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Project Title:Multi-term Registration: Course Scheduling for Student Success Institution Name:Cleveland State University Innovation Category:Student Success Project Director:Carmen A. Brown, Vice President for Enrollment ServicesContact Information:(216) 687-5353, carmen.brown@csuohio.eduWebsite:http://www.csuohio.edu/registrar/multi-term-registration
Project Description:Since 2009, the university’s priorities have focused on developing and implementing strategies aimed at improving student success and outcomes. Multi-term registration is an academic planning tool that allows students to view courses in advance, plan courses sequentially and register for an entire academic year at once. Each March, registration opens for fall, spring and summer simultaneously, allowing students to enroll in any or all of the terms.  This has provided students, as well as faculty, the avenue to plan both their academic and personal schedule three semesters at a time. It provides students with more options when choosing their courses and allows for better planning of classes, determining sequences of classes, and guidance to students regarding the courses that are most optimal for them. This model, implemented at Cleveland State University in March of 2012 for registration for the 2012-13 academic year, is the first of its kind in the state of Ohio and a rarity among most public colleges and universities across the nation.
  • Provide students with the opportunity to plan early and register for a full academic year at one time.
  • Increase retention by encouraging enrollment for the full academic year.
  • Develop a course schedule and registration model to support 4-year degree maps.
  • Improve course offerings by conducting a full year schedule analysis to meet student course demands. 
  • Multi-term registration has been positively received by students. We currently have 82% of all undergraduate students and 78% of all graduate students taking advantage of this service. Though our overall usage has remained stable, we have increased our early usage (students who take advantage of registering for the full year by June 1) by 4% from year 1 to year 2.
  • Our goal in the very near future is to achieve at the very least a 90% usage rate.
  • Fall to Spring retention rates increased 3% in year one and Fall to Fall retention increased 2%
  • As other enrollment success initiatives are introduced and solidified (new class scheduler, new time grid, updated Degree Audit, waitlist), our intention is to use the data from all of these initiatives to produce an even stronger set of course offerings within the multi-term registration system.
Challenges/Problems Encountered:The main challenge encountered is the mindset of faculty and staff when this concept is being introduced. Most universities’ class scheduling processes have been in place for decades and to introduce this change creates challenges.  In an effort to ensure this initiative was a success, we introduced communication and outreach activities to all stakeholders. The University Registrar, along with the Associate Registrars, met weekly with Associate Deans. A university-wide campaign was also rolled out with Powerpoint presentations focusing on the intended outcome and services to students. 
Evaluation Approach: The University Registrar is responsible for closely monitoring the success and further enhancement of this new enrollment tool. Our evaluation is based on multi-term registration outcome, the number of students that are using these services and the trajectory pattern that is being established.  
Potential for Replication:Every university has a process for scheduling classes. It is a time-sensitive process within the enrollment cycle where all academic stakeholders proceed within their schools and colleges’ norms. The scheduling of classes needs to be thoroughly reviewed before rolling out the multi-term registration concept. The biggest challenge to overcome is that individuals in most universities are used to planning one semester at a time. When this concept is first introduced, they are taken aback by the amount of time they must spend planning three semesters. They quickly realize that it is the first-time rollout that is the biggest challenge. Once they have gone through the first cycle of planning three semesters, future scheduling is much easier and much more effective in terms of time and staffing.
Additional Resources:

See article in Inside Higher Ed, Registering Toward Completion (April 11, 2014).

Additional contact person: Janet Stimple, Assistant Vice President/University Registrar, (216) 687-3831, j.stimple@csuohio.edu

CEO-to-CEO Contact:Ronald Berkman , Presidentronald.berkman@csuohio.edu
(216) 687-3544
Date Published: Monday, April 28, 2014