College of Pharmacy’s Office of Student Affairs goes paperless

June 24, 2011 | Features, UToday
By Feliza Casano

During the past academic year, the Office of Student Affairs in the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences went paperless with student records and advising.

“The electronic files were prompted by the knowledge that we would have two Office of Student Affairs locations,” said Dr. Christine Hinko, associate dean for student affairs in the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. The college has an office on Main Campus in Wolfe Hall and another in the new College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences facility, which will be dedicated as the Frederic and Mary Wolfe Center on Health Science Campus Friday, June 24.

“At first, we looked at outsourcing the project, but we were told that could cost up to $20,000,” Hinko said. “We inquired with UT’s IT Department and worked with Kathy Diegel and Carylon Anteau to develop the paperless system.”

The College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences adopted electronic files for writing and storing advising notes and all other student documents. The documents are saved to student files that can be accessed by advisers on either campus. Pam Hennen, administrative secretary, led the charge to convert existing paper documents to digital files.

Hinko said the electronic filing system helps the college be more student-centered and efficient, adding the system could be beneficial to other colleges as well.

“Given budgetary cutbacks and trying to be more efficient, we have had other colleges contact us to learn more about the electronic file system and how it benefits our operation,” Hinko said. “I believe at least one college is exploring the opportunity.”

In the continuing effort to be student-centered, the Office of Student Affairs also implemented the use of Appointment Plus, a software program that allows students to schedule an advising appointment at anytime from anywhere. Deb Sobczak, director of student services for the pre-professional division, introduced this program whereby students can schedule advising appointments online without having to call or visit the office.

Another option for advising appointments: Skype.

“Our advisers’ computers have web cams to allow for a face-to-face advising experience if a student is on one campus and needs to speak with an adviser on the other campus,” Hinko said. She added that student evaluations of the Skype advising sessions generally have been positive since the sessions started during spring semester.

“Our goal is to have technology assist us to serve our students in the best way possible,” Hinko said.

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