A note from the Editor: A previous version of this article misspelled Robert Bromfield’s name.
The bank-teller row of One Stop help desks in the grand chapel room of Lone Mountain are gone. In their place, students will see one small desk occupied by two university ambassadors and a room full of furniture. This is not One Stop getting a new look –– this is the new Welcome Center. One Stop is no more.
Students looking for services previously provided by One Stop involving any registration or financial issues will now go to individual offices of Financial Services and Student Employment, Graduate Enrollment, and the Registrar and Student Accounts. These offices are located in the old Welcome Center and down the hall in the west branch of Lone Mountain.
The new model is a remedy for student complaints about long wait times, confusing and confused assistants and unanswered phone calls, according to a survey put out by the One Stop Task Force. “One Stop, which was started over a decade before, with all its good intentions, maybe wasn’t working as well as it once had,” Vice Provost of Strategic Enrollment Management Michael Beseda said. “Because of that, I asked [University Registrar] Robert Bromfield to head a task force involving people across the University to look at One Stop.”
Students will notice that the largest difference is in the offices of Financial Services and Student Employment. Experts in student employment and a financial aid counselor are seated front and center, assisting students directly. Data from Beseda’s task force shows 29 percent of students’ most recent visits to One Stop were for financial services.
Beseda related the old model back to the idea of a bank. “When people come to an office, they typically have a real issue and they need to talk to an expert,” he said. “The [One Stop] model literally created a barrier between students and the people they wanted to see.”
According to the survey, 41 percent of recent visits by students at One Stop was for registration. Bromfield is taking a different approach with the office’s redesign. Instead of giving students more physical access to registration services, he is transitioning to put the most-used processes online. These include add/drop forms after the online deadline and appeals for transfers and enrollment at other institutions. Until now, these requests have required students to carry a piece of paper around the school to collect signatures from professors and other staff or bring in printed out syllabi for classes they wanted credit approval for. Now, these forms can simply be uploaded online.
“I want to move from One Stop to no stop,” Bromfield said with a smile. “Despite the unfortunate reduced opportunity for cardio.”
Students who have more complex needs can still meet with the registrar, but the new process for online registration services is meant to reduce student traffic in the office of the registrar.
The relocation of the Welcome Center was more of an outcome of the other offices’ changes, Beseda said, than an intention. It worked out, he said, because the previous space was too small to accomodate prospective students and parents. “We would be saying to people, ‘wait in the hallway,’ or ‘go down to Wolf and Kettle and hang out there until the time,’” Beseda said. “And that’s not a very cordial way to greet your visitors.”
Senior Pascal Boctor is a University Ambassador who has worked in the Welcome Center for four years. He said the Welcome Center often received prospective students who had wandered into One Stop, which had long lines. “It was too backed up. We wanted to have a welcoming place that describes how it is to be at USF,” Boctor said. “These big doors are no more for students, they are more for prospective students.”