Customer Spotlight – Georgia College & State University
Celebrating 20 years together
We value and appreciate each and every customer using our software for their programs. When we have big partnership anniversaries (20 years!) we want to share them with everyone. ACEware talked with Stephanie Westmoreland who serves as the assistant director of continuing education. We wanted to know about their continuing education journey over the past 20 years and how ACEware has supported them along the way. We appreciate the time they took to share with us!
Changes seen in the past 20 years
"In the late 1990s, Georgia College was serving between 3,000 and 4,000 noncredit students each year. Today, Continuing Education registers more than 10,000 students annually – which is quite impressive for a college in a town with a population of less than 25,000. "
Front: Stephanie Westmoreland, Courtney Bentley
Back: Candice Griffeth and Cassie Napier
When discussing target markets, Stephanie shared, "we try to be diverse enough so that if one area is in a recession, another area can carry us through. At this time the most successful programs are travel programs, children's programs (summer camps especially) and conference/registration services."
Stephanie and her team stay diverse in their marketing strategies as well as in programming. Their printed catalog is expected by their community members and continues to be beneficial. Marketing through Social Media channels boosted registrations for their summer camps.
How does ACEware software support your day-to-day work and future programming decisions?
"It is interesting to see how ACEware is used so differently between our staff members. Our positions and responsibilities vary greatly therefore asking the software to provide in different ways."
"I've used other registration software and to have software that is specific to the needs of the continuing education world is invaluable. Specifically, having the ability to pull reports that allow us to sort through our data in a variety of ways for a variety of reasons. If we have questions, Student Manager has the answers. It assists in our marketing decisions, course creation and approval process, and the list goes on and on."
The most valuable feature(s) of Student Manager/ACEweb are …
Mass printing rosters, pocket ledger, pay grabber, the new ability to search, the waitlist option, running customized reports, membership courses, demographics, e-mail attachments, online instructor access to course information. . .
Lindsey has been with us through thick and thin this year and we appreciate her work so much. We have a treasured of a video from an ACEware conference that shows Lindsey explaining how to eat crab legs. We love how she takes you step- by- step through the process of how to eat a crab leg. It closely resembles how she explains each step when assisting with Student Manager.
Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI), University of Pittsburgh
Jennifer Engel, Steve Lander, Patricia (Pat) Szczepanski
ACEware welcomes Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI), University of Pittsburgh, to the Student Manager/ACEweb user family.
Jennifer Engel, OLLI director, heard about ACEware at an OLLI National Conference. In networking discussions, she learned that ACEware was a software vendor that could support OLLI programs. She also visited with many vendors at the 2015 UPCEA conference in Washington, DC - including ACEware.
When asked what influenced their decision to select ACEware as their software partner, Jennifer shared that "There were a few factors. Obviously, it was a great solution and had every feature that we identified as a "need" and most of the features that were our "wants." Just as important for us though was the responsiveness and honesty of Sharon, the thoroughness of the demo, and the ongoing, positive communication as we went through the RFP process. Since we made it official, the service has continued to be top notch with Chuck and Lindsey."
They are excited about the membership features and the broad range of reports available from Student Manager, and they look forward to learning more about the catalog developer in the system.
"Pat and Steve have been working since our training a few weeks ago to get everything ready to launch for summer registration on April 12. They are wonderful in all that they do and this system will help them dramatically. We are very excited!" - Jennifer Engel, Director
Jennifer's team of four has been diligent about learning to use Student Manager. They have attended webinars and enjoyed two days of on-site private training from Lindsey, their assigned technician. "I'm so impressed with how quickly they've taken ownership of their system," comments Lindsey. "They are eager to implement things we discussed in training."
Two of their staff will attend conference this May and they plan to send at least one to conference each year.
Tri-County Technical College
In March, ACEware representatives were asked to join Tri-County Technical College (TCTC) for their monthly Student Manager Team Meeting. Say what? A meeting solely dedicated to all things Student Manager? We were impressed, intrigued, and hungry for more information. Set a year in advance, these meetings are a priority for this busy Continuing Education operation! When we asked if they'd share a bit more about this practice with our customers, Teresa Young, Operations Manager and leader of these monthly gatherings, agreed to donate her valuable time and share this best practice with our readers.
At TCTC, the Keeper of the Flame status is shared by three staff, and these three are on the Student Manager Team. The team is made up of TCTC's Operations Manager (oversees financials and steers the ship), Customer Service/Registrar Manager (works closely with college financial office), a Program Director, a Training Coordinator (sets up courses, monitors registration, cancels classes when needed), and an Administrative/Program Manager (newer to their team so a fresh set of eyes).
ACEware: What prompted you to begin Student Manager Team Meetings?
Teresa: Our staff is so limited, that the only way we can make progress is by culling out parts of a project, making assignments, and grinding until it is done. It also means that no one person is making strategic decisions that negatively affects the other users.
ACEware: How is the meeting agenda determined?
