When she talks about the news she received just before last Thanksgiving, Jessica speaks quickly and precisely, describing every detail of what she was up against.
“A major classroom building was going to be closed, which meant the loss of 156 rooms that included offices, classrooms, and difficult to replace teaching labs,” said Steenbergen. “On top of that, 36 faculty offices had to be relocated, and we only had three weeks to figure it out so that student schedules could be updated with new room assignments.”
As the Scheduling Applications Coordinator at Western Kentucky University (WKU), it’s Steenbergen’s job to make sure the 4,500 sections held each semester are efficiently scheduled across WKU’s campus of 21 academic buildings.
“I knew exactly what to do first,” said Steenbergen. “I went to Astra Schedule, ran an occupancy report, and started to look for suitable open spaces. Astra Schedule provided the necessary room and resource data in a matter of minutes.”
Using the Astra Schedule data, Steenbergen found 42 offices by reassigning graduate assistants and part-time faculty, while converting full-time faculty in permanent offices. Classrooms were readily available as well. Finding or adapting teaching labs were going to be the toughest switch.
“Fortunately, I found research labs that were available. I was able to get them reclassified as teaching labs,” said Steenbergen. “We made the move over the winter break, and the transition to the new classrooms and labs happened on time and went smoothly.”
Equipped with student registration data and room controls through Astra Schedule’s room optimization sandbox, Steenbergen assigned academic sections to smaller buildings. WKU was able to shut down 16 academic buildings from mid-May to mid-August, saving more than $350,000 during this new multi-year configuration.
“The first two years, our energy savings approached $230,000,” said Steenbergen. “Now those changes have been made permanent, and those expenses have simply been removed from the budget.”
WKU’s president further refined the summer schedule by shortening the workday, making it 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., shaving two hours off the normal daily schedule.
“Our scheduling and rescheduling is much easier now,” said Steenbergen. “We have a view of our building resources that is centralized and comprehensive. Astra Schedule is a management tool that has paid huge dividends for us in time and energy cost savings.”
HOW ENTERPRISE-WIDE CLASS SCHEDULING CAN WORK FOR YOU
1. Unifies your entire campus on one highly visible system
2. Optimizes your academic room assignments for better space utilization 3. Integrates with your student information system