Overhaul Policies & Procedures with SharePoint

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 eGroup | Enabling Technologies led to a successful transition to SharePoint.

Boiling Springs

NORTH CAROLINA

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YEARS IN EXISTENCE
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FACULTY & STAFF
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STUDENTS

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 eGroup | 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.”

Advice and Lessons Learned

With all the Aquarium’s success, Tawiah offers this advice: “Don’t just enable a technology because it’s a buzzword. Look for value for your operations. Trust but verify that you can meet your goals. And don’t try to do it on your own. Look for a vendor who’s done it. If you’re looking for a reliable vendor, you can count on Enabling Technologies.”

In closing, Tawiah mentions how “I see Enabling Technologies as an extension of our team. It’s hard to put a price tag on that, but it’s like we have a private help desk to engage on any number of issues. Enabling Technologies’s not just a vendor, but a talent pool. They’re more like family than a vendor.”

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