How St. Cloud State University is Uniting Departments Through Accessible Curricular & Policy Insights

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How St. Cloud State University is Uniting Departments Through Accessible Curricular & Policy Insights

Improving Data Governance Through Standardized Forms & Streamlined Workflows

The Challenge

SCSU has a faculty-driven curriculum approval process, and incomplete proposals were reaching the committee for approval even after a lengthy, time-consuming submission process. Additionally, the course catalog had to be manually updated to reflect the changes, which was often disrupted by data and process silos that kept key stakeholders out of the loop.

The Impact

The most common complaint reaching SCSU academic leadership stemmed from the waste of time in the tedious process of preparing the curriculum update proposals, and the frustrating experience of the committee in receiving proposals to review that did not contain all of the information required to properly evaluate them.

The quality of information in the course catalog suffered, and it was difficult for students and advisors to navigate the catalog to understand program and course requirements.

The Solution

By partnering with Coursedog and adopting an integrated Curriculum & Catalog Management solution, SCSU is able to automate and optimize the curricular approval and catalog update workflows for their eight colleges and schools with over 200 academic programs.

The Result

Through a thorough discovery process on their current processes and the configurable nature of Coursedog’s solution, SCSU now has:

  • High-quality, complete curriculum proposals when they reach the approval committee 
  • An automatically-updated online course catalog with automated notifications that alert cross-functional stakeholders of key updates and actions to take
  • Improved curricular data governance: all required information, in the right format, at the right time in the process is gathered and distributed 
  • Increased data accessibility and transparency: stakeholders in the curriculum and catalog update processes have insight into the requirements, progress, and supplementary materials that previously lived in siloes 
  • A curricular data repository in Coursedog: state and accrediting body-specific curricular information is now gathered via Coursedog forms and lives in the application as the default repository to pull from.

Implementing Coursedog’s Curriculum & Catalog Management solution exposed the interconnected nature of the curriculum update process across multiple campus stakeholders and how they can proactively connect these teams. To support this initiative, Dr. William Cook, Professor of Biological Sciences & University Curriculum Coordinator, who is also leading the process design and implementation project for SCSU has developed a set of diagrams to communicate the intertwined processes and impacted stakeholders when educating new users on the new processes. 

Best Practice Recommendations

Dr. Cook highly recommends leaning into fully understanding your process and policy requirements before you begin building out your workflows.

“The time spent in going through every field required, for example, for updating a course record was in retrospect time well spent,” Dr. Cook emphasized. “It helped ensure that the majority of the forms we built out were nearly complete on our first attempt. We’re still making minor modifications, but it took us far.”

How Coursedog Supports These Outcomes

An integrated Curriculum & Catalog Management solution empowers you to create customized workflows that facilitate an efficient, visible, and accurate curriculum approval process. Once you make a change in your curriculum, it's updated everywhere, including in a modern, searchable online course catalog for your students. From there, you can manage your curriculum data more easily with the bi-directional integration between Coursedog and your SIS. 

In particular, Dr. Cook has leveraged the Coursedog “Custom Decisions” functionality, which was developed in partnership with SCSU to meet their business objectives. As a result, their workflow routing expands beyond an explicit approval or rejection at a given stage. This empowers account administrators to easily design workflows that can be configured to an institution’s own unique requirements and business processes. 

“Using Coursedog’s workflow logic and custom decision function we’ve created a variety of “expedited” workflow pathways in specific scenarios. In our old process, there was only one pathway and users were accustomed to it being rigid and inflexible,” Dr. Cook shared.

Thanks to this, they can now define scenarios which require fewer review steps and allow simple and routine changes to happen very quickly, paired with a thorough and longer, but still efficient review of complex changes and new programs. 

“We’ve set it up so the end user has at least some of the submission and approval process navigated for them. Once we gather the essential information, a lot of things can happen behind the scenes that we don’t have to burden individuals with,” Dr. Cook said. “We’ve made the review process and the information presented in the final product of a much higher quality. It’s not just about speed, it’s much more about the accuracy and completeness of the information we’re presenting to the committee.” 

See how an integrated Curriculum & Catalog Management solution could support your institution’s initiatives with this interactive product demonstration.