Service blueprinting helps smooth way for students

Service blueprinting helps smooth way for students

CU Denver Career Center staff members meet around a table in the newly renovated center in the Tivoli Student Union. From left, Marco Lopez, front desk staff; Sarah Trzeciak, center interim director; Scott Treas, career counselor; and Jamie Guilford, employer relations and outreach coordinator.

With more than two dozen units across campus creating blueprints of how they deliver services, a larger picture is developing of students' experience at CU Denver. The goal is to smooth the pathway to a degree for each and every student.

Phase One of the service blueprinting process launched in late September and wrapped up in mid-December. The phase involved 11 administrative departments and produced 90 blueprints, said Carrie John, director of analytics for enrollment and retention. The departments noted everything from how students register for classes, pay tuition, receive academic advising and sign up for financial aid.

"In the blueprints, they broke everything down into pieces and detailed the student experience in all of those areas," John said.

For example, staff members in the University of Colorado Denver Career Center determined that the center's front lobby wasn't as inviting as it could be. They have since renovated the area to make it more pleasing to students. Other departments discovered that student forms could be made easier to complete, or that the timing of important notices to students could be improved.

"Why fit in when you were born to stand out!?"

"Why fit in when you were born to stand out!?"

"We painted the walls with a warm tan color and put up several student paintings," said Sarah Trzeciak, MS, interim director of the Career Center. "We also installed ambient lighting and comfortable furniture, and added some inspirational quotes on the wall."

Improving Student Success:

Over the next several months, Today will feature a series of stories about ongoing efforts in the Student Affairs Division to improve student success at CU Denver. The initiatives are focal points of Chancellor Don Elliman’s State of the Campus address.

Phase two of the blueprinting process begins in March with 18 more units volunteering to participate. The phase will conclude in late May.

"We are very committed to better serving our students and ensuring, to the best of our abilities, that we are meeting their needs in their quest to earn a degree from us," said Raul Cardenas, Ph.D., associate vice chancellor for Student Affairs. "Service blueprinting is helping us identify those areas that create unnecessary barriers for our students in pursuit of their diploma."

John said a culture shift is taking place on campus. Different units are commonly reaching out and cooperating with each other to solve issues related to the student experience. "Everything is being talked about through the lens of the student, which is producing more change and benefits for the students," she said.

Some 77 staff members participated in Phase One of service blueprinting, and even more will take part in this semester's second phase. "I'm so proud of all the people who have stepped up to embrace this process," said John, who noted it will be an ongoing process. "It's really a testament to the dedication of our colleagues. They're all doing it voluntarily because they want to help our students."

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