April 17, 2013

VSU Recognized as a Model of Efficiency School

VALDOSTA - Valdosta State University has been recognized as one of University Business magazine’s Model of Efficiency schools for adopting innovative ways to streamline operations, save resources and improve the student experience.

The Model of Efficiency designation comes after the university’s launch of a multi-phase project that introduced a reporting portal with on-demand access to student class loads and grades. The faculty portal, which was introduced during Fall 2012, allows faculty to track and ensure student success through interaction with advisors, tutoring services, and other resources.

“This project is essential to how Valdosta State University intends to meet the goals of Complete College Georgia,” said Andy Clark, associate vice president for Enrollment Management. “We have placed the tools for student success in the hands of the people who can truly make a difference - the faculty.”

Clark added that the tool can be tailored to any area of the campus, with portals for athletics, international programs and other departments and divisions.

Since the implementation of the project, there has been a 10 to 15 percent improvement in midterm and final grades.

“The portal automates and streamlines communication between the faculty and other departments and offices throughout campus,” said Brian Haugabrook, director of data warehouse. “If a student has an issue in class, his or her instructor can use the portal to notify the student’s advisor, freshman learning community, housing coordinator or the Student Success Center depending on the student’s need and provide the student with the necessary assistance. It basically connects all offices at the click of a button.”

The second phase of the portal, which will be launched in the next few weeks, is for students and allows them to access all student resources, from financial aid and registration to Blazeview, on one page. The portal will also feature an online checklist for accepted students who have not yet begun classes at VSU.

“The students can obtain information pertaining to financial aid and housing,” said Haugabrook. “They can also visit the 1Card online system, which will allow them to upload photos to go on their student IDs. 1Card will then approve the photos and students can get their IDs during student orientation.”

Through this project, student satisfaction and performance can be tracked from recruitment to graduation.

“With this set in place, there are constant measures to make sure we remain proactive in our retention efforts – pinpointing issues with our students as early as possible so we can correct them,” said Haugabrook. “So far the faculty portal has been released to the freshman learning community. It has not been made a requirement, as it is still in the pilot phase. However eventually, we would like it to become part of new faculty orientation and slowly become part of the culture at Valdosta State University. This serves as a support system. There is no invasiveness – just basic checks of grades and metrics for making sure we catch and work with at-risk students before we lose them.”

Haugabrook credits the success of the project to his team members: Keisha Roberts, Miguel Tonido and David Pulliam, all from the Division of Information Technology, and Barrie Fitzgerald from Strategic Research and Analysis.

University Business provides coverage of higher education technology, news, finance, policy and profiles. It is one of the nation’s most recognized publications for higher education leaders at colleges and universities.

For more information about University Business magazine’s Models of Efficiency program, visit http://www.universitybusiness.com/moe .