Course Offerings: Enabling the Game Changers

Written by Tom Shaver on Monday, 10 March 2014. Posted in Ad Astra

I’ve been encouraged by the great research and recommendations coming out of Complete College America as of late. In my opinion, they are peeling away important layers in the student success conversation and getting at the root of the student success equation. 

CCA has outlined “5 Game Changers”- strategies that they and their member states and institutions believe can dramatically improve student completions. Interestingly, three of these strategies are directly tied to academic scheduling: 

  • Full-Time is Fifteen

  • Structured Schedules

  • Guided Pathways to Completion

Removing Roadblocks to Full Time Enrollment

Written by Tom Shaver on Tuesday, 17 December 2013. Posted in Ad Astra

Complete College America (CCA) recently released a report co-authored with Postsecondary Analytics examining the effects of course load on students’ time to completion.  

Based on their analysis, 63% of students at schools surveyed were not enrolled in a course load that would lead to on-time graduation. At 2-year institutions, less than one third of enrolled students were taking 15 credit hours – the standard needed to reach graduation on time. This leads to very low “on-time” completion rates: 19% for students seeking four-year degrees at non-flagship universities and 4% for those seeking two-year degrees, according Katherine Mangan, in her Chronicle of Higher Education article about CCA’s reportGroup Hopes to Map a Faster Path to College Completion.”


Train Your Users for Increased Business Benefits

Written by Kelly Hollowell on Wednesday, 30 January 2013. Posted in Ad Astra

We’ve all heard that training is directly related to employee performance and retention, but how many of us are taking the time to make sure our employees really have the training they need to be successful? It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking “I don’t have time to train my staff” or “I can’t afford to train my staff right now.” However, I would counter that you’re probably wasting more productive time as your staff uses trial and error to figure things out on their own. Additionally, you may be missing out on major time saving functions that your staff doesn’t know how to use – or maybe doesn’t know exists. In my (admittedly biased) opinion, you can’t afford NOT to train your staff. Plus, knowledgeable employees are happy employees! Let’s face it, the old adage is right…knowledge IS power. So where do you start?

More on Users’ Conference and Client Portal

Written by John Donovan on Tuesday, 13 November 2012. Posted in Ad Astra

It was nice to see many of you in person at last month’s conference.  All three reporting sessions were well attended and you all brought excellent questions and feedback…thanks!  Anyone interested in downloading the PowerPoint slides used during the presentations can find them on our client portal.  Search Knowledge for “2012 Users’ Conference Presentations.”  If you do not have a client account, please contact us.

Training Update

Written by Kelly Hollowell on Tuesday, 06 November 2012. Posted in Ad Astra

The How to Train Users session at the Users’ Conference had overwhelmingly great attendance! Next year, we will be sure to book a bigger room. I think this is a testament to how important it is to ensure our users receive training to be successful with the application. I would like to give a big thank you to Austin Walden from Texas Tech University and Rachel Erkkila and Heidi Heilskov from Des Moines Area Community College. They shared great tips and tricks about how they are efficiently training their campus users. You can access the PPT presentation here.

Users’ Conference Wrap-Up

on Monday, 29 October 2012. Posted in Ad Astra

The 2012 Users' Conference was full of lots of energy surrounding both Ad Astra clients and Ad Astra staff alike.  There was lots of buzz around 7.5 and the new Dashboards, Cloud and Strategic Offerings.   It was a huge success!  A big thank you to our clients for a great turn out and being so engaged and partnering with us to help transform higher education. 

It’s Users’ Conference Time!

on Tuesday, 09 October 2012. Posted in Ad Astra

Can you believe it’s October already?  October means one thing at Astra, our annual Users’ Conference!  We are busy planning, prepping, and organizing for this year’s big event.  For those of you joining us, we can’t wait to see you!  The Users’ Conference is a great time to meet people you work with all year round and finally put a face to the name.  It’s also a great time for Astra users to get to know one another, share stories, and exchange tricks of the trade.

So, What’s Happening On Your Campus?

