When it comes to Higher Education, course scheduling can be quite a headache. It’s time-consuming, highly manual, and often riddled with conflicts. If you nodded in agreement while reading that, you may find this news exciting: there is another way to build and refine the course schedule. Recently, Dr. Jill Loveless, Provost at West Virginia Northern Community College (WVNCC), spoke about their course scheduling journey, one that might have a similar beginning as your own.
Location: Wheeling, West Virginia
Population: 1,253 Undergraduate Students
System Membership: West Virginia Community and Technical College System
Undergraduate Student Population: 100%
First Generation Student Population: 58%
West Virginia Northern Community College Story: WVNCC is a 2-year public college institution tucked in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountain range. WVNCC has been serving West Virginia since 1972, and currently has around 1600 students. In 2017, Dr. Jill Loveless was named the new provost and that’s where the scheduling journey starts.
“I strongly believe they [Ad Astra] have made a significant return on our investment.”
- Dr. Jill Loveless, Provost, West Virginia Northern Community College (WVNCC)
Even early on in her career, Dr. Loveless realized efficient and effective schedule building was difficult. Traditionally, the course schedule was rolled forward, and deans and departments would convene to discuss schedules and how general education requirements would fit together with major-specific requirements. Cue the head throbbing! Dr. Loveless set off to find a better way.
In her research to find a solution, Dr. Loveless heard of Ad Astra from her peers. She learned that Ad Astra was untangling the complicated nature of scheduling, as she likes to put it, “at the press of a button.” In 2018, Dr. Loveless took the next step in WVNCC’s course scheduling journey by partnering with Ad Astra in hopes to bring the following changes:
Align Course Schedule to Student Demand
Design an initial schedule accurately aligned with student demand.
Reduce the Number of Course Cancellations
Develop section capacity and quantity to optimize space and student demand.
Reduce Time Conflicts for Students
Increase Enrollment Ratios
Launch a schedule that provides optimal access based on student demand while maximizing faculty and space resources.
Dr. Loveless happily reported, with our solutions WVNCC was able to achieve every single objective. To further demonstrate the impact, Dr. Loveless shared that the course fill rate jumped from 49.5% in Fall 2018 to 62.6% in Fall 2021. Meanwhile, course cancellations were reduced from 96 cancellations in Fall 2018 to 52 in Fall 2021. How? You might ask. With Ad Astra, WVNCC now:
You aren’t alone in this scheduling journey. Ad Astra has partnered with hundreds of institutions to not only remove the detriments of scheduling, but to also operationalize the schedule for student success and financial sustainability.