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AACRAO: Academic Operations Benchmarks & Ties to Student Success

AACRAO’s most recent survey, Academic Operations: Benchmarks and Ties to Student Success, heard from 280+ institutions on how they operate and support academic operations. The newly published survey results examine curriculum management, catalog administration, classroom space management, and more. Higher ed leaders also shared how use of data and student barriers are interconnected with academic operations at their institutions.

Key Learnings

  • How institutions organize, staff, and resource academic operations functions
  • Technology and data used to inform and support academic operations
  • Student barriers related to academic operations

01 Introduction

As a leading voice in higher education, AACRAO envisions a community centered on learner success and driven by professional excellence and leadership in enrollment and academic services. One current strategic goal is to advance the knowledge and understanding of the professions engaged in enrollment and academic services.

Academic operations is an umbrella term that describes a number of functions and routinely includes curriculum management, catalog administration, classroom-space management, class-section scheduling/timetabling, course/program demand analysis, and degree-audit management. Our members provide services to an institution and support student success through a wide-ranging set of roles and responsibilities, including academic operations.

It is AACRAO’s vision, related goal and interest from our members that led us to engage in the research associated with this report. The survey on which this report is based was primarily designed to benchmark institutional resources (human and technology), policies and practices dedicated to curriculum management, catalog administration and classroom-space management. Some questions were included about class-section scheduling/timetabling and course/program analysis to serve as a baseline for future research. AACRAO will address class-section scheduling/timetabling and course/program analysis as a stand-alone future survey. A degree-audit management survey is also planned for a future date.

The results of the academic-operations benchmarking will serve AACRAO and its members by guiding the development of professional-development resources, serving as an institutional benchmarking tool and setting a reference against which future research may be compared.

02 Approach and Research Focus

AACRAO Research solicited participation in the survey from its list of member institutions that serve undergraduate students. The survey aimed to identify and tabulate institutional similarities and nuanced differences in academic operations including:

  • Business functions included under the umbrella of academic operations
  • Executive-level division with oversight for these functions• Supervisor with responsibility for these functions
  • Number of full-time-equivalent staff assigned to support these functions
  • Frequency in which these functions are performed
  • Associated strategic-enrollment-management initiatives
  • Technology used to support these functions
  • Barriers to student success related to these functions
  • Use of data to support and evaluate these functions

03 Key Insights

Technology & Data

  • Although there are some common threads to academic operations between institutions, the policy, practice and use of technology varied widely.
  • Other AACRAO research has found this description to be representative of several other benchmarked higher-education functions
  • Complex technology stacks are used to support academic operations at most institutions.
  • It is challenging for most institutions to use data effectively to support and evaluate academic operations

Function & Structure

  • On average, each academic operation is supported by one to four full-time equivalent employees
  • 19% report that these functions differ at the graduate and/or professional student level

Catalog

  • Fifty-four percent of institutions do not have an approved institutional course and-program catalog before students are recruited or admitted to that catalog
  • 84% publish the catalog once a year; 45% of those do so in the summer
  • Students are most often made aware of their catalog of record when they meet with an academic advisor

Student Barriers

  • Limitations on how institutions make students aware of the related policies and practices was cited by 51% of respondents as a barrier to student-centric academic operations
  • 47% site a lack of technology to support academic operations as a barrier to student-centric academic operations
  • 46% note a lack of clarity in related policies as a barrier to student-centric academic operations

04 Results

Responses were collected from 281 undergraduate-serving institutions; 214 are comprehensive institution and 67 serve only undergraduate students. Institutions in the United States account for most of the respondents (n = 268). Seven are from Canada, two from Italy and one each from Armenia, Côte d’Ivoire, United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom. Thirty-eight percent are public institutions, 58% are private, not-for-profit and the remainder are private, proprietary. More than half (65%) enroll fewer than 5,000 students.

