How one office cut a days-long turnaround time to minutes

Thousands of students decide to change their course of study every year at Rowan University, kicking off a process that took the Office of the Registrar about 450 hours of staff time to manually manage last year alone. 

Now, change of major requests are processed automatically. This automation has not only saved hundreds of hours of staff time for the Registrar’s office — it has cut down on the wait time for students from up to five days during the busiest times of year to about 30 minutes, allowing students to register for courses in their new major sooner.

“There are so many nuances to the change of major process, I honestly wasn’t sure it could be done,” said University Registrar Linda Drexel. 

But it was done as part of an ongoing partnership with Information Resources & Technology that is eliminating paper-based processes, reducing human error and improving customer service across campus. In addition to the automation of the change of major process this fall, IRT worked with the Registrar to automate the course withdrawal process in 2021 — saving more than 230 hours in staff time — and the automation of the Pass/No Credit grade option during the pandemic.

Drexel said these automations are particularly important as Rowan University seeks to grow its student population. With the anticipated increase in volume, she said, time-consuming, manual processes are simply unsustainable. The automation of these “manual, more clerical tasks allows my team to focus on bigger picture items,” said Drexel, and “give more time to customer service inquiries, enrollment, retention and graduation issues and projects.”

Automation is also a key element in driving Rowan University toward its future goals.

“Pairing the on-the-ground experience of business units, like the Registrar, with the technical knowledge of my team is transforming how Rowan University does business,” said Dr. Mira Lalovic-Hand, Senior Vice President of Information Resources & Technology and CIO. “Working together, we can continue to make Rowan University a better place to live, learn and work.”

Led by a project manager from IRT’s Project Management Office, the automation of the change of major process was implemented in phases. IRT worked with the Registrar to move from a paper-based form to an online one in the first phase. Then, the project team automated the data entry process in Banner. 

“The entire team needs to participate to successfully complete a project, and that’s what happened here. Thanks to the project team’s hard work, we have taken a step forward in enhancing the automation process for future efforts," said Project Manager Jay Dave.

The logic used for this project will inform future automation efforts, including automating the change of applicants’ majors before their first semester and the automation of the Combined Advanced Degree process.

“Identifying and acting on opportunities for automation will enhance Rowan’s efficiency and effectiveness and help us provide a better experience to the entire University community,” said Jacqueline Ring, Associate Vice President of Information Resources & Technology.   

If you have a process you want to update, submit a request in the Rowan Support Portal, and a member of IRT will be in touch with you to talk about next steps.