University of Wisconsin Stout | Wisconsin's Polytechnic University
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Readers of University Business magazine may think they are seeing double when they receive their spring 2013 issue. The Registration and Records office at University of Wisconsin-Stout was cited twice in the publication’s annual Models of Efficiency national recognition program.
The university’s awards are for improving efficiencies in the student transcript process and for reducing the time required to send diplomas.
“This office has made tremendous strides over the last few years in improving its customer service and operations,” said Chancellor Charles W. Sorensen. “These awards acknowledge what we all know: Our Registration and Records office is a shining example of using technology to improve service to our students, alumni and employees.”
“There is nothing more important to a graduate than their transcript and their diploma, and timely distribution of these documents is critical,” said Tim Goral, University Business editor in chief. “University of Wisconsin-Stout has done a great job of automating these areas, which not only improved efficiency but also increased student satisfaction in the process.”
University Registrar Scott Correll credited his staff. “These awards are the result of a lot of work by a very dedicated staff in the office. We are always looking for ways to improve service for our customers using technology and other efficiencies,” Correll said.
Obtaining an official transcript from UW-Stout used to involve 12 steps that started with a paper request form and could take up to three weeks. “It was a very tedious and long process, as you can imagine,” said Jennifer Swoboda, Registration and Records office manager.
The office switched to an online service that automated handling the transcript requests and processing payments. Furthermore, requesters can use new delivery options, including PDFs and FedEx, if time is of the essence.
The result? The office has gone from processing 50 transcript requests a day to 160, and the university is saving money as well.
Technology also helped the office reduce the time required to send diplomas.
“We were reviewing graduates manually by running a degree audit and reviewing it individually to determine whether they met all the requirements and then awarding the degrees individually,” said Assistant Registrar Josh Lind.
Previously, UW-Stout often used the 45 days it is allowed after the end of a term to award diplomas. That led to many questions and complaints from graduates who wanted their diplomas sooner.
The office reviewed the student information system and found that all degree audits could be run simultaneously and electronically. Instead of two staffers working for two weeks to hand-calculate student records, 1,500 graduates could be processed in five minutes.
Now, two-thirds of diplomas are awarded within four days after final grades are entered.
UW-Stout was one of seven colleges and universities nationwide honored by University Business magazine. Sponsored by Higher One, a company focused on creating cost-saving efficiencies for higher education institutions, the program recognizes innovative approaches for streamlining higher education operations through technology and/or business process improvements.
In 2011 the Planning, Analysis, Research and Quality office at UW-Stout won a Models of Efficiency award.
University Business is a publication for senior managers at colleges and universities throughout the United States, reaching 49,000 leaders who manage areas such as enrollment, technology, facilities and academic affairs. More information is available here.