Purdue Listens to Students

Changes are taking effect all across the Purdue-West Lafayette campus, resulting in improved student services. Some of these changes took effect during the summer, while others were implemented during the 2010-11 academic year. As a result of these changes, student services of all kinds will be faster, better coordinated, and more responsive to students’ expectations.

Dr. Melissa Exum, Vice President for Student Affairs, said that student feedback is important to how Student Affairs delivers programs and services.  “Student success is at the forefront of everything we do, and we need to constantly assess how well we do in delivering on this promise.  I can’t think of a better way of gauging how well we do than by asking students,” Exum said.

Many of the improvements were stimulated by the 2010 Student Importance and Satisfaction Survey. More than 6,500 Purdue students participated in the survey in March and April 2010; answering up to 146 detailed questions about services and programs on the Purdue campus.

The improvements sometimes take the form of new facilities and resources. In other cases, the improvements are streamlined processes and more and better-trained staff.

Here are a few of the many changes:

  • Purdue University Student Health Center (PUSH) streamlined its process for walk-in health visits. By allowing students to schedule appointments, PUSH ensures that wait times will be shorter than in the past.
  • PUSH has abbreviates its check-in routine, allowing many students to see a health practitioner without first going through a triage screening.
  • PUSH has provided more customer service training to its staff.
  • Student opinions about housing costs convinced the Department of Housing and Food Service to keep fee increases in 2011 to the minimum necessary.
  • The Bursar’s Office removed bars from the teller windows in Hovde Hall.
  • The Bursar’s Office has engaged in cross-training with staff from Financial Aid and Admissions. Cross-training ensures that staff can answer more of students’ questions rather than sending them on a run-around to find answers.
  • The Bursar’s Office has employed a new staff position to manage staff training and improve the customer service ethic.
  • Purdue Musical Organizations adopted a new seating policy to ensure that hearing-impaired patrons will be seated near sign language translators.
  • The Purdue Police Department learned that, while students’ reaction to PPD’s safety training and service programs is generally favorable, participation is often low. The Police Department has launched an effort to improve student awareness of what PPD does.
  • The Armory is undergoing a major renovation to provide more space for ROTC cadets.
  • The Center for Career Opportunities has acted to diminish student wait times by engaging retired employees and other temporary workers to staff the CCO office during the busiest times of the year.

Lee Gordon, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs, said that assessment is at the core of driving improvements at Purdue. “We strive in using assessment throughout Student Affairs to influence continuous improvement,” says Gordon.