Higher Education Student Services Redesign Phase 5: Formulate Options for Student Services Models

Student Services Redesign Phase 5“Formulate Options for Student Service Models” is the sixth in a blog series that provides a high-level process roadmap for structuring a student services redesign initiative. This process can be applied in all higher education institutions for entire student services organizations or individual departments. To review this blog series from the beginning, click here.

In Phase 5, the goal is to develop model options. Documents that are helpful in generating student services model options include:
• Student Services Assessment Brief (Phase 2)
• Best Practices Research Results (Phase 3)

There are several approaches to generating model options. This approach works particularly well. Here are the three steps:

Step 1: Develop student services model options

If the “develop vision and goals” work session is a full 2-day work session, there is generally sufficient time to brainstorm possible options. This is ideal because cross campus leadership and other influencers in the design-and-decision-making process are generally represented. Towards the end of the second day, assemble breakout groups. Each group generates a draft student services model that reflects the vision and goals. The breakout groups capture the pros, cons and risks for their respective option. The goal is to present all the options to the larger group and select the best 2 or 3, which are then handed off to the project team.

Step 2: Refine student services model options

The project team refines each option to include the following detailed components:

• Description
• Benefits
• Potential risks
• Analysis of viability
• Critical success factors required for implementation.

Step 3: Select a final student services model option

The final decision will likely fall to the steering committee or to a sub-set leadership group, which may include representation from student services, academic leadership, and IT leaders. A facilitated, in-person discussion is optimal to capture ideas and explore multiple perspectives. The deliverable and expected outcome is a consensus for the future student services model. The model selected is the basis for developing an implementation/transition plan in Phase 6.

Questions to consider:

1. Are additional resources required to augment the project team to generate quality student service options? What other skills and expertise are required to recruit?
2. What mix of cross-campus representation should be included in selecting the final future student services model?
3. Does the future student services model align with the vision and goals?

Questions about this phase or how to begin a student services redesign initiative? Contact me at
[email protected].

Higher Education Student Services Redesign Phase 4: Develop a Vision and Goals

Student Services Redesign Phase 4: Develop a Student Services Vision“Develop a student services vision and goals” is the fifth in a blog series that provides a high-level process roadmap for structuring a student services redesign initiative. This process can be applied in all higher education institutions for entire student services organizations or individual departments. To review this blog series from the beginning, click <here>.

The goal in this phase is to begin crafting a student services vision to support an optimal student experience.  Inputs into this phase include a critical review of the current student services model (Phase 2) and research conducted on alternative models and peer institutions (Phase 3). Once the vision is created a set of goals is developed that are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, results oriented and time sensitive) to successfully realize the vision.  Together, the vision and goals anchor the student services model to a foundation where performance measures can be set.  A best practice in this phase is to convene a 1 to 2 day work session with a cross section of campus and student services leaders and other key influencers such as faculty.  The retreat serves two purposes: creates a dialogue about the student experience as it exists today and second, harnesses the brain power and creativity of key constituents to envision an optimal student experience.

Vision and Goals Setting Work Session

Below is a sample agenda for a student services redesign work session:

  • Review current state assessment and best practice research.
  • Gain agreement on the strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for improvement which student services organization should prepare to address in the future.
  • Develop a vision and a statement of values to guide the behaviors of the student services organization members.
  • Identify major goal areas for discussion and development.  If this is a cross campus student services redesign effort, consider priority areas of improvement.
  • Identify next steps.

Questions to Consider

    • Do we have the right mix of campus stakeholders in the room?
    • Does the Student Services vision and goals align with the institutional mission?
    • Does the vision and goals optimize the end-to-end student experience?

Questions about this phase or how to begin a student redesign initiative? Contact me at
[email protected].