Registrar’s Office Audit Westwood College Wendy Kilgore, Ph.D. Senior Consultant September 23-24, 2009.

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Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Overall Observations: 1.Westwood College Online has undergone a significant change in leadership in the last few year and has experienced rapid growth in its enrollment. 2.The college adopted PeopleSoft for student records, registration and financial aid in early The traditional campuses of the college have not adopted PeopleSoft and continue to use a legacy system incompatible with PeopleSoft. This results in difficulty in serving hybrid students effectively.

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Registrars Office Audit Westwood College Wendy Kilgore, Ph.D. Senior Consultant September 23-24, 2009 Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Consultation Summary and Project Goals During a two day campus visit with Westwood College, Senior AACRAO Consultant Wendy Kilgore conducted an audit of the Westwood College Online office of Registration and Records. The audit focused on: Processes, procedures and policies. Organizational structure. Staffing levels, responsibilities, and cross-training of duties. The use of technology within the office. A focus on transfer credit practice processes in the registrars office. Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Overall Observations: 1.Westwood College Online has undergone a significant change in leadership in the last few year and has experienced rapid growth in its enrollment. 2.The college adopted PeopleSoft for student records, registration and financial aid in early The traditional campuses of the college have not adopted PeopleSoft and continue to use a legacy system incompatible with PeopleSoft. This results in difficulty in serving hybrid students effectively. Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Overall Observations: 3.In general, staff and management within the unit maintain a positive attitude towards their responsibilities and want to help students. However, there is a perception that appears to be prevalent among some staff and some management that the unit is the scape goat for issues in the college yet is also the unit that takes on responsibilities outside of their scope. 4.From a student self-efficacy perspective, there is a culture within the unit of doing as much as possible on behalf the student. This is potentially detrimental to the students educational experience. Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Overall Observations: 5.Further, this culture increases the amount of work performed in the unit without apparent added value to the organization. 6.Staff and management within the unit want to see more automation and an implementation of more student self-service. 7.Based on interviews with staff members within the unit, the majority of staff time is spent doing manual processes. Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Overall Observations: 8.There appears to have been a gradual creep in responsibilities over the last few years to where the unit has assumed responsibilities previously within the domain of student services. This has resulted in an increase in work load for registration and records staff. It also appears to have resulted in an unclear boundary of responsibilities for new students between student services and the registration and records unit. However, some registration and records staff commented that these additional duties break up the monotony of their regular duties. Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Overall Observations: 9.Policy and procedure interpretation varies from one unit functional area to another. For example: during the two day consulting visit at least three different records retention periods were stated as the official time required to retain a record. 10.Staff expressed both a lack of training and cross-training and a desire for that training within the unit functional divisions, across the unit as a whole, and across the college. This is extreme in some instances where one person within a unit functional area is the only person in the organization that knows how to do a particular necessary task. Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Overall Observations: 11.The why of procedures/practices is not generally understood by staff. There appears to be a because we have always done it this way or because we were told to do it this way level of understanding among the majority of staff. 12.Current practice restricts all students to just the most basic of self-help. This practice results in more work for staff including, according to staff, processing about 9,000 schedule changes each term for about 4,700 students. This is in addition to the initial registration for each student. Anecdotally, WCO students want to be able to help themselves. Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Overall Observations: 13.There appears to be serious technical issues with the imaging system resulting in the majority of work by CDCC staff involving manual intervention. With the move to E-SARs and other increases in imaging demand including archiving, these errors are going to cause a considerable backlog. 14.Papers containing personally identifiable information including SSN, name, DOB and address are being stored on desks and in unlocked desks because of the backlog of filing. 15.There are inaccuracies in the program course requirements stored in PeopleSoft. Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Overall Recommendations: The recommendations included in this section ideally should be implemented as soon as possible to improve student service and reduce the redundant workload for staff. However, several of the recommendations will also require a culture shift within the unit towards one of embracing improving student self- efficacy. While such a shift is not easy it will result in better service and a better experience for students. 1.Develop a clear definition of scope of responsibilities for the unit and communicate that with the rest of the college. 2.Shift the responsibility for finalizing enrollment paperwork back to the new student staff. Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Overall Recommendations: 3.Shift the responsibility for selecting courses for students back to student advisors until self-service registration is available. This should enable advisors to work with students to select the courses that they wish to take instead of having staff make the decisions regarding which general education courses to register the student in without the student expressing a preference. 4.Adopt and implement regular unit training and cross training for procedures, practice and technology. 