hundreds of thousands of others will not complete. That is a sad fact too. 

The tuition proposal only takes care of one part of the cost of attending community college. It does not cover fees, books, daycare, transportation and other associated costs. Considering that a great many of the poorest students get their tuition already covered by Pell and other grants such as state programs, there is no great benefit to them with the President’s program. I fear that by increasing the size of the pool all that will be accomplished is to increase the number of students who will fail in their attempts to succeed. This will leave them in a worse situation that they were in before. They will have expended their savings on fees, books and associated educational costs and end up defeated until the problem of attrition is taken care of in community colleges. . 

The tuition free education would kick in after Pell money pays for what it can cover. For most students, the Pell money is taken up by tuition so there is no full benefit for them. If the free tuition was not including Pell, then there could be some befit by freeing up the Pell money to pay for associated costs other than tuition.

Before universal tuition is offered there are core issues that need to be taken care of and where the money could be better spent.

One of the reasons that there is high attrition in community colleges is that there just are not enough coaches and counselors to meet with all the students who need them. There are not enough retention programs either. Programs such as at Hostos Community College in the Bronx have developed programs that are successful through making sure that every student in the program gets to see or hear from a counselor/coach at least once a week. That creates ways to keep the student realizing that the school does care about them as well as solve problems that do arise. This program has an extremely high success rate and could be emulated with the right amount of money made available. Counselors and coaches would be a better use of the money for start.

Another reason for attrition is that community college students are often hesitant and tentative students. It does not take much to turn them off from school and we have found that colleges seem to do all they can to turn them off. In general, they provide very bad customer service to the most needful of the services. These services are the coaching mentioned above for example and just basic customer service such as treating students kindly and being helpful. It has been an eye opener for us as we work with schools to see how many allow absolutely weak to poor to abominable treatment of students by the school. Just talk to most students about how they have been treated in offices and the resulting complaints are overwhelming. Yes, there are some schools that care and we have worked with most of them to increase their retention but there are thousands of others that haven’t a clue as to how to treat students as if they mattered more than their tuition.

And that is another reason why free tuition is not necessarily a good idea. Many too many colleges will take free tuition as a sign that they can raise their tuition and bring in more money. Yes, they need more money but it should not be from increasing tuition. It should be from retaining the students who are already attending and paying tuition. If the community colleges could keep more of their students, they would retain more tuition and revenue. They are losing 64% of it a year as it is now. To offer free tuition will just encourage schools to raise tuition and not do anything about retention.

President Obama certainly wants to help more people get a college education but this may not be the way to do it.

If this article makes sense to you, get a copy of the latest book by Dr. Neal Raisman From Admissions to Graduation: Increasing Success Through Academic Customer Service

Friday, January 09, 2015

Smile - Gain Students and Lose Weight

There is a core concept behind much of positive customer service in college or
for that matter anywhere. Smiling.

Greeting a student, a customer with a smile is the quickest way of saying I am happy you are here. It will also make the recipient of the smile feel better about you thus making it easier to help the student.
Not only is it great for increasing customer service and retention, it has wonderfully salutary and powerfully positive effects for you too. Smiling creates huge returns on a very small investment. And according to a study completed by the British Dental Health Foundation, smiling can save you weight too!
The British Dental Health Foundation, co–ordinators of National Smile Week in May  — the biggest oral health event in the UK calendar — spoke after scientists revealed that a smile gives the same level of stimulation as eating 2,000 chocolate bars or receiving £16,000 in cash.

The clinical tests, carried out on volunteers in Scotland, measured brain and heart activity as participants were shown pictures of people smiling and given money and chocolate.

The results were analysed by psychologist Dr David Lewis, the author of The Secret Language of Success, who said that seeing a smile creates what is termed as a 'halo' effect, helping us to remember other happy events more vividly, feel more optimistic, more positive and more motivated.
 Dr Nigel Carter, chief executive of the Foundation, commented: "We have long been drawing attention to the fact that smiling increases happiness both in yourself and those around you, so it is good to receive the backing of this scientific research.
2000 bars of chocolate! And the halo effect. When you smile, it causes other to do so too. During a workshop at the University of New Brunswick, Canada, I proved the strength of smiling by putting a smile on my face and going up to members of the audience. Eevery one of them responded with a smile. Now, whether it was because they felt the power of a smile or because they were thinking I had gone mad and best smile back to keep me from some odd behavior focused on them, I can not say for sure. What I can say for sure is they all smiled back, even one who had done her best to tell through a rigid frown and body language to state to me she was not going to buy anything I would say. In fact, after I got her to smile just by grinning at her while talking about smiling, she lost the frown and relaxed the rigidity in her body for the rest of the workshop.

