Des Moines Area Community College

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DMACC Addresses Rising Enrollment and Space Bottlenecks through Data Collection, Analysis

When Joe DeHart, Executive Director of Institutional Effectiveness and Assistant to the President, arrived at Des Moines Area Community College in 2002, one of the first issues he faced was campus concern over a shortage of classroom space. At the time, DMACC served approximately 11,000 students in a fall term, and DeHart suspected they were nowhere near capacity. “Through the years, I would often look at our usage data and reassure administration and faculty that we had the space if we used it correctly,” he says.

When the economy faltered, however, enrollment at DMACC started to grow dramatically. Concerned they were approaching capacity limits, DeHart decided to bring in Ad Astra to conduct a Strategic Scheduling Check-Up prior to implementing Astra Schedule.

A Framework for Improvements

The Strategic Scheduling Check-Up provided rich data, analysis and a framework for evaluating room usage and management. Together, Ad Astra and DMACC have pinpointed inefficient scheduling practices that led to capacity bottlenecks and identified gaps and inconsistencies among the campuses.

“Specifically, the Strategic Scheduling Check-Up has given us the data to create policy changes regarding scheduling,” reports DeHart. DMACC has started to schedule classes on Fridays, reducing the bottlenecks happening earlier in the week. Additionally, it has gone to standard meeting patterns to avoid wasted space. Classroom usage is now prioritized to serve the college’s campuses rather than individual programs or classes. Finally, scheduling became centralized through the Registrar’s Office to ensure uniform scheduling practices.

Implementing Change

The next step for DMACC is to implement Astra Schedule to help monitor and enforce the recommendations from the Check-Up. This process will begin with event scheduling and later include all academic class scheduling.

DeHart is pleased with the results so far. “I’ve worked with many vendors, and our relationship with Ad Astra is one of the best, not only for their response time, knowledge and ability to get the system up and running, but also because it has been an exercise in telling our story, getting feedback and taking best practices from the hundreds of schools that Ad Astra has worked with in order to successfully launch the system.”

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