Five Questions for Beverly Andes

Course and curriculum coordinator, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, UC Denver


Beverly Andes' career in higher education began almost 20 years ago, in the spring of 1991, when she was hired as a "Clerk 2" to answer phones, type letters using carbon paper for duplicates, and run the mimeograph machine to copy exams (as she waved away her co-worker's cigarette smoke) in the psychology department at Louisiana State University.

"Living in Baton Rouge for most of my life, and having friends and family who bleed purple and gold, I thought there was nothing better in the entire world than working at the home of the Fighting Tigers!" she said. Over time she was promoted into various positions and took classes to complete her undergraduate degree.

When she and her family moved to Colorado in 2004, it made sense to find a position in another higher education setting. She worked at the University of Colorado at Boulder until 2007, when she became the course and curriculum coordinator for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) at the University of Colorado Denver.

Each day is a little different as she faces the challenge of piecing together the ever-growing variety of course offerings in the college. She might start the morning talking with a student about registering for a course, move on to request a classroom change for a faculty member, then perhaps work with a department chair to adjust the enrollment limit of a class with a wait list. Then she might attend a meeting regarding the new ISIS registration system with staff in the Registrar's Office, and finally finish the day talking with Dean Dan Howard and associate deans about enrollment management for increasing wait lists.

"I'm never bored, and the topic is constantly changing, but I love being in the middle of the action and doing my best to help keep the course scheduling process moving," she said.

Andes recently received the college's Outstanding Staff Award for her efforts.

— Cynthia Pasquale

1. Please tell me a little bit about the process of coordinating courses and curriculum.

As I'm sure our 20 department chairs and program directors would tell you, the CLAS course scheduling process never, ever, e-v-e-r stops.

We begin working on the course schedules about eight or nine months prior to the start of that particular semester. There are three versions of the schedule that are routed through the departments and programs and entered in the SIS or ISIS registration system by me (usually around 1,200 sections per fall and spring semester for our regular offerings, and an additional 350-500 sections for extended studies and continuing education offerings).

Once the schedules are confirmed and registration is under way, my attention moves to classroom locations and managing enrollment and wait lists. Attention to the details is important as I am often working on courses in more than one semester in the same day ... sometimes all three semesters at once! (Last month, we had) faculty teaching Maymester courses, we are managing enrollment in summer courses that will begin soon, we are watching early enrollments and making slight adjustments to the fall course schedules in our new ISIS registration system, and the preliminary course schedule spreadsheets for next spring are due to me in two weeks.

It is a process that is constantly in motion with peak periods of madness (around the start of the fall and spring semesters) and no real down times. I do, however, manage to sneak away for vacations in the summer and around the holidays.

2. Coordinating all those courses seems overwhelming. Has technology made it easier over the years?

Creating and managing lots of course offerings with lots of people is not easy, but is made a little easier by having a defined, shared course-scheduling process in place. Everyone I work with knows the process; receives deadline dates, notifications and reminders on a regular basis; and knows I will do all I can to keep the process in place and moving, on schedule, each semester.

The faculty and staff in the departmental and program offices work really hard, time and time again, to do their part in gathering and submitting their course and rooming information. Without their hard work, my job would be impossible. It isn't always picture perfect on any side of the process, but it is the best we can all do, given our priorities.

And, yes, technology has absolutely made this job easier. I am forever indebted to staff working in Institutional Research and the Registrar's Office for creating easy ways to download course information each term, for working with me on historical data requests at a moment's notice and for having a forward-looking attitude when new technologies are available and introduced. I have taken advantage of their expertise many, many times.

3. Have you noticed any interesting trends in courses or curriculum since you've worked for the university?

Enrollment at UC Denver is increasing! And it just keeps growing! In addition to the students we are serving in Denver, in parts of Colorado through extended studies opportunities, and throughout the nation via online offerings, we are also reaching out to include even more students oversees at the Chinese Agricultural University in Beijing where students are participating in our International College of Beijing undergraduate programs in communication and economics.

It really is an exciting time to be in the midst of this great growth. Though there are everyday challenges we face with greater numbers of students to serve and an increased number of classes that need classroom space, it is gratifying to know that my work impacts almost every student that enrolls at UC Denver. That's a lot of impact!

4. Away from the office, what do you do to relax?

I'm a Southern girl, above all else, and I absolutely love to cook, bake and entertain. Moreover, I married a true Cajun about 19 years ago, so dishes like seafood gumbo, chicken and andouille sausage jambalaya, red beans and rice, and shrimp etouffe are regular staples in our house.

On any given weekend, if we aren't hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park, I might be making homemade jam, baking teriyaki wings to share with friends and fellow sports fanatics, trying out a new dessert recipe or kicking back on the patio reading a book. I am committed to lifelong personal and professional development through the many books and online resources that are increasingly available, and think there is always something more I can learn about myself and my abilities in the process.

When the weather is nice and we have some extra time, our family loves to hike in Rocky Mountain National Park. Our normal route to the trailheads takes us through Estes Park, home of Laura's Fine Candies. There are the most fabulous treats made fresh daily at Laura's – and my absolute favorite of them all is the toffee. It is definitely my No. 1 guilty pleasure. I highly recommend it to anyone who happens to drive to or through Estes Park. Look for the red canopy along the main shopping area. It is worth the stop and then some!

5. You recently received the Outstanding Staff Award during the dean's reception. Tell me about the award and how does that make you feel?

I was so surprised when I found out I was nominated for our collegewide Outstanding Staff Award this year – and was just tickled pink when I found out I was selected as the recipient! In total, there were 12 letters of nomination submitted for me, and as I read through them I just had an overwhelming feeling of gratitude and appreciation – not only for those who took the time to write, but for everyone I work with. I noticed recurring remarks and themes that were mentioned in the letters – all of which are what I consider to be the keys to success in my job: hard-working, humorous, tactful, efficient, conscientious, knowledgeable, professional and the calm amidst the storm. This job really is a whirlwind of activity, but with determination and support from others, I'll do as much as I can for as long as they'll let me!

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