Streamlining Admissions Operations Using Shared Services
One of the areas on campus that has been able to streamline operations with a Shared Services model is Admission, which now uses a Shared Services system for graduate application processing. Joe Davis, associate dean of admission, explains how this came about:
1. Why was there an interest in creating Shared Services for graduate application processing?
Beginning with the 2013 application, we developed a paperless review process for applications within the Undergraduate Admission Office. We first used PeopleSoft, and then transitioned to the new Slate software package. We wanted to take the “best practices” we learned from that process and share those with the graduate schools. We also wanted to provide efficiencies through centralization that could not be accomplished when each college processed their own graduate applications.
2. How is the new system being implemented?
We began by building a graduate application in Slate that would be used by both Dedman College and Lyle. This was launched in August 2015 and started handling applications immediately; in fact, grad students who began in the Spring 2016 term in Lyle were processed using our new Slate system. Currently we are training Dedman faculty on the review process and they are beginning to make decisions on Fall 2016 applications. We also used Slate to build a separate review process for Fellowship applications through the Office of Research and Graduate Studies, led by Jim Quick. In the past this was also a paper-based process, and now we’ve put that into Slate as well. This is being used by schools beyond Dedman and Lyle who are also submitting Fellowship nominations. We will be starting soon with the development phase of adding Meadows, Simmons and Guildhall. Their application will go live in August 2016.
3. What key improvements have you seen so far?
Processing time for applicants has decreased. Students can now receive their admission decisions electronically; this is especially important for the large number of international graduate students we see.
4. Do you have any numbers you could share in terms of applications processed?
So far, we’ve processed 1109 applications in Lyle and 799 applications in Dedman College.