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    At Gardner-Webb University, Christian compassion meets critical thinking. That mindset led Associate VP of Operations Wayne Johnson to solve a major pain point: the sprawl of policy documents. The four-year private, Baptist-related institution successfully offers outstanding undergrad and graduate education, but struggled to manage policy and procedure paperwork.
    Gardner-Webb University’s partnership with Enabling Technologies led to a successful transition to SharePoint.

     

    Introduction | Who Is Gardner-Webb University

    GWU-H-Logo

    BOILING SPRINGS
    NORTH CAROLINA
    3,600+
    STUDENTS
    538+
    FACULTY & STAFF
    114+
    YEARS IN EXISTENCE

    The Gardner-Webb University Mission

    Fostering meaningful intellectual thought, critical analysis, and spiritual challenge within a diverse community of learning, Gardner-Webb is dedicated to higher education that integrates scholarship with Christian life. 

    Handling Policy Overload

    “On a college campus, there are hundreds of policies,” said VP of Operations Wayne Johnson. “There are policies inside of policies, and some published only for a very small group.” Departments created their own policies, storing them in different paper and electronic locations. Without university standards, the overlap and lack of oversight created risk. As an example, Johnson said, “When a professor wrote a policy which mentioned safety, and didn’t review it with campus safety, there could be a conflict. Two voices on the same topic was a problem.”

    Gain Control With SharePoint

    “With SharePoint,” said Johnson, “you have a wonderful amount of control, the ability to manage versions, and built-in approval processes that are extremely easy to use.”

    Gardner-Webb University identified SharePoint as an ideal repository. His team worked with Enabling Technologies, a Microsoft Gold Partner, and learned to build templates for sites, how to handle administrative hierarchy, and to roll out the new service.

    Gardner-Webb University no longer views policies as binders of large documents, but instead, as a compilation of smaller statements, some as small as a paragraph. “SharePoint’s meta-data tools are phenomenal,” said Johnson. ”One of the beautiful things we’ve done is that for each policy, we created a drop-down list with meta-data. If I want text to belong in multiple higher-level policies, I simply check those boxes in the scope.”

    It’s an elegant way to handle policies. To the user, it’s seamless.

    “When a faculty member clicks on a landing page showing a policy like the university’s safety manual,” said Johnson, “they’re seeing a clean view of all the paragraphs in the SharePoint library that have been tagged as being a part of the safety manual.” Micro-policies may appear in multiple policies, all selected in its meta-data. “Content is search friendly, sort-able, and version-able,” said Johnson. “Updates become very granular.”

    “We can fix one policy today and it’s instantly updated into all related manuals.”

    Now, to make a revision, an administrator reviews a paragraph or a page instead of an entire binder. “We used to have a meeting to review and update a binder,” said Johnson, “and no one enjoyed those meetings!” The results are more efficient updates and management, and less work for IT. “Departmental managers can do a lot in SharePoint with manipulating views and data on their own.”

    Launching SharePoint for such a highly visible project had a viral effect. “Once people saw how SharePoint works for policies,” said Johnson, “departments began requesting their own team sites.”

    Once educated on the plan, Johnson gained sponsorship to help change the organization’s behavior.


    “Our Provost and Sr VP for Administration were on board to say, ‘SharePoint is our repository, this is our voice, and documents published elsewhere are not official university policies.’”

     

    How Enabling Technologies Helped?

    Working with Enabling has helped Gardner-Webb University succeed on their terms. “We have a block of hours with Enabling for planning and education,” Johnson said. “We’ll do a lot of the build-out ourselves, then come back to Enabling for a technical check. We like Enabling’s model because every case isn’t a massive project. If we want a full managed service, or occasional time, there’s always somebody available to help us. We control the speed and scope.”

    More than just a SharePoint partner, “Enabling is keeping all kinds of new cloud solutions in front of us through webinars, executive conferences, and blogs,” said Johnson.

     

    Summary

    At Gardner-Webb University, Christian compassion meets critical thinking. That mindset led Associate VP of Operations Wayne Johnson to solve a major pain point: the sprawl of policy documents.

    The four-year private, Baptist-related institution successfully offers outstanding undergrad and graduate education, but struggled to manage policy and procedure paperwork.

    Gardner-Webb University’s partnership with Enabling Technologies led to a successful transition to SharePoint.

    “With SharePoint,” said Johnson, “you have a wonderful amount of control, the ability to manage versions, and built-in approval processes that are extremely easy to use.”

    Before After
    No coordinated process for tracking policies One consolidated list of web-based (wiki-like) policies and documents
    Different departmental policies stored in different places in various states of approvals The list tracks titles, the policy number, versions, availability, categorizations, etc.
    People used policies stored on desktops, old web links, print copies on their shelf. “The repository helps us from a legal and communication standpoint, not to mention helps people understand where to look.” – Wayne Johnson
    Updates were typically done via email and changes often got lost as more people got involved. Drafts of changed and new policies can be worked by a group in real-time, using Microsoft Teams
    The “true” copy was often difficult to find. A one-stop location for where the true copies of a policy reside

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