UW Central Scheduling Office Gains Acceptance
The University of Wyoming's Central Scheduling Office this year will mark its fifth anniversary of providing a single point of contact for anyone who wants to use facilities and space at UW.
The office was created in 2007 to provide the most efficient means of scheduling classes and events across campus. Manager Crystal Bennett, who has led the office since its start, says the transition from a scattered to a centralized scheduling system has been difficult at times, but largely successful.
"It's taken a lot of trust building, but we're gaining a lot more acceptance," she says. "We try not to run people around, and we're very good about following through. It's been a slow process, but we're getting a lot more referrals."
Not surprisingly, the office's top priority is academic classes. In cooperation with the Registrar's Office, Central Scheduling is responsible for finding homes for all of the on-campus classes UW offers each semester. That involves working with departments across campus to arrange schedules for the university's nearly 400 classrooms, laboratories, seminar rooms and lecture halls.
Bennett says that task has become increasingly challenging because of the necessity of meeting the specific technological needs of instructors. Many UW classrooms have been upgraded with the latest electronic instruction devices, but that's not the case for all of them. Central Scheduling works closely with Information Technology to meet as many requests as possible.
After the academic schedule is in place, Central Scheduling fulfills space requests for anything from class reviews and thesis defenses to student organizations' events. Those spaces may be indoors or outdoors on campus. Central Scheduling also refers requests for use of the UW Conference Center and provides a link to the Conference Center on the Central Scheduling webpage.
While a handful of UW units still manage scheduling of their own buildings, Central Scheduling is the best point of contact for everyone, Bennett says. The office directs people to the right resources for any spot on campus. That includes UW Catering and help in arranging for tables and chairs.
Central Scheduling is aided by an electronic system called R25/25 Live, which allows members of the UW community to explore the availability of spaces on campus and at the UW Conference Center. Users can search for specific events by name or location, and see available spaces by building or room as well as detailed information on all spaces (size, layout, available technology and pictures of the space), simply by clicking on the space name.
Central Scheduling also maintains UW's interactive activities calendar, Tzolk'in. The interactive, user-friendly calendar provides an organized listing of university events. Users are able to view and submit event information, send events to their personal calendars, receive email and text message reminders, notifications of event changes and browse by event category.
Bennett, who's assisted by classroom coordinators Jon Kelly and Sally Dona, has worked at UW for 32 years. She says establishing Central Scheduling as a key campus entity has been challenging, but rewarding.
"People are coming to us more and more," she says.