get one-stop financial services at new Cavalier Central
by Jenny Gerow
Shirk (seated), a student information counselor, and Pamela
Nash (second from right), an athletic grant-in-aid support
technician, assist students at Cavalier Central.
By Elizabeth Kiem
January 2000, the University earmarked approximately $2 million
to renovate Carruthers Hall, the aging building housing administrative
offices for U.Va.s
bursar, registrar and Student
was no question the expenditure would provide much-needed architectural
refurbishment. What was not expected was the ideological shift
the construction caused among the buildings denizens.
learning about our interdependencies, rather than our separations.
Its a continuous staff development process, said University
Registrar Carol Stash Stanley.
when we said, Lets just do what weve always
wanted lets have one place, one service center for
the student to come into, instead of part of it next door, part
of it here, part of it upstairs, recalled Student
Financial Services director Yvonne Hubbard. Her staff of more
than 50 employees still spills out of Carruthers into the adjacent
six months after construction began later that year, a customer-friendly,
eye-appealing student service hub stood ready to provide all financial
transactions, from loan disbursements to tuition payments, as
well as registration and academic record services in just one
students who cant electronically slay all the ogres of bureaucracy
at the University, the new Cavalier Central is pleasantly streamlined.
For grad students who remember the days of registration lines
zigzagging the gym, its a miracle.
One first-year student sorting through financial aid forms for
the first time on her own was just happy to have accessible expertise.
Theyve been incredibly helpful, Allison Duck
said. Like this situation right here I can sit at
this table and ask questions as I have them, as opposed to calling
on the phone and adding to the confusion.
financial aid, student accounts and the University registrar in
one reception area masks the reality of separate divisions that
answer to different vice presidents and have vastly different
budgets. But that, Stanley said, is precisely what they sought.
a business perspective, the backroom operations that create the
interactions with students should be invisible. Students dont
care who owns that or whos under what VP. Its an administrative
hang-up. We just want to fix the front end.
Centrals front end is a handsome faux-marble-top desk, manned
by Carey Shirk, the doyenne of Student Financial Services, and
one of a team of service representatives from the Office of the
University Registrar who rotate coverage in shifts.
do triage, said. Shirk, using the term for generalists skilled
in directing students to the appropriate specialist. Do
we need a financial adviser? A student adviser? A W-2? Do they
need directions, do they know where the cashier is?
registrars reps field a number of questions about academic
record concerns in the in-person service area of the center, such
as about course offerings, registration, grades and diplomas.
The office is also rolling out a secure Web application so students
can request and pay for a transcript from a remote location.
the future, everyone working on the reception desk will be cross-trained,
so that any need can be met by any receptionist at any time.
and Stanley credit Facilities Management and interior designer
Robin Mongold with the success of Cavalier Centrals new
space, a felicitous mix of open cubicles and private conference
rooms. The piece-built semicircular foyer, fondly called the
ellipse, is a reminder that this 50-year-old office building,
a mile-and-a-half away from Grounds, is in fact a part of U.Va.
But despite the enthusiasm for the organizational and spatial
improvements on the ground floor of Carruthers, the Emmet Street
buildings relative isolation remains a drawback.
hope that we can, as a group, move closer to Grounds and maybe
have the opportunity to bring other student services
our delivery location, Hubbard said.