With a background in academic scheduling and project management, Helen Kirby-Hawkins will be a huge asset to Scientia’s EMEA Consultancy Team
Helen joins us from a stint at the University of Wolverhampton, where she led a successful project to bring personalised timetables to staff and students and implement an online room bookings system. Prior to that, Helen was a Senior Timetabling Officer at the University of Hull, where she amassed a wealth of scheduling expertise using Syllabus Plus. During her time at Hull, she embedded the use of Web Data Collector, led on the early adoption of Enterprise Activity Adjuster and implemented a change management and reporting system for post-publication changes.
Helen cites her academic research experience as a key benefit for Scientia and its clients:
“I’m keen to understand institutional pain points around timetabling and help customers to find creative ways to overcome them. Universities are frequently pioneers and forward-thinkers, but making big changes to longstanding software or timetabling processes – no matter how beneficial it will ultimately be – can be challenging, both for administrative staff and end-users – students and tutors.
My job will be to help institutions look at timetabling scenarios which have the most impactful change in terms of time- and cost-savings, whilst improving key drivers such as enhancing student experience.”
The Sticky Campus
Helen’s recent academic research has focussed on the idea of the ‘sticky campus’: creating an environment – and timetable – which means students want to stay on campus between lectures. In doing so, they reap the benefits of staying in an academic environment: access to easy group working in bookable work-spaces for example; or the opportunity to engage in sporting or society activities. This also has benefits for the institution in aligning other services such as catering facilities at peak changeover times and zoning evening activities to create a bustling atmosphere.
“My research around ‘gap tolerance’ – the maximum time between scheduled classes which will keep a student on campus – has been enlightening; it has loads of relevancy for universities looking to boost attendance rates, and therefore outcomes. There’s strong evidence that attendance behaviour is motivated by a student’s timetable and there are lots of practical applications of this research for timetablers to effect change.”
Helen will be presenting summary findings from her research at the PATAT Conference in August 2018.