Volume 11, Number 1 August 8, 2003

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Contract signed for $12-million student information system

The massive Project Si!, developing a new overall student information system for the U of S, moved this summer from the preparatory stages to the start of actual implementation.

More than a year ago the Project Si! team, led by Program Director Lea Pennock and Project Manager Alan Deschner, carried out a thorough consultation across campus with potential users of the student information system, to determine what needs people had and what advice they might offer on the kind of system to develop.

After that, a nearly year-long process was undertaken to call for system hardware and software proposals from vendors. Of the proposals received, two systems were short-listed and were brought onto campus for a series of presentations to interested people across campus who would eventually be using the system.

One of the systems was put forward by IBM using PeopleSoft programs and the other proposal came from Systems and Computer Technology Corporation (SCT) using the Banner Student Solution software.

After the presentations and an intensive study by Project Si! committees and working groups, the SCT Banner Student Solution product was recommended.

At its May 9 meeting, the U of S Board of Governors approved selection of the SCT proposal, and Pennock says a contract was signed with that company in early June.

Total cost of the three-year implementation of the full student information system will be $12.17 million, with additional annual operating costs of $1.67 million.

Implementation will begin during this 2003-04 year and will be completed by 2005-06.

"One of the exciting things is that along with the student information system will come related software that we can use to implement our web portal project and to enhance our workflow reporting capabilities," Pennock says.

At the Board of Governors meeting in May, Acting Provost Ken Coates said, "The project team and the steering committee have been impressed by the rich array of functions and service that the Banner Student Solution and associated modules can offer to our students and staff, by the vendor's proven track record at other universities, and by the willingness of SCT to work with us in achieving a successful and timely implementation."

Coates noted at the meeting the SCT package will include software "that will allow the university to expedite implementation of a finance system and a campus-wide (web) portal at a significantly reduced cost."

He also said excitement across campus in anticipation of a new student information system is visibly growing. Witness "the enthusiastic participation of almost 200 future users in our recent on-campus demonstrations. Comments ... typically expressed delight at the potential for better, faster, more personalized service, and a sense of urgency for getting the system up and running."

He also said excitement across campus in anticipation of a new student information system is visibly growing. Witness "the enthusiastic participation of almost 200 future users in our recent on-campus demonstrations. Comments ... typically expressed delight at the potential for better, faster, more personalized service, and a sense of urgency for getting the system up and running."

Students can apply online, check their admission status on the web, receive electronic notice of admission, apply for scholarships on the web, get online academic advising, register for classes online, check web-based information about class schedules, pay their fees online, and check and print their grades.

Campus units will be able to track great amounts of data about students and generate varied and sophisticated reports


For more information, contact communications.office@usask.ca


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