05 Section 1: Academic Operations and Functions

Like other institutional business functions, academic operations can be a centralized function, a decentralized function or a hybrid of the two, depending on the institution. Each is defined as follows:

  • Centralized: A single unit is responsible for managing and coordinating all aspects of the function. Information is gathered from other sources, but all technology management and data input is the responsibility of a single unit. Related policies are also developed by this single unit, with or without input from elsewhere.
  • Decentralized: The function is decentralized for all processes, including technology data entry and policy development. For example, when a catalog is scheduled to be produced, different colleges/ academic units on campus create the content related to their unit with little to no input from other academic or administrative units.
  • Hybrid: The management of the function is complex and involves a combination of decentralized and centralized practices.

The Catalog is the Most Centralized Aspect of Academic Operations at Institutions

Whether a function is centralized, decentralized or a hybrid varied considerably. Catalog administration is centralized at 63% of the institutions. It is also the only function to exceed 50% in any configuration (Figure 1). Eight percent report their institution does not perform course/program analysis, 2% report the same for classroom-space management and interestingly, 1% report not performing any class-section scheduling/timetabling. This 1% may represent the few respondents who represented system offices rather than individual campuses.

Figure 1: Academic Operations Functions and Structure

Academic Operations at Majority of Institutions Overseen by a Centralized Academic Office

Academic-operations business functions are more likely to have executive division-level oversight by a central academic-affairs division, followed closely by enrollment management or student services and other academic units (Figure 2). By function, half or more report having the equivalent of one to four fulltime staff to support each function (Appendix A).

Figure 2: Executive Division Level Oversight by Function

Academic Operations Encompasses Large Scope of Activities

Although the survey focused on a limited set of academic operations, we know many other functions may fall under that umbrella. As such, respondents were provided with the opportunity to indicate other business functions considered part of academic operations at their institution. More than 75% report accreditation compliance, degree-audit management, faculty management and hiring, and transfer articulation part of their academic operations (Figure 3). Other functions listed by respondents are registrar-related functions, institutional review board, academic advising, student affairs and financial aid, among others.

Figure 3: Other Academic Operations Functions

Academic Operations are Linked to Strategic Enrollment Management at Over a Third of Institutions

Thirty-eight percent of institutions have strategic enrollment-management (SEM) initiatives related to academic operations. Thematic descriptions of those initiatives include:

  • Classroom space use optimization
  • Schedule optimization
  • Implementation of technology stacks to support the functions cited above
  • Creation of a strategic enrollment management plan for the institution that includes academic operations
  • Academic program review (adding, dropping, revising)

Principal barriers to the success of the strategic initiatives cited above include lack of staff resources, competing initiatives, budget constraints, lack of technology and lack of buy-in for the initiatives (Figure 4).

Figure 4: Barriers to Strategic Enrollment Initiatives

06 Section 2: Curriculum Management

Curriculum management was defined in the survey as including the processes used to make changes to the curriculum, including managing the curriculum decision-making process, defining and managing policy, practice and use of technology, providing data-driven recommendations supporting or opposing proposed curriculum changes and assurance of learning. For some institutions, this function may also include the data entry of curriculum changes in the student information system (SIS), catalog, web pages, reporting platforms and in a degree-audit system.

Curriculum Management Most Frequently Overseen by the Chief Academic Officer/Provost

In the survey, supervision of an academic-operations function was defined as the position with overall responsibility for the function, that delegates the performance of this activity and supervises it. At half of the institutions in the sample, curriculum management is supervised by the chief academic officer/ provost or institutional equivalent. Only 18% are supervised by the registrar, 11% by a vice president/vice provost, 9% by an academic dean, 7% by an associate or assistant vice president/associate or assistant vice provost, 4% by another supervisor and 1% by a director.

While Institutions Use Technology to Support Curriculum Management, Approximately 40% Still Rely on Email and Spreadsheets

Fifty-eight percent use only one technology solution to support curriculum management. The remaining 42% use more than one. Sixty-one percent use at least the baseline curriculum- management functionality in the SIS, 44% use a technology solution specifically designed to support curriculum management and 43% use email (Figure 5). Others report using paper forms, PDF forms, a homegrown solution, MS Word documents and Sharepoint. Ten institutions report only using an electronic spreadsheet for curriculum management and five institutions report using email only. No institution uses more than one non-SIS based curriculum-management specific technology solution, and no single non-SIS solution is used by a majority of users in this sample (Figure 6).

