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A Dream No Longer! Atlantic Cape’s New One-Stop Welcome Center Opens; Ready to Simplify the Student Enrollment Process

09/15/2023 | Media Contact: David Zuba, Public Relations Manager and Copywriter | (609) 343-4933
Atlantic Cape staff and trustees at the One-Stop Welcome Center ribbon cutting ceremony

MAYS LANDING — It began as a line item on a wish list. In 2017, Atlantic Cape Community College’s then newly-minted President Dr. Barbara Gaba bookmarked a One-Stop Welcome Center for students as an important addition that she would like to see realized at the college’s Mays Landing campus.

Fast forward six years and that dream has become a reality as Atlantic Cape officially opened its new One-Stop Welcome Center in the J Building lobby on September 12. It will serve as an inviting, modern and attractive student-friendly venue that will streamline the enrollment process and support our students as they pursue their academic and career goals.

Atlantic Cape President Dr. Barbara Gaba speaks during One-Stop Welcome Center ribbon cutting cermony“Our patience has paid off, six years later, and we are so excited with our new One-Stop Welcome Center. It is very innovative and transformative,” Gaba said during the college’s internal ribbon cutting ceremony on August 31. “We are so very grateful and we thank our faculty and staff, our facilities and maintenance, technology and construction teams. I could not be prouder for your time, patience and dedication to our One-Stop initiative to our students.”

The $1.5 million, 7,270-square-foot project, which was paid for through the State of New Jersey’s Chapter 12 funds, began immediately following the conclusion of Commencement ceremonies in May 2023. To make way for demolition of the preexisting office space, more than 60 staff members from seven different departments had to be temporarily relocated to the Student Center in G Building.

Construction of the One-Stop Welcome CenterConstruction was completed in three months thanks to the hard work of contractors Weatherby Construction, Kisby Shore Mechanical Contractors, Baumgardner Finishings, Cirignano Contracting, Continental, The Glass Company, Thomas and Compton. Atlantic Cape’s facilities and maintenance team worked diligently, through many long, hot days, moving furniture and equipment, discarding outdated office fixtures and erecting dozens of signs to direct visitors to G Building for enrollment services.

When the One-Stop idea was first discussed, staff members from Atlantic Cape acknowledged the former enrollment process’ shortcomings. Then, between 2017-19, staff set out to research and visit Union County College, Middlesex County College and Montgomery County Community College to investigate and witness, for themselves, how those schools created and utilized their own One-Stop centers.

The result from those visits was a clear vision of what Atlantic Cape wanted to create and what its primary goals were: to offer a student-centered enrollment experience designed to eliminate barriers and improve efficiency and effectiveness resulting in increased student retention and completion rates, positively impacting the overall satisfaction of all stakeholders.

“When students were able to visit any department they wanted, we found that they were missing steps in the process, thus delaying their registration process,” Tasha Rivera, Director of One-Stop Enrollment and Recruitment, said. “Now, after we greet them and have them sign in, we can look up to see where they are in the registration process and personally make sure that they get to the appropriate departments that they need to meet in as few steps as possible.”

Student signs in on a tablet in the One-Stop Welcome CenterWhen students enter the J Building lobby they will walk through the sliding glass doors into the One-Stop Welcome Center where they will be personally greeted and asked to sign-in at one of the many tablets available. They will then be entered into a queuing system and notified via text message that a member of the One-Stop team is ready to help them.

The student will then proceed into the admissions area, which features a new reception counter, 11 newly-constructed offices, copy room, work area, staff luncheonette, additional storage space, exterior door and modified exit to allow for a uniform flow of foot traffic in and out of the One-Stop center.

Staff members assisting a student in the One-Stop Welcome CenterStaff members will be able to assist students, both new and returning, with class registration, advising, counseling, testing, financial aid and paying for classes in the bursar’s office. To be able to help a student during each step of the process, One-Stop’s staff members had to go through rigorous training over the summer months.

“They (staff members) all went home with manuals so that they could all understand who did what before we started training. There were three tiers so there was a ton of training for about a year for all of these areas,” said Rivera, who has been at Atlantic Cape for four and a half years and nearly nine months in her role as director of One-Stop. “So really it was getting the One-Stop model into their brains and understanding how it is supposed to work cohesively as a team, how to register students, how to complete their financial aid and how to fully understand what their needs are.”

Staff members in the One-Stop Welcome CenterNow, over the course of the coming few weeks, all departments will complete their move into the One-Stop Welcome Center, creating a more productive work environment for the staff as they improve the student enrollment experience. Students have the option to complete a survey at the completion of their One-Stop visit.

Rivera is excited to see what the future holds for enrollment and the students who will benefit from these new resources at Atlantic Cape.

“I am really excited for registrations to go up. I think having the students in front of us and being able to walk them through the process will make registering for their next classes easier for the students. So, I think it’s going to increase enrollment.”

“I think the students will benefit too because they are really getting to know the staff member they are working with to where they can greet them by their first name while walking the halls,” Rivera continued. “So, I do think that the morale of the students and staff is going to be higher, it will make things more comfortable, and students will start referring their friends and family because of their experience.”

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About Atlantic Cape Community College

Atlantic Cape is a comprehensive two-year community college serving the residents of Atlantic and Cape May counties. The college offers over 40 career, transfer and workforce development programs to more than 8,000 students annually at three campuses in New Jersey: Atlantic City, Cape May Court House and Mays Landing.