Minneapolis, Minn. August 14, 2018 – Community Colleges in Iowa are gaining momentum and growing their programs with the help of their statewide network, streamlined registration processing, relevant data at their disposal and flexibility to integrate with Colleague and other systems. Currently there are seven community colleges in Iowa running their Continuing Education, Workforce Development and Contract Training programs with Augusoft Lumens®.
Benefitting from the Network
There is power in numbers, not only benefitting from events Augusoft hosts such as the annual user summit, and other regional summits. Iowa Lumens user schools meet quarterly to discuss things related to Lumens and business as a chance to convene and exchange ideas. “We benefitted greatly from programs that were implemented before us such as Kirkwood Community College and Northeast Iowa Community College. They gave us lots of suggestions based on things they learned during their implementation which helped us,” stated Jolene Rogers, Executive Director at Iowa Lakes Community College.
Iowa Lakes implemented Lumens over a four-month period sharing that the only hold up was the team acting skeptical to proceed at times, as they were nervously waiting for something to go wrong – thinking it can’t be this easy! Rogers said that being a part of these monthly meetings prior to implementation and during, allowed her and her staff to ask questions and allow the Lumens using schools to share tips and tricks they learned. Rogers went on to explain that one thing in particular that came up as being a hot topic, was state reporting. Having schools within her state who had already made that work with Lumens really helped them figure out the best way to collect the right information in Lumens and ways to get that out for accurate state reporting.
Integration for One System of Record
While maintaining one system of record is ideal, it’s not always possible to run an entire college with a one-size-fits-all solution. By integrating Lumens with the college’s system of record, programs can run independently and trust that pertinent data is being sent to the Ellucian Colleague (system of record). That is what some of the colleges have done in order to maintain one system of record, but still have the independence to run their program in a way that serves their student’s needs.
“Before we were dealing with trying to get data. From Colleague, we had to work with other departments and we couldn’t always get what we needed or even all the data. Lumens reports are right at our fingertips – we pull daily reports, monthly financial reports, and quarterly assessments of classes per programmer, cancellations numbers, etc” stated Kristi Flack. The ability to run autonomously, but still comply with state and college requirements demonstrates real support and leadership from an executive administration.
Srdjan Golub, Hawkeye’s Director of CE and Workforce Solutions, played an integral role in the project to integrate Lumens with Salesforce, enabling them to sync B2B records, “We came from Ellucian Colleague® which was not optimal for non-credit course offerings nor for B2B contracts. We also worked on a Salesforce.com integration with Augusoft to further our abilities with our existing CRM.”
Reports. Data-driven decisions
Embracing LERN’s (Learning Resource Network) philosophy, Iowa schools are very-data driven. “We benefit from Lumens’ flexibility and data-driven decisions we can make with the data and reporting in Lumens. It’s a huge improvement from where we used to be, working against a system that was not designed for non-credit,” stated Jolene Rogers, “We have really reduced our footprint on the rest of the college.”
The ability to quickly pull meaningful reports in real-time that help programmers and administrators be equipped to assess and make changes where needed is a competency in Lumens that all users benefit from. “Reporting is key for us. We make data-driven decisions from reports such as the Transaction Journal, Class Completion and Demographics reports,” shared Srdjan Golub.
Brenda Ireland, Director of Operations at Kirkwood Community College seconds the value of the reporting capabilities, “As far as the ability to make data driven decisions, we’ve come leaps and bounds. Before we had to rely on IT reports. This was a process where we had to request a report, and this was scheduled into all the other IT projects.” Not only has Kirkwood benefitted from reports, but they also use other tools to measure success and gain feedback for improvement. Along with in class surveys Kirkwood uses Lumens to send out after the class surveys that allow for more candid comments from students and have implements best practices based on their students’ experiences shared through these surveys. One example: “We learned that people didn’t want to have to pay a fee later, after registration, so we took that fee and rolled it into the class price.”
Flexibility is an Underrated Attribute
“Programs can use it [Lumens] regardless of the size of the institutions. Taking responsibility of our financial transactions has been very successful and audit reports come out to the penny.” Kirkwood’s Brenda Ireland further suggests that a new program needs to consider all the added efficiencies as a whole, “Schools need to look across the board. While we partner with our business office and IT, we are less reliant on them for our day to day business needs. In looking at the cost of the system, we are ahead of the game.”
Northeast Iowa Community College program consists of seven different locations, some campuses as far as 2.5 hours apart. They benefit from the ability to log in from anywhere and to customize fields within Lumens, which are two things Kristi Flack from Northeast Iowa Community College, mentioned that were not possible when they were force–fitting the Colleague solution. Her program has built lots of custom fields within Lumens to capture needed data. This ability to add custom fields in Lumens is part of their license, it is not an added cost.
Jolene Rogers shared that they added staff, but not for lack of a system, their program saw efficiencies that helped them grow right away noting that it would not have grown as much were it not for the time-savings Lumens brought to their program. “Just something as simple as being able to immediately alert people to use a different entrance due to construction. Several examples like this add up,” stated Rogers. “Our registrations and contract training division took off. We’ve doubled our programming staff!”
Growth as a Result of Streamlined Solution
“We are now expanding partnerships with more credit programs because of the best practices we have implemented,” Brenda Ireland reported. She stated that they take some of the small “add-on” certificates and short term CTE programs and are embedding them into credit programs as graduation requirements. “We have experienced a lot of change in the past years and we are very grateful for leadership support.” Ireland continued. To stay ahead of the game, Kirkwood also runs focus groups and works with the economic sector boards to drive the trends, claiming that if a program fails to stay abreast, they can easily fall behind in the current educational climate.
Northeast Iowa Community College went from zero to 31% of students that register online after implementing with Lumens. Although many staff weren’t initially excited for change, like many programs, it certainly paid off. As a result of all time-savings from not processing registrations and having reports at their fingertips, Flack’s program is able to focus on more strategic planning that impacts the program. Northeast Iowa runs 4,000 classes and has revenue goal of 3.8M for the 2018-19 fiscal year. From 2011, they are up 2.3M.
Iowa is an education and training hub in the Midwest. Iowa Community Colleges are essential to the growing career and workforce training movement. Augusoft is honored to partner with Iowa Community Colleges to better the quality of education for their communities. Besides the four programs exemplified in this narrative, Augusoft also services the following Iowa community colleges: Eastern Iowa, North Iowa, Iowa Valley.
Augusoft®, Inc. develops and maintains Lumens® – the first SaaS enrollment management system specifically designed for the corporate and continuing education and workforce development programs. More than 6.6 million students have registered for continuing education classes using Lumens, which processes over $1M daily on behalf of its customers. Visit https://augusoft.net to see Lumens in action.
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