Delta Initiatives To Be Launched Over Summer Months

By Sean Smith
Staff Writer

A series of short-term initiatives aimed at improving student services - including electronic forms for admissions inquiries and financial aid applications, and a telephone-based system for checking grade information - will highlight the summer activities of Project Delta.

In addition, several Delta design teams will continue readying new models for the University's operations, as part of the project's goal of promoting efficiency and improved service while reducing costs, Delta administrators said. The new designs, which focus on areas such as faculty and staff support and information technology, will be ready by the time the fall semester begins, they noted.

"The summer will be a real transition period," said Project Delta Manager James Kreinbring. "You'll begin to see many proposals take shape and as a result the University's daily and weekly routine will start to change. By fall, there will be a number of initiatives ready to go, or already in process. So employees should plan to keep abreast this summer of what's going on."

Among the most noticeable innovations will be those implemented by the Student Services Design Team, under the leadership of Enrollment Systems Director Rita Owens. These tasks involved cooperative efforts by representatives of offices and departments such as Undergraduate Admission, Financial Aid, Dining Services, Health Services, the University Registrar, Student Accounts and Information Technology.

"Some of the initiatives are technology-based and some are really just process reviews, to see if any changes are in order," said Owens. "But they all address the main features of Delta, like cutting down on paperwork and unnecessary tasks, and making the campus network a focal point for information. By doing so, we will improve our service to students and their families."

Earlier this month, the University introduced a system enabling students to check their grades over the telephone through a voice response unit. Students simply call ext.2-8801 and follow the directions until they receive their grade information.

Another project nearing completion will allow students to make admission-related inquiries through a World Wide Web-based form, instead of by e-mail. In a related area, team members and department representatives will collaborate on a Web-based financial aid application form.

The Web, along with other Internet features, will be more widely accessible on campus to students with the opening of "cybercafes" - dining areas which include computer terminals with links to the campus network and the Internet. The number and location of the cybercafes is yet to be determined, according to Owens, but they should be completed by the fall semester.

IT representatives also have developed voice-mail distribution lists, which can be made available for faculty and other appropriate University personnel to use in contacting large numbers of students. Another process undergoing automation will enable students to indicate whether they have medical insurance - as required by law - through a transaction with the U-VIEW system.

Among other Delta initiatives this summer, the Faculty/Staff Support Team led by Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Associate Dean Patricia DeLeeuw is continuing to define the services that proposed support centers will provide to offices and departments. Their next step will be to detail the exact functions of the support team in each proposed center.

Two teams are working in the area of information technology. One, under Associate Vice President for Information Technology Bernard Gleason, will outline the architecture for future campus computing systems. Another, led by Information Technology Director Martin Smith, will address implementation of information technology within the University, especially in regard to Delta initiatives.

Other teams are examining compensation, training and human resources issues, facilities management, short-term financial incentives and desktop resources.

Further news and information on Delta activities is available through the project's Web site [http://www.bc.edu/delta].

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