Figure 5: Technology Used to Support Curriculum Management(more than one per institution may apply)

Figure 6: Curriculum-Management Software In Use

Almost Half of Institutions Do Not Limit the Number of Times Course Changes Can Be Made Each Year

When and how often curricular changes are made can impact the ability to recruit and advise students effectively. Curricular changes include program-of-study changes, such as specific courses and types of courses required for a student to earn a particular credential. Curricular changes also include course changes, such as adjustment to student learning outcomes, a change in the number of a course, a prefix change or the number of credit hours associated with the course.

The more frequently changes are made, the more difficult it may be for an institution’s admissions and recruiting staff to recruit students to a particular program or for academic advisors to advise students which courses to take. In this sample, the frequency of changes permitted is bimodal, with most either limiting the changes to one time per academic year or setting no limits at all (Figure 7). Most report program and course change can take from 2 to 5 months to complete (Appendix B). The typical curricular-change process consists of a request starting with a faculty member or faculty committee, which is then routed through a series of review processes before being approved or denied.

Figure 7: Curricular Changes Allowed per Academic Year

07 Section 3: Catalog Administration

For the purpose of this survey, catalog administration encompasses the processes, policies and technology used to manage an institution’s catalog of record, including change management, institutional accreditor compliance, content editing and publishing.

Similar to curriculum management, supervision for catalog administration was defined as the position with overall responsibility for the function, that delegates the performance of this activity, and supervises it. This function is more often supervised at the nonexecutive level in an institution rather than by curriculum management.

Registrars Oversee Catalog Administration at Over Half of Institutions

At slightly more than half of the institutions, catalog administration is supervised by the registrar (52%). This is followed by the chief academic officer/provost or institutional equivalent who supervises this function at 23% of the institutions, vice president/vice provost at 8%, associate or assistant vice president/associate or assistant vice provost at 6%, academic dean at 4%, director at 2%, non-academic dean at 1% and another other supervisor at 4%.

Over Half of Institutions Rely on Technology Outside of Their SIS to Manage the Catalog

Less than half (38%) use just one technology solution to support catalog administration. Fifty-eight percent use a technology solution specifically designed to support catalog management, 41% use at least the baseline catalog management functionality in the SIS and 33% use email (Figure 8). Others report using Google Docs, Drupal, paper forms, PDF forms, a homegrown solution, MS Word documents and MS Sharepoint. Six use electronic spreadsheets exclusively and five report the same for email. No single non-SIS technology solution holds a majority stake among users (Figure 9).

Figure 8: Technology to Support Catalog Administration

Figure 9: Technology Used to Support Catalog Administration(more than one per institution may apply)

Over Half of Institutions Do Not Approve the Relevant Academic-Year Catalog Before Students are Recruited or Admitted

How often a catalog is published, and when, may negatively impact the ability of staff to recruit, admit and advise students. Fifty-four percent of institutions do not have an approved catalog before students are recruited and admitted to that catalog. This means that in practice, students are admitted to a program of study that may not be fully approved. In the worst case scenario, degree requirements may change after a student has already enrolled.

Catalogs are Overwhelmingly Published Once a Year

In this sample, 84% publish an academic catalog once a year, 7% revise the catalog on a rolling basis, 3% revise twice a year, 3% revise every 2 years and 3% revise on some other frequency. In the aggregate, 41% publish the catalog in the summer, 30% in the fall, 20% in the spring and 8% on another schedule. Among those that publish once a year, 45% do so in the summer, 29% in the fall, 23% in the spring and the remainder on another schedule.

A Catalog Hosts a Variety of Information in Addition to Lists of Courses

A catalog is used as a repository for key course and program information and related policies. Institutionalaccrediting bodies require some common content, but this content varies by agency. Because the combined list of required content from the accrediting bodies was so lengthy, two survey questions were necessary to provide response choices that covered most of the requirements. Respondents were able to indicate whether the response choice was included in the catalog, the student handbook or other publication, both the catalog and a handbook, or neither the catalog nor the handbook/not published. Figures 10 and 11 tally the responses. As highlighted by the data, the catalog serves as a primary repository for key institutional information, including program pathways and course descriptions. Among the 135 responses to a question about accessibility standards, 93% maintain a catalog that meets the accessibility standards, which in the United States are typically the revised 508 standards or WCAG 2.0 level AA.

