PURPOSE The purpose of my action research was to determine the effectiveness of a student-centered approach to delivering student services in meeting the adminstrative needs of the students and of the university.


The traditional methods of delivering student services are designed to accomodate the organizational structure of the university. Students are often required to engage in a myriad of complicated series of activities that are non-intuitive in order to accomplish administrative tasks (i.e. registration, financial services, declaring majors, withdrawing from school, etc...). The institutionally-centered processes require that the students attend to the needs of the institution rather than the institution attending to the needs of her students. These complicated processes often create a frustrating and even hostile environment in which students must function in order to engage in the business of being a student. Students are expected to memorize a specific series of steps, travel from department to department, often spending inordinate amount of time to complete what should be simple and straightforward tasks. Each department has its own set of rules and regulations, that are subsets of the larger body of policies and procedures of the university. Processes are created to facilitate other processes, and the students are required to navigate themselves through this web of inefficient and ineffective processes.


Can the design of an integrated "one-stop" delivery of student services be effective in meeting the administrative needs of the students and of the university?

The sources that have helped me the most have been:

1) (Martha Beede and Darlene Burnett; Planning for Student Services: Best Practices for the 21st Century; Ann Arbor: Society for College and University Planning; 1999). This has become the bible for student services professionals who embark on the journey to tranforming the delivery of student services. Real life stories are interwoven with philosophical as well as practical applications in the cases for change.

2) Streamlining Student Services, Belmont University/Nashville, TN, Belmont University Press, 1998. This article summarized the development and organization of Belmont Central, a one stop center, which has become a guiding point for many institutions of higher learning desiring to improve their student services.

3) Hollowell, David E.; "An Innovative Approach to Student Services", (University of Delaware, July 1993). This white paper, by the senior vice president of the University of Delaware, presented a concept of student services that was innovative and fairly radical at the time. The process called for putting the student at the center of the process, using technology to meet their needs, and lessening the inward focus of the delivery of student services.

4) Other sources can be found at the literature review page of this action research project. Click here for a complete list of references.



As a student administrative services professional, I am engaged in practice in a community of specialists who are trained and tasked to delivery student services in very specific and segregated departments. Changes have been made in the last three years to better integrate our services. The Student Services Council was formed to help us better achieve the goal of integrated student services. The case study of this community of practice will give you a more detailed explanation of the context of my workplace.



The first cycle of action involved working with the Student Services Council here at the university to identify and confirm a list of services that the various student services provide at their front desks, services that students needed to be performed on a general level. I also explored with them how these services are being provided in the home offices, which student services are requiring students to make multiple stops, and what are the overlaps in the services that are being provided.

The second cycle involved mentoring two office managers of the two largest academic divisions of our college. The purpose of the mentoring was to distribute the concept of integrated services delivery to other parts of campus.

The third cycle was the evaluative cycle. Student surveys were conducted along with in-depth audit of two types of student transactions that were performed by the OneStop advisors. See the evaluation section below for more details.



  • List of student services provided from student services home offices
  • Policies and procedures for student services
  • Problems created by traditional method of student services delivery
  • Student surveys
  • Staff comments regarding OneStop



Effective or non-effective service to students
- Measure student satisfaction via questionnaires
- Focus groups with students to discuss student needs and how effectively they are being met, including their descriptions of their experience in receiving service and level of confidence in having their needs met.
- Compare student responses to responses of student satisfaction focus groups' comments collected in 1998

Effective or non-effective in meeting university organizational and administrative needs
- Random quality assurance audit of 100 student records of students served through OneStop on SIS to determine throughness, completeness and accuracy of student records
- Survey home offices to determine number of corrections necessary to student records for above audited records
- Survey home offices to determine problems created or not able to be solved by OneStop



Back to Action Research Home Page

Literature Review | Action Research Questions | Project Timeline | Cycle 1 | Cycle 2 | Cycle 3 | Final Reflections

Journal | Brochure | Article for Publication | Presentation to Tulane | References

E-mail Hung V. Le

Back to Top