As part of President Hitt's Operational Excellence Initiative, the UCF 21 project sought to develop a systems level view of student services and generate recommendations to measurably improve the delivery of student services and increase student satisfaction with these services.
This project addressed the need to take a systems level view of various student-related functions at the University of Central Florida in order to perform a more systematic and systemic analysis of student services and develop recommended changes or additions with the intended outcomes of improving the delivery of student services and increasing student satisfaction with those services. Customer focus on students was the driving force for this project: University’s Customer Focus for the 21st Century (UCF-21).
In 1992, the University established the Office of Quality Management (Quality Initiatives) as an initial effort to help assess administrative processes and work with the "process owners" to improve their processes. The fundamental idea of "continuous improvement" provided the foundation for these efforts. The office worked with numerous groups, generally at the direct provider level, to develop methods for process improvement. However, it has become clear that some of the remaining problems required some facilitation at higher levels and required a broader systems perspective that spanned across various functions within UCF.
Recognizing that need, during the Fall 1996 semester, the Provost convened a Student Services Improvement Team (SSIT) chaired by an Assistant Vice-President for Academic Affairs and charged the team with the task of looking at ways for improving, coordinating, and fostering cooperation in UCF’s student services areas. The team, consisting of members from the major student services areas, identified seven areas that it believed should be addressed in order to improve services to students. These areas included: Academic Advising, Academic Advising Staffing, Non-Curricular Information, Orientation Improvement, Student Financial Assistance Staffing, Student Holds, and Student Services Staffing. The SSIT recommended that several areas be selected from this list for the initial effort and teams be formed in each area to conduct the assessment.
During the process used to identify and develop the seven issues listed above, the SSIT developed an extensive list of issues that involved all aspects of student life: Non-Curricular Information, Academic Advising, Student Holds and Orientation. These four areas crossed different organizational functions and teams were organized to focus on each. The UCF-21 project team and the Office of Quality Initiatives worked closely with those teams to provide guidance and identify opportunities for improvement in the different areas.