The student-centered philosophy that underlies every University action does come with a price: effective training.To create the most positive and memorable student experience, every staff and support team member deserves to be both instructed and empowered, said Dr. Kaye Patten-Wallace, senior vice president for the student experience.
“Each member of the UT community has opportunities to interact with students,” she said. “That’s why training that’s both very specific and widely applicable is so important.”
Under her direction, the Student Experience Steering Body is adopting a team approach to this training by utilizing service excellence champions called iCoaches — staff members across UT dedicated to transforming the student experience.
“These iCoaches are individuals who participate in one of our seven Student Experience Action Teams. They volunteered to assist with trainings based on specific ‘Moments of Truth’ identified in the University’s ‘Imagine 2017’ strategic plan,” said Tony Urbina, director of iCare University.
These iCoaches are starting with the training of two foundational principles: universal scripting and problem solving. Every frontline department will be trained on these basic yet important principles.
“It’s one thing to have a plan in writing, and it’s another thing to execute the plan. The iCoaches truly help to execute that plan,” Urbina said.
The 25 iCoaches, he explained, provide training for individual departments, offices or programs; the training supports staff and student workers in those areas as they apply the “Moments of Truth” to best serve UT students. These iCoaches completed their training in January and are committed to the vision of a superior student experience.
The iCoaches also serve as service excellence designees for their adopted areas and will report major concerns or issues to the Office for the Student Experience. Once a month they meet to discuss the progress being made.
For now, the main focus of the iCoaches is professionalism and problem solving, but down the road there will be different initiatives. Urbina said that what’s most important is taking large concepts and breaking them down to make them easier to execute.
“We want to be a university that is known for distinctive service and for really treating people right,” he said. “That’s the culture that we want to continue to create.”