NCC Director of Counseling Michael Coleman

NCC Director of Counseling Michael Coleman

NCC to share innovation techniques at conference

From Contributed Reports

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Nash Community College will once again share proven methods of innovation – this time at the North Carolina Community College System Conference on Oct. 12-14 in Raleigh.

The spotlight is on the college’s implementation of technology in its Student and Enrollment Services office, to streamline the workflow process and minimize student wait time. Michael Coleman, director of counseling at Nash Community College, will present “In House Electronic Sign-In System for Practically No Cost” at the system conference. The office houses admissions, financial aid, the registrar and provides assistance to students registering for classes and seeking counseling.

The college’s former process for seeing students in the Student and Enrollment Services office required individuals to sign in using a paper sign-in sheet at the front desk. A front desk staff member would then notify other staff members individually by phone until an available employee was located. The system caused delays, increased room for error, and allowed no process for tracking the number of individuals signed in or anticipate their needs.

After reviewing several companies that would charge as much as $30,000 for an electronic solution to improve the process, NCC decided to create an in-house solution. Using Google Docs, iPads, and the college’s website, NCC staff created an electronic sign-in system that has increased efficiency, record keeping and customer service – all for less than $1,000 in equipment costs.

Since implementation in February 2013, the electronic sign-in system has significantly increased the efficiency and speed at which Student and Enrollment Services employees have been able to assist students, decreasing student overall wait times. Staff members now have the ability to monitor students signing in from their office, which means they can research students’ needs immediately and many times, staff members are able to provide answers and resolve issues in their initial contact with the student.

Even more impressive, is the ability of staff members to access the sign-in sheet on their smart phone or tablet.

This means staff members can be away from their desk and still observe how many students are signing-in in real time. If a department director is off campus and observes a sudden influx in student traffic, they can quickly make a few calls and pull staff members to assist.

Additionally, with the electronic sign-in system, the department is now able to keep electronic records which can be used to make staffing decisions during peak times.

Such reporting can also provide analytics including information about peak traffic and wait times, the types of questions students have, and the departments that are seeing the most traffic. Searches within the system can also find specific student information such as what days, times, and needs a particular student had each time they signed in. The system has been so effective, Student and Enrollment Services plans on adding more iPads in the future to further enhance students’ ability to quickly get the answers they need.

At the conference, Coleman will walk attendees through setting up their own electronic sign-in system.

As an alumnus of the college holding an Associate in Applied Science in Architectural Technology, Coleman speaks from experience, knowing firsthand how improved processes and increased efficiency can benefit students.

After graduating from Nash, Michael Coleman attended Liberty University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in religion and master’s degrees in religion and business administration. He is pursuing his Doctorate of Business Administration at Liberty University.

Coleman has been employed at the college since 2007.