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August 19, 2002

Campus feedback sought on new information system

By Louise Donahue

The campus community got a sneak peek Wednesday at the new software system that will gradually replace the current Student Information System.

The new system allows users to tailor links and easy-access shortcuts to their own needs.

The presentation in the Media Theater, by PeopleSoft representatives and Academic Information Systems director Mark Cianca, showed how people across campus will be able to quickly access and enter information--from student grades to enrollment statistics--with the new software.

AIS manages the systems used to support the campus's academic mission, and introduced the Student Portal system last spring. Like the new Academic Information System, the Student Portal is a personalized view that allows the user to tailor links and easy-access shortcuts to individual needs.

Cianca presented an overview of the project plan and timeline. The new system will be introduced in phases. Implementation is scheduled to start in the middle of winter quarter and is expected to take at least two years to complete.

The overview at the Media Theater drew more than 350 representatives from departments, units, colleges, faculty, lecturers, and staff.

"Response to the presentation has been extremely positive," said Bonita Sebastian, AIS training and communication manager. Sebastian said the new system will be so much more sophisticated than the current Student Information System--launched in the '80s--that it is hard to compare the two. "People will be able to manipulate data without having to rely on external shadow systems," she said, noting that information is updated in real time in the new system.

Many attendees interested in offering input on the new system signed up during the event, but additional volunteers will be sought. AIS is looking for representatives from departments and units, the colleges and advising communities, faculty, students, media, and other academic and support units who would like to provide input during the late winter or early spring.

Those interested should e-mail Sebastian and include name, unit or department, phone number, e-mail address, supervisor's name, and supervisor's contact information.

Regular update meetings on the new system are planned, with the next likely to be near the end of fall quarter.

Those wishing to receive regular communications from project management should e-mail AIS to participate in a "friends of AIS" list serve.

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