Student Services Initiative (SSI)

Advancing students aspirations with diverse curricular offerings and affordable interdisciplinary study is at the forefront of the Student Services Initiative (SSI). Impacting USC’s Office of Academic Records and Registrar as well as the Financial Aid Office, this six-project Initiative is a collaborative partnership between Enrollment Services Division (ESD) and Information Technologies Services (ITS).

The mission of the student-centered Program is to enhance the effectiveness and modernize the applications for Web Registration (WebReg), Grading and Roster System (GRS), Online Academic Student Information System (OASIS), Financial Aid Summary and Tasks (FAST), Online Financial Aid Forms (OLF), and Financial Aid (FAO) Data Reporting.

A key component of the Initiative is a deliberate and integrative strategy that personalizes the technical direction of each project utilizing feedback from USC users from its inception throughout each application’s unveiling starting in early 2020. This approach enables stakeholders to engage early, so future services are intuitive, responsive, and quicker to access.

Collaborating closely with users, SSI Program teams are investigating current pain points to identify opportunities to support each project. The feedback learned is being used to thoughtfully plan, inform design and development, and share proposed changes to build awareness for each project as well as to elicit additional information to improve upon each application.

Using this mindful process of user engagement ensures each application supports USC’s strategic vision. Guiding the SSI Project teams are Katharine Harrington, Executive Sponsor and VP of Admissions and Planning, as well as Program Sponsors Dr. Frank Chang, Registrar; Thomas McWhorter, Financial Aid Dean; and Noemi Garcia Tagorda, Associate Dean.

Additionally, the SSI Program Advisory Council chaired by Rosemary Kennedy, Associate Vice President of Financial Services, is the governing body of approximately 25 influential stakeholders that provide leadership and information; the SSI Change Champion Network is a group of recommended and highly engaged students, administrators, parents, alumni, and staff members actively contributing to enhance the six services.



Frequently Asked Questions

 

What is the Student Services Initiative?

The Student Services Initiative (SSI) Program is a key collaboration between Enrollment Services Division (ESD) and Information Technologies Services (ITS) at the University of Southern California. The Initiative was approved in 2018 to enhance the operational effectiveness and user experience of technical applications for students, instructors, parents, alumni and staff-facing technical applications. The six-project Initiative affects Web Registration (WebReg), Grading and Roster System (GRS), Online Academic Student Information System (OASIS), Financial Aid Summary and Tasks (FAST), Online Financial Aid Forms (OLF), and Financial Aid (FAO) Reporting.

What are the objectives and benefits of the Student Services Initiative?

The Student Services Initiative will provide:

  • Updated and enhanced online user experiences that are mobile responsive and more intuitive meeting a USC’s strategic vision.
  • System stabilization and security that lessens the reliance on Student Information System by employing up-to-date databases that improves performance and reliability.
  • The Office of Academic Records and Registration as well as the Financial Aid Office reports and/or forms which are quicker to assess and include visually relevant data
  • Reduced contact to the Office of Academic Records and Registration as well as the Financial Aid Office regarding technical and system issues so the staff can spend more time assisting students, faculty, parents, and alumni.

Who is on the Student Services Initiative Program team?

The Student Services Initiative is led by Veronica Garcia, ITS Associate Chief Information Officer; Jenny Jones, ITS Director; and Maria Dietz, SSI Program Manager. The SSI Program teams consist of Information Technology Services (ITS) staff, independent contractors and consultants with specific expertise, who collaborate with ESD leadership, Subject Matter Experts, and stakeholders keenly knowledgeable about the applications to ensure user alignment is intertwined throughout the Program.

Guiding the SSI Program are Katharine Harrington, Executive Sponsor and VP of Admissions and Planning, as well as Program Sponsors Dr. Frank Chang, Registrar; Thomas McWhorter, Financial Aid Dean; and Noemi Garcia Tagorda, Financial Aid Associate Dean.

Who is the Student Services Initiative Program Advisory Council?

Chaired by Rosemary Kennedy, Associate Vice President of Financial Services, the SSI Program Advisory Council is the governing body of approximately 25 influential stakeholders consisting of cross-functional leaders to assist the Initiative by providing guidance, cultural insight, additional departmental coordination and communication.

Who are the Student Services Initiative Program Change Champions?

To help the SSI Program Team and SSI Program Advisory Council, the SSI Change Champions are highly engaged and referred students, administrators, parents, alumni, and staff members that volunteer or are selected to facilitate change. These 100+ representatives provide additional resources and serve as an extension of the Initiative and actively advocate and facilitate change, while supporting their peers in integrating the applications throughout the university community.

What projects are currently underway within the Student Services Initiative?

There are six projects in the Student Services Initiative. The Offices being impacted are the Office of Academic Records and Registration and the Financial Aid Office. The projects are:

GRS (Grading and Roster System)

  • Streamline the main roster and grading system for faculty, instructors, advisors, and academic support staff to better stabilize and enhance each user’s experience.

OASIS (Online Academic Student Information System)

  • Move over 35 applications to MyUSC and other supported portals enabling the 2008 system to be retired.

WebReg (Web Registration)

  • Application enhancements to optimize the online experience for students registering for classes.

FAO (Financial Aid Office Reporting)

  • Provide 65 relevant reports so the Financial Aid Office has timely data that can be shared with authorized users to facility more efficient decision making.

OLF (Online Financial Aid Forms)

  • Redesign three vital student and parent online financial aid forms for an improved user experience and services for students, parents, and the Financial Aid Office staff.

FAST (Financial Aid Summary and Tasks)

  • Redesign the planning tool portal with information to help students and parents make more informed decisions about the financial aid process.

What is the schedule and timeline for the Student Services Initiative?

The Student Services Initiative Assessment was conducted in Fall 2017. The Initiative was approved and budgeted in 2018. The official work began in December 2018. The projects in the Program will conclude by December 2020.

How can I find out about the progress of the project?

The Student Services Initiative has an Organizational Change Management (OCM) team dedicated to supporting members of the Trojan community impacted by the Program. The OCM team provides awareness communications, community knowledge forums, content tool kits, and training, as relevant.

If you are a USC student, instructor, staff member, parent, alumnus or alumna and would like to receive more information about the SSI or if you would like If you want to get involved as a SSI Program Change Champion, please contact us at ssi.program@usc.edu to engage in this transformative university collaboration.