Student Support – just customer service: the new face at Wittenborg University’s front desk!
Student support is essential in the day and age of tight budgets and pressure from government for higher achievers. Without good student support, students on Bachelor and Master programmes may lose the way in the myriad of rules and regulations, programmes, block, semesters and cohorts. The approach of flexible education at many universities, including Wittenborg, has led to more complicated education, in the sense of planning and delivery. Students want to study with more choice of modules, and tighter timetabling (in 3 days if possible). However, students want to study as intensive as is allowed, in order to graduate and get on to earn an income and start their careers, or their Master programme.
To ease the student experience an excellent student support is required, both from the education departments, through experienced and qualified tutors, as through the student administration through a customer orientated University front desk.
Wittenborg prides itself on its student support, described in the recent FIBAA and NVAO accreditation process by the auditing panel; “the counseling of students by teaching staff is intensive and leaves little room for improvement, with students being coached throughout the programme by means of class tutors, the “Personal Development Plan”-modules and each student being assigned an individual mentor in his final year at Wittenborg” and “the panel did not get a clear picture about a teachers workload regarding his part of tutoring or project weeks and considers that this could be a quite enormous amount of time that has to be invested here, especially because tutoring plays an important role at Wittenborg and students are very satisfied with the teaching staff being available to them even outside The respective criterion (Provision of Student Support / Coaching by Teaching Staff) is therefore judged as exceptional.” The criteria “Administrative Support for Students and Teaching Staff” was also deemed as exceeding quality requirements.
Accreditation and Ministry audit panels are snapshot in time, a momentary evaluation, and the challenge for Wittenborg and other similar Universities and Colleges is to maintain a high level of student support. Students should be seen as the customer, and be treated in that light: students can be returning customers throughout their study careers, and great ambassadors for the institute after graduation. Institutes should ask themselves: how many of my students have come to study with me on a personal recommendation, compared to those who come because it’s the nearest or cheapest place to study.
In Wittenborg University's drive to maintain and improve its student support Wittenborg has appointed a new Front Desk manager, Mr Andy Fekete, who brings with him a wealth of international and intercultural experience:
"Originally from Bloomington, Minnesota USA, I developed an interest in foreign culture and language upon completing my bachelor’s in Psychology at Augsburg College in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I have since pursued language training in French, Dutch and Portuguese while living and working in Paris, Montpelier, Groningen and Lisbon and acquiring certificates in French Studies, Dutch Studies and English Language Teaching for adults. I look forward to my new role at Wittenborg and the opportunity to interact with and promote the success of students from over 50 different nations."
© Wittenborg University Press