schematic of the first floor of Lowell Heiny Hall
For phase one, the Lowell Heiny Hall first floor lobby will undergo a light facelift, including the addition of an integrated service desk and additional self-service stations.


Challenging the Status Quo

The driving force behind a new initiative to streamline CMU’s administrative student services is to enable our students to dedicate their attention to learning and minimize time spent on non-academic administrative tasks related to college life. Those services include registration, student accounts, financial aid and advising.  

“Students praise CMU for its student-centered values and approach, so we decided to take our current business processes to a heightened level of integration and service,” said Anna Nichols, MBA, Deputy Controller and, now also, Director of Integrated Services.

Nichols and 11 staff members from the Registrar’s Office, Financial Aid, Advising, Student Accounts, Residence Life, IT and Marketing, are tackling the challenge of re-imagining how CMU provides student services and how staff may eliminate barriers that could prevent students from continuing their education. Those barriers may range from financial aid issues to holds preventing course registration to outstanding account balances and more.

“Meeting the changing needs of a quickly-evolving student body is something we must do to stay competitive and continue in our quest to provide outstanding service to our students,” said President Tim Foster.

The group started meeting in January and is working on a plan that will detail a multi-year, phased approach to improving both “high touch” (in-person and telephone) and “high tech” (website, e-mail, social media and MAVzone) interactions with students. The group is also looking at ways to help move students from “in line to online” by making university business processes more streamlined and understandable for students. In collaboration with executive leadership, the group identified four guiding principles to lead the university’s efforts:

  • Promote Self-Service – Proactively communicate tools available for students so they can take care of business on their own.
  • Deliver Exceptional Customer Service – Provide seamless customer service to increase satisfaction by reducing or eliminating the bounce (between offices) regardless of means of delivery (in-person, phone, email, or web).
  • Embrace Student-Centered Problem Solving – Empower staff to help students resolve multi-departmental administrative barriers.
  • Create Operational Efficiency – Redesign business processes, maximize use of technology and continuously seek improvement opportunities to create efficiencies in back office processes.

In phase one, various staff from the offices on the first floor of Lowell Heiny Hall will be cross-trained to provide the first level of integrated multi-departmental service.  The first floor lobby will get a light facelift to enhance customer service, including an integrated service desk. Beginning in August, the desk will be operated by staff from each of the appropriate student service areas and by student-workers who will be able to answer a variety of questions and more efficiently serve students.

Details on future enhancements and the full multi-year evolution will follow as the team wraps up planning and pilots the first phase of enhancements during the fall 2017 semester.

Media Contact

David Ludlam, Director of Public Relations

970.248.1868 (o)

970.433.2178 (c)