Written by Daniel Epley on Monday, 17 September 2012. Posted in Ad Astra

It is that time of year, when we magically sense the coming of cooler weather, the leaves begin to change, and college freshmen desperately look for ways to explore your campus. It is confusing enough… what do I wear, how do I fit in, and where do I go? Give incoming freshmen (and tenured faculty for that matter) an easy way to investigate your campus - give them a one-stop-shop for finding campus happenings, with Astra Schedule’s new Activity Calendars.

Solution for Scheduling Stress

Written by Jesse Marshall on Monday, 27 August 2012. Posted in Ad Astra

Be nice everybody. This time of year can be rough on schedulers.

If you haven’t done it, you don’t know what I’m talking about. But anyone who has done it knows: creating a fall schedule, even for the smallest private school, can be hard (or insert another four-letter word here). Even if you can get all of the classes at the right times and in (what you hope is) the right room, you know that your “final” schedule is going to be picked apart by things like late registration, cancelled classes, or an old professor with an axe to grind. And this year, you’re supposed to do it “better”—whatever that means.

2012 Users’ Conference Client Presenters

Written by Kelly Hollowell on Monday, 20 August 2012. Posted in Ad Astra

The 2012 Ad Astra Users’ Conference is poised to be our best yet in terms of session content and client presentations. We are changing the format of many of our presentations to panel discussions or town hall formats in order to foster more open conversation. Make sure you check out the most updated session list on our conference website.

We’re thrilled to announce the following client presenters, many of whom are Ad Astra Client Advisory Board (CAB) members.

Do the Astra Slide

Written by Kelly Hollowell on Monday, 13 August 2012. Posted in Ad Astra

That’s right…the Astra Slide has trumped the Electric Slide as event schedulers’ favorite move. The slide tool isn’t the latest and greatest dance move, but it might make you want to do a little happy dance once you realize how easy it is to move multiple event meetings simultaneously.

Let’s say, for example, that you’ve been planning Spirit Week on your campus for months. You’ve booked spaces and resources for all different kinds of great events – from ice cream socials on the quad to a pep rally in the football stadium. Everything is ready.

Academic Scheduling

Written by Terry Saye on Monday, 30 July 2012. Posted in Ad Astra

Hi All!  I am back and as promised I have a short blurb on the season ender of “Pysch”…WHAT!?! They can’t do that!  Luckily, since my blog entries are soooo far apart, I don’t have long to wait for the new fall season.  Anywho, back to Academic scheduling.  It is about that time of year again, where most of us will be too busy with the fall semester and the wave of students to get much else working.  It is both an exciting time on campus and a stressful one, so I know that most of you are in full preparation mode.  Once you are through the mass hysteria, I have a couple of areas that I would recommend reviewing and refining.  Both in process and technical configuration.   

Cloud Computing at Ad Astra

Written by Steve Oden on Monday, 23 July 2012. Posted in Ad Astra


Cloud computing is all the rage in the IT world these days and Ad Astra is right in the middle of this emerging technology. During Q2 of 2012 Ad Astra Information Systems launched the Astra Cloud, which is a cloud based hosting solution for both Platinum Analytics and Astra Schedule.

Geekery for the Private Sector

Written by Sarah Petsis on Monday, 16 July 2012. Posted in Ad Astra

Hello, my name is Sarah, and I’m a scheduling-aholic. Having worked at Ad Astra for nearly 2 years after spending many years in higher ed, I now know I’m not the only one! Our company has a unique passion (some call it geekery) for scheduling, and we share this love across all facets of the industry. Amongst other things, we specialize in creating automated and optimized schedules for career and technical colleges, and I have the pleasure of consulting with these institutions as they implement our tools. The for-profit camp has faced varying degrees of challenges over the last few years, and we continue to support innovative solutions to help them achieve compliance, efficiency and student success.

What's New in Astra Schedule 7.5?

Written by Kelly Hollowell on Monday, 02 July 2012. Posted in Ad Astra

Ad Astra is always a fun place to work, but it’s extra exciting when we’re on the brink of a new software release. There’s a buzz around the office and excitement to show off the new functionality that we know our clients are going to love. With the 7.5 general release just around the corner, I wanted to give you a sneak peak of what’s to come.

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