D.C. native Michael Dombrowski followed in his father’s footsteps when deciding where to attend college. After touring University of Richmond and forging an instant connection with a professor, he knew it would be the perfect fit.

During his first year at Richmond, Dombrowski enrolled in a first year seminar course entitled Entrepreneurship and Innovation. As a computer science major and mathematics minor in the School of Arts and Sciences, he felt it was important to understand more than the technical side. He credits this course, as well as his minor in business administration, with his ability to look at the marketing, manufacturing and management of a product as well.

“Because of my minor in business administration, I always try to consider the business implication of whatever I am learning in my other courses,” Dombrowski says. He hopes this will continue to impact his thinking once he starts his career. “My ultimate goal is to create and run a company that will impact the lives of people everyday,” he expresses. It seems as though he may have gotten a jump-start on his goal when brainstorming application and website ideas to benefit the Richmond community.

As registration began in the fall of 2015, the idea of a registration tool came to mind. The registration period can be a stressful time for students as many business courses offer up to eight different sections, making it extremely difficult to schedule a semester. To help with this issue, Dombrowski created “The Unofficial University of Richmond Scheduler”, which functions to help students decide which courses to take, generates a schedule for registration and creates non-conflicting sample schedules.

The first version of his scheduler required the user to manually enter all the days and times of each section for interested courses. Since thousands of options would be possible, Dombroski added additional parameters to narrow the search results. The results were incredible, but the usability was time-intensive and inconvenient.

He knew there was room for improvement, so he sought the help of Susan Breedan, the University’s Registrar. She was receptive to Dombrowski’s idea and agreed to offer assistance. With Breedan’s input, now a user can simply search for a course, see the description and add it as a desired course. Since the scheduler became more user-friendly, he could finally share his creation with students.

Dombrowski distributed the scheduler to his computer science contacts and Laura Thompson, assistant dean of the Robins School of Business, spread the word in the business school community.

“We find that students who are flexible with class times and availability benefit most in the class scheduling process.  The tool that Mike built helps students to see the many different combinations and solutions for the course they wish to complete for graduation.  We were happy to share the link for students to create varied schedule options among the same needed courses,” says Thompson. 

Over the spring 2016 registration period, over 500 people searching for over 1,000 different course combinations used the site. This generated over one million different schedules.

Due to the success and positive feedback he received, Dombrowski reached out to a software company to discuss the possibility of turning the site into a real business. We look forward to the innovations visionary students like Michael Dombrowski continue to bring to our community.

The Unofficial University of Richmond Scheduler is not owned, operated or endorsed by the University.