“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:
• 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