Student Experience to Be Enhanced with New Organizational Structure

The new Office of Student Success is among the changes that aim to improve the student experience.

July 18, 2018

Students in District House

The George Washington University this summer has continued its efforts to enhance the student experience through a series of changes that will provide a unified, student-first structure to the recently formed Enrollment and the Student Experience (ESE) unit.

Announced in January as a result of the university’s strategic initiative to improve the student experience, the ESE is a new organization that aims to provide a cohesive experience through all phases of the student lifecycle, from the admissions and enrollment process through graduation and beyond.

“We have been working hard to put in place a framework that allows us to best support the student experience and strengthen students’ academic, personal and professional successes during their time at GW and beyond,” said Senior Vice Provost Laurie Koehler, who is leading the development of the ESE.

“Our initial changes will help provide the structure that allows students to seamlessly navigate crucial university services, such as financial aid, as well as take full advantage of all the opportunities a GW experience offers, from on-campus programming to internship and career services support.”

Among the changes:

  • The university will establish the Office of Student Success (OSS), which is charged with providing student-focused services and support that improve their academic progress, retention and graduation rates. OSS includes staff that oversee registration, retention, summer, pre-college and non-degree programs and international enrollment as well as the current Office of Student Support and Family Engagement, including the CARE Network.
  • A new Office of Student Systems, Services and Analytics (SSSA) will bring together responsibilities of information technology and Colonial Student Services to offer a unified range of support services that students rely on from enrollment through graduation. The office also will collect and analyze data to drive decisions on policies and strategies that enhance enrollment management and the student experience.
  • As previously announced, M.L. “Cissy” Petty has been named the inaugural dean of the student experience. She begins her role July 23 and will oversee the Office of the Student Experience, to be composed of the Center for Student Engagement, which includes residential life and housing, student organizations and leadership development and on-campus student programming; the Colonial Health Center; and the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities. Dr. Petty will be the chief student affairs officer at the university.
  • University Career Services, admissions, student financial assistance, and graduate enrollment management also will remain within the ESE unit and report directly to Ms. Koehler. The teams will continue to be accessible for all students and ready to support their success.

To determine the structure of the ESE, Ms. Koehler and her team spent the spring semester performing an organizational review and assessment of the divisions of Enrollment Management and Retention and Student Affairs and conducting interviews and focus groups with students, faculty and staff to gather input and review relevant data. The team also engaged with experts on best practices in these areas. As part of the creation of the new unit, some new positions are being created, some existing staff will have changes to reporting lines or job responsibilities and in a limited number of cases positions have been eliminated because their responsibilities were dispersed across new or existing teams.

During the 2018-19 academic year, officials will continue to refine the structure of the ESE and seek feedback on how it is operating.

“These initial changes help create an alignment of our enrollment and student experience services and support, and we believe that as we continue to develop this new organization, students will see the difference,” Ms. Koehler said. “We are very excited to welcome students back to campus soon.”