Organizationally, silos are helpful and needed at the faculty and administrative level. They keep departments and processes structured so teams can run efficiently and maintain a shared identity. For students, things are a little different. The siloed university system doesn’t help students in the same way it helps faculty. Silos create a maze for students to navigate when they need to access university resources or get support from faculty. Silos make college complicated.
Colleges and universities are trying to figure out how to maintain their organizational structure while, at the same time, making the college experience more streamlined, centralized, and navigable for students. It’s quite a challenge because the very silos institutions rely on to function can be detrimental to the student experience.
Up until recently, institutions have had to pick and choose technologies that would either be highly beneficial for students or highly beneficial for administration. But technologies have rarely been mutually beneficial for both. That’s where EVAN360 comes in as one of the first higher education technologies that allows institutions to maintain their organizational structure and simultaneously eliminate silos on the student side.
Why We Need Silos
Imagine if every faculty and staff member was thrown together under one umbrella. Without hierarchies, no one would no who reports to whom and who’s responsible for what. It would be chaotic, as you can probably imagine, and much would be missed. Operating as individual departments allows teams to determine what works for them, where to focus their efforts, and how to delegate responsibility in order to operate efficiently and effectively.
Divisions within the university allow administrative teams to develop a sense of identity as they pursue a common goal and focus their efforts in a specialized area. Teams can assign accountability and responsibility to specific people and balance workload distribution among those who are overloaded and those who have extra time to spare. Smaller divisions also enable faculty and staff to be known as teams are better able to foster a sense of belonging and teamwork within a smaller group of people.
Why Silos Are Bad
On the other hand, these silos are making the student experience way too complicated. Here’s why:
- Silos cause confusion among students seeking help. Suppose a student is struggling with test anxiety, for example, and they need help. Do they go to the test prep center or the counseling center? Maybe a student is struggling to pay for school and needs financial support and possibly a job. Do they go to the financial aid office, the work study program center, or the career center? They all sound like viable options.
- Silos make it difficult for students to get in touch with the right faculty member when they have questions or need help. When it comes to communication, students have way too many options. While it’s good to have options, too many can be overwhelming. Students have access to chatbots, websites, physical offices, email, phone, text, social media, early alert systems, learning management systems. Where do they go for what? They usually have to make two or three attempts before locating the right person. And even then, waiting for a response can take hours or days. Sometimes, students don’t even get a response and aren’t sure where to turn next.
- Silos increase wait times. As mentioned in the point above, waiting for a response can take hours or days, especially if a student has to be rerouted to the proper department. After multiple contact attempts with no answer, it can be discouraging and frustrating.
- Silos aren’t navigable for first-generation students or students who aren’t familiar with the college system. College can be completely foreign, and students are expected to know everything the second they set foot on campus. In reality, they just don’t.
How to Maintain Silos While Simultaneously Breaking Them Down
Seems impossible, right? That’s exactly why we set out to find a solution and came up with EVAN360. It’s the first technology that allows faculty and administrators to maintain their organizational structure while eliminating silos for students.
The EVAN360 app scales and streamlines connection to higher education resources and provides students with a centralized support network they can access anytime. It gives students confidence in knowing exactly where to go for help, it improves retention and student success, and helps faculty develop a more balanced workload. It also allows for accurate and helpful data to be captured even when things are un-siloed.