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2. A dynamic change-agent with skills in:
(a) Planning and implementing change

Reflections on Change at Andrews University

Change occurs at many different levels within an organization.  These reflections begin with changes that were made in computing at Andrews, then Kotter's 8 stages of change process are applied to a significant change initiative affecting the whole institution.

Several important changes were put in place in 1997 in the Andrews University Computing Center (AUCC).  The department had a strong but battle weary programming department, and a solid networking infrastructure had been laid.  But the staffing and organizational structure had not kept pace with the mushrooming use of personal computers on campus.  There were only two full-time staff plus student help attempting to provide hardware and software support for the whole campus, with over 1,000 PCs.  This was a situation urgently demanding radical change.  Three new staff positions were created, taking the PC support team from two to five members.  At the same time, major restructuring was done, and a new name was chosen.  The name was changed from Andrews University Computing Center (AUCC) to Information Technology Services (ITS) to acknowledge the shift from a data-centered operation to integrated information tools and technologies, and to reflect the service emphasis.

Change at Andrews can be considered in terms of Kotter's 8 stages of change process, with SCT's 8 steps of change management for comparison.

Kotter's 8 stages of change process SCT's 8 steps of change management
1. Establish a Sense of Urgency Step 1: Affirm a Dramatic and Urgent Reason for Change
2. Form a Powerful Guiding Coalition Step 2: Develop a Compelling Vision of the Future
3. Create a Vision Step 3: Form a Change Leader Team
4. Communicate the Vision Step 4: Define the New Culture
5. Empower Others to Act on the Vision Step 5: Align Formal Leaders
6. Plan for and Create Short-Term Wins Step 6: Change the Culture
7. Consolidate Improvements and Produce Still More Change Step 7: Accelerate the Change
8. Institutionalize New Approaches Step 8: Institutionalize the Change
 
  1. Andrews University has been engaged in a quality improvement program for about two years at this point in time.  An urgent need for change was felt in the area of financial services to students, and using a Quality Improvement Team approach, a team was built and trained, processes were analyzed and streamlined, and changes were recommended and implemented.  However, the "vision" has not permeated as well as hoped. and the "new culture" has not fully taken hold.

    Now, a much more dramatic and urgent reason for change has emerged, and that is declining enrollment.
     
  2. This has received the attention of the most powerful administrative groups on campus - the President's Cabinet, the Deans' Council, and the Strategic Planning Committee.  Many other important committees have also been involved in studying this critical area.
  3. As compelling needs began to be identified, and creative ideas emerged from brainstorming sessions and research and analysis of relevant data, the planks of a vision for the future began to form.  The President called together a special meeting of the Strategic Planning Committee and others with personal interest and expertise in different aspects of enrollment and the Andrews experience, and presented a vision for a strategic plan consisting of 10 "planks".  He assigned each plank to a sub-group and commissioned them to represent the planks as a vision statement, up to 5 goals, action steps for the goals, and projected outcomes.
  4. The Assistant to the President compiled the the reports from the 10 groups, and this went through several reviews by the whole special group appointed by the President.  A communication plan was developed, involving presentations at a General Faculty meeting, the Board of Trustees, and publication on the web and in printed form.  
  5. The budget committee approved a major allocation of funds to hire initial consulting, to hire additional personnel in enrollment, and to engage a consulting firm for their services and systems.  Campus-wide support has been obtained empowering the new Vice President for Enrollment Management and other key personnel to act on the vision.
  6. The history of high turnover in the position leading enrollment has prepared administrators for the possibility that changes for the better may not appear immediately, at least not in terms of increases in enrollment attributable to these change initiatives.  However, there are many areas throughout the institution where changes are needed and where improvements could begin to have localized effect.  Many of these involve a change in the culture, and include such simple things as telephone etiquette and not "dropping the ball".  A customer service mentality needs to be created where the goal is not simply customer satisfaction, but "Raving Fans" as Ken Blanchard calls it.
  7. A web portal is being developed to assist with tracking contacts from prospective students, and hence to eliminate many of the situations where the ball is being dropped and potential students fall through the cracks.  A Customer Service Center or Call Center is also planned with technology to assist telephone operators to service enquiries that come in via phone, and to track and monitor call backs.  It is expected that many of the changes needing to be made will be identified from the consultant's analysis of our application, enrollment and registration data as we attempt to award financial aid more effectively.
  8. The support these initiatives are receiving from senior administration and across the campus tell us that the urgent need for change has been acknowledged, and that change initiatives will be accepted into the corporate culture.  At the same time, the natural tendency to resist change is understood, particularly as it is acknowledged that some of the changes that may need to be made could be painful and unpopular.
 
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Created: Wednesday, December 27, 2000 08:25 AM
Last Modified: Thursday, January 8, 2004 11:45 AM