Front and Center
Posted on: February 4, 2021
Tigerville, SC (September 24, 2019) Pick up your room key. Set up your payment plan. Change one of your classes. Check on the status of your scholarships. Get your ID card. . . . When you’re coming onto campus for a new school year, your to-do list can seem nearly endless.
But now, getting through that checklist is easier than ever before for North Greenville University students — thanks to NGUcentral.
Aptly named, NGUcentral is a newly created one-stop service center for finding answers, getting help, and taking care of the paperwork integral to attending college — all in one central location on campus.
NGUcentral staff serve as customer service representatives to NGU students and their families. They’re equipped to assist with almost any need or issue related to Academic Records, Financial Aid, and Student Accounts, the other three areas under NGU’s Office of Student Services.
“The community we’re building here at NGU is one where people feel known; they feel that they’re seen and heard. And that’s the type of culture we want to create within Student Services, too,” says Vice President of Student Services Rachael Russiaky.
According to Russiaky, her whole team hopes to relocate into one shared building during the Spring 2020 semester. Until then, NGUcentral will be located temporarily in the lobby of The Craft-Hemphill Center beginning in Fall 2019.
“Up to this point, Academic Records, Financial Aid, and Student Accounts have all been in different buildings spread out across campus. That automatically creates a ping-pong effect for students,” Russiaky says. “The idea with the new Student Services reorganization is to bring all of those areas under one roof so that when a student comes to that space, they can have all their questions answered right there.”
Once her team settles in to its new space, NGUcentral will serve as a front desk help center to the other areas under Russiaky, a veteran in higher education leadership.
Russiaky earned her Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Leadership from Trinity International University in Deerfield, IL. She began her career in higher education as a director of financial aid at Calvary Bible College in Kansas City, MO, and eventually rose through the ranks to associate vice president for student services at Trinity, where she served for more than a decade — including four years with NGU’s current executive vice president, Rich Grimm. At Trinity, Russiaky implemented a model similar to NGUcentral.
Before coming on full-time at NGU, Russiaky served as a consultant with the university. During that time, she says she “fell in love” with NGU’s people and the administration’s vision.
“As President Fant and Rich cast a vision of their prioritization of service to students, I saw how I could fit within that vision to help lead the institution forward in this area,” she says.
Since joining NGU earlier this year, Russiaky has helped pioneer the reorganization of NGU’s Office of Student Services from the ground up.
While she and her team continue putting the pieces into place for NGUcentral, students and their families can already reap the benefits of this new model of customer care.
For the Fall 2019 check-in event, for example, Student Services staff set up in the Hayes Ministry/Welcome Center meeting space alongside Admissions, allowing families to finalize any incomplete steps all at once.
In addition, NGU students can email NGUcentral@ngu.edu with any questions, concerns, or needs related to Student Services at any time and expect a reply within 48 hours.
“As our team leads this new culture at NGU, we want to prioritize our service to students,” says Russiaky. “But after 16 years in higher education, what I’ve observed is that anything we do to help the students also contributes to the broader community of the university.”
For Russiaky, any day she can help NGU, her team, and the students she serves “move forward” is a good day at work.
“If you want to maintain a level of excellence, then you never stop improving,” she adds.