Kingsville Program Audit
8 Pages
English
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Kingsville Program Audit

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8 Pages
English

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PROGRAM REVIEW REGISTRAR’S OFFICE TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY-KINGSVILLE Jean Stuart Director of Student Systems The University of Texas at Dallas Process Approach 1. Reviewed Texas A&M-Kingsville Registrar’s Web site. 2. Reviewed Summer and Fall Schedule of Classes for information Note: Schedule of Classes not prepared by Registrar’s Office 3. Performed a cursory review of the Admissions Office to determine process flow. 4. Interviewed Director, Associate Director, Office Managers for both Admissions and Records, and all Registrar’s Office staff members, including temporary employees, but not student workers. 5. Reference Publication: AACRAO Professional Development Guidelines for Registrars: A Self-Audit. Overview: Excellent foundations have been, and are continuing to be, built in the Texas A&M-Kingsville Registrar’s Office: • Authority relationships are clearly defined and well-managed. Authority and responsibility are delegated effectively and efficiently and every employee knows who has the authority to make exceptions. Communication within the office is well-managed. o Staff members know where to go if there is a process with which they need help or a decision they cannot make. They know who can approve which processes. They also have the latest information about what is happening, any special handling instructions, etc. This cuts down on the ...

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PROGRAM REVIEW
REGISTRAR’S OFFICE
TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY-KINGSVILLE
Jean Stuart
Director of Student Systems
The University of Texas at Dallas
Process Approach
1. Reviewed Texas A&M-Kingsville Registrar’s Web site.
2. Reviewed Summer and Fall Schedule of Classes for information
Note: Schedule of Classes not prepared by Registrar’s Office
3. Performed a cursory review of the Admissions Office to determine process flow.
4. Interviewed Director, Associate Director, Office Managers for both Admissions
and Records, and all Registrar’s Office staff members, including temporary
employees, but not student workers.
5.
Reference Publication:
AACRAO Professional Development Guidelines for
Registrars:
A Self-Audit.
Overview:
Excellent foundations have been, and are continuing to be, built in the
Texas A&M-Kingsville Registrar’s Office:
Authority relationships are clearly defined and well-managed.
Authority and
responsibility are delegated effectively and efficiently and every employee
knows who has the authority to make exceptions.
Communication within the
office is well-managed.
o
Staff members know where to go if there is a process with which they
need help or a decision they cannot make.
They know who can
approve which processes.
They also have the latest information about
what is happening, any special handling instructions, etc.
This cuts
down on the dissemination of incorrect information and enhances the
effectiveness of the office.
Functions and processes are been set up to maximize efficiency.
Procedures
manuals were, in most instances, complete and others were under current
development (with a looming deadline).
A very excellent system of checks
and balances has been set up by the Registrar, so that any sensitive or data
dependent process is always double checked by a second knowledgeable
person.
o
The possibility of clerical errors that could be made in student records
has been cut drastically by the processes put in place.
In addition, it
would be almost impossible for someone to ‘hack’ in and alter grades
or other student records because of these procedures.
Excellent training materials have been developed for the student information
system.
o
A great deal of time was dedicated to the preparation of the SIS
Training Manual.
It is comprehensive, complete, easy to understand
and use for faculty, university staff and registrar’s staff
(though the
internal procedures manuals take their training much further).
o
The Registrar and her administrative staff recognize the importance of
education and a great deal of emphasis is placed on doing it right the
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first time.
She fosters a training program that not only tells a staff
member what to do, but why, emphasizing the importance of the
process.
Additionally,
she has instilled a sense of challenge and
initiative with regard to data cleanup in both Admissions and the
Registrar’s Office so that, not only do they fix the problems they find,
but ask for a report of any other students with the same problem so
they can fix them all.
Upon observing the staff, it was plain to see
that they were well-trained, knew their processes and knew where
these fit into the whole.
Office morale in both Admissions and Records appears to be very high; there
is a very evident sense of camaraderie.
There is generally good rapport with system programmers, who seem to be
responsive to the need for ad hoc reports to support the processes.
The Registrar’s web site is clean and easy to follow.
The information is
extensive, looks complete and simple – difficult to misunderstand.
o
The first page of the Registrar’s site allows students to see just about
everything they might need to access on one page, with links to other
information they might need.
It is well organized and intuitive.
o
There was no FERPA information on the Web site other than the form
for students to sign to allow parents to get grades and a release form
for the Career Center.
There is FERPA information in the class
schedule.
o
I could not find the dates for advanced registration on the web or in the
schedule.
Admissions and the Registrar’s Office seem to work very well together, a
tribute to the supervisory staff.
This is not always the case.
PC’s are provided students in the waiting area so that they can access Web for
Students or apply on line.
