Students First Campaign
On January 5, 2009, Howard University launched the Students First Campaign (SFC) as a presidential initiative in an effort to foster a student-centered learning environment, to implement measures to improve the quality of service delivery to our students, and to cultivate a culture where the student is valued as one of our greatest resources.
The Students First Campaign is designed to integrate the student-centered learning concept throughout all facets of the university in order to improve the overall “student experience.” All stakeholders within the university are charged to implement the SFC as a framework for continuous quality improvement of direct student services. Phase I of the initiative is spearheaded by a steering committee utilizing an interdisciplinary approach. The SFC Steering Committee makes critical recommendations to improve the student experience within the academic and extracurricular environments. The SFC Steering Committee, comprised of students, faculty, staff, and alumni, assesses the immediate, organizational, and long term improvements necessary to enhance the quality of student life and learning on campus and ultimately serve as the basis for policy development and resource allocation within the University.
The SFC Steering Committee collected and synthesized data from key areas that have the most direct and immediate contact with students. The SFC Steering Committee under the leadership of a project administrator will utilize SWOT analysis, surveys, comment/customer satisfaction cards, focus groups and other performance indicators to measure improvements. The following key areas will serve as the focus areas for Phase I: Academic Advising, Admissions, Cashiers, Housing/Residence Life, Student Financial Services (Financial Aid and Student Accounts, Loans & Collections), Student Life and Activities, and Records.
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Phase I of the Students First Campaign (SFC). Phase I consisted of three concurrent project directives which include: (1) introduction and integration of SFC into the institutional framework, (2) assessment and analysis of the critical focus groups for process improvement, (3) survey and performance assessment and customer service training for staff.
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Outlined below are the recommendations from Phase I of the Students First Campaign. Each recommendation will improve service levels and/or efficiency in one or more of eight (8) key target areas/functions that directly serve students. Some of these recommendations are being implemented now while others are being reviewed/planned by the managers of the respective units. In addition to the changes that will be implemented across all areas, many of the changes that apply to a specific area will already be having an effect when school resumes in Fall 2009. What follows below is a list of process and organizational improvements that apply to all eight target areas; following this is a separate list of key improvements for each of the individual target areas/functions.
Process and Organizational Improvements for All Eight (8) Target Areas
Process and Organizational Improvements for Each Individual Target Area
There were more than 100 students representing all classifications, a variety of demographics and all schools/colleges, who participated directly in activities specifically related to Phase I of the Students First Campaign. The student breakdown included transfer students, international students, non-traditional students, continuing education students, undergraduate students, professional and graduate students, and alumni. Invitations and opportunities to participate were given to all students, student leaders, student representatives, student employees, and staff members who are also students. The data, feedback and recommended solutions included in this Executive Summary is a compilation of assessment data students provided through their participation in University/Institutional surveys, participation in the SWOT and RAPID work sessions, Speed Solutions Town Hall meetings, Volunteer trainings, correspondences via e-mail, phone and/or in person, issues/concerns and/or recommendations by student governments and/or councils that were shared with SFC Steering Committee.
The cultural reengineering process is continuous and ongoing and all students are part of the campaign! To truly develop and maintain a student-centered learning environment, the initiative must continually seek the opinions, assessments and recommendations of the students, staff, faculty, alumni to improve the processes that impact the student experience. Undergraduate and graduate students have to continue to get involved and take an active role in the opportunities provided by the Students First Campaign to ensure its success in improving Howard University.
June 9, 2009
Dr. Sidney A. Ribeau
Dr. Steven G. Johnson
Students First Campaign
2400 Sixth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20059