Academic journal article Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies

Implementing Imaging Technology in Graduate Admissions at Georgia Southern University

Academic journal article Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies

Implementing Imaging Technology in Graduate Admissions at Georgia Southern University

Article excerpt

CASE DESCRIPTION

This case concerns the implementation of a document imaging and workflow routing system in a university graduate admissions context - a setting familiar to both students and faculty. Secondary issues include the identification of bottlenecks and inefficiencies in paper-intensive manual processes, an appreciation for the organizational and management challenges associated with the introduction of new processes and systems, and recognition of strategic/competitive advantages afforded by the adoption of information technologies. The case has a difficulty level of 3-4 and would be appropriate for junior-to-senior level students. The case is designed to be taught in two class hours and is expected to require 2-4 hours of outside preparation by students. It might also be helpful to invite representatives from your campus graduate (or undergraduate) admissions office to join in the discussion of this case.

CASE SYNOPSIS

This case describes the implementation of a document imaging and workflow routing system in the Office of Graduate Admissions at Georgia Southern University. The new system, which replaces a paper-laden, labor-intensive manual process, is intended to address a number of organizational issues. Specifically, the new system is intended to streamline the graduate admissions process by: (1) reducing the amount of paperwork across multiple departments; (2) improving the ability of these departments to locate, retrieve and share vital information; and (3) reducing the time required to process applications for admission to the graduate programs, thus improving the quality of service to prospective graduate students. The process problems that existed prior to implementation of the document imaging system as well as the strategies and approaches used to deploy the new system are detailed in this case. The case also describes the technological infrastructure required to support the document imaging system, the challenges faced in implementing document imaging and workflow routing, and the benefits derived from implementation.

OVERVIEW OF GEORGIA SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY

Georgia Southern University (GSU) is a comprehensive center of higher education located in Statesboro, Georgia. Designated as a Carnegie Doctoral/Research University, GSU offers 120 degree programs at the baccalaureate, masters, and doctoral levels through eight colleges: Business Administration, Education, Health and Human Sciences, Science and Technology, Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, Information Technology, Public Health, and Graduate Studies.

The Georgia Southern student body is comprised of more than 16,500 students who represent 86 nations and almost every U.S. state. In 2006-2007 the University employed 1781 full-time workers (including 690 faculty members) and awarded 2,885 degrees.

The University is led by a President with the aid of Vice-Presidents for Academic Affairs, Business and Finance, Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, and University Advancement. The University's Strategic Plan, adopted in 2000 and revised in 2004, is built upon six strategic themes: academic distinction, student centeredness, technological advancement, trans-cultural opportunities, public-private partnerships, and physical environment.

Information technology plays a key role in the University's strategic plan, particularly with respect to the strategic theme of Technological Advancement. As stated in the plan:

"To enhance Academic Distinction, the University must use the best and most appropriate technological tools available to support teaching and learning opportunities and effective administrative practices. " (Georgia Southern University Strategic Plan, p. 17)

The imaging application discussed in this paper is a key example of how a technological tool has been implemented to support effective administrative practices. The Student Affairs and Enrollment Management (SAEM) Technical Support staff took the lead in the implementation of the imaging project. …

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