Lynx Central: Campus’ One-Stop Shop for Student Needs

July 31, 2020

No longer will students who visit or call the former Lynx Center be sent to multiple offices for help in areas such as financial aid, course registration, or admissions. Over the past year, the service desk located in the Student Commons Building has been restructured into a one-stop shop for student needs. 

Now called Lynx Central, the physical space will open in its same location in mid-August with extensive safety protocols in place, including social distancing measures, plexiglass, and a rigorous disinfecting schedule. The Lynx Central services are also available by phone, email, and on the recently launched Lynx Central website. Because of COVID-19, the team behind Lynx Central accelerated the timeline of the project to help students start the fall semester off strong. 

Addressing Campus Concerns

Formed last August, the Student Enrollment Operations and Compliance (SEOC) team was aligned to streamline student enrollment processes to create an unparalleled student experience. As such, Lynx Central is made up of specialists from student-facing administrative offices from the SEOC, including Admissions Operations, Financial Aid & Scholarships, and the Office of the Registrar. “The goal is to work more seamlessly on behalf of students,” said Anthony Fontana, executive director for Integrated Enrollment Services. “We want to make sure students can have their enrollment needs met in one place instead of waiting in lines across campus.”  

The new Lynx Central is the result of direct student feedback. Last fall, students were surveyed on the navigation and delivery of services offered at the former Lynx Center, as well as the Financial Aid & Scholarships Office, the Office of the Registrar, and Admissions Operations, and the feedback was consistently that students get shuffled around too much. Lynx Central will remedy that.

“What we heard from students was they need a more streamlined service experience,” said Carrie John, associate vice chancellor for Student Enrollment Operations and Compliance and University Registrar. “They felt like working through the university was a maze and that being referred from office to office gets old. We completely agree and are excited to launch Lynx Central in response.”

Before, students would approach the service desk for a number of needs, such as issues with financial aid, and be directed to take the elevator to the Financial Aid & Scholarship Office on the fifth floor of the Student Commons Building. Then, if the issues the students were facing involved another office, they would be referred to that office as well. They had to do the ground work, versus a staff member doing it for them.

Now, students have one point of contact at Lynx Central—whether it’s in person, via email, or over the phone—who does the work across offices on the backend, creating a customer-oriented experience for students. 

The new Lynx Central provides the same level of expertise, and at no additional cost to students. 

Website Meets Students Where They Are

The accompanying Lynx Central website mirrors the mission of the physical space. Student services are easily accessible on one central homepage, with important timelines and deadlines highlighted near the top. There are catchy icons and clear graphics that highlight student stories and successes. The language is clear and concise, free of academic jargon that oftentimes confused students. 

“Instead of having students learn to speak our language, I think the new website is really meeting students where they are,” said Andy Liakos, director of digital strategies in the Office of Student Success.

The July 1 website launch was part of a larger content management system (CMS) transition from Sharepoint to Sitefinity for CU Denver, aimed at creating a more positive experience for website visitors. The redesigned Lynx Central and CU Denver main university websites are an effort to better support student success through recruitment, enrollment, and retention to graduation—one of the university’s key strategic priorities

A competitive advantage of the new Lynx Central website is that the content is student-driven, Liakos said. His team comprises several student writers and graphic designers who are lending insights about the needs of their peers. 

“Other universities have done the digital one-stop model but ours is really different because it is student driven and student produced,” Liakos said. “We are letting them communicate with each other.”

Together, the reimagined Lynx Central website and physical space will help students meet their educational goals and achieve academic success during their time at CU Denver.