Registrar’s Office Audit Westwood College Wendy Kilgore, Ph.D. Senior Consultant September 23-24, 2009

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Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Overall Observations: 1.Westwood College Online has undergone a significant change in leadership in the last few year and has experienced rapid growth in its enrollment. 2.The college adopted PeopleSoft for student records, registration and financial aid in early The traditional campuses of the college have not adopted PeopleSoft and continue to use a legacy system incompatible with PeopleSoft. This results in difficulty in serving hybrid students effectively.

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Registrars Office Audit Westwood College Wendy Kilgore, Ph.D. Senior Consultant September 23-24, 2009 Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Consultation Summary and Project Goals During a two day campus visit with Westwood College, Senior AACRAO Consultant Wendy Kilgore conducted an audit of the Westwood College Online office of Registration and Records. The audit focused on: Processes, procedures and policies. Organizational structure. Staffing levels, responsibilities, and cross-training of duties. The use of technology within the office. A focus on transfer credit practice processes in the registrars office. Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Overall Observations: 1.Westwood College Online has undergone a significant change in leadership in the last few year and has experienced rapid growth in its enrollment. 2.The college adopted PeopleSoft for student records, registration and financial aid in early The traditional campuses of the college have not adopted PeopleSoft and continue to use a legacy system incompatible with PeopleSoft. This results in difficulty in serving hybrid students effectively. Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Overall Observations: 3.In general, staff and management within the unit maintain a positive attitude towards their responsibilities and want to help students. However, there is a perception that appears to be prevalent among some staff and some management that the unit is the scape goat for issues in the college yet is also the unit that takes on responsibilities outside of their scope. 4.From a student self-efficacy perspective, there is a culture within the unit of doing as much as possible on behalf the student. This is potentially detrimental to the students educational experience. Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Overall Observations: 5.Further, this culture increases the amount of work performed in the unit without apparent added value to the organization. 6.Staff and management within the unit want to see more automation and an implementation of more student self-service. 7.Based on interviews with staff members within the unit, the majority of staff time is spent doing manual processes. Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Overall Observations: 8.There appears to have been a gradual creep in responsibilities over the last few years to where the unit has assumed responsibilities previously within the domain of student services. This has resulted in an increase in work load for registration and records staff. It also appears to have resulted in an unclear boundary of responsibilities for new students between student services and the registration and records unit. However, some registration and records staff commented that these additional duties break up the monotony of their regular duties. Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Overall Observations: 9.Policy and procedure interpretation varies from one unit functional area to another. For example: during the two day consulting visit at least three different records retention periods were stated as the official time required to retain a record. 10.Staff expressed both a lack of training and cross-training and a desire for that training within the unit functional divisions, across the unit as a whole, and across the college. This is extreme in some instances where one person within a unit functional area is the only person in the organization that knows how to do a particular necessary task. Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Overall Observations: 11.The why of procedures/practices is not generally understood by staff. There appears to be a because we have always done it this way or because we were told to do it this way level of understanding among the majority of staff. 12.Current practice restricts all students to just the most basic of self-help. This practice results in more work for staff including, according to staff, processing about 9,000 schedule changes each term for about 4,700 students. This is in addition to the initial registration for each student. Anecdotally, WCO students want to be able to help themselves. Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Overall Observations: 13.There appears to be serious technical issues with the imaging system resulting in the majority of work by CDCC staff involving manual intervention. With the move to E-SARs and other increases in imaging demand including archiving, these errors are going to cause a considerable backlog. 14.Papers containing personally identifiable information including SSN, name, DOB and address are being stored on desks and in unlocked desks because of the backlog of filing. 15.There are inaccuracies in the program course requirements stored in PeopleSoft. Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Overall Recommendations: The recommendations included in this section ideally should be implemented as soon as possible to improve student service and reduce the redundant workload for staff. However, several of the recommendations will also require a culture shift within the unit towards one of embracing improving student self- efficacy. While such a shift is not easy it will result in better service and a better experience for students. 1.Develop a clear definition of scope of responsibilities for the unit and communicate that with the rest of the college. 2.Shift the responsibility for finalizing enrollment paperwork back to the new student staff. Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Overall Recommendations: 3.Shift the responsibility for selecting courses for students back to student advisors until self-service registration is available. This should enable advisors to work with students to select the courses that they wish to take instead of having staff make the decisions regarding which general education courses to register the student in without the student expressing a preference. 4.Adopt and implement regular unit training and cross training for procedures, practice and technology. 5.Implement regular meetings within the unit and only cancel those meetings under unusual circumstances. Involve staff in the agenda for the meetings. Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Overall Recommendations: 6.Combined with a clear communication plan for students outlining self- service expectations and options, implement the assistant directors plan for additional student-self service capabilities, including: Registration Drop/add/withdrawal Official transcript requests Course schedule access for future terms Online payment Book ordering Fix the official transcript request function Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Overall Recommendations: 7.Resolve the technical issues with the imaging solution. 8.Make it a high priority to remove all paperwork with personally identifiable information from non-secure areas. 9.Confirm accuracy of program course information in SMART so as to foster the use of this information by staff for degree audits and student for self-registration and advising. 