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September 17, 2001

New system to ease access to student information

A new campuswide project to streamline access to student information for students, faculty and staff is under way at UCSC.

The Academic Information System (AIS) project will replace the current Student Information System. The project, which began an in-depth implementation-planning phase this summer, will extend over the next four years. Vice Chancellor Francisco Hernandez is project steward for the effort, which is designed to benefit the entire campus--faculty, divisions, departments, staff, and students.

AIS will be built upon the Exeter Student Suite, a comprehensive academic information software system from Sallie Mae Solutions. Based on current technology, this new system is designed to foster "just in time, just for me" interaction and is expected to serve as a crucial tool for administrative staff and faculty in their daily work.

The system is aimed at meeting students' expectations that they be able to interact with the university at times and in locations convenient to them. The technical architecture of AIS will allow use of the World Wide Web to offer many new self- service options to both students and faculty, easing some of the staff's workload. In addition, the new and innovative services of AIS will provide staff with a more comprehensive information system.

To prepare for the work associated with AIS implementation, a team of consultants from the Exeter Group was assigned to the project.

AIS staff have been working with the Exeter Group--learning about the process methodology, and reviewing, adjusting and customizing it to ensure a smooth progression at each step throughout the project. At the same time, the Exeter Group team is becoming oriented to the UCSC campus and Santa Cruz. Project success requires that they understand the environment, culture, procedures, and organization of the campus.

The next phase in the project includes cataloging current business processes, followed by testing the software to identify gaps between the two. Results will then be carefully analyzed to determine the best approach for the new system.

Current AIS staff includes Mark Cianca, project director; Bonita Sebastian, manager of training and communication; and Jeremy Tensen, project assistant. The AIS staff and Exeter Group team are currently based in Hahn 104 (former home of the Career Center), but will soon relocate to a new space in order to accommodate an expanding team.

For more information on the progress of the AIS Project, check the project web site or call Bonita Sebastian at (831) 459-1471.

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