We all know that the more times data is entered, the greater chance there is of error or inaccuracy. With today’s technology, data can be updated in one place and populate several other areas. It’s more efficient and more consistent.
Sara Hingson had thought about this when she began her quest to find the best course catalog maintenance system for UF back in 2011.
“I started by searching for what looked like good catalog systems on other universities’ web sites,” said Hingson. “I eventually settled on three products that seemed promising.”
After Hingson and IT representatives reviewed the products, it was decided to write a proposal for the purchase of SmartCatalog. Hosted in the cloud, SmartCatalog would require no IT resources, with maintenance and user support also handled by the vendor.
The request to purchase SmartCatalog was originally submitted to the Vice President for Academic Affairs in February 2012. However, due to budget constraints, the purchase was denied.
An Alternate Route
Dr. Fell and the cabinet had earmarked $125,000 for the 2013-2014 fiscal year for the Goal Getter Program. Faculty and staff were encouraged to submit proposals for innovative and/or cost-saving projects for funding. Hingson jumped at the chance to resurrect the SmartCatalog proposal and submitted a request to migrate the Undergraduate and Graduate Catalogs to the SmartCatalog system to the Goal Getter Committee in June 2013. The committee awarded $42,500 to the Smart Catalog project to cover first-year costs. (This sum included a $35,000 one-time catalog migration fee.)
After additional discussions with SmartCatalog, the Goal Getter Committee agreed to also fund the migration of UF’s Faculty Manual, Part-time Faculty Manual, and the Employee Handbook into the SmartCatalog system. This decision was reached upon determining the difference in cost of moving all documents at one time as compared to delaying the migration of the final three documents at a later time.
In her proposal, Hingson wrote, “The adoption of SmartCatalog will streamline the catalog process so that catalog text will only be required to be updated within one system.”
She further explained that the current system required the updating and editing of a Word document, course descriptions within CX, and copy on the University’s web site. This streamlined process, the report concluded, would lead to more efficient use of personnel time and printing cost savings.
“Smart Catalog did take some initial set up time,” added Hingson. “The ‘old’ catalog copy had to migrate over and lots of links on the University’s web site had to be re-directed.”
The new catalog became active on March 10 and includes the following benefits:
· More timely information for academic programs
· Implement “instant” changes to the catalog without having to wait for the next printing
· Students have the option of creating a customized catalog
· Students always have up-to-date information
The SmartCatalog platform is also conducive to other types of publications, and it now houses the employee handbook as well as the full-time and part-time faculty manuals and serves as a central location for the University’s policies and procedures.
To visit UF’s SmartCatalog, go to catalog.findlay.edu
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