March 24, 2005

Spring Quarter start-up shows improvement

With several new or improved services for students, such as real-time financial aid postings, email notices about deadlines and fee balances, less-than-five-minute waits on hold at the phone center, and online help at the Student Assistance Center, Spring Quarter is off to a successful start.

The last day to pay fees came and went Wednesday with minimal problems and students who were pleased with the short, quickly moving lines. Computer processes are running more quickly, the hand checking of student accounts has been greatly reduced, and Ken Conner, dean of Enrollment Services, says billing and aid posting have run error-free.

Tuesday (March 22), the College directly deposited more than $1.6 million in financial aid to the bank accounts of students who received aid above the cost of tuition. Checks were mailed the next day to students who do not have direct deposit. As a result, lines in the Financial Aid office Wednesday afternoon were almost nonexistent.

As on any fee payment deadline, there were lines in the Cashier's office Wednesday, but they were relatively short and moving quickly. "The line is moving faster, and I am happy about that," said Bethleham, a student who paid her fees Wednesday. Another student, Yolanda Jones, said, "It (the registration process) has been easy."

Other students appreciated the email notifications about deadlines. "The email was very helpful, said Tracey Penn. "I don't like having mail sent to my house. It's wasteful."

Just before the deadline for payment ended Wednesday night, the number of students registered and paid for

Spring Quarter was 18,351, a 5.8 percent decrease compared to the same point last year.

New hardware installed in November and December helped speed up many services on the phone and on-line that had been slowed when the Colleague system went live. The new hardware eased downtimes on the system and allowed further improvements in service at the window. Spring Quarter is the first quarter in which the new hardware has been used to run the system throughout the registration process.

Environmental Technology changes name to reflect industry

Environmental Technology, first offered in 1994 as an Associate Degree program, will change its name to Environmental Science, Safety and Health Technology, in order to better reflect program outcomes and align the name of the technology with areas of possible employment for students.

John Marr, Ph.D., dean of Career and Technical Programs, explained that the rationale for the change came from a meeting held last year with industry professionals, the advisory committee, faculty and students. The group discussed opportunities to enhance enrollment in the program and follow trends in the industry, noting that the strong element of occupational safety and health in the curriculum was not reflected in the name.

The name change will be effective immediately and included in the 2005-2006 College Catalog.