This is an excellent service that not only engages
the student, but saves time and effort for the staff.
There is a well-documented Forms/Documents tracking process that gives the
name of each form or document, where it should be filed or resides, and the
final storage location.
o
It appears that many forms are kept ‘forever’ in the Attic.
The
AACRAO Guide to Retention of Records lays out the accepted
retention rate for most of these forms.
Many could be shredded after a
year instead of being moved to permanent storage.
Page 3
Process Highlights
Admissions Office:
Although this review did not include the Admissions Office, there are several processes
that should be mentioned:
1. When transcripts or test scores are received for a person who has not applied,
a letter goes to that person inviting an application.
This is an excellent
practice that can help build enrollment as well as make a very good
impression on a prospective student.
2. A “Tell Us How We’re Doing” card goes out with every admission letter.
Students are given an opportunity to indicate the service accessed, rate that
service, make a comment and request a reply.
This helps find problems with
the process as well as let the student know s/he is important.
3. A “Monday Report” is run each week.
It is a report of all applicants for the
current and coming year for which some information is missing in the
student system.
This greatly enhances the chance for good data when time
comes for reporting to the Coordinating Board and other agencies.
4. Electronic transcripts are received each day from the UT Austin Internet
Server, are fed through Quick n Easy Software provided by UT Austin and
printed.
If they were received via EDI Smart, they could be printed in a much
more user-friendly format and could be uploaded directly into the Student
Information System, thus greatly streamlining the transfer admissions process.
Registrar’s Office
Registration:
Registration at Texas A&M-Kingsville is centralized and distributed, web and
telephone.
Students may do schedule changes through the fifth class day of a long
semester.
Students cannot drop individual courses after that date because SIS+ does not
preclude the dropping of the last class, resulting in total withdrawal, for which the student
must have certain signatures.
Students can register, pay by Visa or Master Card and access their schedule via
Web for Students.
This is an excellent service that helps make registration relatively
painless.
Non-paid registrations are cancelled at the end of the 12
th
class day and Census
Day Rolls printed for distribution to faculty with instructions to notify students who are
no longer enrolled.
Students are not notified directly.
Reinstatement is effected after the student obtains required approvals and only the
Records Office Manager (or Registrar) can process these.
A Reinstatement Tracking
Sheet is attached to each for documentation for future audits.
The tracking sheet is
initialed and the date that is entered is noted on the form.
This is an excellent process
that precludes inappropriate reinstatement or reinstatement of a registration that should
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count for funding but does not because the appropriate pre-Census Day date was not
entered.
Withdrawals:
Withdrawals may be processed only by the Records Office Manager and one
other staff member.
They must have three approval signatures, all obtained that same
day.
Any withdrawal processed by the office manager is double checked by the other
staff member and vice-versa.
Grades:
Grades are entered on line by faculty via Web for Faculty and are immediately
available to students on line.
Forms for the purpose of requesting a grade mailer to be
sent are available on the front counter and can be requested by telephone and email so
that students who really need them can get them.
Otherwise, grades are mailed only to
students who are on academic probation, drop status or who have only grades of F for the
semester.
This is an excellent practice.
Many schools have stopped mailing grades, but it is
important to still communicate with those students with academic difficulties.
Grade change forms are numbered sequentially and are checked out specifically
to faculty, with the numbers of the forms given out recorded.
The grade change forms
and the log of those checked out are kept in the file room, which is locked at night.
Only
the professor of the departmental administrative assistant can return one.
Grade changes are logged in and processed by an academic history maintenance
clerical staff person (Alma Shorter) and passed to Donna Porter.
Every Monday, a report
of all the grade changes done the previous week is generated.
That report is checked
against all the grade change forms from the previous week to find any discrepancies.
This is a very solid and well-thought-out process that virtually precludes grade
tampering.
Transcripts:
Transcripts are generated in batch mode twice a day so that students can pick
them up after 11:15 a.m. and 3:45 p.m.
They print in the Registrar’s Office for ease of
distribution to students.
There is no charge for transcripts.
As requests come in via the front desk, they are
checked to see if the student has indicated s/he attended prior to Spring 1994 (in which
case the transcript may have to be audited to add old A&I academic history).
If the
transcript does not have to be audited, and the front desk clerical staff member has time,
the transcript request is entered into the system immediately.
Otherwise, the request is
passed to another staff person for processing.
Transcripts that must be audited are
generally ready within two days.
With EDI Smart, it would be possible to send transcripts electronically to every
state-supported college and university in Texas, as well as most of the private schools.
Not having to mail these transcripts would result not only in a reduction of staff time that
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is taken up matching transcripts with requests, folding transcripts and addressing
envelopes, but would save as well the cost of the special transcript paper, envelopes and
postage.
