Online COMPASS makes room reservations
Until recently, faculty,
staff and students seeking to reserve rooms for meetings or events
on Grounds had no central location to find information and nothing
to guide them. Since last fall, though, they have a COMPASS
— the Catalog of Meeting Places and Student Spaces, a Web-based
reservations request system where they may view different kinds
of spaces and send an e-mail to the appropriate coordinators,
checking on their availability.
For example, if a new faculty member wanted to change a course’s
classroom prior to the advent of the COMPASS system, he or she
would have to identify the person in charge of rooms in that building,
department or school — a job done by about 40 different
space administrators or office assistants. With COMPASS, faculty
or staff can check the Web site, www.virginia.edu/
compass, look at any of almost 400 rooms (with more to be added)
and then submit a request to see if it is available. The e-mail
request will be routed to the right person. Space “owners”
still control the rooms, but all the information is stored in
one, central database.
COMPASS, built by ITC, is only an interim measure toward meeting
the University’s goal of having a comprehensive system to
track all available spaces on Grounds and allow people to make
reservations electronically. With process-simplification teams
tackling the problem, U.Va. plans to introduce a permanent system
by early 2005 that will allow users to reserve rooms instantly.
Key collaborators on the project include the University Registrar’s
office, which presently has its own separate system; the Newcomb
Hall staff; and individuals from offices around Grounds who have
participated on the two process-simplification teams: one for
student organizations and programming, and one for space utilization.
Overseeing these efforts is the Student Enrollment Services Process
Owners’ Group. Eventually all the schools at U.Va. will
be consulted to coordinate their policies regarding space usage.
The major responsibility for scheduling courses in appropriate
classrooms belongs to the Office of the University Registrar,
Carol “Stash” Stanley, and her staff, who will oversee
the new system. Although their present software is lightning-fast,
scheduling 4,000 classes in about four seconds, only a few people
may access the information.
“You shouldn’t have to know the name of a person to
reserve a room,” said Stanley.
There are other benefits as well, said Leonard W. Sandridge, executive
vice president and chief operating officer. “I see this
as an opportunity to improve our historical data regarding space
use, maximize the use of our existing space and ongoing event
management, and build smarter in the future.”
With a comprehensive system to track space availability on Grounds,
the University will be able to create comprehensive reports on
the use of its buildings, a feature benefiting security, daily
maintenance, cleaning, parking and transportation management,
special events and capital planning.
Colette Sheehy, vice president for management and budget, and
responsible for Process Simplification, said, “this project
illustrates what units can accomplish together, through our Process
Simplification effort, by taking a University-wide perspective
and allowing their own priorities to become secondary to the greater