It is safe to say that course scheduling challenges are present at nearly every university. These challenges are often normalized and even brushed under the rug as scheduling continues to be done the same way it always has out of convenience. However, as more students fail to make progress toward their degrees, many universities come to a point where scheduling improvements must be made to set students up for their best chance of successful degree completion. When Albany State University (ASU) came to this realization, the university’s scheduling stakeholders learned that with the strategic tools provided in the Ad Astra platform, along with the support of Astra team members, scheduling challenges can quickly become a thing of the past.
Location: Albany, Georgia
Population: 6,500 students and the largest historically black college in the state.
System Membership: University System of Georgia
Undergraduate Student Population: 94%
First Generation Student Population: 23%
Albany State University's Story: After merging with Darton State College to serve a greater population of students and create a better student experience, they uncovered infrastructure problems. As a solution, Provost and Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Angela Peters looked to restructure the university's foundation of student success.
“We are happy to say that our enrollment and graduation rate is steadily increasing...Our retention rate is showing almost a 10% increase. Our transfer-out rate has decreased. Our course pass rate has increased. Our midterm deficiencies, students who are dismissed or on academic warning or probation, those have also decreased. Our students are enrolling [and] being retained at Albany State.”
- Dr. Angela Peters, Provost and Vice President of Student Affairs, Albany State University
To combat the university’s scheduling obstacles like course access, faculty overloads, and schedule rollovers, and to improve scheduling for the newly expanded institution, Peters explored the potential scheduling solution put forth by the University President, Dr. Marion Fedrick. Dr. Fedrick had previously heard about Ad Astra’s solutions, and this encouraged Peters to learn how Ad Astra could help ASU.
The willingness from ASU faculty to foster student success, along with assistance from the Ad Astra team, allowed for a smooth integration of Ad Astra’s platform into ASU. Through these efforts, ASU faculty were able to successfully navigate Ad Astra’s tools, including course optimization, course time conflict data, and recommendations for course sections.
Outcomes at a Glance
Improved Cost Savings
ASU was able to fund seven new full-time tenure-track faculty with the savings.
Increased Retention Rates
Since incorporating Ad Astra's platform, the university has seen a 10% increase in student retention.
Strengthened Student Progression In Degree Paths
Boosted Course Fill Rates
The team was able to increase course fill rates and
standardize class start and end times which reduced overlaps.
Despite intricate and prevalent difficulties in their course schedule, along with the added stress of a merger, the scheduling stakeholders of Albany State University were able to overcome the hurdles of course scheduling with the help of Ad Astra. However, their newly refined course schedule system does more than just aid students in course enrollment. By adjusting the course schedule according to student demand, ASU is taking active steps to further student success by helping students graduate faster and with less debt. This should be the goal of every university; and with the support of Ad Astra, other universities can also use the course schedule to uplift student success.