Efforts to better identify students who may need help and connect them with resources in the community has once again earned OSU Institute of Technology honors from the Oklahoma Association of Community Colleges
Karla Lamunyon, prospect data management specialist in the Office of Student Services, was awarded the first place 2017 Creative Staff Innovations Award from the OACC for OSUIT’s new concierge messaging program.
New students are sent a survey with questions that cover topics such as food insecurity, childcare needs, veterans’ services, and many more. Slate, the data management system used by OSUIT, then sends out informational emails based on those responses throughout the year.
“We wanted to send out target messages to students,” Lamunyon said. “So if they marked ‘yes’ on the question ‘Do you have trouble getting enough food for yourself or family,’ they would receive messages and information about food pantries.”
Lamunyon’s work on the concierge messaging program earned her a nomination and, ultimately a first place win, from the OACC.
“I was doing what I just thought was my job. I didn’t think it was especially creative or innovative,” she said. “It was an honor to be nominated.”
Lamunyon follows fellow Student Services coworker Rendi Glass, director of the Assessment Center, who took the top Creative Staff Innovations Award last year for her work on improvements to the Assessment Center.
Dr. Ina Agnew, vice president of Student Services, said the two aren’t alone. Other staff members from Student Services were also recognized by OACC in 2014 and 2013.
“It validates the work that we do in Student Services— that what we are offering addresses the needs of our students and local communities,” Agnew said.
Staff must also continue to find ways to connect with and support students, she said.
“The rapid advancement and changes in technology means that we must be creative and adaptive. New programming, continuous improvement of current programming, and new ways to communicate are all affected by technology,” Agnew said. “If we’re not flexible, what we do won’t work, and students won’t get the assistance they need and deserve.”
Lamunyon, who studied software development at OSUIT, said now working in data management and with Slate, she’s constantly looking at problems in a new way.
“We use it in every possible way we can to increase enrollment and retention,” she said. “I really enjoy database work as much as software now, but they kind of go together.”