Jerrad Harrison helps students and families navigate to success

Jerrad Harrison

Jerrad Harrison oversees the daily activities of One Stop.

written by Carole Johnson, university news and communications

As coordinator of Miami’s One Stop for student success services, Jerrad Harrison oversees the daily operations ensuring students and parents experience a smooth process for navigating through the lobby and front counter area of One Stop.

One Stop opened in November, and Harrison positions himself front and center as he monitors the daily activity.

Q: What is the purpose behind the new look and office setup of the area?

A: Prior to the remodel, this space in CAB held the registrar and bursar where students waited in lines to receive help. Financial aid was tucked somewhere else. We operated as three different entities. We needed to create a more centralized process, so we created a welcoming lobby where students now check in using special kiosks. Students check in and log their reasons for their visits. We created a front line of sorts to avoid students getting lost trying to find where and from whom to get help.

Q: What kind of training did your team go through to prepare for this front-line approach?

A: We went through two months of training learning the different areas. We discovered that our distinct areas are more intertwined than we realized. For instance, a student with a registration issue may learn that it stems from a financial aid issue. Our goal is to not send students to five different people. We are trained to answer questions from all three areas. One Stop staff members are now the face for students. A person they can associate with.  All the processing is handled in the back office, but students don’t need to worry about that part of it.

Q: How is this new approach working?

A: We are still evolving as a staff as we learn more and more as we go. But we are meshing well. The Lean process helped prepare us to analyze our current processes. We’ve learned to ask ourselves why we do something this way? Can we cut out unnecessary steps? I come from the bursar side. Now, I am learning about registration and financial aid. I enjoy being that front-line face helping students through their issues. 

Q: What kind of issues do you deal with?

A: I remember a student and her mother who were confused and frustrated regarding financial aid. The student’s anxiety level was through the roof when she found out her classes might be canceled due to missing information on her financial aid forms. The mother did not understand the process and emotions were running high. During this kind of crunch time, students don’t want you to tell them you will call them back. It was nice that I had the knowledge base and support staff to work through this with them. One spot, one face: That is why we are here.

Q: What other services make up One Stop?

A: Of course we have our online website where students don’t physically need to come to CAB. I also am excited about our tracking system. It allows us to follow a student to make sure they received the assistance required.

Harrison graduated from Miami University in 2000 with a degree in English and in 2009 with a master’s in communications.