The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of EAB.
Administrative functions to support data management and financial transactions for noncredit learning are often less standardized and centralized across university campuses than traditional undergraduate and graduate coursework. This is due to the comparatively lower number of noncredit enrollments on campuses and the fact that noncredit education is conducted through a decentralized variety of organizations within the university.
At UW-Madison, this decentralized variety of noncredit offerings has lead to a siloed approach to noncredit enrollment management, with a number of groups doing this work in relative isolation. This creates unequal service levels for noncredit learners trying to register for a course, lack of visibility into noncredit learner data at a high level, and costly administrative inefficiency. A centralized, standardized approach to noncredit enrollment will provide superior administrative support to the noncredit space, create a better experience for users of the service, and enable a more holistic, strategic approach to growing noncredit enrollments.
My capstone project develops a business case and a model for centralized noncredit enrollments on the UW-Madison campus. This model will benefit the institution, departments providing noncredit courses, and noncredit learners coming to the university. For the institution, centralizing noncredit enrollments would eliminate duplicate systems and provide a single department to oversee technical support and service delivery.
This centralized system would also integrate into the university’s OneBadger CRM Initiative to create a single learner profile across all courses a student takes at the university. For schools and colleges, this will provide ease of use for instructors or program assistants in setting up a course and would provide for their learners a standard level of service for noncredit courses whether they are revenue producing or not.
A new model for a centralized, standardized system for noncredit enrollments requires both a new funding model and the consolidation of disparately organized functions for technical support, data management, and customer service. Most of these functions are shared by the Division of IT and the Registrations Department at UW Conference Centers, with financial support to both provided by the Division of Continuing Studies.
The model I propose will reorganize these components of DoIT and UWCC to create a unified office that centralizes technical support, data management, and customer service delivery. It will also eliminate the multiple forms of funding that DCS currently provides, to be replaced by a tax on noncredit program revenue to establish a more straightforward subsidy that can be controlled centrally by the Budget Office. Funding for this office will come from this subsidy as well as from registration fees charged on a per-registrant basis for each course.
To bolster funding, I propose a mandate that all noncredit enrollments involving financial transactions be administered by this office. Such a mandate would ensure high volumes for the department, which would enable us to keep per-registrant fees low and ensure compliance with financial policies for transactions associated with these courses.
Thank you to EAB for an excellent fellowship and for their support of this project. I benefited from a number of the materials provided by Michael Fischer and Kimpton Farren. Also, thank you to Craig Hess, my capstone partner, for the excellent conversation as we developed our projects.
See the fellows' blogs from the capstone projects
Josh Goldman and others participated in EAB’s Rising Higher Education Leaders Fellowship in spring 2022