Artistic Background

AutoMate Brings Automated Data Collection and Dissemination to University Enrollment Office

University of Tampa University of Tampa
Dennis Nostrand, Vice President Of Enrollment Management


The University of Tampa is a Tier 1, private university that integrates the richness of a liberal arts tradition with 21st century technology and innovative teaching strategies. The university offers over 125 areas of study with over 6,300 students attending from 50 states and 100 countries. It receives more than 14,000 undergraduate and 3,000 graduate applications, as well as 119,000 student inquiries each year. This results in a flood of data that the university must manage properly. The man in charge of managing all of this is Dennis Nostrand, the university's Vice President of Enrollment.

Dennis and his team of more than 50 staff members and 100 students act in-part as a hub of information for the institution, dividing the enrollment and visitor data into two critical sets, and then reporting on their findings to the university president, counselors, faculty, and staff. The first set of data relates to enrollment numbers such as the number of students that have applied to the school, the number accepted, and the number of students that have made deposits and are planning to attend. The department uses this data to project the number of students that it thinks will actually attend so that the faculty and staff can prepare to accommodate the incoming student body.

The second set of data compiled by the department relates to perspective students who may or may not have applied, but have scheduled a campus tour or have signed up for one of the many campus events hosted each month. When tours are booked, the department needs to execute a different set of tasks including creating group schedules, sending confirmations to each student, reporting the number of attendees to each tour director, and alerting faculty and staff to the groups' presence on campus. It also needs to create daily welcome boards for each different group, and then make all of this data available to numerous personnel on campus. AutoMate accomplishes almost all of these tasks.

Both reports are compiled and distributed weekly, taking more than four hours of staff time each day to create and distribute when prepared manually. When the department sought to increase productivity and relieve staff of these entries to focus on their additional responsibilities, it turned to AutoMate to reduce the time spent on these data-centric projects from hours to minutes.

The Challenge

Data Collection, Organization, and University-wide Reporting

The onerous task of compiling data from thousands of student applications and even more from visiting prospective students each month was shifting the departments focus from its main objective - enrollment. However, this data could not be ignored because it was a key component to the department's success. The department decided it needed to streamline its efforts to collect and deliver this data in a more efficient manner using less staff hours so it could focus on enrollment and recruitment. It also needed a solution that would seamlessly sync with its existing enrollment management systems, Jenzabar CX and Hobsons EMT Connect.

"When analyzing the amount of students accepted into our program to calculate a projected attendance rate, if I had to stop and create the report myself it would take me a whole day to complete," said Dennis Nostrand. "Additionally, everyday staff would have to download all of the people signed up for a campus tour and input that data into our administrative system. We offer 24 different ways to sign-up for a tour, so someone would need to execute this procedure 24 times. Without any interruptions, this would take a staff member or multiple staff members more than three hours a day to complete. Executing both of these tasks manually was a very inefficient use of our department's time and we needed make a change."

The Solution

AutoMate from Network Automation

Nostrand was no stranger to AutoMate, and had relied on the platform in his past two charges at different universities. Upon entering his post at The University of Tampa in 2009, and seeing the enrollment office struggle with its heavy influx of data, he knew exactly what to do to streamline operations and shift his staffs' work days to focus on more productive tasks.

Within two hours of integrating the software into the department's work routine and existing enrollment management systems, it was up-and-running with little to no involvement from the school's IT department. Both sets of data reports are now compiled after working hours, and are distributed to the appropriate parties automatically. "What's nice about AutoMate is that you don't have to know a lot about computer languages in order to use it. We really don't, and we put it to work right away," continued Nostrand. "It's amazing."

The Benefits

Streamlined Rapid Reporting, Liberation of Human Capital

For The University of Tampa, AutoMate was able to manage its university-wide reporting processes, cutting execution time from more than four hours each day to about forty-eight minutes. The enrollment offices' staff has saved more than twenty hours a week in database entry hours, and as a result has achieved record enrollment figures since the software's integration.

"I was able to free up four additional hours per day to let my staff focus on less daunting tasks where their skill sets could be utilized more effectively. It was a ripple effect, helping people continue their workflow without being interrupted or having to stop yourself in the middle of a project and take time out for data entry," remarks Nostrand. "AutoMate is an effective tool for any university. The return on investment is being able to do our jobs better, we've set record enrollments every year, and a lot of that has to do with AutoMate. It frees up our team to be more creative in our work. I don't think there is anything that it can't do."