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Student Services Transformation Updates

Past Project Updates

November 2010

This fall has marked another round of successful go-lives for the Student Services Transformation project. The system is now being used to generate acknowledgement letters to new undergraduate student applicants and domestic undergraduate applicants are able to track the status of their application through MyUB. It is hoped that this will reduce the number of routine questions to the student response center as self service information becomes more readily available to our students.

With help from our campaign team, the Reporter and Spectrum, a highly successful name the system contest resulted in nearly 2,000 suggestions from students!  In the week following, almost 2,000 students voted on the top suggestions. Those who participated in the contest have earned a chance to win an iPad among several other prizes. At the time of this writing, the project sponsors are working to select the name and winners will be announced soon.

Both admissions and the data access teams hosted well-attended Town Hall meetings these past weeks. These meetings will assist departments with the InfoSource migration and are scheduled bi-weekly as we move forward. In order to make future events even more accessible, we plan to use WebEx conferencing. The next scheduled Town Hall is November 23rd in 120 Clemens and these events are archived on the SST Website at: http://www.buffalo.edu/ub2020/sst/town_hall_webcasts.html.

After the start of the New Year, students will be able to view, accept or reject financial aid packages and register for classes in March. The project sponsors recently sent a message to the entire SST project team and departmental staff, thanking them for their ongoing diligence and hard work that is keeping this project on time and within budget. Please continue to check back to the website for updates and for changes to our website’s look and feel, which will be coming in 2011 as part of the university’s web content initiative.

September 2010

The 2010-2011 academic year will be a year of transition from the CICS student information system to the new University at Buffalo Student Information System (UBSIS).  The transition began this August, even before students arrived on campus for the fall semester, with Admissions and Department Schedulers already preparing for the summer and fall 2011 semesters in UBSIS. 

In August, staff in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions began processing admissions applications within UBSIS.  Soon, applicants will be able to view the status of their applications on-line in the new system, and Student Response Center staff will be able to view applicants’ records and provide assistance.

Additionally, Department Schedulers are now forming the class schedules for the summer and fall 2011 semesters in UBSIS.  Training sessions wrapped up in August, and we will be offering workshops throughout the fall semester.  Information on training can be found on our website at ubsistraining.buffalo.edu.

UBSIS access in additional areas, including Financial Aid, Student Records, Student Financials, and Academic Advising, will roll out to faculty, staff, and students throughout the 2010-2011 academic year, with most students receiving access as registration and financial aid awarding take place in March 2011.  A full timeline for the transition has been presented in our Town Hall meetings, recordings of which are available on our website at http://www.buffalo.edu/ub2020/sst/town_hall_webcasts.html

In preparation for the release of UBSIS to students and faculty in the spring, we will soon be having a contest for students to suggest names for their self-service features in the new system.  More information will be coming throughout the fall semester.

July 2010

The Student Services Transformation project team is focused on our upcoming “go-lives” of Admissions, Schedule of Classes, and Campus Community (which is the name for shared data in UBSIS, such as student name, address, and phone number).  During July and August, Admissions offices will begin to accept applications from students, and department schedulers will begin to build the Summer and Fall 2011 course schedules within UBSIS.

Our current efforts are focused on two goals – ensuring that the system is ready for end users, and ensuring that the end user community is prepared to use the new system.  To make sure the system is ready, our teams are preparing checklists of all of the configuration, interfaces, custom developments, reports, communications, and many other items that need to be in place before the system is ready to be used.  They are also working on detailed schedules for the days preceding each go-live to make sure that all of our action items are completed on schedule. 

To ensure that the end user community is prepared to use the new system, we’re continuing communications efforts like “SST This Month”, and getting ready for training.  Two on-line modules are being prepared that provide valuable information – Basic Navigation tutorials and Handling Data Safely.  The Basic Navigation tutorials will introduce end users to general navigation of the system.  They can be found online at http://ubsistraining.buffalo.edu/training/basic-navigation.php.  Handling Data Safely will be offered via UBlearns, and will provide valuable information about how to protect confidential student information.  We are also preparing for hands-on training sessions, which began in July. 