If we smile, we release endorphins and serotonin which some obtain though marijuana use. So, smiling can save you more money, loss of job if caught and no lingering pot smell on your clothes to make your colleagues wonder if they need to create an intervention for you.

Smiling also has been found to reduce stress, lengthen life expectancy, lower blood pressure and make the smiler appear younger and more attractive. Maybe that explains the attraction Jerry Lewis to the French?

Smiling also makes you appear to the viewer as if you are pleased to see him or her and that produces a halo effect. The other person feels happier as a result and will even like you more. This is true even if your smile is fake. A faked smile will have as much positive effects as a real one for the viewer. Granted a real one may be stronger and thus produce greater effects on the viewer and yourself, but a faked one is a great start.

Moreover, when you smile it is fairly impossible to sound as frustrated, tired or even as angry as you may really feel. Your voice and one will have a more positive, upbeat, perhaps even friendly tone caused by the smiling. The smile-influenced voice will carry out to anyone hearing it and affect their mood too. Even if a person cannot see your smile, he or she will hear it such as when talking on the telephone. That makes the listener feel better and even welcomed.

If you do not believe you can smile on the job then you may well be in the wrong job. If you are not happy at your work and cannot smile doing it you are simply the wrong person for it. Moreover, you are shortening your life because of underlying stress that keeps you from smiling. So now that theeconomy if doing better, get another job and let someone who can smile do the one your are currently doing.

Monday, December 29, 2014

What Students Really Want

For the past five years, NRaisman & Associates has done a study into student desires and expectations and ours are never broken. Of course, we may be
cheating since we have a better attitude and opinion of students from all the work we do with them for colleges and universities trying to improve their customer service and retention. We do something that too many at the schools themselves do not do – LISTEN.
In most of my training seminars and workshops I tell the audiences that people were given two ears and one mouth for a definite reason. To tell us to listen twice as much as we speak. Now, I realize that is not what we in academia do well. We are speakers; not listeners. After all, it would get very quiet in a classroom if faculty did not speak and lecture. But the same is not true for administrators. We forget that the job is no longer to lecture to others but to minister to their needs. 

I would be remiss if I didn’t state that I learned that by acting like I had two mouths and one ear. I like many other administrators thought was an administrator because I knew things and was capable of getting them done. So my assumption was that what I had to say was important. More important than listening to others and learning from them. Took me a while but I finally learned the lesson. That was not just important to me as an administrator but now in life as a student and consultant of academic customer service.

If I hadn’t learn to use my ears I would have done what so many schools do and assume I know what students want and need. There would be no need to find out what students think or really want. I would already know. Even if I felt it was important to hear from students, I would create surveys that would be self-fulfilling prophecies for example. I’d already know the answers after all. But I did learn and so I and my entire group really ask and listen to students. And here is what we learned this year.

The study compares what 400 faculty and administrators think the 600 students we interviewed want and need versus what students said they actually want. The differences are illuminating
What Faculty ad Administrators Think Students Want
5. More Parking
4. No reading assignments
3. Short classes
2. A minimum of homework
1. Good grades with little effort

And What the Students Said They Want
5. More parking
4 Safety in the parking lots and buildings
3. Instructors who know their names and staff/administrators who care
2. The correct course when they need to take it
1. An environment that encourages and supports their learning.
The only area that there is correspondence of opinions is in the area of parking.
  It seems that legs are becoming vestigial. No one wants to walk. In fact, behind the correspondence is a wish to be able to park right inside the classroom or office. Maybe we should all be building drive-ins so no one would have to even get out of their cars.

The differences belie some very interesting points. The faculty and administrators’ views of what students want indicates a rather negative attitude toward the students they are supposed to educate. It seems they bought the stereotypical belief that today’s students are under-prepared, lazy, coddled children who demand high grades. That should not surprise mist people since that is a rather prevalent belief on most campuses. It is usually expressed by the statement that admissions needs to recruit better students.”

With a belief that the students are sub-par, it is no wonder that schools fail to meet their real needs. They don’t care to do so. If a person feels that another is below them or not up to their expectations, they will necessarily treat them in an inferior manner. This degraded attitude is a definite cause of weak customer service that leads to retention problems.
Review the thoughts the students presented. Taking them seriously and learning from them will help any school.


