Provide students with better services and support

The American University of Kuwait implements technology to help provide a better student experience and help students succeed.

The American University of Kuwait boasts a large number of accomplished professors from across the globe as well as a Student Worker Programme, where students are hired in various departments to perform tasks from administrative work to assisting in the development of departmental missions. This experience helps students to develop their work ethics, professionalism and experience which would benefit them in future employment.

Due to these unique attributes, the university is experiencing a rapid expansion in enrolment. With the considerable number of student applications it receives, the American University of Kuwait recognised that to realise its overall vision of enhancing student success it needed to address three main issues. First, it needed to enhance the advising of students—with time to graduation as a key performance indicator. Second, it needed to further automate cumbersome manual processes. Third, it needed effective decision-making support based on real-time reporting information.

Enhancing student advising

Some students took courses that did not satisfy graduation requirements because they were not within their degree track. This caused frustration because it cost additional time and money—and prolonged their graduation. With more than 2,500 students, the limited mechanisms in place to help students avoid taking unnecessary courses were inadequate. To address this, the American University of Kuwait implemented Ellucian Degree Works™.

“Ellucian Degree Works provides the system necessary for students to stay on track and only allow the enrolment of courses that lead to degree completion and satisfy Private University Council (PUC) scholarship requirements,” says Rusty Bruns, chief information officer at the American University of Kuwait.

Now, both students and advisors are much better able to monitor progress towards degree completion. Ellucian Degree Works enables real-time counselling capabilities and streamlines internal processes, helping both students and advisors understand a student’s current status faster. It clearly maps out the student’s academic journey to keep them on track for on time graduation, while also helping them understand how courses and majors affect degree timelines. It also helps incoming students see whether their courses will transfer.

Looking forward, the American University of Kuwait is expecting a number of benefits through Ellucian Degree Works. “We envisage we will enhance our registration planning and estimations of how many semesters it will take to graduate,” says Amal Al-Binali, vice president for Admissions and Public Affairs at the American University of Kuwait. “We certainly anticipate efficiency increases and being able to provide a clear image of student progress for both students and advisors.”

Automating processes

To reduce paperwork and streamline manual processes, the American University of Kuwait implemented Banner™ Workflow as a migration tool. In a very short period of time, the American University of Kuwait transferred its paper forms to electronic formats. Banner Workflow has enhanced customer service levels by minimizing time factors and increasing productivity.

The easy-to-use tools in Banner Workflow can help IT developers build a whole workflow without writing additional code. As it is fully integrated with the university’s existing student information system, Banner™ by Ellucian, the information is readily available. “Integration with Internet Native Banner and Banner Self-Service (both web-based applications used to view information such as accounts receivables, financial aid, alumni/advancement, finance and human resource information) was very helpful, since almost all of the forms used have to be entered on Banner,” says Bruns. “The use of JAVA technology by Banner Workflow, made it operating system independent. You build once and it works throughout the system.”

The implementation was easier than expected. “Installation and configuration is a straightforward process,” says Al-Binali. “There might be a need for a degree of assistance from Ellucian, but the documentation provided is very comprehensive and all necessary steps are mentioned.”

“Ellucian Degree Works™ provides the system necessary for students to stay on track and only allow the enrolment of courses that lead to degree completion and satisfy Private University Council (PUC) scholarship requirements.”
Rusty Bruns, Chief Information Officer, American University of Kuwait

Making better decisions based on data

While the American University of Kuwait had previously run their reporting on Cognos, they found that Argos, Evisions’ Enterprise Reporting Solution, provided a less complex approach to report writing and data management. This approach required a smaller IT personnel team which ultimately resulted in more efficient processes. While the implementation is still underway, it’s clear that the American University of Kuwait is already seeing some promising results. Initially, the automation of routine occurrence reports has been an enormous time saving tool. No need for programmers to rerun scripts as it is automated and delivered to customers.