We are looking forward to our Admissions, Campus Community, and Schedule of Classes Go-Lives, and we hope that you share in our excitement!

May 2010

As the hustle and bustle of students on campus slows to the usual pace of summertime, the SST Core Project Team and Subject Matter Experts continue to work busily to prepare for our upcoming go-lives of Admissions, Campus Community, Portal, and Schedule of Classes in UBSIS.  We are engaged in many activities, including defining go-live checklists that ensure that nothing is missed in our conversion, configuration, and set-up of the system; finalizing training materials; holding Town Hall meetings to spread awareness across campus; and conducting integration testing and user acceptance testing.

One of the biggest transitions with the coming go-lives, as will be the case for all functional areas, is learning new UBSIS terminology.  The software that underlies UBSIS is used by hundreds of diverse higher education institutions, and its terminology needs to address the needs of all of those institutions.  Because of this, many of the terms that we use at UB will have different names in the new system.  For example, we currently use the term “division” to refer to a student’s level of study.  In UBSIS, this is called a “career.”  UBSIS has 6 different careers: undergraduate, graduate, pharmacy, dental medicine, medicine, and law.  Another example is our terms for programs at UB.  We currently call an undergraduate student’s area of study a major, minor, or concentration.  In UBSIS, majors and minors are referred to as “plans,” and concentrations are called “sub-plans.”

Although you will need to understand what the UBSIS terms mean, you won’t need to change your language when interacting with students and faculty.  For example, you simply need to know that when the word “units” appears in UBSIS, it is the same as what we currently call “credits” so that you understand the information on the screen. 

The SST Core Project Team will provide you with the tools that you need in order to learn this new terminology.  Terms and their meanings will be introduced in SST This Month newsletters, discussed at functional area-specific Town Hall meetings, and reviewed during training.  If you forget what a term means, you can refer to the glossary on our training website at: http://ubsistraining.buffalo.edu/pdfs/glossary.pdf .  The glossary currently contains basic UBSIS terms, and we will be adding terms and definitions with each go-live.

April 2010

The implementation of UBSIS (University at Buffalo Student Information System) is proceeding well thanks to the hard work of the Core Project Team and many contributors from across campus. The first production “go-live” was launched in February, with the Course Catalog rolling out ahead of schedule and under budget!  Central scheduling staff within Academic Processing Services are now using the UBSIS Course Catalog as the master list of courses offered at UB.  Because processes are still running in the legacy system, it is also being maintained with course changes and additions.  This dual-data entry will continue until the UBSIS system is fully live in Summer 2011.

The success of this initial go-live has led to excitement for the next round of scheduled production “go lives”: Admissions, Campus Community, Portal, and Schedule of Classes.  Admissions will roll-out in August, allowing student applications for the Summer and Fall 2011 semesters to be processed in the new system.   In support of this, Portal (MyUB) will roll-out to applicants, and UBSIS Campus Community will begin securely storing applicants’ biographical and demographic information.  August will also provide additional functionality related to the Schedule of Classes with the Summer and Fall 2011 semesters being scheduled in UBSIS.

In preparation for this larger go-live, communication efforts have increased. The “SST This Month” newsletter will be distributed to the SST Updates listserv (to sign up, click here).  “SST This Month” will highlight progress from each functional area and provide opportunities for involvement in the project.  Town Hall meetings have been held to discuss project implementation, highlight the system’s benefits and concerns, and describe how training will be provided.  The first general meetings were held in March and April at both North and South campus locations.  PowerPoint slides from those meetings can be found on the SST website. Future meetings will focus on specific functional areas, and will be announced as they are scheduled.  Departments may request targeted SST presentations by contacting ubsst@buffalo.edu