Teresa: Priorities drive it. I currently prepare the agenda, but, all team members are equal and have input.
ACEware: Can you share some action items have you had as a result of your meetings?
Teresa: SM procedures updated, reviewed, and published. This is a continuous action item, it seems.
Review of different modules. See if implementing them will minimize our time spent on paperwork, data/customer tracking.
Redesign of all certificates, and assigning the publication of the certificates to the Customer Service/Registrar staff. This was a "lean" initiative, so that there are not 15 different staff having to print certificates. And, the redesign incorporated an embossed seal, to eliminate the chance of fraudulent certificates being published.
Data cleanup standards. We discuss prior to clean up and get clarification on data qualifiers so we are all coding things properly.
Voucher/billing decisions are made in these meetings.
Communication on testing of new updates prior to implementing the update in Production.
ACEware: Please share how these meetings have strengthened your Student Manager team.
Teresa: We still struggle with making real fast progress against the team's goals, because we really need more personnel/hours capacity to do it totally, but if it were not for the team meetings, nothing would be accomplished.
Between regular meetings, the team tends to ask each other questions ad hoc as things arise, and work cooperatively to fix things that happen. It reduces angst because there is a decision not made by one person, to trickle down, but by a cross-functional team.
ACEware: In addition to your meetings, what else does your Student Manager team do to stay current with software and industry (continuing education/workforce development) knowledge?
Teresa: I truly wish I could say that our staff reaches out to the ListServ and the many ACEware solutions and support - but - they often do not have time to do this. We hope to get to the point where we have a "tech minute" at the end of each of our staff meetings, where we show other staff a "shortcut", "did you know", tips, etc.
Those on the SM team use the ListServ and Support Menus on the ACEware website. When financially viable, we attend the conferences (multiple staff), and we have brought ACEware staff to our campus for training, twice, for week-long, cross-functional training. This has been great.
ACEware: What advice would you give to a new Student Manager Customer?
Teresa: Have ACEware come to train your staff. Establish that cross-functional "SM Team", because you need to have the knowledge spread to multiple staff, and have input from different perspectives.
You can all thank TCTC for the warning message you receive before your pack and reindex function! That was a wishlist submitted by their team. They have plenty of innovative ideas so stay tuned for more developments!
We thank TCTC for sharing how they collaborate and use Student Manager to improve their work processes. How about you? How does your team cross-train, work consistently, and streamline work? We'd like to hear from you!
ACEware Champion Educator (ACE) Award Recipient Spotlight
Brittany Thomasson receives the ACE award from Chuck Havlicek, President of ACEware Systems, Inc.
Brittany Thomasson, Senior Program Associate, Auburn University at Montgomery was recognized as a 2015 ACEware Champion Educator (A.C.E.) at the April Annual Users’ Conference in Myrtle Beach.
Brittany has worked with Student Manager and ACEweb for 8 years. The only full-time registrar for Auburn’s outreach units, she managed 8,942 registrations in 2014; 4,682 of those registrations were online registrations using five alternate registration interfaces. In 2014 she also emailed approximately 240 daily enrollment reports to staff . She is known for “working smarter, not harder” by her team.
In addition to alternate interfaces used to accommodate the unique needs of various program offerings, Brittany appreciates the instructor portal offered by ACEweb which allows instructors to access rosters when staff might not be available.
|Auburn University at Montgomery:
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"Brittany is one of my favorite customers to work with. Even though we are on the phone, I imagine her always having a smile . . . even if she’s not having a good day. She’s a glass half-full type and is never impatient."
Mike Lowry, ACEware Systems Technician for Auburn University at Montgomery
Kathy S. Gunter, Executive Director and Linda Wright, Associate Director states that
"Brittany is our resident 'cheerleader' who works hard to deliver the best customer service possible! Brittany never has a bad day and she is always cheerful and loaded with enthusiasm. We hear from customers all the time about what a wonderful job she does and how patient and helpful she is. She will go above and beyond to work out issues and will make sure that customers are satisfied with their registration experience. We appreciate her attitude and work ethic and making sure that Auburn Montgomery looks good to all of our customers."
Brittany’s advice to Student Manager users:
"The ACEware/SM help guide is your friend! Watch the webinars and learn, learn, learn the system. The more you learn the system the more you enjoy it. Use the short-cut keys as well; they help you speed through registrations."
ACEware Champion Educator (ACE) Award Recipient Spotlight
Chris Harvey, Karen Rankin,and Chuck Havlicek
Karen Rankin, Manager, Information Technology Services for University Outreach at Auburn University.
Chuck comments that "If we were looking for a model of who we’d choose as an ideal ACEware support person, Karen Rankin’s name would pop up."
While she would be quick to tell you that she is not an ACEware expert, if you have a question about a report, about a design on a web page or getting to a special field, Karen can help you out.
Karen provides support to three different Student Manager/ACEweb installations at Auburn University, and manages numerous ACEweb interfaces. She is able to generate special custom web registration forms to address the myriad of programs that Auburn offers including about 1,100 activities a year with around 36,700 participants.
