A large, public university in Illinois—formed in 1982—is a Public Research University conducting upwards of $300 million dollars’ research annually and annual budget of more than $2 billion. The University has over 30,000 students (graduate and undergraduate), with more than 1,900 faculty members. Located in the heart of Chicago, the University is among the nation’s top five most diverse campuses. Each semester the University delivers over 1,500 courses utilizing approximately 200 classrooms across the campus.
- Course scheduling by semester
- Assignment of faculty to courses
As the University has grown, difficulties have emerged in managing the process to schedule courses for the upcoming semester. This has led to each of the University’s 50 to 60 departments planning their course schedule in an Excel file, in most cases each department has their own process and format for creating their course schedules. Consolidating each department’s scheduling file has created significant challenges and redundancies for the Registrar’s office.
- Disjointed processes; standardization lacking across the University
- Classroom scheduling to meet the requirements of the faculty and courses
- Multiple iterations of multiple Excel files
- Time-consuming process, resulting in courses with unassigned faculty members
Anaplan was selected at the University for the following reasons:
- Reduce the time it takes for departments at the University to create their course schedule and assign qualified faculty to those courses.
- Expose the University students to the Anaplan platform to build their skills and prepare them for the workforce.
It was important for the University to have an application that was user friendly, easy to maintain and allowed for future development of additional uses cases and business problems facing the University. After a period of research and evaluation the University determined that Anaplan met all their needs.
The University students were engaged in a part-time, educational internship using the latest cloud technology, Anaplan, to solve a real business problem for the University. The select group of The University students went through Anaplan Launchpad training, and received experience in management consulting from the Clarity Partners team, participating in all phases of the Anaplan Way. The student team participated actively in requirements gathering, design, build and deployment of the Anaplan solution.
Implementation & Deployment
After years of struggling with a disjointed course scheduling process built in multiple Excel files, the University quickly recognized the benefits of modeling and planning in Anaplan. The University’s student team worked alongside the Clarity team to build an Anaplan application that allowed departments to create course schedules in Anaplan.
The implementation team also developed an input module that allowed the Department Business Manager to input faculty assignments and also load unavailable time slots for the faculty. The University faculty are now able to view their planned schedules in advance of the semester starting which helps avoid schedule conflicts. Never before had this key information been captured in one centralized application.
Clarity Partners used the “Anaplan Way” implementation methodology in order to deliver a model that is scalable, flexible, and focused on solving the business users needs by writing requirements from their prospective.
- Capacity planning model for creating course schedules
- Versioning of course schedules
- Reporting Model to analyze,visualize and forecast workforce planning and classroom scheduling data
- Implementation in 6 weeks
The University instantly recognized the benefits of Anaplan’s core functionality; workflow, bulk copy, ease of use and selective access. Using Anaplan the University is able to copy the previous semester’s course schedule to serve as the starting point for the upcoming semester’s course schedule. This is the first time that the University has had all course planning information in a centralized application. Additionally, the University saw benefits across all levels of the enterprise, most notably the students, faculty, administrators and university as whole.
- Reduced course scheduling cycle from 10–12 weeks to 3–4 weeks
- Consolidated over 50 unique processes to a single common process in one centralized application
- Increased utilization of classroom facilities by expanding of the daily course delivery from 10am-2pm to 8am-5 pm, to better serve students
- Provided a robust Student friendly course catalog allowing students to strategically plan their course schedule over a 2-year horizon
Most important to the success of any higher educational institution are its students. At the completion of this implementation the University was able to understand student demand, creating an environment where the correct classes were available each semester and properly sequenced. The proper availability and sequencing is crucial to the student experience at the University because under the legacy process some graduating seniors had to return for an additional semester because the courses they needed to graduate were not offered. Going forward with Anaplan The University’s goal is to have no students forced to stay another semester to complete just one or two courses.
The implementation of Anaplan helped the University achieve its goal of putting the student needs at the forefront of the scheduling
process. Prior to Anaplan the majority of classes were schedule daily between 10:00am and 2:00pm. Now, classes are spread evenly across the day, allowing students to schedule their courses with less conflicts than ever before.
Historically at the University, faculty have not been assigned to courses early enough to properly request TA’s, in some cases faculty have been assigned to incorrect courses, which has ultimately led to faculty being incorrectly compensated. The University’s implementation of Anaplan has given department heads a platform to enter the courses each faculty member is qualified to teach and track a faculty member’s unavailability. With this information now in a single application, faculty members are assigned to their courses more effectively and efficiently than ever before.
The administration at the University will benefit directly from enhancing the experience for their students and faculty, any university’s two most important assets. Additionally, administrators have the capability to view their faculty’s scheduling requests for both time and course availability in the same application, allowing the administration to reduce the time it takes to complete the upcoming semester’s schedule.
The University is just scratching the surface of the benefits that can be derived from Anaplan. Ultimately, the University will be able to offer more courses and maximize the use of their existing facilities to generate additional revenue.
Currently the University is only using Anaplan to develop course schedules for the upcoming semester. The University has already begun to discuss a “rolling-semester” scheduling process, allowing the University to project course demand based on several factors related to the University’s student population.
The goal is to expand the use of Anaplan to all the University’s colleges so the University can realize the benefits across all colleges.