Re-Engineering of Enrollment Services at Carnegie Mellon

By Anderson, Linda M.; Papinchak, John R. | College and University, Winter 2001 | Go to article overview

Re-Engineering of Enrollment Services at Carnegie Mellon


Anderson, Linda M., Papinchak, John R., College and University


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Carnegie Mellon University began a re-engineering project in 1994 to review the University's student enrollment process. The Enrollment Services Department was created in July 1996, replacing the Offices of Financial Aid, Cashier, Student Employment, ID

Card, and Registrar.

Beginning in fall 1994, Carnegie Mellon began a reengineering project to review its University enrollment process. This review revealed three interdependent enrollment processes (registration, financial aid, and billing and collections) that were fragmented, inconvenient, time consuming, bureaucratic, labor intensive, prone to error, and inconsistent across colleges.

The original organization was comprised of six distinct offices. The Enrollment Services Department was created in July 1996, and is organized by outward focused functional teams, and a vision and mission based upon the delivery of innovative student services. Each year continues to bring increased student satisfaction, new technological enhancements, a reduction in non-value added steps, and a more efficient enrollment services delivery focus.

Critical succes`s factors have been:

* The realignment and ownership of the prospective student financial aid process within the Office of Admission.

* The development and internalization of the mission, vision, and values within Enrollment Services.

* The creation of a performance evaluation tool reflecting the values and mission, which has evolved into a performance management process, enabling the growth of the new organization.

* Cross-functional training initiatives and group behavioral change evolving into teams.

* The implementation of technology initiatives (automated need analysis and packaging, electronic funds transfer, online registration, database query access, and automated loan certifications).

* The implementation of student Web-enabled services (access to view student academic, financial, and account information, change addresses, request enrollment verifications, and graduation application).

* The implementation of administrative Web-enabled processing (electronic grade submission, online graduation data maintenance, and certification). The re-engineering of Enrollment Services has represented transformational rather than incremental change for the staff, organization, and institution. It has had tremendous impact on people, processes, and technology. We experienced dramatic learning curves during the first year of implementation, and have learned that continuous training is crucial, and have made that part of our operational schedules. One of the greatest challenges is addressing the lack of the traditional supervisory relationships within the new flattened organization, and enabling groups to evolve into self-directed work teams. Technology has eliminated routine transactions, and is releasing staff time to focus on problem solving. New types of "leaders" within the organization are developing, who are becoming responsible for teaching and learning, and enabling groups to problem identify and problem solve. After our second year, the majority of our staff had acclimated to these changes and continued to grow and develop. We are currently at the end of our fourth year, and have experienced significant changes in the evolution of team culture, customer service focus, and the depth and breadth of expertise as a student services organization.

The University Carnegie Mellon is a national research university of approximately 8,000 students and 3,000 faculty, research and administrative staff. Industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, who wrote the time-honored words, "My heart is in the work" founded the institution in 1900 in Pittsburgh when he donated the funds to create Carnegie Technical Schools. Carnegie's vision was to open a vocational training school for the sons and daughters of Pittsburgh's working class.

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