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Announcing TAMS: A New Teaching Assignment Software

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

For universities and colleges across the country, scheduling courses and faculty to teach them has not been an easy task. Balancing needs of students and the courses they need, with the faculty who are available and experienced to teach them, was a cumbersome task until Duke University School of Nursing (DUSON) created a way to make the process easy and headache free.

Like many other schools, over the years DUSON had developed a manual teaching assignment management process using a combination of institutional knowledge, faculty surveys and spreadsheets. Also like many other schools, the process was not efficient.  Administrators knew there must be a better way of handling this complicated and complex challenge.

After not finding course scheduling software available on the market, DUSON developers began working directly with the School’s academic operations staff, academic program directors and faculty to create, test and implement an easier-to-use platform. TAMS was born. 

TAMS is an integrated software platform that engages faculty, taking advantage of their experience and history in teaching specific courses, while automating the course scheduling process for one, or multiple semesters. In addition, TAMS creates real-time administrative reports to ensure faculty were not over, or under booked in teaching assignments.

What is TAMS?

TAMS manages faculty teaching preferences, course offerings and master schedules, and teaching workloads. Through algorithms developed specifically for higher education, TAMS adjusts to the complicated and complex processes associated with managing academic programs and teaching requirements.  

 “Like most colleges and universities, the course and faculty assignment process was difficult to manage and a source of frustration for everyone involved,” said Marion E. Broome, PhD, RN, FAAN, dean and Ruby Wilson Professor of Nursing, Duke University School of Nursing, Vice Chancellor for Nursing Affairs, Duke University, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs for Nursing, Duke University Health System. “We didn’t see any product like TAMS on the market and took it upon ourselves to create software that not only met our needs, but we think will most likely meet the needs of many other schools and institutions around the country.”

Since the internal launch of TAMS in 2013, new features and functions have been identified and added to the system. These additions ensure increased flexibility and collaboration among users and implement dynamic, real-time administrative reports to DUSON senior leaders to ensure efficient and effective use of the School’s resources. TAMS has ultimately increased the School’s ability to satisfy the preferences expressed by faculty to record levels.

Learn more now. Visit teachingassignments.org

TAMS is easy to use and benefits administrators, senior leaders and faculty.

Administrators can take advantage of TAMS to make decision making easy and accurate, while building either a single semester, or an entire academic year. TAMS helps manage every aspect of the teaching assignment and course scheduling process as well as orchestrates the data, the workflow and the communication.

TAMS saves time… DUSON Administrators indicate that results show savings of time over antiquated manual processes that equates to real reduction of costs.

“We estimate TAMS has easily saved us tens of thousands of dollars a year by cutting in half the time it takes to make teaching assignments, while at the same time, increasing satisfaction among faculty by honoring their teaching preferences,” said David. S. Bowersox, DUSON associate dean for Finance and Administration. “In real time, TAMS allows us to see how assignments being made are impacting faculty who may be under-, or over-assigned. TAMS gives us very detailed reports to help ensure all of our courses and sections are fully covered.”

Safe and Secure

School leaders can be assured that TAMS is safe and secure. By establishing varying levels of access during the process, those who need access to data can have it while administrators retain overall control. The TAMS system integrates also all academic data systems.  A school’s data is loaded into TAMS and then used to create totally customized teaching assignment plans and reports. TAMS also increases accountability by preventing under scheduling or over scheduling of faculty and ensures that resources are being effectively and efficiently managed.

Faculty have enjoyed using TAMS because it allows their direct input for expressing teaching preferences and providing feedback regarding their availability and future commitments. TAMS optimizes the matching of experienced faculty who are willing to teach courses that students need. It also measures the level of success in meeting faculty teaching preferences against the final course schedule.

When using TAMS, administrators engage faculty directly to determine their course teaching preferences for one, or multiple semesters. Faculty can then indicate whether or not their availability to teach a course will be impacted by research obligations, or other personal or professional factors.

Start Using TAMS Today

TAMS is easily adapted to any school’s academic planning process. The onboarding process is supported by a team that will ensure clients are ready to start using TAMS as soon as possible. Our technical team works with the client school’s IT staff to make sure the appropriate data is properly loaded into TAMS while the operations team assists the client’s administrative staff to ensure they are fully-trained and ready to use the software.

TAMS can also be branded by the client institution. One of the many special features of TAMS allows a school’s logo and colors to be integrated into the display making TAMS appear more integrated into a client’s course scheduling system.

Since each school approaches the process of making faculty teaching assignments and scheduling courses differently, TAMS aligns to a client school’s needs by customizing data and the way data is labeled to meet school’s specific needs.

TAMS is now available to colleges and universities under a license agreement. Users will receive access to the TAMS platform, oversight of setting up the platform, training for faculty and staff as well as secure cloud hosting. For more information about TAMS, please visit teachingassignments.org