BLOG 1: Communication within the Financial Aid Office
The Financial Aid Office is a good example of a community with many forms of communication. Working within the office are several different departments. This structure offers an effective way of streamlining the aid process and allowing people to specialize in certain areas. For example, the most well-known group of office members would be the desk staff. Myself included, desk staff are responsible for helping customers at the front desk and receiving all calls. In peak times of the year we will get over 1000 calls in a given day. The financial aid advisors responsible for packaging the students and fixing problems have an equally high level of face time. Loans, operations, scholarship, and IT departments also exist within our office and are critical to processing aid. Financial aid employs over 40 people and our office is fairly large. This makes face to face communication nearly impossible and highly inefficient.
Due to these limitations the office relies heavily on electronic communication to get things accomplished. Aside from using the phones, we also take advantage of something called office communicator. It is very much like instant messaging across the office. In this way we can notify advisors of appointment arrivals and quickly get the answers to most of our questions. Aside from these two forms of communication email is a big part of our daily communication. In this way supervisors can more easily notify the entire office on important issues and information. Lastly the entire office staff usually have weekly meetings as a collective to discuss any further issues and to make sure everyone is on the same page. For customers our office provides an extensive online website to answer many of the common question people have. This includes links to other sites, PDF files for forms needed, and online applications for financial aid.
Being a student staff worker allows me to interact with each of the different departments in a way that increases my understanding of how the entire office communicates with one another. From time to time there are communication break-downs, but these are usually few and far between.