Figure 10: Content in the Catalog or Student Handbook-Part 1

Figure 11: Content in the Catalog or Student Handbook-Part 2

Students Most Frequently Learn About the Catalog Through Advisors and Orientation

Ninety-six percent of students are made aware of their catalog of record through various means. Often more than one. The most common methods are when meeting with an academic advisor, during orientation and/or when they are admitted (Figure 12). This notification is essentially a handshake between the student and the institution, with the institution indicating by the content of the catalog the requirements necessary to earn a degree or credential at the institution. Given that practice, it is surprising that 4% of institutions do not make a student aware of their catalog of record unless the student asks about it.

Figure 12: How Students are Made Aware of Their Catalog of Record

08 Section 4: Classroom-Space Management

Registrars Oversee Classroom-Space Management at Half of Institutions

Classroom-space management is supervised by the registrar at half of the institutions in this sample. Of the remaining institutions, a chief academic officer/provost or institutional equivalent supervises this function at 19% of the institutions; 9% are supervised by an academic dean. At the remaining institutions, this function is supervised by an associate or assistant vice president/provost (8%), vice president/vice provost (6%), other supervisor (5%), director (2%) and nonacademic dean (1%).

Lack of a Space-Management Tool Creates Inefficiencies

Less than half (45%) of the institutions use a single technology solution to support classroom space management. Fifty-seven percent use a technology solution specifically designed to support classroom-space management. Overall, 25% use that solution exclusively (Figure 13). Eleven percent of the institutions exclusively use the baseline curriculum-management functionality in SIS. Fifteen institutions report using an electronic spreadsheet and 7 institutions use a homegrown solution. Similar to curriculum management and catalog-management technology solutions, no single solution is used by a majority of institutions for classroom-space management (Figure 14).

Among the few institutions not currently using technology effectively, two described their classroom space management process as follows.

“Lots of emails, lots of schedule changes, all done through MS Excel and email. It’s ridiculous.”

“It is a completely manual process and not efficient at all.”

In contrast, one institution using technology effectively described the process in the statement below

“We use the XYZ2 system to optimize classroom scheduling for classes and labs. Then facilitiesare available for other functions or events. The optimization allows us to take care of back-to-backscheduling and accessibility issues.”

Figure 13: Technology Used to Support Classroom-Space Management(more than one response choice per institution may apply)
Figure 14: Classroom Space-Management Technology(more than one per institution may apply)

Almost Half of all Institutions Allow Departments to Withhold Some Spaces for Their Courses Only

Ninety-eight percent of institutions report managing classroom space. Sixty-two percent follow a single guiding principle when managing classroom space. However, that single principle is not the same for all institutions in this 62% subset. Among those:

  • 31% exclusively use the guiding principle of, “All available classrooms and labs are immediately open for space optimization. None are withheld for any special purpose other than specialized lab classrooms.”
  • 17% exclusively use the guiding principle of, “Departments are allowed to withhold some classrooms and/or lab space for their courses
  • 7% exclusively use the guiding principle of, “Classrooms and labs are incrementally made available throughout the classroom scheduling period. None are withheld for any special purpose other than specialized lab classrooms.”
  • 5% exclusively use the guiding principle of, “Colleges and/or campuses are allowed to withhold some classrooms and/or lab spaces for their courses only.”
  • 2% exclusively use the guiding principle of, “Individual faculty members are allowed to reserve a particular classroom (such as one near their office) for their courses, regardless of the number of students enrolled in the course.”

The other 38% of institutions use more than one guiding principle for classroom-space management. A third guiding principle listed by respondents is to allow a faculty member to make a request for a particular classroom but not guarantee it will be assigned as requested (Figure 15).

