Quality of Service Through the Strategic Use of Technology

Wayne Myles
If we do not change direction, we may end up where we are going. Lao-tse A R E C E N T R E V I E W of NAFSA's INTER-L e-mail distribution list identifies more than2,600 list members. The popularity of this distribution list will not surprise most international educators since in many ways the technological developments we have incorporated into the day-to-day activities of our offices over the past ten years have been "a marriage made in heaven." We have benefited from the advancements through
more » ... vancements through the management of student applications and study abroad participant address in databases and on mailing lists, the procurement of desktop publishing packages for in-house production of program advertising and reports, and rapid and enhanced communications across campus and around the globe through e-mail and video-teleconferencing. However, have all these advancements actually improved our office efficiency and quality of service? If we take a closer look at these developments, we might conclude that our role as international educators is becoming essentially that of managers of information or even technical apprentices. We live under the spectre of never quite getting beyond the last upgrade in our array of new electronic tools. We have become unwittingly tied to an ever-increasing set of demands to learn, relearn, and apply the latest addition to our technological inventory. The advent of e-mail has compressed communication patterns, committing us to "immediate" responses. World Wide Web home pages explode information sources, leaving us floundering for the