New Office for the Student Experience promotes students-centered culture

January 17, 2012 | News, UToday
By Josh Martin

The University is reinforcing its mission of student centeredness with a new office to address student concerns more promptly and reduce the “hassle factor” to lead to student success.

The new Office for the Student Experience is a comprehensive approach to putting students first and also a physical space in the heart of the Student Union to conveniently provide services.

The office, located in Student Union Room 2521 near the Tom Trimble Student Lounge, “can do most anything for students,” said Tony Urbina, senior service excellence specialist.

“The Student Union office is a place where we will receive comments and complaints from students, advance professional training initiatives such as co-op programs, and implement initiatives and revised policies that affect academic and student life issues, such as improving UT’s residence and dining halls,” Urbina said.

Service excellence officers throughout the University also will be available to assist with student concerns with a commitment to respond with a solution within 72 hours. The Office of the Student Experience will monitor requests for assistance for trends and respond by solving the underlying issues.

The Office for the Student Experience is working to enhance the culture of the institution for every person at the University to always put students first, whether that is to do what one can to address a concern immediately or making a suggestion to streamline a process.

“We are concerned with changing a culture — not just doing one particular thing and walking away,” said Dr. Kaye Patten Wallace, UT vice president for the student experience. “We want to promote top-down change as well as bottom-up change, and the Office for the Student Experience will manage all of this. We believe all of these efforts will chiefly improve retention and graduation rates, since the multiple ways students can interact with the University contribute to their overall success here.”

The Office for the Student Experience recently completed a strategic plan, “Changing the Student Experience,” that will guide efforts to improve the student experience in the key areas of support services, academic support and learning environment.

In addition to the advancements that are under way, the office will work to enhance student retention with the identification of and assistance for students at risk and enhancing the important faculty-student relationship. The plan also calls to continue the University’s efforts to make all campus buildings and grounds the best they can be.

“It is important to note the strides in the direction of these goals UT has already made, and the Office for the Student Experience will continue to focus on moving this university from ‘good’ to ‘great,’” Patten Wallace said.

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