Adopting process management is an investment of time and money, but there are many compelling reasons to make the commitment. At Northern Essex, there were four major factors that led to our decision to go forward.
There was a college-wide realization that several current critical business and departmental processes were ineffective and inefficient, but we were unable to find universally accepted solutions.
The current academic approval process for courses or degrees requires the submission of multiple forms requesting large amounts of data, many sign-offs, and long narratives. Proposals are frequently rejected because of process technicalities, requiring the submitter to start over from the beginning. This can dramatically slow down the development and implementation of new courses and programs.
An existing process management team is reviewing the procedures involved in the flow of information into, and out from, the Academic Affairs Committee. This team will be making recommendations pertaining to submission scheduling and information distribution that will address the frustrating issues that bog down this process.
2. ANTIQUATED PROCESSES
Multiple campus locations and an ever expanding list of services, including our growing distance learning options, were pushing the limits of antiquated processes.
We were unable to offer online registration for credit courses because key information such as needed prerequisites and proficiencies was only available in print (published every two years) and not online. To overcome this, our policies for prerequisites and proficiencies had to be standardized and a process had to be created to get academic affairs committee proposals onto Banner (and available on line) immediately after approval.
3. THE NEED TO MAXIMIZE RESOURCES
In an environment of budget cuts, trying to do increased business with flat or decreased resources required a plan to seek out improved methods of operation. It’s important to continue to better serve students, even with decreasing resources.
The orientation program for new students included numerous on-campus sessions, requiring extensive staffing. An online student orientation program, featuring all of the necessary information in an easy to use format, was created for the college’s website, scaling back the need for on-campus sessions. To visit the orientation website, go to http://www.necc.mass.edu/success/.
4. THE DESIRE TO IMPROVE
As an institution focused on delivering improved customer service, it was imperative that we developed internal procedures that allowed us to follow through on that promise.
To ensure that our academic programs regularly review their strengths and weaknesses. We developed a new Program Review process.