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NavigateMason News and Updates

Online Student Appointment Scheduler – update!

by Jeannie Brown Leonard, Dean
Student Academic Affairs – Advising, Retention, and Transitions

The Student Success Collaborative online student scheduler is on track to be released to campus stakeholders by July 10. Based on feedback from a pilot launch of this tool in the spring semester, we are confident the academic advising community will be well served by this resource. Our current patchwork of scheduling systems is confusing to students, and some of these systems have failed Mason’s Accessibility standards (e.g., Acuity). Units using such systems need to plan for a transition to the Student Success Collaborative-Campus (SSC) product.  Please note we are actively working on a guest user or “shopper” role for prospective students in SSC-Campus.

Acuity Scheduling vs. SSC-Campus SSC-Campus Acuity Scheduling
24/7, online, student self-service appointment scheduling

Students can schedule their own appointment based on availability you control

Yes Yes
Two-way calendar sync

No need to maintain two calendars – true 2-way sync eliminates double booking

Yes Yes
Confirmation and reminder emails; optional text message Yes Yes
Coordinated network for entering, sharing, and reporting on advising interactions Yes No
Free to you! Yes No
Meets Mason’s accessibility standards Yes No

Help us improve the student experience by creating a well-defined access point to academic advising across campus. Units can customize availability, set up group advising times, and accommodate walk-ins. By using this tool and recording advising summary reports (i.e., advising notes), students have a unified experience, and you will be able to generate reports to document productivity and the scope of your work.

To learn more about the Online Student Scheduler, join us for one of several training sessions scheduled throughout the summer. If possible, please RSVP for the session of interest to ensure there is a space for you.

Questions? Contact us via SSCHelp@gmu.edu.

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NavigateMason News and Updates

Student Success Collaborative (SSC) Campus Profile: Liz Bartles

Written By Janet Ha Poirot

Liz Bartles, Retention Specialist, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

When Liz Bartles accepted the Retention Specialist position in the College of Humanities and Social Science (CHSS) over two years ago, it was a brand-new role in the college.  This meant she had the unique opportunity to help form and develop the position.  Over the course of a year, she spends half of her role on outreach and academic intervention, meeting with students and supporting them and the other half on supporting the College in leveraging tools and technology for student success and retention.  Some of her responsibilities grew out of the new and changing needs of the university.  For example, as one of the regular users of the previous software, SSC-Foundation, Liz was tapped to join the leadership team for the launch of SSC-Campus where Liz chaired the training and engagement team for the product.  Her involvement on the leadership and training team allowed her to work with academic advisors across campus.  It was an aspect of her job she really enjoyed.  “I worked with dedicated colleagues who really care about their students.  We tried to find ways to help them efficiently manage their workflows by supporting them and the work that they do on a daily basis.”

When SSC-Campus went live in August 2016, Liz trained users across campus, showing them how the product is flexible enough to contribute to different departments.  “The user roles in the platform are customizable so it can help support departments who either have no reception desks or ones manned by student workers.  Student information is protected appropriately since user rules are customizable to control access,” says Liz.  Several departments were quick to embrace the use of SSC Campus and found that it greatly reduced the amount of time academic advisors were spending on manual tasks and generating reports.  They were able to use that time to build better relationships with students.  Many have come back to Liz and the SSC Campus leadership team expressing their gratitude and excitement.  It has helped academic advisors be more proactive, thoughtful and preventative with their advising appointments versus hearing from students in crisis mode.

Liz witnessed first-hand how helpful the product has been.  She says, “I’ve used SSC-Campus in a targeted outreach campaign to email students who were struggling academically.  These students came into my office after receiving the email and they were immensely grateful and relieved that someone saw how they were struggling and cared enough to ask them about it.  I was able to offer them support, help them come up with a plan and connect them to university resources.  I wouldn’t have met with those students if it wasn’t for the campaign function in the software.  It’s the reason I do the work that I do.  As advisors, we’re making a difference in these student’s lives.”

And SSC Campus is just about to make the work of academic advising even easier and more streamlined.  On July 10, student initiated online appointment scheduling will be possible when SSC Student Scheduler launches.  Liz has been working with a team of advisors who piloted the product and had positive experiences with it.  “Students will be able to schedule their own appointments and view their advisor’s schedule at any time.  This scheduler is better because it meets Mason’s accessibility standard for use with assistive technology like screen readers for those with low vision.  We have very high accessibility standards and want to ensure accessibility for all.  Other products commonly used on campus do not meet these high accessibility standards.”  There are many more reasons why academic advisors are excited about the new SSC Student Scheduler.  It also allows for better cross campus communication with the note taking features where advisors in a student’s major can see advising notes from a student’s minor.  Advisors can also easily track which students they’ve seen and for what reason with the reporting features and they can generate reports based on their advising activity.  And it synchronizes with Outlook and Google calendar.  Also, it’s free.  A number of departments across campus have been paying for their scheduling software and now they can do away with those additional costs.  As Liz says, “I really appreciate how SSC Campus has made my work easier and I love seeing how excited advisors are when they realize it can solve a problem for them.  Certain tasks which were more complicated and difficult before are now easier and faster.”  All in all, it is another sign showing how committed Mason is to promoting excellence in academic advising and supporting the important work of academic advisors across the entire campus.

For more information on Student Success Collaborative-Campus training and other SSC resources please visit – https://advising.gmu.edu/ssc/

 

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NavigateMason News and Updates

Online Student Scheduler!

Get ready, get set…Student initiated online appointment scheduling is almost here! The university has an enterprise-wide system for your unit to use at no cost to you. Let’s improve the student experience by offering a consistent and easily accessible pathway to academic advising appointments. Our current patchwork of scheduling systems is confusing to students, and some of these systems have failed Mason’s Accessibility standards (e.g., Acuity). Units using such systems need to plan for a transition to the Student Success Collaborative-Campus (SSC) product.

Our go-live date for SSC Student Scheduler is July 10. Our goal is to transition units to this system prior to fall semester. Our pilot test of the system has been very well received by students and advisors alike.

To learn more about the Online Student Scheduler, join us for one of several training sessions scheduled throughout the summer. If possible, please RSVP for the session of interest to ensure there is a space for you. In addition, we will have our SSC Consultant on campus for a full day of training on Wednesday, July 12. Save the date and stay tuned for more details.

Why move to SSC Student Scheduler?

  • It works.
  • It synchronizes with Outlook and Google calendar.
  • It’s free (to you).
  • It offers robust reporting features to track advising demand.
  • It is flexible – students can initiate appointments, advisors can conduct advising appointment campaigns, front desk staff can manage appointments, and kiosks can be used to manage in person traffic.

Please note that the training sessions also include opportunities to learn more about the SSC Platform and how to leverage this technology to manage your advising caseload through targeted outreach. Undergraduate, non-degree, and graduate students are included in this Platform. Come learn how to improve your advising practice by taking advantage of this resource!

Please direct questions about this tool to SSCHelp@gmu.edu.