What Success Looks Like
Culture transformation improves the student experience
June 6, 2011
Ohio State’s culture transformation efforts may be focused on faculty and staff, but students are reaping the benefits as well.
The Office of Student Life is an area that touches almost every student on campus. Doug Koyle, special assistant to the vice president, says the group’s culture transformation efforts have given them a more unified focus on their commitments to students.
Leaders within Student Life and Vice President Dr. Javaune Adams-Gaston, or Dr. J as her team calls her, have used culture retreats and other conversations around culture as an opportunity to reinforce messages around the group’s five commitments to success. The five commitments are used to frame culture retreats and reinforcement sessions. Also, departments are holding follow-up conversations to think of ways to apply the culture transformation concepts to the service they provide to students.
“While culture transformation isn’t something students experience directly, they benefit from the efforts,’ said Koyle. “When we communicate and collaborate more effectively, and 30 departments agree to focus on the same thing, it enhances the experience for all students.”
Student Life plans to look into sending graduate assistants and student employees through culture retreats once a critical mass of staff has attended retreats. This will demonstrate the university’s commitment to students, and teach important skills the students can use later in life, said Koyle.
The Office of Enrollment Services is another area where culture transformation has helped increase focus on students. Cross functional groups attend culture retreats and weekly meetings with Vice President Dolan Evanovich to encourage staff to build relationships with colleagues within Enrollment Services.
“If you can’t help a student, knowing where to direct them reduces runaround,” said Kara Miller, director of the Student Service Center. “Facilitating cross-functional events helps staff understand what other areas are doing, both in Enrollment Services and across campus.”
Also, a team of people from the unit took a new approach to recognition, incorporating recognition from students as well as peers, and focused on encouraging staff to recognize colleagues for demonstrating the university values in interactions with students.
“Students are the center of what we do, and it’s important to recognize each other when we go above and beyond to help students,” said Miller. “Also, giving students the opportunity to recognize staff is meaningful, because it comes from our ‘customer’.”