Many students choose Cornell College for its liberal arts curriculum and the unique experience of the block plan, where a single 18-day course is taken at one time. In the past, students would plan future blocks and make sense of the curriculum on pen and paper. They would often lean on their faculty advisor for direction as a result.
With a curriculum update on the horizon, the Registrar’s Office knew that students were overdue to take more ownership over this process. They decided to adopt Stellic, which would make it easy for students to plan ahead, understand exactly what requirements they had remaining, and visualize their path to graduation – all in one place. All the while, the platform would adapt to the complexity and uniqueness of Cornell’s calendar and curriculum.
After more than one year since launching Stellic, students at Cornell College have been empowered in four major ways, while faculty and administrators have enjoyed significant impacts in their work.
"It’s helping our students think longterm about their goals, a skill that they'll continue to use in their life... I think we all feel very proud of this project.” - Anna Butz, Associate Registrar, Cornell College
Less mental energy and time
Because of the distinct calendar and curriculum, students used to spend considerable time and energy on course planning, especially ahead of registration. Today, students have a comprehensive way of understanding what they have to get done. In Stellic, they can plan out their future blocks directly from their various requirements, knowing if a course is likely to be offered within a particular block. When registration comes around, students are no longer scrambling to organize their class picks or compute various requirements.
“I used to spend 2 hours strategizing for registration, trying to figure out which classes checked off the most requirements. Last registration, Stellic cut those 2 hours down to just 30 minutes. It cut down that brain power and did all those mental gymnastics for me. I don’t have to use a bunch of post-it notes anymore.” - Junior, Cornell College
Enriching student-advisor collaboration
The collaboration between students and their faculty advisors has been strengthened by the mutual transparency that Stellic provides. Today, many students are coming in with a plan in Stellic that their advisor has already seen.
The conversations about future blocks have shifted significantly. With the student already knowing which courses satisfy which requirements, faculty advisors are offering deeper guidance about different possibilities and courses. For example, they may recommend a student take a course in block X instead of block Y, or that a student take an elective that more closely matches their interests than another.
Finding new opportunities
With a visual representation of the path ahead at their fingertips, many Cornell students have realized new possibilities for their journey. They have the ability to “try-on” different scenarios in Stellic, which has allowed them to pursue new programs, majors, and opportunities – many of which students wouldn't have found without Stellic.
“Stellic reaffirmed the idea that I should do more. I added a Studio Art minor because I saw I had 3 open blocks, and I had already completed half those requirements.” - Junior
“It helped me realize that I could study abroad. I was so grateful because if I didn't have it laid out in a clean way, I would've just assumed I didn't have the space.” - Sophomore
Greater agency and ownership
The platform has empowered students with more ownership and agency. With tools to help them think critically about the path ahead, students have been reassured of their ability to make informed decisions about their own future.
“It's exciting for me personally because that tells me I have something to look forward to here and I know that it's gonna impact how my life looks.” - Junior
“People become confident by knowing that they can do things for themselves. I think Stellic gives them the confidence to just take control of how they want their academic plan to go. It really teaches a good skill for the rest of their lives.” - Anna Butz, Associate Registrar
For faculty advisors and the Registrar’s Office
Stellic has helped administrators and advisors achieve a number of significant impacts too – many of which advance Cornell’s dedication to its students.
Scaling support and saving time
As part of its advising culture, each senior makes an in-person visit to the Registrar’s Office to walk through requirements ahead of graduation. Stellic was pulled up in each meeting last year, and as a result, the process was completed an entire month earlier than previous years.
“We feel like it's important to have those individual meetings to keep that culture of advising that students are used to. Stellic makes those meetings 10x simpler and more accurate.” - Megan Hicks, Registrar
Real-time reporting has also allowed administrators and faculty to find different groups of students in seconds – a task that would have been previously very cumbersome. For example, the Registrar’s Office routinely generates a report of first-year students who haven't completed their writing course, and from there, they're sending outreach to those students directly from the platform. Advisors are creating alerts from these reports to catch problems early-on. For example, they’ll be notified if one of their students is not planning to take a certain gen ed requirement.
As time passes, the Registrar’s Office aims to leverage the compounded data from student plans and audits to make course scheduling decisions – helping to better meet the needs and desires of their students. They plan to be transparent with students that the more they use Stellic, the more precisely the Registrar’s Office can offer the right courses.
Though the Registrar’s Office is pleased with the improvements to advising and audit processes, their greatest pride is that the platform further enhances Cornell’s student-first culture. It’s helping students achieve personal and academic growth during their time at Cornell – while smoothly adapting to the distinct characteristics of the College.