I know that I have reported that I am off until the end of the year, but I'm back in the office today. The photo shows what's going on that needs my attention.
Last week, my current job was expanded to include leading The University of the Arts student billing operations as well as my old responsibilities in financial aid and enrollment management. One of the key issues facing the student billing folks in improving their relationship with students its that they had really poor physical space. All of their interactions with families were though plastic windows and the space was a warren of tiny, cluttered spaces that were badly planned and didn't function well.
That's all going to change!
We've gotten approval from the powers that be (thanks Sean and Tom!) to gut the old student billing space, reconfigure some furniture and create a space where students will be able to interact directly with the folks that can help them pay their bills here at UArts. It's a tough economy to be spending money in, but we really think that this project will go a long way to helping retain students.
Like a lot of places, we've always spent too much time and effort bouncing students from one office to the other to make them solve their own problems. This project will give us the physical space we need to create place where we can work with students to really solve their problems.
The physical space is old, dating to the 1860s, with many renovations over the years. The most recent renovation in the late 1980s was designed as a temporary solution. Twenty years later, we're still going to use some of that temporary project in this phase. We're working with Cathie at Stephen Varenhorst Architects planning a few more phases to complete the Student Services Center, but they're for another day (or year).
More photos are up here. I'll keep you posted on the progress!