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Customer Service Mini-Audits Example Results

What Does a Campus Mini Inventory/Audit Report Look Like?

Numerous requests have come to me to see what sort of information could be in a one to two day campus service mini-inventory I or one of my group might do. So here is a sample of an actual executive summary that went with a full inventory i.e. audit.  It has been anonymized (is that a real word?) and some parts have been excised to assure that.  The pictures have been left out too for the same reason. As a result, it could be your college or there may be some aspects that will sound familiar to you. That's okay. Just look at the recommendations and solutions. If they work for you - great.

Customer Service Mini-Audit Report of
The College
Audit Conducted on date
By Dr. Neal Raisman
The mini-audit I performed on the three campuses of The College indicated that strides had been made in the five years since my previous customer service review. Of the 28 people I interacted, 22 provided a quality of customer service which ranged between very good and excellent as I said at the presentation.  Two of the other six either tried to provide good care but were defeated by the system and the others need more help. It was my pleasure to be able to point out not just the way the 28 handled the issues but some of the individuals by name who worked with me. These I used as exemplars of how it can be done. Leadership and the people in student services are to be commended for the change. 

There do remain some issues and situations that could be addressed to increase customer service as well as enrollment, retention and morale. These concerns range from an old one mentioned five years ago – lack of or not fully helpful signs on campuses – to more difficult issues that effect both students and employees that may go to procedure and even policy. One of these could be having a negative effect on central aspects of customer service that affect performance and morale as well.

I recognize that in bringing some of this forward, I may be stepping into some policy or even political aspects at the College.  I do however believe it is my responsibility as a consultant asked to bring forward issues that may affect enrollment, retention and/or morale. 

1. As I mentioned in the presentation and in the one five years ago, the signage on the campuses is not helpful to students.  The signage that is on the campuses does not help students find where they would have to go to complete enrollment or find their way from function to function.  For example, the exterior signs that are on campuses may list locations by the names of buildings but there is not listing by functions such as admissions, registration, records, business office, or major area of study such as nursing, business, criminal justice, etc.    

The example below shows both the anonymous building names and the value of function naming as in Physical Plant – Shipping and Receiving. If functional helps vendors, it should help potential students and the community as well.

Students do not know where they need to go to do things by the name of a building. Moreover, none of the main entrances was clearly marked to assist or facilitate.  The closest to either naming by function or the main entrance was on the M campus where I did locate a sign inside a parking lot that listed functions within a building. 
  Unfortunately, if I did not happen to park in that lot, I may not have found other helpful signs on the campus. Moreover, this information was not repeated in front of the specific buildings with the functional areas within.  Redundancy can be helpful in signage. M campus was also the only campus with a sign over a door saying Welcome with some additional helpful information.  Without at least a welcome sign, there is not indication of a building’s front door. I had to wander about trying to figure out where the front door was of each campus. 

Moreover, the placement of signs is important if they are to be used and helpful. 

Inside building signage was described by a faculty member at M campus who stated “This place is like a labyrinth.  If you don’t already know where you’re going, you may not get there.” Variations of the statement were repeated to varying degrees at the B campus as one person told me that admissions was in the L campus Building. Though M campus again made some attempt to help out with a general sign inside the main building, it was still difficult to locate offices since some signs were overhead and small while others had different locations and some did not have. This is apropos for all the buildings at M campus and B campus. 

The L campus does provide interior signage that coincides with color coding that can help people new to campus find their way around. Though some of the individual function areas could still be marked better with signs to help people find their way around, especially to admissions, financial aid, business office, etc. 
L campus also has very good interior signs that are quite helpful.
I suggest a College signage master plan be created that will create signs that provide information by the functions that take place in buildings along with the building name. The committee should also study interior signage and address the needs for signs that will help potential and new students as well as any coming onto campus with the directions they need to find where they need to go in the buildings.

If one looks at the signs used on all three campuses, (examples above) they are all different in style, color, etc. Signs are visual statements of identity as well as indicators to help people find their way to a location. It thus is suggested the signs should all have a consistent look, style, color and font to generate a coherent image and statement of The College no matter what campus an individual is on. 

2.  There is duplication and some inconsistency in forms used and provided. For example, when I was considering taking courses at two different campuses of the College, I had to complete two separate admission request forms. I was also told I would need separate and thus duplicate forms for other processes too.  This duplication of forms and efforts by the student should be eliminated and I hope that the new Datatel system will allow for singular input of materials to limit student and staff effort and work. 

