University Business - March 2008 - (Page 22)
BEHIND the NEWS Concierge at Your Service ADMINISTRATORS AT NATIONAL UNIVERSITY (Calif.) are taking the idea of customer service seriously. About a year and a half ago, Chancellor Jerry Lee invited trainers from the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company to discuss “legendary customer service” with the leadership staff at the private institution. As a result, a student concierge service was created as a one-stop option for students to get answers to questions ranging from student portal password resets to adding and dropping classes. “We’re trying to give students one place to call,” explains Kenneth Goldberg, VP for Student Services. Students can call or e-mail for assistance. In January the 10 advocates staffing the concierge line handled 5,600 studentinitiated inquiries. Goldberg says the advocates, already staff members at the institution, can resolve 80 percent of the calls and track problems directed to other offices through completion. Continual training should keep the resolution percentage high, and careful staffing during peak call times keeps wait times under one minute. Now that kind of service would make any student smile. —A.M. U B E T W E E N the L I N E S Crucibles of Leadership: How to Learn from Experience to Become a Great Leader By Robert J. Thomas, Harvard Business School Press; 2008; 256 p.p.; $29.95 WHAT MAKES A GREAT LEADER? HOW IS it that two leaders, similarly positioned for success, can have two very different outcomes when confronted by a “crucible event”? The answer, says Robert Thomas, is based on the understanding that practice and performance are the same thing. There are numerous classes and seminars that teach leadership skills, but completing a course does not a leader make. What ultimately matters is how one applies the lessons learned (performance) to a crisis, while simultaneously being aware of the things from their learning (practice) that need to be revised in light of their new experience. Thomas, who serves as executive director of the Accenture Institute for High Performance Business, interviewed hundreds of successful men and women to devise a series of exercises designed to help readers gain valuable insight from their experiences, insight that will help them realize the complete picture of successful leadership. —Tim Goral University Sells Bathroom Naming Rights IT ’S BATHROOM HUMOR IN good taste: A venture capitalist paying $25,000 for the rights to name a lavatory on the University of Colorado at Boulder campus. The second-floor men’s restroom in the ATLAS building now features donor Brad Feld’s name and a plaque with his words of wisdom: “The best ideas often come at inconvenient times—don’t ever close your mind to them.” ATLAS, or the Alliance for Technology, Learning and Society, promotes interdisciplinary research and educational and outreach programs, uniting students, educators, and leaders from industry and government. Feld’s connection is indirect: He’s a board member of The National Center for Women & Information Technology, housed in the ATLAS building. Feld made a similar proposal to officials at MIT, his alma mater, a few years earlier but was turned down. He mentioned his failed attempt to ATLAS director John BRUCE HENDERSON Brad Feld stands next to his plaque inside a men’s bathroom. Bennett, who, in turn, took Feld up on the offer for his own university. Opened in fall 2006, the ATLAS building, a $31.1 million project, has other naming opportunities still available. They include a black-box performance space for $1 million, a tower for $500,000, benches for $25,000, and auditorium seats for $1,000 each. There is also a $2.25 million building co-naming opportunity. And, yes, benefactors can follow Feld’s example. “We have other bathrooms people could name,” says spokesperson Bruce Henderson. —M.H. CORRECTION: A Bite of the Textbook Pie, the February 2008 Stats Watch, had an error. The amount of 32.1¢ for Publisher’s Paper, Printing, and Editorial Costs was inadvertently left off, while the 15.3¢ for Publisher’s Marketing Costs was repeated. A corrected version of the chart can be found at www.universitybusiness.com. We apologize for any confusion. 22 | March 2008 universitybusiness.com
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