Figure 15: Description of Classroom-Space Management(more than one response choice per institution may apply)

09 Section 5: Student Barriers

Overwhelming Majority of Respondents Agree Academic-Operations-Related Barriers Impact Students

The joint focus of this research was to benchmark academic operations and to understand how these functions support or hinder student success. Respondents were asked to indicate what, if any, perceived barriers at their institution restrict student-centric academic operations. Ten percent do not perceive any barriers. The remaining 90% agreed with several of the proffered response choices and/or listed others. Half agreed there are limitations to how institutions may make students aware of the academic policies and practices that impact them, and 47% believe there is a lack of technology to support the functions(Figure 16).

Figure 16: Perceived Barriers to Student-Centric Academic-Operations Functions (more than one response choice per institution may apply)

Some other barriers listed by respondents are cited below.

  • Lack of buy-in from faculty about consistency of process, especially for curriculum change
  • Don’t have necessary human resources to execute all functions and system updates in a timely manner
  • Individual or small faculty groups unwilling to support/follow policies approved by faculty assembly (aka, faculty senate)
  • Inefficient use of classroom space
  • Lack of software to streamline course scheduling and classroom management
  • Lack of staff resources and data to take a student-centric approach based on data rather than anecdotal procedural decision making
  • Policy and procedures are outdated and overly burdensome to update; lack of decision making
  • Scheduling occurs around faculty preferences, rather than student need
  • Silo of academic departments and information sharing; enrollment management growth impacting availability of rooms for courses • Barriers include departmental silos, lack of funding and lack of communication
  • Some college serve their needs only and are not good team players
  • Staffing limitations and lack of coordination
  • Students don’t take time to read
  • Registrar’s office is short staffed, creating barriers for students
  • Lack of timely updates to degree-audit system by the colleges and departments following published changes in new catalog
  • Varying levels of accountability at the department/college level for how certain functions are performed and communicated to students
  • No lift (elevator) in main classroom building; requires classroom shifting for students with physical-mobility issues

10 Section 6: Use of Data

Almost Half of Respondents Do Not Believe Their Institutions Use Data Effectively to Inform Academic Operations

In higher education we often hear the mantra, “It is important to make data-informed decisions.” We hear about the importance of using data for all aspects of higher-education administration. However, in this sample, almost half disagree with the statement, “We use data effectively to support curriculum management, catalog administration and classroom-space management” (Figure 17). Only 17% agree with this statement.

Figure 17: Agreement with the Statement "We use data effectively to support curriculum management, catalog administration, and classroom- space management."

Appendix C includes the answers to the question “How could your institution more effectively use data to support the following functionscurriculum management, catalog administration and classroom space management?” Key themes from the data include:

  • Improved access to data
  • Improved use of technology and evaluation metrics
  • Buy-in from other staff, faculty and administrators across the institution as to the importance of using data to support these functions
  • Additional human resources to manage functions and provide time and expertise to use data

Among those using data effectively, several describe using it to help manage class-section needs, classroom-space optimization and academic-program performance, among others (Appendix D).

11 Closing

In higher education, institutions spend considerable time on and seek guidance about how well services are performed by the registrar’s office, recruitment, admissions, financial aid, student life, and the bursar. Less attention, or at least less regular attention, is paid to the suite of functions associated with academic operations. The goal of this survey was to help institutions and academic leaders more fully understand the ecosystem of how academic operations are conducted at institutions, areas for improvement, and how students are impacted.

As highlighted throughout this report, academic operations is a complex system of policy, practice, technology, and human resources for most institutions. This level of complexity and departmental silos often contribute to barriers to student-centric academic operations.

The data in this report confirms that academic operations impact student success. Of the over 280 respondents, 90% agreed that academic operations practices at their institution lead to student barriers in some way. Institutions should examine how the practice, policy, staffing, and technology of academic operations at their institutions ultimately contribute to the success or failure of their primary goal— students successfully enrolling in and completing programs.

