Four enrollment services areas—financial aid, admissions, scheduling center, and the office of the Registrar—as well as the Bursar's Office take their first step toward the anticipated mid-March, 2014 opening of the new MT One Stop.
Beginning this week, a consolidated call center will field calls coming in for the bursar, financial aid, admissions, scheduling center and the Registrar. Specially trained staff will take calls and respond to email requests for information from any of these areas. Staff have access to student data that will allow them to answer most questions without the need to transfer callers to other staff. You don't need to learn any new phone numbers at this time or update your directory—but when you call the front office phone line for the Bursar, Admissions, the Registrar, Scheduling Center or Financial Aid, you'll now be greeted with, "MT One Stop. How may I help you?"
The consolidated call center represents the first step in a whole new approach to managing student enrollment at MTSU.
Traditionally, universities have approached financial aid and enrollment services from the perspective of discrete departments executing simple transactions while delivering the best possible customer service. The MT One Stop is built on the premise that every interaction we have with the student around issues related to financial aid or enrollment can be an opportunity to retain the student and support his or her broader academic success. Adopting this point of view fundamentally changes the nature of our organizational structure and our interaction with the student.
If everything stays on schedule, by the end of March the departments of admissions, financial aid, the Registrar, the Scheduling Center, and the Bursar will move into the new Student Services and Admissions Center, located directly across the street from the Student Union. In the MT One Stop, admissions, financial aid, scheduling, course registration and business office functions are recognized as being integrally connected. From the student's point of view, the functions of these offices need to coordinate seamlessly to prevent barriers to ongoing registration, enrollment, and payment.
Structurally, this means that in moving to the MT One Stop, we will be utilizing functional specialists in each separate area to administer major "back of the house" operations related to overall management of financial aid disbursement, transcripting operations, and course scheduling. These areas need to continue to operate efficiently and with the highest degree of accuracy. The effectiveness of the specialists working on these operations can be optimized by separating these "back of the house" functions from the more integrated role of providing developmental enrollment counseling to students at the "front of the house."
Therefore, the face-to-face student experience in the MT One Stop will primarily take place in relationship to a staff of professional enrollment counselors who are trained in the fundamentals of academic advising and also trained regarding financial aid and other enrollment services. A specific enrollment counselor is assigned to each new student immediately upon admission to the university, and works with that student throughout the months leading to their arrival at CUSTOMS or Transfer orientation and their assignment to a specific academic advisor within their major. From that time forward, the enrollment counselor will continue to be available to work with students on issues or roadblocks related to financial aid or with other enrollment-related concerns. In the MT One Stop, enrollment counselors will be trained to help anticipate the questions the student doesn't even know that he/she needs to ask, and then to work with the student to coordinate multiple processes across all MT One Stop functions to best support the student's on going enrollment and academic success.
In the more traditional model, students must seek individual answers from isolated departments, and then must be able to interpret those discrete responses, on their own, into what he or she hopes is a good decision about how to move forward with enrollment at MTSU. The goal of the enrollment counselors in the MT One Stop will be to focus, when appropriate, on converting routine enrollment questions or concerns into opportunities to more intrusively engage with the student on broader issues related to academic success and graduation. It's a whole new way of looking at a very common set of university services that may have been, up until this point, missed opportunities for us to connect to a student when he or she is unsure, confused, looking for help, and at a crossroad.
The new consolidated call center is our first step forward to full implementation of the MT One Stop model next spring. We look forward to serving you and our students.