Case Study – UACCB
Community colleges often struggle with finding catalog management solutions. They typically have fewer admin hands available to help pitch in and smaller budgets than large universities, discouraging them from investing in catalog software. When we recently teamed up with the University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville, their staff expressed these same concerns. Luckily, our Clean Catalog pricing structure is tailored to community colleges so they can achieve customized, modern academic software, all within their budget. We spoke with Tiffany Guinnip, UACCB’s Director of Academic Services, about their experience migrating to Clean Catalog and the overall reaction of their staff to our software solutions.
For many years, UACCB struggled to manage a paper-based catalog. Their catalog lived within a Microsoft Word document, which was then exported as a PDF each academic year. Throughout the year, changes were routed through a single staff member who then made the updates ad-nauseum. Not only was this workflow unsustainable for their staff, but the manual data entry often led to inconsistent content being published. Guinnip recalls that “the biggest issue with this method was tracking changes throughout the document; for example, if we updated a course number you had to make sure you changed the number in every place it appeared in the catalog.”
Aside from the burden imposed on staff, their previous catalog also created an obstacle in accreditation. UACCB is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), which requires renewals every ten years or any time a substantive change is made. While ten years may seem farsighted, accreditation applications can be such a heavy lift that tailoring software around requirements is a savvy, time-saving approach. Our plan was to do just that!
We began the transition process by UACCB passing off their existing Word Document catalog. At this point, our team hit the ground running with migrating catalog content into the new software and reviewing the entries for errors or duplicate content. The UACCB staff enjoyed being hands-off during the more tedious portion of the build-out, freeing their staff to work on other admin projects rather than on endless data entry. Once the shell of their site was built, we turned our attention to customizing the format, search functions, and content page templates to reflect the curriculum structure UACCB already has in place. As we moved closer to our launch date, we collaborated with the college’s staff to implement branding and custom designs into the site. The final result is a catalog site that looks fully custom, offers an intuitive user experience, and performs on the highest level.
With their UACCB’s system, when updates are made, they are reflected throughout the catalog site. For example, if they change the name of their introductory literature class, their staff only needs to make the update once for it to be updated everywhere that course name is shown in the catalog. Not only does this save time, but it is a huge step in preventing inconsistent information from being published.
We also built their catalog to meet accessibility standards so that staff, current students, and potential students will all have a more seamless experience interacting with the new site. All pages of the site are design-responsive, meaning they can be viewed on any screen size without being distorted. Catalog information is easily searchable, filterable, and can be exported as a PDF on demand. This allows users to interact with catalog content in whatever way is most convenient for them.
On the back-end of the software, staff members can easily create new content, revise existing content, view a revisions portal to revert past changes, and save unfinished drafts. Rather than routing all catalog change requests through a single faculty member, UACCB can now use customized workflows to delegate catalog tasks throughout their team. These improvements have cumulatively made their new catalog site much more intuitive and less time-consuming to manage. Guinnip is excited about the long-term impact of these changes for her staff, stating they have been “happy to use this software. It has made our process for updating the catalog each year much smoother.” UACCB will also always have the option of staging their catalog for upcoming calendar years, a powerful (and free!) tool offered to all Clean Catalog clients.
The next time UACCB is due for an accreditation renewal with HLC, they will find that their new catalog system has done most of the heavy lifting already. Their staff will be able to pull missing information reports, quickly search for required pages, easily add addenda, and use other built-in tools to prepare their catalog for an accreditation review. Their new catalog also adheres to modern web standards, meaning they will enjoy more visibility online and increased traffic from search engines, thanks to improved SEO. We’re excited to watch how UACCB’s new catalog serves as an asset, enabling them to grow and better serve students for many years to come.
If you’d like to learn more about Clean Catalog and how we can tailor a custom catalog around your institution’s accrediting institution or accessibility issues, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.
Director of Academic Services