She has been key in working with ACEware Software Developers in fleshing out new features and in building some custom routines to address needs of some unique programs. One of our challenges as a software "manufacturer" is to get a full and thorough test or model implementation of the new feature. Karen knows both the "ACEware" side and can articulate and work through the business case that her department is trying to solve.
Michael serves as Karen’s technical support representatives and comments that she is "the most easy going IT customer I’ve ever encountered."
Karen’s advice to Student Manager users:
"I would say that the online help is a great resource to answer general questions and a way to find out about features that you may not currently use."
What she would like to share with professionals considering the use of Student Manager:
"ACEware has provided hands-down the best technical support that I have ever experienced. If I can’t figure it out, Michael, our technician, is always only an email away. Everyone at ACEware is always so willing to help you figure out a problem or how to make something work if you are trying to do something new."
The software feature most beneficial to Auburn’s operation:
"My favorite feature of Student Manager/ACEweb is the ability to customize registration pages and reports as needed."
ACEware Champion Educator (ACE) Award Recipient Spotlight
Martin Malpica, IT Director at the University of Central Florida (UCF) Continuing Education is an ACEware Champion Educator (ACE).
The ACE recognition was shared with his team members – Marcos Kochmann (left) who does most of the ACEweb maintenance and Ricardo Suarez (right) who does most of the Student Manager maintenance. His colleagues, friends, and family found the recognition, "impressive, most impressive."
Martin and his team have taken their ACEware software to new levels. The open architecture of the software allowed UCF to build a custom (UCF specific) wrapper around their Student Manager and the ACEweb system.
The UCF system is highly customized, and yet it all is built around the core functionality of the Student Manager/ACEweb structure.
The University of Central Florida Continuing Education provided 600 programs in fiscal year 2014. From those programs, they had over 10,000 registrations.
Chuck Havlicek, President, ACEware Systems has this to say about Martin:
"Martin brings great technical skills, a solid understanding of continuing higher education, and strong organizational skills to help leverage the services available from ACEware. He has been very willing to share advice and offer suggestions for helping us make your ACEware registration software faster, more functional and easier for students (and staff) to use."
Martin’s advice to Student Manager users:
"Always attend the Webinars Aceware hosts, not only is it a great up-to-date training tool, but helps refresh your knowledge on functions you may not always use."
What he would share with professionals considering the use of Student Manager:
"We have been using Aceware since 1998 and the tech support and availability of advice on CE functions is unmatched."
The software feature most beneficial to UCF’s operation:
"Aceweb has been the most beneficial in providing self-service options and online registration for our programs. Thanks to Matthew and Stein, we have been very successful in creating efficiencies in processes."
Martin had this to say about UCF’s future with ACEware:
"We are really looking forward to the SQL upgrade as Aceweb/Aceware will be fundamental in our next Website re-design. We want to give as many self-service tools to our students as possible."
ACEware Champion Educator (ACE) Award Recipient Spotlight
Michele Reasinger receives the ACE award from Chuck Havlicek, President of ACEware Systems, Inc.
ACEware Systems has launched their ACEware Champion Educator (ACE) award to recognize individual users for their innovative and extensive use of course management and registration software. These power users take full advantage of every feature the software offers to continuing education providers!
Michele Reasinger, Systems Administrator at George Mason University was presented with the ACE award at the 2014 Annual Users’ Conference. ACEware applauds Michele for her leadership as Keeper of the Flame for Student Manager at George Mason. As an Ellucian Banner campus, Michele worked closely with Chuck to develop a way for student information to be shared between Student Manager and Banner. This allowed George Mason to take advantage of the strengths and special non credit support features of Student Manager, while automatically sharing non credit student data with their Campus ERP (Ellucian Banner). Kudos to Michele and George Mason University!
Michele’s colleagues at George Mason are very appreciative of her leadership. Executive Director, Janet Niblock, said:
"We are very excited that Michele is receiving this award. Aceware is a very important tool to all of us here at George Mason. All of you have been so supportive of us whenever we have needed you. But here at George Mason, Michele has been our 'glue'… she is the person we turn to make all happen with Aceware."
Advise from Michele for Student Manager users:
"Use the ACEware Forums. If you need it [specific functionality] chances are that someone else needs it too and maybe they have already figured out how to get it."
If you are considering the use of Student Manager:
"Student Manager is one of the better continuing education systems that I have used. If it doesn't do something that you need the folks at ACEware are always willing to listen to your ideas and integrate as much as possible into the system."
"The Tech Support is absolutely hands down the best that I have ever interacted with. I have a great relationship with my Tech but I feel like I could call any of the Techs and get the same level of support."
|George Mason 2014:
|Number of programs:
|Number of registrations:
Michele's additional comments for us were:
"We really appreciate the 'wish list' and willingness to adapt that ACEware provides. It's nice to have an ally to help us work smarter and not harder."