Division of Students launches Student Service Excellence Toolkit with a two-part workshop series

Group Of Students Meeting For Tutorial With Teacher

If you have ever wondered about “design thinking,” “human-centred design” and “service design,” and how these approaches can be used to help co-create better service experiences for students, colleagues and the York community, look no further.

As part of its service excellence initiative, the Division of Students has launched the first iteration of its service design toolkit. The toolkit houses an initial set of videos, guides and worksheets to help service providers better understand the student experience; explore ways to improve the student experience with services; and, start making a difference and measure the impact of potential initiatives.

Service design offers a way to co-create a culture of service excellence

Over the past two years, the Service Excellence Working Group has led community consultations and design sessions, including a drop-in prototyping event that was held just prior to the closure of York University’s campuses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The group learned that building a culture of service excellence requires a bolder approach to innovation: A human-centered design approach (or service design, when applied to service).

Lucy Fromowitz
Lucy Fromowitz

“Student service excellence is about each one of us appreciating – from an empathetic standpoint – how service is being received by students and other users,” says Vice-Provost Students Lucy Fromowitz.

Emerging from this work, the working group created the Student Service Excellence Toolkit. To launch the toolkit, the working group hosted a two-part workshop series to introduce the mindset and process of service design. More than 100 staff from the division and Faculties completed a mini-service design process and created initial prototypes for a service improvement, including what a future version of that service could look like.

Student service excellence and service design mindsets

Level 1: Understanding the Mindset of Service Design

In this workshop, participants discussed the mindsets for service excellence and service design, the opportunities that these mindsets create for continuous improvement and what gets in the way of these mindsets. It became clear that all must embody these mindsets to build a culture of service excellence. This is a culture where community members respect one another, value each other’s time, help each other succeed, and always do their best to be accountable and to keep growing.

The mindsets are:This image shows a series of boxes with the service mindsets illustratedLevel 2: Designing Improved Services

In the second workshop, participants applied the mindsets and principles to explore service issues from a client-centered perspective. With the help of the Student Service Excellence Toolkit, participants learned a repeatable process to explore, conceptualize and communicate service improvements.

A significant take away for many are the three keys to good human-centered design:

This image shows three boxes with captions

When asked to share one or more key learnings or takeaways, participants provided the following feedback:

“Learning to design services based on the client’s key moments and emotions at each stage, instead of building it based on our administrative reasons and perspectives.”

“I particularly appreciated the connection between the service improvement idea and the visual process of proposing concepts. The creativity required for that actually informed both the ability to communicate the idea and to refine it.”

Visit the Student Service Excellence Toolkit to learn more about how to design human-centered services for students, colleagues and the York community. The toolkit contains links to the workshop recordings, worksheets and external resources to use for work within and across teams.

To learn more about about service design and why it is important, there is a brief video description from the Nielsen Norman Group: UX Training, Consulting, & Research (NNGroup) that provides more information. The video can be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KDEbL33K-B0.