Lynn University is introducing new virtual and physical resources for students on campus as part of a plan to take what’s great about customer service-oriented companies like Apple and the Ritz Carlton and apply it to the way higher ed as a service is presented to students.
- Working with a team of approximately 40 faculty and staff from a number of departments to implement a design thinking model of transformation, campus leadership is implementing things like a Genius Bar-esque one-stop center where students can get all of their problems solved, from academic advising to financial aid to questions about campus services. Other additions include trying to design the campus in a way that creates “even with our architectural plans, we’ve created very intentional pathways and serendipitous meeting places on our campus, so that community can be built,” said President Kevin Ross via telephone Thursday.
- Leaders are also making an intentional effort to offer the same seamless customer service experience to remote students, via mobile applications and software. “Through this design thinking lens, we’ve really encouraged all of these folks to really think about how we can expand, elevate and enhance the services that we are providing to our students,” said Vice President for Enrollment Management Gareth Fowles.
“Sometimes at colleges and universities we organize things in ways that make sense to us but don’t always make sense to students,” Ross said, emphasizing the need to engage campus stakeholders from faculty, student affairs, financial aid, athletics and other departments to help think about the way the university is delivering a service to students.
The team is revamping academic and financial advising, with the centralized hub, which will now be located in the library to help catch students before they may slip; communication and collaboration among faculty, staff and students; and centralizing as many services and solutions as possible and paying particular attention to making sure those services and efforts extend to remote students as well.
“We live in a mobile world, we want to be able to do a number of things, and do them well, and have that information at their fingertips,” Ross said.
Fowles said, “As a higher level of scrutiny is placed on an higher education …we have really challenged ourselves to think differently [about] how can we enhance that experience,” despite the fact that enrollment, including foreign enrollment, retention and graduation rates have steadily gone up for Lynn, even as other universities continue to struggle to attract and retain students to campus.