Student Service Standards
|Office of the President|
|Chief of Staff|
|First draft 2022|
|service standards, communication, interaction, communication guidelines, response time|
In 2020 the Officer in Charge created Educational Planning Working Groups to continue the work of the Educational Planning Taskforce and provide recommendations for continued work and continued research in critical areas. The Service Standards Working Group was charged with defining a structure for creating and implementing service standards and expectations throughout the university. This includes the continual monitoring, evaluation, and improvement of services standards and expectations as well as implementation of those standards and expectations.
It is the objective of the university to provide students, prospective students, and alumni, accurate and timely advice, assistance, and information from appropriate representatives at the university. Providing students with excellent service from inquiry to engagement as an alumnae/us requires a team approach from all employees, across all departments.
Continued interaction, courtesy, sincerity, and professionalism are of paramount importance to providing excellent service. The purpose of this policy is to ensure SUNY Empire (University) is providing adequate and appropriate interaction so it is clear University employees are involved in activities that address the student’s needs; from inquiry to graduation, and beyond.
Service: for the purposes of this policy, service refers to helpful or supportive interactions between an employee of the university and prospective students, students, or alumni. Service can be reactive, proactive, or general in nature such as the natural back and forth during mentoring or advising or during an event.
Reactive Service: for purposes of this policy, reactive service is the type of service the university provides in response to a situation or activity, such as responses to inquiries, individual support or assistance, or activities initiated by a request and/or complaint.
Proactive Service: for purposes of this policy, proactive services provided to prospective students, students and alumni provide opportunities for continual interaction with the university. The intended outcome of interaction may be enrollment, academic success, retention or to cultivate a lasting relationship. Examples include newsletters, offers of support, warnings or notifications, or information regarding events and opportunities.
Prospective students, students and alumni:
- will be treated with dignity.
- will be treated with courtesy, respect and with a positive attitude,
- will have access to information that is consistent, accurate, and reflective of university policy at every stage of the student life cycle from inquiry to graduation and beyond.
Furthermore, students will be provided with regular and substantive interaction as defined by the Department of Education.
To provide students with regular interaction, and to ensure continual progress is made on addressing student needs, the University has an obligation to provide uncomplicated, consolidated access to information needed for student advisement to employees.
Information regarding the various methods students can seek services beyond requesting assistance from their mentor should be centralized, seamless and accurate. Communication to students about how to request services should be included at all levels of the onboarding process and regularly as the opportunity arises thereafter. Students should be presented with the opportunity to request assistance at each point in the student life cycle.
Service to students should be documented to the extent that tracking of services is possible to ensure quality and quantity of service including timing and format of communication, types of information offered, continuity of services, appropriate transfers, resolution verification and timeliness.
Regardless of the type of service provided or the number of departments included in the service, service to all individuals should appear seamless and be managed with consistent conduct.
The following guidelines of interaction are expected to be adhered to by all employees of the university, except in instances when another university policy or applicable state, federal or SUNY regulation requires a shorter or prescribed time frame for interaction. Superseding policies include, but are not limited to:
- Student Grievance Policy and Procedures
- Student Academic Appeals Policy and Procedure
- Discrimination Complaint Procedures
- Title IX Grievance Policy
- Student Conduct Policy and Procedures
Standards for Reactive Services
Every employee is expected to provide an acknowledgement of a request of service, whether it is business or academic, within a given number of business days. This timeframe will be posted on the department’s webpage.
If a request is transferred from one department or person to another within the university, the department or person receiving the request must acknowledge receipt of the request to the requestor and the transferring department within the required business days.
After acknowledgement of the request, continued interaction between the requestor and a university employee is expected. This interaction will continue until the request is completed.
Interaction can be short and direct and must confirm the status of the request or provide any information regarding requirements from the student that are necessary to proceed in the fulfillment of the service requested. The frequency of continued interaction will vary given the nature of the request and the status of the student. Every department must document and make public the frequency of interaction a requestor can expect from a university employee on the University’s website.
Standards for Proactive and General Services
The form of interaction for proactive and general services varies between departments; frequency and nature of interactions are guided by the best practices of the professions and may have compliance regulations to adhere to. Standards for proactive and general services may be stated as the number of events offered a year, automatic alerts scheduled for given situations, or days between university-initiated interaction. Regardless of format, all departments must make available to the public an expectation of interaction between a prospective student, student or alumni and a representative of the university.
Instructional activities are bound by the terms and definitions of the Department of Higher Education when determining if an institution is delivering “Distance Education.” Guidelines regarding regular and substantive interaction can be found on the University’s webpage for Regular and Substantive Interaction. Instructors of record are expected to include in their course information documents (e.g., learning contract, syllabus) clear explanations of instructor commitments regarding course engagement, timeliness of communication including response times to student inquiries, and timeliness of developmental feedback on learning activities. Mentoring and advising expectations not directly tied to formal instructional activities are addressed by general academic services guidelines developed and made public by the Office of Academic Affairs.
Communicating Service Guidelines
Each department must post a description of their service standards, including the standards of interaction, on their webpage. Appendix B can be used as a guide. The posting must include a statement regarding superseding policy and be updated to reflect the latest information.
Service standards will also be posted on the university webpage for Student Consumer Information.