On different campuses I was given different material.  For instance, there were two different FAFSA brochures provided; some different College generated information on programs; the payment plans and courses of study by major area. In this case, some people had out the older brochures (blue color) of major areas while another campus had some new ones (reddish) mixed in with the older ones. I am not sure if the information is different or the new ones have changes but information and brochures should be the same at all campuses unless there is a specific reason such as a specific program only at that campus. 

I suggest that a committee review all materials handed out to students. They should determine a common packet that will be used by all campuses to assure all forms, information and brochures be consistent throughout all three campuses of the College.  Without consistency of materials the College may be providing students at one campus lesser or better information than at another.  Moreover, it is possible that without a standardized information packet, students may be given incorrect information or direction. This would be very unhelpful but could lead to significant problems for the College not just for enrollment and retention but for inconsistency of materials provided to students to make decisions.

3.   .While on the campuses, I would act as if I were lost or confused to see the reaction of employees as they passed me in the halls. The hoped for results would be that employees would stop and ask if they might help me.  The outcomes were not as positive as one might wish. Granted there were not as many people in the halls as might have been during more populated terms at B campus and L campus.  M campus was in full session. 

At B campus, I entered six of the buildings and encountered at least one employee in every one. All but one woman in the Adams building either ignored me or looked at me and kept walking by.  Only the woman in Adams asked if I were in need of help. 

At M campus, I was passed by five employees. One faculty member whose name I recall as George stopped as I was looking around as if lost and asked if he could help me. After he directed me to the admissions office and I was walking about the halls again, he saw me and asked if he could be of additional assistance. 

At L campus, I was passed by six employees and finally assisted by a young man from the bookstore. 

There were then 17 employees who did not provide me any service and three who did; one twice. This became a subject of the presentation which I introduced with the story of Dean Schaar.  I then went on to show how to make sure that we all say hello to students and ask how they are as we pass them. There may be a need for more specific small group training for employees in extending themselves and greeting students. The structure of the large group presentation limited the specific person-to-person training though we did review the processes and manner to be employed. 

4.  There is a serious service concern that has to do with what educational services are made available to students as well as specifically to adult students at one campus.  Customer service looks not only at the processes through which one works with or assists the client.  It looks at the products that are created since it is the “products” of education, training and a degree/job that are finally a major determinant of student satisfaction. How we deliver a service can be quite secondary to what service we deliver. 

The College currently has a structure and program distribution that seriously affects its delivery of the most important service of all – the ability to gain the education and thus career a student seeks. The distribution also limits the College’s ability to expand enrollment and thus revenues by limiting the offering of programs to specific campuses separated by distances without public transportation.  Moreover, the scheduling of the classes with intermittent starts to twice a year or even to once every 18 months creates serious limitations on enrollment, retention and revenue. 

When I attempted to enroll in a graphic design course at B campus for example, the admission’s officer was very helpful and polite but told me that though I lived in B campus I would have to travel to either M campus or L campus to get one or another graphics program.  They were very different programs. The one in M campus, Graphic Design, was a  program which would require more artistic focus and ability while the one in L campus, Visual Publication, was more computer-based.  The two did not overlap and were distinct but not available at B campus.  This was more than disappointing because the College website simply states that The College offers the programs and not a specific campus.  The indication on the web and the College’s marketing was that it was available at the College and not just one, and only one campus. 

By limiting a specific program to one and only one campus denies a broader band of the community access to the program.  If I lived in L campus or in B campus, I would be denied access unless I had the mobility, time and money to drive the distances to the campuses that own the program. From B campus to M campus, for example was over 60 miles and took an hour and twenty minutes.  This is a de facto limitation on enrollment and access. Not only does it deprive potential students from the community to gain education and training in what is one of the hottest areas of study nationally, it deprives the College of revenue ands the ability to fulfill on its motto of No Limits on Learning.  
I was frankly surprised that a community college would limit its service to the community in this manner by making distance a restraint on access.  But I was even more surprised that after I made the drive from B campus to M campus to try and complete enrolling in Graphic Design that it would next to impossible to enroll and, if I were an actual student, achieve my career goal. 

As an adult with a job and family, I was informed that the program called for me to attend five days a week from 8 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon.  As an adult with a job and family, I would not be able to do so without great hardship.  I inquired about attending part-time and was told that I could speak with the program chair but it was unlikely I would be allowed to do so.  There were only 18 slots available and the odds of opening one to a part-timer were slim.  These 18 would start together and complete the program before another 18 could start.  I could not start by taking some evening classes since there were no evening classes at the campus. 

