How and why to develop an academic operations model to improve academic services responsiveness and reliability as part of a retention and recruiting plan in an online program
Abstract: In academic departments at many universities, operations management is usually a day-to-day, inefficient process where faculty and chairs respond to problems as they arise. However, failing to create comprehensive operational model to support online academic programs as they grow is likely negative consequences for the performance of the unit. Reactionary operations may mean failing to capture recruiting leads, provide inconsistent or poor advising service to students during, and create a heavy workload for those involved in supporting a program, which can lead to low morale and costly turnover in related positions. This article provides an overview of the couple research evaluation and engineering process used to develop an operations model development process for one program. This approach was adapted from business operations research to build reliable processes, consistent advising and recruiting activities, and supporting reference documents to be used by an online graduate degree program. The goal was to improving employee, student, and faculty processes while reducing workload for staff and stakeholders that would lead to improved student service provision over time on a related measure, the Academic Survey Experience survey.