Have you ever been lost on your way to class? If so, put Angela Collins’ phone number on speed dial. She knows exactly when and where you are supposed to be — whether you’re a faculty member or a student.
Collins, the academic scheduling coordinator in Academic Programs and Policies, is responsible for scheduling every class held at UAB. That covers more than 4,500 classes each fall and spring semester and more than 3,000 each summer.
The work is meticulous and requires a great deal of research, including examining current enrollment, previous enrollment and other historical data. But Collins embraces the responsibility. She works effectively with the faculty, students and administration, and colleagues say her professionalism, ability to meet deadlines and knowledge of the curricula make her a valuable asset to UAB — and a worthy selection as October’s Employee of the Month.
It would certainly seem Angela Collins possesses a certain amount of magic to be able to schedule more 7,500 classes every year. Her ability to meet deadlines and knowledge of the curricula makes her a worthy selection as October’s Employee of the Month.
“Angela has one of the most difficult jobs on campus,” says Douglas Rigney, interim vice president for Information Technology. “Faculty and students alike would prefer to see nothing offered before 10 a.m. or after 2 p.m. Obviously, Angela can’t accommodate that, but she does work miracles finding the appropriate space that’s just the right size and as convenient as possible for all involved. And she does it with patience and perseverance.
“She truly is a magician.”
Putting the puzzle together
Colleagues say Collins has to display a sensitivity and acumen for dealing with complex space requirements and instructional needs associated with the UAB graduate and undergraduate curricula. She routinely updates and prepares special utilization reports for classrooms, instructional laboratories and other campus spaces for senior administration. Collins also schedules faculty meetings, student organization events and other on-campus events.
She also assists with the review and development of plans to achieve a more balanced use of the campus’ physical plant.
“It’s like a big puzzle,” Collins says. “It seems like it should be simple, but it’s not. There’s limited space, and many faculty members require rooms with technology. That adds to the complexity of it all, too.”
It’s not uncommon for someone to call Collins with unforeseen problems right before or after the semester begins. Alan Whitehead, an instructional lab supervisor in biology, remembers one instance when his department had faculty staffing issues and they were forced to split a course and offer a second section of lecture.
“Angela was more than helpful,” Whitehead says. “She was able to maneuver other courses to satisfy both lecture enrollments, saving my department approximately $63,000. In the current situation of proration on our budgets, this could have been a disaster to our funding.”
Wonderful at her job
Collins spent more than 10 years in the banking industry as a real estate paralegal before joining UAB more than four years ago. She says she didn’t know what to expect coming into an institution of higher education or the difficulty of her new job. But Collins says she’s a stickler for details and believes in early planning. In fact, she began developing the more than 4,000 graduate and undergraduate classes for the spring semester the first week in October.
“It takes me about two months to get it all together,” she says.
Dan Osborn, Ph.D., director of Academic Programs and Policy, says Collins works closely with faculty students and the administration, and the results she produces are noticed.
“Her professionalism, ability to meet deadlines and knowledge of the curricula make her a valuable asset to UAB,” Osborn says.
Faculty members recognize the difficulty Collins faces. Many colleagues tell her they are happy they don’t have her responsibilities, and many say they couldn’t be happier to have her as the person they depend on to try and accommodate their needs.
“I would consider her job to be highly stressful and difficult,” says Billie Sheldon, an administration associate in the Department of Theatre. “In the years I’ve worked with Angela she never has failed to solve a room-scheduling problem for us, and she always helps you in such a pleasant manner. It takes a special person to handle this type of work, and she is wonderful at her job.”