Indiana State launches Sycamore Express

By: ISU Communications and Marketing Staff, ISU Communications and Marketing Staff
August 17, 2010

Conducting business with campus departments will be easier and streamlined for undergraduate students currently enrolled at Indiana State University this fall.

"Conceptualized more than a year ago, Sycamore Express grew out of a desire by the university to provide undergraduates with one-stop access to multiple service offices across campus," said John Beacon, vice president for enrollment management, marketing and communications. "Initially planned to occupy a single location where students could conduct 95 percent of university business, it quickly became apparent that adding a virtual one-stop would allow students access to these offices from anywhere on campus or around the world. Consequently, Sycamore Express has evolved into a multi-dimensional service center for students."

Sycamore Express features many of the offices that students visit most frequently, including the offices of Admissions, Registration and Records, Financial Aid, Controller and Residential Life.

"Sycamore Express will not only make finding a solution easier for the student, it will also facilitate better collaboration among staff members in student services," said Melissa Hughes, director of distance support services.

Students can go to http://www.indstate.edu/express/ and access information covering topics ranging from requesting transcripts, instructions for registering for classes, applying for graduation and a variety of student services.

"The site is set up by functions, not departments, to give students the information they're looking for in a way they can understand it," said Domenic Nepote, associate vice president of finance and assistant university treasurer.

"We want to minimize the non-academic frustration and stress so they can focus on what's really important -- their studies and being a student," Hughes added.

By utilizing Sycamore Express, students are one click away from downloading software updates and changing their Sycamore log-in, which is needed to access campus announcements via the MyISU portal and their ISU email. When students go to offices collaborating on Sycamore Express, they will get their primary need addressed and find knowledgeable staff members willing to help them with other business-related concerns.
In conjunction with launching Sycamore Express, employees in many of the offices students frequent underwent a professional development program where safety, courtesy, quality and efficiency were emphasized.

"A core group of 30 people from all five areas went through intensive three-day training," Hughes said. "These people will champion the Sycamore Express commitment to serving students.

Another 150 staff members went through one day quality service training, where they learned techniques on how to understand needs and manage expectations.

"Training isn't a one-time thing," Hughes added. "We will do continuous training for all five areas."

In conjunction with launching Sycamore Express, the five university departments are examining how they conduct business.

"Five directors from every area meet once a week to talk about what we do and what processes that could be perceived as cumbersome or an obstacle," Hughes said.

The collaboration has proved to be beneficial to students, resulting in two popular transactions being made available online.

"The ability to purchase transcripts and parking permits online came out of this process," Nepote said.

Sycamore Express is one area where Nepote hopes students notice a difference when they return to campus this fall.

"We hope they see the extra level of service being provided," he added.

Contacts: Melissa Hughes, director of distance support services 812-237-2027: or Domenic Nepote, associate vice president of finance and assistant treasurer, 812-237-7992

Writer: Paula Meyer, Office of Communications & Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3783 or paula.meyer@indstate.edu