Dean Howie facilitated our first face-to-face discussion on the theme of Service Excellence on January 27 at New West and he provides this summary. Please feel free to comment. --Scott
Service Excellence discussion group summary - from Dean Howie, Director of Recreation, Athletics and Campus Life
Over 25 staff, faculty, students and administrators gathered to discuss Service Excellence and how and if this relates to a strategic direction for Douglas College.
Importance and Definition
“Is Service Excellence a strategic direction?” Everyone agreed that if this is not a strategic direction then you probably don’t need any other strategic points as you will fail as an organization.
The College already has created an initiative that encompasses service excellence – it is called “Creating the Best Student Experience” (CBSE). Does it cover everything? Why is it not supported and encouraged by all? Does CBSE not need to consider service excellence between staff, faculty and others on campus?
Service Excellence is an attitude/culture of anticipating needs and being able to deliver them before they are requested or required with genuine and personal interaction that is seamless and supported by all areas of the College.
There must be a culture of “We can make this happen” and it must start with College leadership and provide support to all for this culture shift to take place as many of the issues are systemic. Service Excellence requires a continuous self-evaluation model that empowers employees to find solutions.
Service Excellence is also seen as a competitive advantage. The College currently markets and recruits based on the personable approach that Douglas provides. We must be able to deliver on this!
There were many discussions that need to be expanded upon in the future. They include: lack of value placed on direct service jobs; tying resources to service excellence; the need for an external review of how and why the College does things; building a better understanding of the basic needs of a student in 2010; the need for more collaboration between departments and faculties (eliminate silos). In most of these discussions there were more questions than answers.
- Install a welcoming atmosphere and culture that makes service excellence a priority in all areas of the college and among all on campus.
- Create formal standards for service excellence and teaching
- Ensure the proper means to evaluate and the power to change the barriers that prevent service excellence
- Provide Leadership and training in this area especially in supervisory positions
- Increase student space.
- Campus Life needs to be created. The DSU needs to be included in this discussion.
- Ensure the basic needs of the Douglas student such as internet access information, registration process, classroom technology, copier and printing services and the number of passwords required are provided without problems like food & water.
As the facilitator, it was exciting to listen to all the thoughts and opinions that everyone brought to the table. What a wealth of knowledge we have here at Douglas College! I was also impressed with the passion that people had for students, education and the College. The solutions are with us, we just need to listen to everyone.
A closing thought from one participant resonated with me: "Listen to the new people on the block about the obstacles and challenges they encounter. They haven’t figured out the system yet!”
What do you think? We welcome your comments on this discussion.