March 1, 2003
by Becky King
"Change is good. You go first."
Since October, 2001, many University staff members have been hard at work preparing for the big change to a new University-wide student information system - SCT's Banner SIS. This conversion project was dubbed BUBBA - Baylor University's Big Banner Adventure...and it has been an adventure. The BUBBA project team is headed by Sue Herring from Information Management and Testing Services and is composed of people from student services departments, Information Technology Services, and the Provost's Office.
Much has been accomplished. With the help of trainers and consultants from SCT, the project team and other staff within their departments have learned a new graphical interface, new system terminology, a new technical infrastructure, and new process flows. Thousands of data fields in the old student system have been mapped to fields in the Banner system. Hundreds of thousands of historical and current data records related to prospects, applicants, students and courses have been and continue to be loaded from the old to the new system. Training classes on navigation within the Banner SIS have been ongoing over the past months. The process of establishing new system logins for all users of the old system is in progress.
Where are we now?
Everything for the fall of 2003 is "live" in Banner SIS. Recruitment has been using the new system since last July for next year's incoming class. Admissions Services is admitting applicants and Campus Living and Learning is entering fall housing applications in Banner. Student Financial Aid is beginning to use Banner to award aid to these incoming students. The Office of the Registrar has created the fall class schedule in the new system. Currently, general person information is also "live" in Banner and in the old system. This means that if an address, name, marital status, etc. needs changing, it must be done in both systems until the end of summer.
What's happening next?
The upcoming early registration period (beginning April 2) will be a challenging one-time experience. Because of the timing of the cutover to the new system, registration for summer, 2003, classes will be done on the old system while registration for fall, 2003, classes will be done on the Banner SIS. Students will see two BearWeb links on the Baylor Web site - one for summer and one for fall. Setting their PIN value in the summer BearWeb will not carry it over to the fall BearWeb and vice versa. This may be confusing, but staff in all student service offices will be prepared to explain and help students with this one-time inconvenience.
Additionally, for faculty, advisors, and administrative assistants in academic departments, there will be separate links on the Web site for PAWS, ChairSIS, and ClassRoll for this summer and fall. The new versions of these applications have been created to access the Banner SIS with minimal changes. Users of these systems should have no trouble with the transition to the new versions of these applications.
Also, this spring, fall housing room assignments will be accomplished in the Banner SIS. Then, this summer, the Cashier's Office will be "live" in the new system and will produce fall invoices from Banner. By then, Student Financial Aid will be completely converted to the new system as well. Finally, during the fall of 2003, use of a new degree audit system will begin.
BUBBA has been a long, hard project and there is still much work to be done. The campus has been using the old system since 1987. Many offices have built their work processes around the structure of that system. The change to Banner - while bringing an improved infrastructure and interface, better vendor support, and easier access by other applications and services - will require adjustments of these processes in addition to the learning of a very different look and feel. In the long run, the benefits of this change will be apparent through both improved services provided and greater flexibility in response to new requests.
"It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory" - W. Edwards Deming
Any questions about the new Banner SIS should be directed to Sue Herring at extension 8836.