5.Implement regular meetings within the unit and only cancel those meetings under unusual circumstances. Involve staff in the agenda for the meetings. Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Overall Recommendations: 6.Combined with a clear communication plan for students outlining self- service expectations and options, implement the assistant directors plan for additional student-self service capabilities, including: Registration Drop/add/withdrawal Official transcript requests Course schedule access for future terms Online payment Book ordering Fix the official transcript request function Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Overall Recommendations: 7.Resolve the technical issues with the imaging solution. 8.Make it a high priority to remove all paperwork with personally identifiable information from non-secure areas. 9.Confirm accuracy of program course information in SMART so as to foster the use of this information by staff for degree audits and student for self-registration and advising. 10.If possible, adopt a single ERP for both campus and web based students. Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Processes, procedure, and policies: Observations Processes/Procedures: 1.Almost all registration and records processes are manually intensive, some primary examples include: Printing and filing enrollment forms from the imaging database. Registering all students each term. 8 of 10 weeks a term spent registering students, correcting registrations or dropping/withdrawing students Hybrid registration requiring the manipulation of two separate databases. Official transcript batch printing is not working, printed individually. Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Processes, procedure, and policies: Observations The creation and maintenance of a separate transfer equivalency spreadsheet containing information already in the database. The printing and manual processing of degree check sheets even though the completed and remaining coursework resides in a single area in the database. The degree data in PeopleSoft may or may not be accurate depending on the program All student schedules are checked manually one at a time for any drops, adds or withdrawals or course changes 2-3 times each term to determine if a change needs to be made to the expected graduation date. Complete withdrawals and course drops require manual intervention in both PeopleSoft and e-college. The PeopleSoft transaction does not automatically update e-college. Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Processes, procedure, and policies: Observations Proficiency exam scores recorded in e-college not automatically uploaded and stored in PeopleSoft. Data imaging requires the manual intervention for approximately 25-60% of all incoming documents. Data imaging batch processes not working. IPEDS extract/reporting created by staff and data is manually scrubbed. Repeated course grades processed one student at a time. Last date of attendance not always accurately ported back to SMART from e- college so each student drop must be reviewed manually. Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Processes, procedure, and policies: Observations Re-registering all students in a course who failed a course the prior term is also a one student at a time process. Approximately 2000 students must be processed in a 3-5 day window between terms, each term. Some faculty get grading extensions resulting in an F grade being posted well after a student has started the next course. Mid-term students not differentiated sufficiently in PeopleSoft and as a result require manual intervention to make sure a dropped course is not recorded as a withdrawal. Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Processes, procedure, and policies: Observations 2.As stated earlier, registration and records staff are doing the work of what used to be the responsibility of academic advisors. They review the academic program for each student (new and continuing), manually cross off courses on a check sheet, and select courses for the next term on behalf of students. They then look for open courses and then schedule students or wait until a course is opened. The lack of any interaction with students during the course selection process appears at least anecdotally to be linked directly to the large number of course changes requested. Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Processes, procedure, and policies: Observations 3.Furthermore, staff appear to be doing some work that used to be the responsibility of new student staff All enrollment application materials being reviewed by registration and records staff for completeness and accuracy. It is unclear who is responsible for collecting corrected information from the student. It is also unclear as to when exceptions are appropriate to the requirement that a enrollment file must be complete and accurate before registration. Staff have been asked to make exceptions to this requirement. Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Processes, procedure, and policies: Observations 4.Unit staff are asked to make calls for the financial aid office to students with missing information but the apparent reverse assistance does not happen. This takes a significant amount of staff time Staff who connect with students by phone just transfer them to financial aid because staff are unsure of what documentation is missing. Staff are still expected to meet the unit SLAs even on days when they are doing significant work to help financial aid. This practice in particular has caused considerable grief and bad feelings among the staff. Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Processes, procedure, and policies: Observations 5.Paper filing estimated by staff to be 5-13 months backlogged As stated earlier, this results in personally identifiable student information including SSN, name, DOB and address being stored on and in staff desks without locks Non-college employees have unsupervised access to these areas after normal business hours Staff find it difficult to get the basic supplies needed for making student folders Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Processes, procedure, and policies: Observations 6.Manually intense and complicated re-entry procedures, hybrid student registration and other daily transactional processes appear to consume the majority of each day for both the registrar and assistant registrar. Both the registrar and assistant registrar estimated they receive about 500s a day. Both commented that they wish they had more time to work with staff on training and regular meetings. Staff also expressed a desire to have more effective interactions with their managers. Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Processes, procedure, and policies: Observations 7.The communication of changes in procedures appears to be completed in a piecemeal fashion because of the lack of time dedicated to meeting as a team or sub-teams. Staff regularly commented that the only way they hear something has changed is that one staff member hears it and decides to share it with others. The unit does not appear to have regular meetings or widely shared communication with staff to inform and discuss changes to procedures or to share a vision and mission for the unit. Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Processes, procedure, and policies: Observations 8.Exception reports are almost non-existent and those that do exist are only accessible by a couple of people. The lack of regular data exception extracts or queries contributes to a pattern of last minute data processing and needing to check each and every student rather than just the exceptions. 9.Registration staff spend a considerable amount of time waiting and double checking for courses to be built in order to be able to register waiting students in those courses. Course building sometimes occurs even after the term has started. Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, The add-on faculty database used to assign faculty workload instead of PeopleSoft pulls data from PeopleSoft but not always accurately. This results in the need to manually compare each course in PeopleSoft to the faculty database. Processes, procedure, and policies: Observations Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Processes, procedure, and policies: Observations Policies: 11.There does not appear to be a disaster recovery policy outside of centralized data recovery and backup. The existing policy does not cover paper documents. May not cover the imaging system. 12.SLAs not regularly reviewed for timeline appropriateness. Staff regularly commented that the timelines are difficult to meet with the workload that they have now. Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Processes, procedure, and policies: Observations 13.No formal studentuse policy. Practice is not toanything to a student except the college issued account without specific written permission. 14.There does not appear to be formal records retention policy for the unit. Staff mentioned that there was a records retention requirement by the accrediting agency but could not find that requirement. The electronic records storage plan did include reference to the retention requirements from the Colorado Division of Private and Occupational Schools. This document does not specify the need for paper documents but that is the general understanding within the unit. Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, According to staff, it is assumed that all full-term students without transfer credits require remedial math and English even before the students have completed the placement exam so all students are registered in these courses. Subsequent placement test scores result in numerous schedule changes which students complain about because they have often ordered the books for the other courses. 16.The posted placement test deadline is not adhered to. This often results in the need to reschedule courses already in progress. Processes, procedure, and policies: Observations Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Placement scores are not stored in student record in PeopleSoft only a completed indicator is used. This practice prevents placement scores from being automatically used in registration process to determine eligibility for courses. Staff review scores manually. 18.Course pre-requisites not entirely built in PeopleSoft. This results in students being registered in courses they do not meet the prerequisite. In addition, the system is not recognizing the transfer course work which meets the pre-requisite and thus does not allow a student to be registered for a course without an override. Processes, procedure, and policies: Observations Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Processes, procedure, and policies: Recommendations 1.Review all manual processes for the following and take action as necessary to reduce the number of manual processes: Necessity (e.g., is the college required to keep paper documents?). Ability to fix broken functionality. Ways to automate the process, for example. The development of query scripts. The development of scripts to automate operational processes. Duplication of effort (e.g., maintaining a separate spreadsheet for transfer credits, manually tracking degree progress) Reasonableness of the timelines in applicable SLAs. Applicability of student self-service to the process. Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Processes, procedure, and policies: Recommendations 2.If unit staff are expected to continue to assist financial aid staff in calling students, temporarily adjust SLAs to accommodate the shift in duties for the time that unit staff are assisting financial aid in their processes. Communicate these temporary adjustments to other units. 3.Determine if paper files are required by accrediting agency and establish a complete records retention policy. If so, make it a priority to secure all paperwork with personally identifiable information in a compliant manner. If not, make it a priority to securely destroy all paper already imaged and jump start the archiving processes with extra help. Confirm procedures for electronic files and data backup. Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Processes, procedure, and policies: Recommendations 4.Simultaneously while reviewing and adjusting the manual processes for staff, review the daily processes of the registrar and assistant registrar to determine the following: Necessity (e.g., Are 500s a day required for operations?) The appropriateness of delegating some processes to other staff members who will have more time if the recommendations are adopted. 5.Provide support for professional development so that the assistant registrar and registrar have both the time and skill necessary to serve as leaders in the unit. Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Establish and maintain a regular communication process for the unit leadership to share changes in procedures in a timely manner with the entire unit. 7.Develop several key exception reports and grant access to run or view these reports to staff members who need the data for operational purposes. Some examples include: Schedule changes date as key parameter Admissions checklist missing items term as key parameter Grant access to the run the missing student registration report Until the mid-term student is differentiated sufficiently from the regular term student, create an exception report for Ws assigned to mid-term students. Processes, procedure, and policies: Recommendations Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, After confirming the accuracy of courses required for degree programs in PeopleSoft, adopt technology to use current enrollment data to develop course scheduling projections. This enhancement is particularly important because of the short terms and time between terms available to correct student schedules for failed or repeated courses or change in full-time or part-time status. 9.Either adopt the faculty load functionality in PeopleSoft or fix the data sharing process between the PeopleSoft and the faculty database. Processes, procedure, and policies: Recommendations Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Review appropriateness of practice of registering students before placement exams are taken. This practice will have negative consequences if student self-registration is enabled. 11.Record placement exams scores on student records in PeopleSoft. 12.Build cut scores into course pre-requisites and enable course pre- requisite checks in PeopleSoft. This will be necessary for accurate student self-registration. Processes, procedure, and policies: Recommendations Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Build generic test codes that can be used to recognize course equivalencies in the registration process from transfer courses that meet a pre-requisite requirement. 14.Establish a disaster recovery plan to cover all forms of data. 15.Establish a procedure for regularly reviewing SLAs and involve all affected units in the process. 16.Establish and distribute studentuse policy. Processes, procedure, and policies: Recommendations Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Processes, procedure, and policies: Recommendations 17.Develop and share detailed records retention and destruction plan once the determination has been made as to whether or not paper files are required. Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Organizational Structure: Observations 1.From the organizational chart and job descriptions it is unclear what the reporting structure is for the unit. 2.This lack of clarity in reporting lines is also evident when talking with staff. There is confusion among staff about who is supposed to lead and direct their work. In some examples the leadership structure appears to be a moving target depending on if a manager needs something done or not. This causes confusion among staff in regards to task prioritization. Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Organizational Structure: Observations 3.There does not appear to be a real strong leadership/organizational link between the assistant director and the rest of the unit. 4.From the interviews with staff there is not a clear link between the assistant directors leadership role and this positions role within the rest of the organization. This contributes to the apparent lack of a voice for the unit. 5.Both the registrars and assistant registrars job duties are heavily focused on daily processing rather than on management and operations. Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, The CDCC processes documents for the entire organization yet reports through the registration and records unit. Staff from the unit actually commented how some of the offices they serve are open seven days a week and CDCC is not because the schedule reflects that of the registration and records. Organizational Structure: Observations Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Organizational Structure: Recommendations 1.Revise organizational chart to reflect reporting lines and share this with the unit staff and organizationally. 2.Have the leadership work with staff to clarify reporting structure and when exceptions to that structure are necessary and appropriate. 3.If the current organizational structure is maintained, clarify, strengthen and foster the leadership role of the assistant director. This may involve professional development training in leadership and/or a formal mentor relationship with an administrator. Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Organizational Structure: Recommendations 4.Determine the appropriate role for the assistant director relative to the rest of the organization. Communicate and foster this role with the organization. Document the role in the job description 5.Review other similar organizations and AACRAO resources for duties regularly assigned to the registrar and assistant registrar. Determine the appropriateness of these roles to the requirements of the organization and rewrite both job descriptions to reflect operations and management rather than daily processes. Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Review the role of CDCC relative to the organization as a whole and determine if the unit should have a different place in the organizational map. Organizational Structure: Recommendations Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Staffing levels, responsibilities, and cross-training of duties: Observations 1.The current staffing levels for registration and records supports the focus on manual processes with the exception of staffing within CDCC which is probably short staffed for what is expected of the unit. 2.If processes are automated and as appropriate shifted back to student services there will most likely be an excess number of positions within the unit. The exception being with CDCC which will have an increased work load as additional processes are shifted to electronic documents and the records archiving process moves forward. Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Current responsibilities for the unit are far broader than generally within the scope of a registration and records office. 4.The unit lacks sufficient cross training to provide for efficient continuity of services should there be staff attrition or long term absences. Staffing levels, responsibilities, and cross-training of duties: Observations Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Staffing levels, responsibilities, and cross-training of duties: Recommendations 1.If the recommendations for automation and reassignment of advising and admissions duties are adopted, the whole structure of the unit will need to be reevaluated for the remaining workload. Particular attention should be given to the roles and staffing levels of the records advisors, records specialists and CDCC. 2.Once changes are implemented, review and refine the mission of the unit. 3.Document clearly any unique processes and provide cross-training. Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, The Use of Technology: Observations In addition to the observations included in other sections of this report there are the following relative to the use of technology. 1.The newly revised training documents for records advisors and records specialists are comprehensive but need some refinement. 2.The imaging solution appears to have been successfully implemented for the E-SARs process. 3.Overall the PeopleSoft product seems to have been implemented with only the barest of essentials for registration and records. Anecdotally there appears to be little prioritization from IT for enhancements or fixing existing problems for registration and records. Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, The Use of Technology: Observations 4.Staff seem to accept broken processes within the database to be standard operating procedure. 5.Including management, there do not appear to be any power users within the unit. A power user is one who understand the system functionality beyond rote processing and is able to use this understanding to help IT troubleshoot issues and help plan for future enhancements. 6.For the most part staff learn processes through on the job training with real data in the production environment. Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Other units apparently have advanced training resources built into a product called UPK which allows for demonstrations and the testing of skill sets. The Use of Technology: Observations Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, To increase usability add the following to the existing training manuals for PeopleSoft. Table of contents. Process workflows. 2.Consider developing an internal wiki page to store these and other training manuals allowing greater ease of access to the materials and simplifying the document updating process. 3.Develop power users for each of the respective areas. Have these users play a key role in upgrades, the selection of future enhancements and in trouble shooting the system. The Use of Technology: Recommendations Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Focus Area 4: Recommendations 4.Cease training in the production environment. Conduct the training in a cloned environment. 5.If resources permit, adopt the UPK technology for training within the unit. Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Transfer Credit Processes: Observations 1.The transfer evaluators report being essentially separate from the rest of the unit both in terms of responsibilities and in any applicable information from team meetings. 2.They report not having any real training for their responsibilities. 3.They really liked the transcript evaluation system (a single online source for course catalogs) but no longer have access. This means that they need to go to each transfer college separately to try and find catalog information. Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, There is no clear distinction when it is appropriate for the program directors to review the general education transfer equivalency decisions made by the transcript evaluators. 5.Program directors make all core transcript equivalency decisions. 6.Transcript equivalencies from the largest feeder schools are not built into the database. This requires a reevaluation of the commonly transferred courses each time it is submitted on a student transcript. Transfer Credit Processes: Observations Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, It was reported that between 40-80% of evaluations are conducted on unofficial transcripts which are then stored on paper. Subsequently received official transcripts are then re-evaluated. 8.The current transcript credit practice often conflicts with the current registration process because the credits are evaluated after a student is already registered resulting in either duplicated coursework or the need to change a students schedule. 9.Transfer credit evaluation is being stored on a separate spreadsheet outside of PeopleSoft. Other staff who need access to the transfer data to not know how to access it in PeopleSoft. Transfer Credit Processes: Observations Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, The process for communicating graduation information with students is a manual process and requires anfor each potential graduate. 11.The proficiency exam process is complicated and is processed a couple of times a term. Steps include putting the student manually into e-college, pulling the grades, and removing the student from e-college once the exam is completed. If the student is not removed from e-college the content of the proficiency exam is always visible to the student. 12.Students are already requesting proficiency exams for the newly revised curriculum but many are not yet available. Transfer Credit Processes: Observations Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Seek ways to engage transcript evaluators in the overall unit operations and establish refresher training. 2.Adopt the transfer evaluation system or equivalent solution on a permanent basis. 3.Clarify and document transfer credit processes including common exceptions. 4.Build the articulation tables for the largest feeder colleges into PeopleSoft. Transfer Credit Processes: Recommendations Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Transfer Credit Processes: Recommendations 5.Revisit value of practice of evaluating unofficial transcripts. If the practice needs to continue, store the evaluations in a secure manner. 6. Determine if there is a way to indicate in a student record that they have transfer credit and use that indicator to suspend the registration process until transcripts have been evaluated. 7.Build a report that will enable the transcript evaluators to know which transcripts to work on first according to the students intended term of enrollment. Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Cross-train records advisors to know where to look for pending and completed transfer credit. 9.Eliminate practice of maintaining a separate transcript evaluation spreadsheet. 10.Build a query that will extract studentaddresses for those students who need to be contacted regarding graduation. 11.Review proficiency exam process for simplification options. 12.Dedicate some time to finalizing the current proficiency exams. Transfer Credit Processes: Recommendations Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Additional Observations: 1.Updated IPEDS race and ethnicity categories do not yet appear to be on the admissions application Voluntary for Mandatory for for fall enrollment Mandatory for 2011 for all components Westwood College Registrars Office Audit September 23-24, Thank you for the opportunity! Wendy Kilgore, Ph.D. Senior AACRAO Consultant