10.If possible, adopt a single ERP for both campus and web based students. Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Processes, procedure, and policies: Observations Processes/Procedures: 1.Almost all registration and records processes are manually intensive, some primary examples include: Printing and filing enrollment forms from the imaging database. Registering all students each term. 8 of 10 weeks a term spent registering students, correcting registrations or dropping/withdrawing students Hybrid registration requiring the manipulation of two separate databases. Official transcript batch printing is not working, printed individually. Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Processes, procedure, and policies: Observations The creation and maintenance of a separate transfer equivalency spreadsheet containing information already in the database. The printing and manual processing of degree check sheets even though the completed and remaining coursework resides in a single area in the database. The degree data in PeopleSoft may or may not be accurate depending on the program All student schedules are checked manually one at a time for any drops, adds or withdrawals or course changes 2-3 times each term to determine if a change needs to be made to the expected graduation date. Complete withdrawals and course drops require manual intervention in both PeopleSoft and e-college. The PeopleSoft transaction does not automatically update e-college. Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Processes, procedure, and policies: Observations Proficiency exam scores recorded in e-college not automatically uploaded and stored in PeopleSoft. Data imaging requires the manual intervention for approximately 25-60% of all incoming documents. Data imaging batch processes not working. IPEDS extract/reporting created by staff and data is manually scrubbed. Repeated course grades processed one student at a time. Last date of attendance not always accurately ported back to SMART from e- college so each student drop must be reviewed manually. Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Processes, procedure, and policies: Observations Re-registering all students in a course who failed a course the prior term is also a one student at a time process. Approximately 2000 students must be processed in a 3-5 day window between terms, each term. Some faculty get grading extensions resulting in an F grade being posted well after a student has started the next course. Mid-term students not differentiated sufficiently in PeopleSoft and as a result require manual intervention to make sure a dropped course is not recorded as a withdrawal. Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Processes, procedure, and policies: Observations 2.As stated earlier, registration and records staff are doing the work of what used to be the responsibility of academic advisors. They review the academic program for each student (new and continuing), manually cross off courses on a check sheet, and select courses for the next term on behalf of students. They then look for open courses and then schedule students or wait until a course is opened. The lack of any interaction with students during the course selection process appears at least anecdotally to be linked directly to the large number of course changes requested. Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Processes, procedure, and policies: Observations 3.Furthermore, staff appear to be doing some work that used to be the responsibility of new student staff All enrollment application materials being reviewed by registration and records staff for completeness and accuracy. It is unclear who is responsible for collecting corrected information from the student. It is also unclear as to when exceptions are appropriate to the requirement that a enrollment file must be complete and accurate before registration. Staff have been asked to make exceptions to this requirement. Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Processes, procedure, and policies: Observations 4.Unit staff are asked to make calls for the financial aid office to students with missing information but the apparent reverse assistance does not happen. This takes a significant amount of staff time Staff who connect with students by phone just transfer them to financial aid because staff are unsure of what documentation is missing. Staff are still expected to meet the unit SLAs even on days when they are doing significant work to help financial aid. This practice in particular has caused considerable grief and bad feelings among the staff. Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Processes, procedure, and policies: Observations 5.Paper filing estimated by staff to be 5-13 months backlogged As stated earlier, this results in personally identifiable student information including SSN, name, DOB and address being stored on and in staff desks without locks Non-college employees have unsupervised access to these areas after normal business hours Staff find it difficult to get the basic supplies needed for making student folders Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Processes, procedure, and policies: Observations 6.Manually intense and complicated re-entry procedures, hybrid student registration and other daily transactional processes appear to consume the majority of each day for both the registrar and assistant registrar. Both the registrar and assistant registrar estimated they receive about 500s a day. Both commented that they wish they had more time to work with staff on training and regular meetings. Staff also expressed a desire to have more effective interactions with their managers. Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Processes, procedure, and policies: Observations 7.The communication of changes in procedures appears to be completed in a piecemeal fashion because of the lack of time dedicated to meeting as a team or sub-teams. Staff regularly commented that the only way they hear something has changed is that one staff member hears it and decides to share it with others. The unit does not appear to have regular meetings or widely shared communication with staff to inform and discuss changes to procedures or to share a vision and mission for the unit. Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Processes, procedure, and policies: Observations 8.Exception reports are almost non-existent and those that do exist are only accessible by a couple of people. The lack of regular data exception extracts or queries contributes to a pattern of last minute data processing and needing to check each and every student rather than just the exceptions. 9.Registration staff spend a considerable amount of time waiting and double checking for courses to be built in order to be able to register waiting students in those courses. Course building sometimes occurs even after the term has started. Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, The add-on faculty database used to assign faculty workload instead of PeopleSoft pulls data from PeopleSoft but not always accurately. This results in the need to manually compare each course in PeopleSoft to the faculty database. Processes, procedure, and policies: Observations Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Processes, procedure, and policies: Observations Policies: 11.There does not appear to be a disaster recovery policy outside of centralized data recovery and backup. The existing policy does not cover paper documents. May not cover the imaging system. 12.SLAs not regularly reviewed for timeline appropriateness. Staff regularly commented that the time...

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