Raider Connect bringing better enrollment services

Digitally altered photo of temporary Raider Connect location in Pathfinder Lounge

Digitally enhanced photo shows how Raider Connect will look Oct. 1.

The registrar, student accounts and financial aid student services are about to become a one-stop service for Wright State students.

Beginning Oct. 1, Raider Connect will consolidate the functions of these offices. It will operate temporarily in the Pathfinder Lounge of the Student Union while construction is under way for its permanent home in the current Financial Aid wing of the Union.

A town hall meeting with Raider Connect staff to explain its mission, goal and services is scheduled for 3 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 25, in E156 Student Union, the Endeavour Room.

Raider Connect is all about improving customer service for students, said President David R. Hopkins. “We are going to be relentless about improving the student experience, from a smoother admissions process to a successful completion of college,” he said.

While the separate services have received good marks for years in student surveys, “We knew we could make it even better,” said Jacqueline McMillan, Ph.D., vice president for enrollment management. “We believe Raider Connect is another way of demonstrating our commitment to students,” she said.

Other universities are co-locating registrar, student accounts and financial aid functions in one location, but Raider Connect actually integrates the services with a fully cross-trained staff, said Mark “Sol” Solomon, director of Raider Connect.

“Our goal is to provide centralized, integrated, student-centered services both online and in person,” he said.

Besides the one-stop convenience, integrating the services will give our enrollment service advisors a more complete picture of students’ needs. “When we look at a student’s situation, we can look at it in a more holistic way,” Solomon said. “We’ll help them connect the dots.”

Due to the staffs’ extensive and comprehensive training program, they are able to do more for students. “There’s this sense of excitement that they don’t have to send the students somewhere else,” Solomon said.

Raider Connect will also offer web-based alternatives to traditional paper documents. “We’re moving students from standing in lines to going online,” Solomon said. “That, in and of itself, will be a significant improvement.”

Besides improving service, Raider Connect will allow the staff to work more efficiently, Solomon said. For example, the consolidated service will allow the office to concentrate resources where they’re most needed at peak times.

The permanent Raider Connect facility will be part of a major facelift for the front of the Student Union. Other elements include a new front entrance, a Welcome Center just inside and a large Undergraduate Admissions presentation room.

The Division of Enrollment Management collaborated with several university departments in the planning of Raider Connect by examining the best practices of other universities locally and across the nation. Solomon said they also listened to students through focus groups and surveys and involved student government in the planning process.

“They did a great job of reaching out to us and asking for student input,” said former Student Government President Paul Reed, who worked with the Enrollment Management team last year to study other one-stop operations and interview students.

“From a student’s perspective, you go to one place, talk to one person, and they handle all your issues,” said Reed, now a graduate student in public administration. “It’s especially important for first-year students who are new to the whole process,” he said.

The result is an original operation that’s unique to Wright State. “This is another evolution of a one-stop concept,” McMillan said.

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