DePaul University Enrollment Management and Marketing > Signature Initiatives > DePaul Central

DePaul Central: Blazing the Trail in Student Services

One of the most frustrating experiences for university students is “the bounce”: being sent from one office to another to manage an assortment of linked transactions. Sensing an opportunity to improve service and student satisfaction, Enrollment Management and Marketing (EMM) took the lead on a pioneering approach to student services with the introduction of DePaul Central. 

DePaul Central provides a one-stop location for integrated student services in three key areas: Financial Aid, Student Accounts and Student Records and Registration. It integrates the most common enrollment services, housing all of these resources in close proximity. This reduces the time, effort and occasional difficulties students face in registering for courses and carrying out the associated financial transactions. 

DePaul Central has offices on the Lincoln Park and Loop campuses, as well as a contact center that addresses concerns by phone, email and online chat. Cross-trained staff members working intake resolve up to 90 percent of inquires at the first point of contact. If further intervention is required, professional counselors are available for walk-in or scheduled appointments, or can be accessed through a secondary phone queue at all times.

Ongoing input and involvement of the university community ensures that DePaul Central is responding to the needs of students. Data about DePaul Central is collected and analyzed to inform decision-making for new and enhanced services, staffing and future technology solutions. A DePaul Central Advisory Board, with staff representatives from across the university, meets quarterly to coordinate efforts to improve operations. 

In the process of solving individual students’ problems, DePaul Central staff continues to learn and develop systemic solutions to improve overall processes in order to make all students’ enrollment experiences at DePaul as smooth and seamless as possible.

In 2014-15, DePaul Central experienced over 140,000 interactions, of which 19,580 were in-person and nearly 122,000 through the DePaul Central Contact Center.

Visit DePaul Central's website or contact Karen LeVeque to learn more.

History

  • Six administrative divisions collaborated to plan the integration of services and the physical space: Enrollment Management and Marketing, Financial Affairs, Student Affairs, Facilities Operations, Information Services and Academic Affairs.

  • Opened the original service office on the Lincoln Park Campus in June 2006.

  • Opened the Loop Campus location in May 2008 to meet the growing demands of the rising student population downtown. In 2010, only two years after opening, the Loop location began seeing more visitors than Lincoln Park.

  • The Contact Center was implemented in December 2011. Contact Center agents, well versed in the “two-tiered” service model employed by the DePaul Central intake desk, provide students a one-stop contact point across multiple service channels—phone, email and online chat.

Innovations and Accomplishments

  • The DePaul Central Contact Center uses Call Copy, a call recording application, to better predict how integrating all incoming calls might improve service.

  • DePaul Central has partnered with DePaul’s Adult Enrollment Center and the suburban campuses to provide increased service to adult students, including the installation of Web cams so students can directly link to DePaul Central services using Skype technology.

  • Created an orientation program for incoming students and families, partnering with the Office of Financial Fitness. The presentation is titled “Taking Care of Student Business, Six Secrets to Success.”

  • The front desk intake specialists and contact center agents are both trained in “two-tiered" service, which means they know which issues they should handle up front and which issues they should refer to an expert in the appropriate area—reducing the time and steps needed to respond to a student’s need.

  • DePaul Central staff worked with EMM’s Marketing Strategy group to conduct focus groups to gain qualitative data to improve DePaul Central messages, in print, online and within new student orientation.

  • A VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) system application, originally implemented in January 2007, is being leveraged to allow expert staff from the three areas of Student Records, Student Accounts and Financial Aid to receive only those calls related to their area of expertise.

  • DePaul Central has been recognized nationally and internationally as a leader in integrated student services. Since 2006, individuals representing over 100 institutions globally have visited DePaul Central to learn more about how it was implemented and the two-tiered service-staffing model.

    • In 2009 and 2011, the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) featured DePaul Central in an all-day, pre-conference workshop titled “Integrating Student Services to Improve Student Success: DePaul Central Proves a Cooperative Model.” 

    • In October 2011, Academic Impressions Workshops brought service professionals from around the world to Chicago for two different workshops that featured a tour of DePaul Central and the DePaul Central Contact Center.