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Archive for Saturday, August 12, 2006

KU Info services revamped

August 12, 2006

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Where on campus do you go to get that stuff for that one thing?

Following intensive research and development, KU Info can answer such questions with speed and improved efficiency.

"KU Info has, for 30 years, been a phone service for students, alumni, etc. Now it is phone (864-3506), e-mail and walk-up," said Curtis Marsh, program director for KU Info. "Plus, the students that staff the KU Info booth use a database as their primary tool for answering questions, and that tool is now available to anyone with Internet access."

At www.kuinfo.ku.edu, anyone in search of answers has 24/7 access to the user-friendly database. Marsh said that during the '80s and '90s, KU Info built a strong reputation for being able to answer virtually any question under the sun. To keep that reputation, convergence was necessary due to growing emphasis on the Internet as an information-gathering tool.

"To remain a valid program, we had to adjust our focus to student success and helping people navigate the challenging KU Web site and other related information sources," Marsh said.

Sadie Robb, student assistant for KU Info, said she and those in her department aimed to be as resourceful as possible in their fact-finding missions.

"We really make use of the resources we have at our fingertips. The advantage of that is we know who to call and we know who to talk to, whereas a lot of the students that are calling maybe are new to the university or they're just not familiar with the bureaucracy of it all," Robb said. "We're just able to help them navigate the system."

According to Robb, the vast majority of inquiries pertain to student issues such as how to enroll and pay tuition.

"Probably greater than 90 percent of our calls deal either directly with KU or with KU in a more peripheral view," she said. "The question will usually have something to do with their experience here, but maybe not directly with the university."

Usually, but not always.

"I get a lot of sports-oriented questions," Robb said.

One of her more memorable calls: "There was this tall guy that used to be on the K-State roster in the mid-'80s, I think his name was Bud, but I'm not sure, but KU fans really hated him. What was his name?"

Experiencing a momentary lull in call volume, Robb conducted her research.

"It was a tricky one, because it's difficult to search for something like that. I was able to find his name eventually," Robb said.

Some KU graduates recalled some of their own experiences with KU Info.

Nicholas Kroeker, 2003 graduate, recalled some burning questions KU Info fielded for his former roommate.

"He called to ask them what cost more: the new Budig Hall including technology or an F-16," Kroeker said. "After getting the answer, my roommate then asked which the operator would rather have."

Kroeker added that the operator chose Budig Hall, as it was more conducive to parties.

While Marsh said KU Info has narrowed its focus to university-related questions for the most part, he added that they would do their best to accommodate any questions students may have.

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