12 Appendix A: Estimated Number of Full-Time Equivalent Employees per Function

Estimated Number of Full-Time-Equivalent Employees per Function

13 Appendix B: Average Time Needed to Complete Course and Program Changes

Average Time Needed to Complete Course and Program Changes

14 Appendix C: What Would Improve the Use of Data to Support Academic Operations

Course Scheduling & Demand

  • Monitor section capacities for popular courses in conjunction with enrollment estimates for section offerings. Manage program admission relative to department resources (faculty) and classroom space
  • When to offer classes, how many sections, how best to schedule for students.
  • We need to address offering courses when students need them, not when professors prefer to teach. Data could address this.
  • We have no idea if the schedule is efficient for student needs. Predicting course need is also very difficult.
  • Use student demand plan data out of Degree Works.

Data Accessibility & Utilization

  • Better data on classroom use and availability.
  • Data is hard to obtain and takes time and effort.
  • Using any data would be an improvement. At the moment it is a crap shoot.
  • We use data to some extent, but we need the data more accessible, so all departments are aware. We also need leadership to support the functions, especially catalog administration and classroom-space management.
  • We currently do not look at the data or analyze it - so that would be a good start.
  • We have the data; it just needs to be utilized.
  • Better collaboration and communication. Data not widely distributed to decision makers.
  • With our institution, I don’t know that additional use of data would assist in these areas.

Use of Technology

  • Purchasing the right technology and technology support at the campus level
  • Use a technology package that has a transparent workflow and approval process
  • Better technologies with stronger integrations between different services.
  • Move to a vended solution for curriculum management and catalog administration that integrates with our SIS, as we have done with classroom-space management.
  • We need the technology to do all these functions efficiently. We are told this will happen when we consolidate.
  • We could purchase software to help us with gathering and using data.
  • We could use more staff and technological solutions that are not too costly and easy to install and implement.
  • We need some technological tools to better manage space and resources. We need to update classroom spaces. We need an integrated tool like Coursedog that can support all areas.
  • If we had the technologies to get the data that we need. • Resources to use software to automate our processes.

Other

  • Centralize these functions, make all classrooms general pool, have enrollment managers in IR and give them a voice at the table, with the deans!
  • Classroom-space management: what classrooms are overused, not used enough, have more capacity than students. Scheduling of non-academic events in classrooms is also a big challenge to coordinate between Events and our office who assigns rooms.
  • For Curriculum Changes, we need some sort of electronic workflow.
  • Have an academic administration person more involved in operations
  • I’d love to see us get an academic planner up so we can offer what students want to take. I’d also like to see some predictive analytics being done here.
  • It has established a new unit to work on such analyses, but it is understaffed and under resourced.
  • Listen to the Registrar
  • Review positions to identify redundancies and areas where communication can be improved.
  • There is no strategic plan for the curriculum. Classroom-space management is not really managed - it is assigned based on what is available at that time.
  • To better benchmark and plan program development and revision.
  • We are just starting to centralize process, but change is hard when everyone works in silos.
  • We could do a better job of helping departments create a 4-year course plan to optimize enrollment.
  • We would like to see our institution adopt a comprehensive curriculum management, catalog administration and course scheduling software system. Our issue continues to be compatibility with our SIS. The cost for curricular management and catalog administration are too high if you don’t have the savings and efficiencies associated with creating an optimal course schedule for current and incoming students.
  • We just recently completed implementation of a degree audit and are in the process of implementing Courseleaf catalog. Once we are few years into the degree audit, we can start to pull more accurate data about course needs. The biggest issue is time needed for someone to pull and evaluate, disperse and spearhead those data discussions. Historically faculty have made decisions on curriculum on feel and anecdotal evidence and been resistance to data driven curriculum change.
  • For classroom-space management we would like to start using the 25 Live optimizer and connect with CourseLeaf’s Scheduler tool so departments may select courses on own. We tend to have more classroom space than class offerings, so this has not been a pressing issue and due to mostly virtual offerings that last two years this transition has been on the backburner.

15 Appendix D. Examples of the Effective Use of Data to Support Academic Operations

Classroom Space

  • Classroom space is managed using data on number of students and conflicts between required classes.
  • Course enrollment is used to assign classrooms
  • Data is used to place sections into right-sized classrooms.
  • Mass assign classrooms with high utilization rate.
  • Able to see the gaps in poor utilization (i.e., classrooms sit largely empty on Fridays).
  • One software program for classroom management is working well.