Front Desk/Reception Area
This was a very busy place – the last day to drop without signatures.
The staff
handled the ‘busyness’ well.
Sam Ramos was there most of the day, frequently helping
more than one student at a time.
Other staff went to the front area to help without being
asked or prompted.
The supervisory staff members were able to go about their business
without having to worry that students were not being taken care of.
The staff worked with many students who were there to drop courses, but also
with those wishing to change majors, pick up requested transcripts, change addresses and
request grades to be mailed.
All were knowledgeable and pleasant.
They knew when
they were able to complete a transaction as opposed to when they needed additional
authority.
Graduation:
Information on applying for graduation is on the registrar’s web site, but not in
the schedule of classes except for the academic calendar.
The deadline for graduation
application is firm.
There is also a deadline for name changes of graduates, as the
diploma name is taken from the Student Information System.
Graduation is handled by the Provost’s Office and graduates cleared by the
academic departments, but early grades are required for graduating seniors, which the
Registrar’s Office must collect and get into the system.
Once graduates are cleared and
degrees posted, transcripts are produced for each one.
The Registrar’s staff inserts the
diplomas into their covers along with the transcript and prepares to hand them out after
the ceremony.
Providing the transcript with final semester grades and degree awarded is a very
nice service to students.
Miscellaneous:
Change of Majors are processed by Donna Porter and passed to a partner to check
for accuracy.
This is another example of the double-checking that ameliorates risk.
Academic History Auditing/Cleanup -
There is one person primarily responsible
for the auditing of academic history, although her partner does this as well.
This process
entails making a copy of the original paper transcripts from pre-1994 and making sure
that SIS+ has all the correct information.
Anything one of these staff members does, is
passed to the other, along with the source document, to double-check.
When it is
processed by the first person, a transcript hold is placed so that an incomplete or incorrect
transcripts cannot be produced.
Once double checked, the hold is removed and the 122
screen marked to show the record has been audited.
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She also:
processes the changes for grades of X to F a year after the X was awarded,
works with the repeated course list each semester, marking courses repeated to
improve a grade.
Everything she does is double-checked by Alma Shorter.
Conclusions
The Offices of Admissions and Records at Texas A&M Kingsville appear to run
like a well-oiled machine.
There is a sense of teamwork and morale appears to be high.
In particular, the processes that have been designed and implemented in the Registrar’s
Office by the supervisors and the staff members are logical, well thought out and
effective.
There are impressive checks and balances that ensure good data and reduce
risk.
In addition, the staff appears to be dedicated to improving their processes by finding
problems, dealing with them and learning from them.
Many of the procedures are
outstanding and deserve to be shared with our colleagues.
There are a few suggestions that should be made:
1. Include FERPA information on the web site as well as the schedule of classes.
The form could also be on the web so that students could print it, fill it out and
take it to the Registrar’s Office.
2. The Schedule of Classes appears to have generic information, without dates,
so that it does not have to be constantly updated, so it would be beneficial for
students if advance registration dates for each semester were included in the
academic calendar.
3. When students are cancelled for nonpayment they are not notified directly, but
faculty members are asked to tell them that they are not on the class roll.
It is
difficult to get to all of them with any one method, but you should probably
try to notify them individually.
This can be done by email, with the students’
email addresses in blind carbon copy with one notice sent to them all.
4. Implement EDI Smart to send, and to receive and upload academic transcripts.
This is the only glaring deficiency in an otherwise excellent operation.
This
will take the involvement of both the Registrar’s Office and the C.I.S. staff, as
it is akin to implementing a system, but the gains are enormous:
a. Transcripts can be received electronically and, if the college or
university courses have been equated in SIS, the courses can be
uploaded and equated.
This will save huge amounts of time taken now
by data entry (since each course must be entered individually - and
manually) and by transcript evaluators.
The admissions process
would benefit from this streamlining.
In addition, it is now possible
to receive SAT, GMAT and TOEFL scores electronically via the UT
Austin Internet Server.
This can also speed up the process.
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b. Transcripts can be sent electronically to every other state college or
university in Texas, as well as the law and medical application
services.
Compare:
i. A transcript request is received to go to another school.
The
request is entered into the system and run in one of the batches
that are processed each day.
It prints out, is retrieved from the
printer, matched up with the transcript request, folded and put
into an envelope – which must be addressed.
This involves a
lot of staff time plus the cost of special paper and envelopes.
It costs thirty-seven cents to mail.
ii. A transcript request is received to go to another school.
The
request is entered into the system to run in the electronic batch
produced that day.
There is no further involvement by the clerical staff and
no additional cost.
Respectfully
Jean Stuart
Director of Student Systems
The University of Texas at Dallas
November, 2002