General Questions and Feedback

If you have any questions about or would like to submit feedback for The Student Experience Redesign, please fill out the feedback form here.

General SER:

What steps is Mason taking to ensure the success of the Student Experience Redesign when there are changes being made related to staff structure/role, and technology simultaneously?

The SER initiative is intended to be collaborative in such a way that all the changes are coordinated, ensuring uniformity and a streamlined efficient process to make these changes among all stakeholders and offices. We will ensure success based on metrics set out in the strategic plan: student retention rates, student satisfaction, student success survey, six-year graduation rate, and enrollment levels. As we continue to build out the SER initiative, we are in the process of creating detailed assessment plans for each area of the initiative.  

How will current students be benefited or affected by the Student Experience Redesign initiative and its projects?

We will create a dynamic and successful experience for current students through communications with the student body and actively welcoming their input. The timeline and iterative components of SER’s final completion allows for revisions to be made based on the student feedback before the changes are fully implemented. Concurrently the projects will be gaining feedback from the students as they are implemented in stages or increments; for example, the soft launch of the Mason Student Services Center led to improvements for the full launch. Those working on the Student Experience Redesign look for and welcome opportunities to hear feedback on the new student experience and incorporate that feedback into the developing projects and their assessments.  

Mason Care Network

What is the Mason Care Network and how is it different from the current system of Academic Advising?

Academic advising at Mason is an invaluable asset for students and supports them in a variety of ways. The new Mason Care Network team will complement the existing Academic Advising structure by supporting holistic success across the student experience by providing all incoming students with not only an academic advisor based on the student’s major or program, but also a general success coach. The mission of the Mason Care Network is to be a student-centered coaching team working to support students in meeting their goals, in addition to academic advisors assisting students in navigating their degree completion.


What is the difference between a success coach and an academic advisor?

Although the roles of coach and advisor will have some overlap, success coaches seek to provide a baseline of support across the student experience in a consistent and ongoing format, allowing the academic advisors to be focused on supporting students within the unique needs of each college or program.

The two roles are intentionally distinct so that each role can be focused on delivering their specific support at the highest level while simultaneously mitigating fatigue on staff working in these roles.  

All coaches and advisors will be working toward the same goal to support holistic student success across the student experience.  Academic advising primarily focuses on course selection, semester schedule planning, and career planning within a student’s discipline. Academic advisors help students navigate the rules and restrictions of their College, School or Department. Success coaches will also be familiar with common hurdles related to academic advising in order to best assist students interested in other majors or those interested in changing majors. Success coaches will assist in areas such as academic transitions, holistic well-being, defining and meeting goals, student engagement, campus involvement, academic efficacy, and navigating both life and school.

Coaches and advisors will work together with different emphases to make sure students take advantage of the all the possible opportunities available to them and successfully progress through Mason.


Will the MCN assist transfer students, returning students, adult learners, and various other sub-populations at Mason?

Yes. There are many sub-populations that success coaches and academic advisors alike must consider how to best support, including adult learners, online learners, first-generation college students, transfer students, and many others. Both academic advisors and success coaches will be trained on how best to support the diverse student populations that Mason welcomes, beyond what is considered the “traditional” student.

All undergraduates, freshman, transfer, adult, and online learners, who are new to Mason will be assigned a coach. All efforts are focused on supporting the incoming student in meeting their goals, including timely degree completion. Coaches and academic advisors will work together to support students based on their prior experience, taking into consideration their previous institution type, number of credits/semesters completed, AP scores, dual enrollment, first degree or earning a second degree, etc.

Currently, the priority is to have success coaches available to all incoming and new students. Should a returning student wish to take advantage of the success coaches, the MCN will work with that student to ensure they receive the assistance they need


Will the Mason Care Network do away with the NOVA ADVANCE coaches?

No. ADVANCE success coaches are a part of the Mason Care Network team as one of the coaching pods. ADVANCE success coaches are co-employed by NOVA and Mason and have responsibilities that go beyond the responsibilities of the Mason-exclusive success coaches. ADVANCE students will continue to work with their assigned ADVANCE success coach across their joint experience at NOVA and Mason. They will be supported by academic advising at NOVA while enrolled at NOVA, and academic advising in their major at Mason once they matriculate to Mason. 

Lifecycle CRM

What is Salesforce and a Lifecyle CRM?

Salesforce is the company that provides the technology necessary to create a system of customer relationship management: CRM. This system of case management, support, and resolution will enhance and streamline a student’s interactions with various campus offices that address student needs. Offices such as Financial Aid, the University Registrar, Student Accounts, a variety of other offices at the Mason Student Services Center, and across the University will be using Salesforce’s platforms and services to facilitate their addressing of student needs in a timely and efficient manner.

What all will Salesforce be able to allow students to do, and will students have any idea what Salesforce is? Will it all just be a behind the scenes system students don’t know about?

 Largely, students shouldn’t be aware that the technology we are implementing is powered by Salesforce. We will have interfaces that we roll out throughout the next few years that will be connected directly to Salesforce, but the students will know it is a new streamlined student portal or a check in form for an office or a chat with a student service representative who is answering any questions they might have

Will all Mason staff have access to Salesforce information and licensure?