Course Scheduling & Enrollment Predictions

  • Centrally we are aware and use whatever is available. However, much more usage of available data could inform better more proactive choices, specifically related to course scheduling.
  • Course enrollment predictions: Various data audits related to policies (university, State and Federal); Other data needs across campus and State
  • Course section planning - requests for high-demand courses based on enrollment history and waitlist data.
  • Departments and Faculties use data to determine course offerings, timing and number of sections. Scheduling office uses data to suggest alternative choices - e.g., 2 sections rather than 3 of course X based on past enrolment data
  • Effective use to data for new student seat needs.
  • We look at the number of students in programs, what courses they have left to complete to make sure enough sections are being offered to keep students on track to graduate. We also look at past enrollment and will deny section offerings that have historically had low or cancelled enrollment.
  • We manage course activity and viability through data; future plan to use degree planners to manage section/seat offerings.
  • Use historical student data when proposing student-centric policy updates. Use historical class data and advisement report data to anticipate class schedule needs.
  • We run reports on class sizes, student course needs and optimize these for scheduling purposes.

Curriculum Management

  • Data has a strong presence in our academic program review.
  • Data is used to determine if a new program is feasible, and student would be employable.
  • Data is used for program and course assessment, which often drives course/program curricular changes. Course offerings are developed using some historical data and info on enrollment to determine total course section needs.
  • Tracking enrollment trends effects curriculum management and decisions about programming and policies.
  • Use data to identify poorly performing majors, programs, etc.• We use enrollment data to aid the curriculum management process

Multiple Aspects of Academic Operations

  • Courses not taught reports to remove courses not taught for 3 years. Helps with catalog transparency. Lacking data for curriculum support. Classroom-space management supported by utilization reports, heat/density maps in the section scheduling software, other time distribution reports to help optimize distribution of sections.
  • Curriculum management: department-reviewed student/enrollment/external trends; catalog administration: continual review of existing and changing elements; classroom-space management: analysis based on historical course enrollment by available space, department and even faculty needs. This became particularly important during COVID, as classroom spacing needs changed, and as remote learning requirements heightened. We intentionally built room into the general schedule to allow students and faculty more time between classes and to keep faculty in the same rooms.
  • For space management, data is used for utilization studies, shared with campus schedulers, informs the maximum courses by schedule block available to schools.
  • Historical course enrollments to encourage curriculum review, classroom utilization reports to review space usage.
  • Overall enrollment numbers in programs is used to determine if curriculum needs to change. Usage statistics on catalog pages and submissions of questions is used to improve catalog functions.
  • The College’s use of data in these areas would best be described as a growing effort rather than a mature one. Curriculum management data generally consists of demand analysis or prior patterns of student success depending on the particular question involved. Catalog administration data largely consists of regularly scheduled focus groups with students of mixed demographics seeking feedback on needs and utilization of the catalog. As discussed previously, classroom-space management has been informed by utilization analyses in concert with demand growth/needs at various enrollment levels.
  • We do data pulls directly from the data and analyze numbers, et all when making decisions on rooming or class offerings.
  • We have a great deal of data available with strong internal reporting functions about our current and past curricula, catalogs and classroom usage.
  • We have good data including reports that departments can use to drive decisions related to curriculum and course offerings. As in most places, the utilization of that data varies. We could also improve processes that would give us better space utilization in classroom scheduling.
  • We monitor classroom usage and progression/completion of our academic programs.
  • We move classes based on best fit as needed. Typically, though faculty can have the room they request.
  • Data reviewed for headcount in viability of majors; data used for space utilization for classrooms.
  • We review enrollments and end of course evaluations to inform course content and program updates, retirements, and new offerings. We also take legal requirements into account for catalog content, disclaimers, and specific call outs.
  • Enrollments in classes, enrollments in majors/minors, completion rates.
  • Our Office of Institutional Research strongly supports the Office of Academic Affairs and Deans’Offices in these functions.
  • Reporting is used to collect and simplify all the data into one area and present this in a meaningful way to whoever is the end user.
  • We examine the canceled courses and course enrollments.
  • We rely heavily on our SIS and have set clear procedures and communication for executing these functions.

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