When I mentioned to various people that the campus was not very adult friendly and even seemed to discriminate against working adults, there were no disagreements. In fact, there were statements of agreement as well as sympathy and frustration.  The people I would talk with as I persisted in my attempt to gain all the information and material needed to enroll were quite sympathetic to my plight as an adult wishing to advance myself and family though education in a chosen field but their facial expressions showed they were powerless to help. 

Furthermore, even if I were admitted, I could not start in October as I had desired.  I would have to wait until the summer of 2008 before another class started.  A one year wait with no guarantee of being admitted! There are very few students who could maintain their enthusiasm that long.  They would either give up their goals and dreams or find another school that would to start the program. It is quite probable that the for-profit schools are benefiting from the inability of The College to serve the needs and desires of students placed in the situation I was. 

It is also not probable but assured that The College is losing revenue as a result of this situation of individual campuses owning programs, limiting the number of students as well as the number of cohorts to be offered. Not even considering State support, and supposing that there is some sustainable pedagogical rationale for limiting cohorts to 18, an additional cohort of 18 FTE would generate in excess of $21,000 which is more than enough to hire adjuncts to teach the courses.  Appropriate scheduling, such as a full time day and part-time evening courses at the campuses would provide enough tuition revenue to hire at least one, and perhaps two additional full-time instructors. 

The situation is not unique to graphics-focused instruction either.  There appear to be a number of the “campus, not College” owned degree programs that significantly limit the customer service to students and the community. The current program distribution also limits the College’s ability to maximize its facilities, fixed costs and revenues. Moreover, the defacto denial of access to the adult, voting population could cause a sense of disenfranchisement and increase the difficulty of community support for initiatives. 

The program distribution and ownership situation also caused employees to not be able to fulfill their objectives of assisting students and providing fuller service to potential enrollees. On all three campuses, I sensed a strong sense of frustration from employees at being forced to inform me that I would have difficulty obtaining the education promoted and advertised by the College since their campus did not offer the program. Though each was as helpful as they could be, they did indicate that they were sorry I could not achieve my goals without either disruption to my family and life or driving long distances to get to the campus which had the course of study and training I was seeking. 

I strongly suggest the campus-specific program approach be reconsidered to increase the actual range of service the College provides. Currently, there are very many potential customers who are not receiving any, or very limited service at all in specific study areas. Programs should be available at all campuses that can draw the enrollment to support the course of study.  Courses should be offered day and night, in a full-time and a part-time mode so as to not to discriminate against adults, and others whose schedules, families and lives do not readily permit a commitment to a full-time day only schedule even if it were not five days a week. If programs are determined to need to be limited due to a specific campus, there should be consideration given to having them at the L campus campus since that is the area population center as well as a more or less central location between B campus and M campus. 

If it is necessary to continue campus-specific programs, the advertising, the web site and all materials should so indicate the specific campus at the very least. The 2007-8 Catalog does indicate the program location. 

5. Staff indicated that they did not have some of the information they felt they needed to be able to better serve me as a potential student trying to make some decisions. I was told by a couple of employees that “I would like to be able to help and I should be able to but I am just not given that information.” The issues ranged from what sections might be offered, to whether or not students were being accepted into a specific program prior to January 2008.  These are bits of information a student would need to have to decide on attendance or not.  In one case, an individual in a registrar office had to say she did not know the schedule for the next term even though it was completed, had been sent to the printer, and was somewhere on line in the College’s computer system. She did not have access to the on-line information to be able to answer my question.  She was clearly both frustrated and embarrassed. 

The feeling of being left out of the information loop became starkly clear during the break after the first part of the presentation. Attendees would sidle up to me in the hall, tell me the agree with all I had said but that they were not included in the information loop or as active participants in any decisions that affected their ability to perform their jobs.  They had worked hard to help install Datatel but had not belief they would be permitted access to the date within so they could do their jobs better. The individuals who surreptitiously spoke with me also said there was little communication with them from the College.  They also said they felt they could not comment or engage in discussion with me even when I asked a question in the presentation for fear of getting reprimanded. This at least helped explain why there was so little reaction or interaction from the attendees when I tried to engage them in discussion...

It would seem important the College seek ways to communicate and provide internal customer service more effectively with some employees.  It may well be that there is communication taking place but for one reason or other, there is a significant group that is somehow either missing the information or is indeed being left out of the loop. The result is the creation of a feeling of disenfranchisement leading to a diminution of morale that affects the providing of customer service to students...

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