The academic catalog can be one of the most dreaded projects at many higher-ed institutions. It often seems like a never-ending project, with the next year’s catalog starting as soon as the previous year’s is published, and getting edits to content can involve digging through piles of hand edits and digging through tracked changes on Word documents.
We’re proud to host Whatcom Community College’s Catalog on Clean Catalog, and we wanted to highlight a few of the features of their catalog and the process we went through to move them to the new system.
We’ve written before about the benefits of moving to academic catalog software, and if you’re reading this it’s likely that you’re already sold on moving to a digital academic catalog system. Sometimes, however, the big hangup is figuring out how exactly the campus is going to move to the new system.
The big benefits of using software like Clean Catalog to build your academic catalog — having an accessible web-based catalog, and a time-saving project-management system — are the main reasons most colleges digitize their catalog. But in our work with colleges, we’ve noticed a few secondary benefits that make life easier for everyone involved with the catalog.
It’s likely that in the past few years your college has had a conversation or two about accessibility — making your academic and marketing materials usable by people on any device with any sort of limitations. In Washington — where Clean Catalog is based — colleges are now required to comply with WCAG 2.0 standards for all their public-facing documents.
A college’s catalog is often viewed as a giant piece of paperwork. It is, after all, something you’re required to provide to
various agencies, and it’s often a legally binding document with students.
But it’s also frequently one of the first things prospective students look at when checking out your college — and if it’s not the first
thing they look at, it’s pretty much guaranteed that they’ll look at it sometime in the enrollment funnel. As such, it presents some
great opportunities to boost your marketing and enrollment funnel. Here are a few things you can do.
Building your college’s catalog is a massive project — most college catalogs are somewhere in length between To Kill a Mockingbird and
Anna Karenina, but instead of being written by a single person they require content and input from dozens
of people with different schedules across the college. There’s not much you can do to reduce the amount of content in your catalog,
but there are a few things you can do to make the whole process much less daunting.
It’s likely that right now your college is shopping for — or thinking about shopping for — several pieces of software to make managing the organization easier and more efficient. You need a CRM for outreach and a CMS to manage the website. An SMS to manage student data, an RMS to manage room scheduling, and countless other programs that all go by three-letter acronyms.