Revamp classes and update facilities
Two of Dean Banks’ other improvements have been revitalizing instruction and infrastructure. “She wanted to use technology and change pedagogy in ways that make more sense and effect student outcomes,” says Pierson. “Remember that 600-person chemistry class with a small figure at the front of the room? That’s not Dr. Banks’ vision.” On the contrary, Dean Banks implemented an under-100 class size; most classes are 50 students or less.

Dean Banks also renovated an engineering building, more than doubling its size to 525,000 square feet. The new building will house 37 learning centers, 60,000 square feet of maker space, common laboratories, and the latest technology. “Our faculty will be able to offer active learning opportunities. The technology will allow them to deliver content in ways that are more conducive to today’s students.”

Rather than desks, the classrooms will have work tables from Steelcase that are geared for collaboration with screens that rise up, as well as distance-lecture capability.

Modernize IT to streamline processes and better serve everyone
The college centralized its IT and is improving as many processes as it can. “When I came here four years ago, people carried paper around to ask for signatures,” says Pierson. “Now we use tools like Laserfiche to initial documents electronically. No more chasing people down. These tools help get staff excited and lead to productivity gains.”

Because they can’t increase support staff at the same rate as they aim to grow enrollment, the HR department asked IT to automate the hiring process. “We also leveraged Laserfiche to completely digitize the application process,” says Chris Huff, an IT professional. “Materials are submitted online and are routed electronically. We’ve even automated emails so HR doesn’t have to type the same thing over and over again.”

Huff says these and other changes have led to more automation and increased satisfaction. “It’s been a huge success,” he says. “We’ve saved about $300,000 through hiring almost 10,000 employees. Other departments are now asking us to improve their inefficient processes.”

About the Author:

Ellen Ullman is editorial director, content services, for eSchool Media.

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