The Salesforce platform is going to be the system of engagement and we will be rolling out components of the system to help a variety of offices across the university. Those offices will be afforded licenses to the system as the functionality is developed that supports their work and the work we are doing with students.  

When can academic units expect to be integrated into the Salesforce platform?

 In the latter part of 2020, we will be working to roll out a component of Salesforce focused on coaching and advising. We expect to begin getting the academic units into the system in earnest at this time.  

Portal & Mason 360°

What are Portal and Mason 360°?

The goal of the Mason Student Portal is to consolidate and streamline all the various avenues and applications that students currently use to interact with Mason into one front end technology. Between both a mobile and web application, the Mason Student Portal provides students with a more personalized view of their experience at Mason and improves their engagement with the institution and its many resources.

Mason 360 will replace the current campus labs platform of student engagement: getconnected. This new platform will include all in one place the 500+ clubs and student organizations Mason offers, Events Management through 25live, a partnering with the Patriot Experience system of co-curricular activities tracking, Student Government Elections, volunteer service hours tracking, and more.

What will the Mason 360 app include and exclude? Will absolutely everything a student needs be accessible through the app, like university events, student health, EHS, Sodexo and student centers? If available at all when will these functions be available?

MASON 360 features and functionality include: personalized resource content with links to key resources, events calendar, QR code check in, event registration, student group management, budgeting, discussion feeds, tracks and checklists for things like orientation, patriot experience, and other campus programming. Some of its communication features include a chat feature, and push notifications, ability to participate in student government elections, service hours tracking and more. These are a few of the many end goals for MASON 360, and functionality and features will be phased in over time in order of priority and need.

Will the Mason 360 app include PatriotWeb, and will PatriotWeb be changing?

Though the plan is to have a link for PatriotWeb included in the Mason Student Portal, we don’t anticipate any changes to meld the two together. Banner 9 is being implemented which will provide a responsive design for mobile usage for some student features in Banner. 

What is the relationship between Salesforce and the Mason 360 app?

MASON 360 is a replacement of our current student involvement platform. It will initially have links to Salesforce content. As our Salesforce implementation becomes more robust, we anticipate that Mason 360 functionality will likely move onto the Salesforce platform over time.

Mason Initiation

What is Mason Initiation and what changes are being made?

Mason Initiation is the process and experiences related to a new Mason student’s introduction and transition into the Mason community. A successfully orientated Mason student has a strong connection to their academics and their peers as well as a strong sense of belonging to Mason. Updates to the current orientation experience will include a central website for new students, a staff position focused on first-year communications, an extended welcome program, and an first year program evaluation.  After attending orientation and after their first year at Mason, students should have experienced the following: identified their academic, personal, and career interests and a have plan to further explore them; built a supportive network of peers, faculty, and staff; engaged in involvement opportunities with people, cultures, and ideas different from their own; and developed a sense of civility and responsibility as an engaged citizen and a member of the Mason community.    

What are the advantages to having an optional extended orientation program? Specifically, Quill Camp? How will these extended programs integrate with advising provided at the student’s orientation sessions?

Currently, Orientation is becoming increasingly more focused on the preparation and support around academic success and the logistics of receiving advising and registration for their first semester. Students at this time are managing a lot of information and action items in order to matriculate to the institution. Extended orientation programs as a practice are aimed at deepening the connections for new students to their peers, resources on and off campus, and their new environment and community. Students who attend Quill Camp will hopefully have a head start to their Mason experience while developing relationships around a common issue and setting goals for their academic and personal success.

Even with the addition of improved and enhanced University 100 courses, what if students cannot take them due to the tuition adjustment with a cap at 15 credits, and University 100 courses only being 1 credit?

The additional cost of the extra credit has been a concern, and we have been watching the enrollments in the UNIV100 courses carefully to see if there has been an effect. The good news is that over the past few years, the majority of first-year students (80-90%) who have taken UNIV courses have had under 16 total credit, and that seems to be the trend this year, too. The UNIV100 courses provide value to students that will hopefully offset the additional cost, for those who are charged. In general, it is much less expensive for a student to take an extra credit in semester that helps them make good academic progress, than to stay under 16 credits each semester but have to enroll in additional semesters to graduate. So, our goal is that the UNIV courses help students make good academic and personal plans so that they are prepared to succeed in a full future course load and graduate on time.

Mason Student Services Center

What is the Mason Student Services Center?

The Mason Student Services Center is Mason’s updated area of addressing student inquiries and problem resolution. The ground floor of Student Union Building 1 which houses many essential student offices such as Financial Aid, Student Accounts, University Registrar, and many more, has been physically remodeled in order to better accommodate students, in addition to a revamping of systems of student case management and escalation.

Will the Mason Student Services Center be able to field and address graduate student concerns as well as undergraduate concerns?

The MSSC is being developed to serve all students, undergraduate and graduate.

How can you ensure thorough training for the staff of the Mason Student Services Center so that the Mason Shuffle ceases?

We anticipate a more robust series of cross trainings across multiple service offices that will not only occur in the early part of the transition to the new student services center, but iteratively throughout the year to ensure as the Mason Student Services Center grows, that the team is ready and able to support students appropriately. We anticipate additional engagement with other units (beyond the initial core of Financial Aid, Student Accounts, Admissions, and Registrar) in phase 2 implementation, which will also require additional training.