Reaching Others University at Buffalo - The State University of New York
Skip to Content

Student Services Transformation Updates

Past Student Records Updates

September 2010

The next go–live for student records is late January/early February for the component called program plan. This is the functionality to record and update a student’s program (decanal area and degree level) and plan (major and minor). In addition, it is the tool for making changes to a student’s status such as degree candidacy or award, leave of absence, withdrawal, discontinue (for students who do not return to UB) and others.

One change is that administrators will be able to see all of this type of data all in one place as a chronological record of the student’s progression as well as any changes. A benefit will be the display of students’ official sub-plans (concentration) within plans.

Testing and security are the current focus. Testing of converted student data for Program and Plan and the right functionality for individuals with different roles is underway. The immediate tasks are to set up security for staff with SIS access in the correct security in the new system. A survey canvassed all and nearly 900 people will be contacted for training in late January and February.

Anyone interested in helping with testing and training colleagues for enrollments should contact the SST Project by emailing ubsst@buffalo.edu.

Throughout the implementation, countless staff has been invaluable with generous gifts of time and talent. Especially notable is Debbie Morris of the student response center in Porter. For years, Debbie has been the go-to person for help in correct coding of students’ legacy degree and major and she continues to be a critical partner testing student data to help us insure that UBSIS is accurate and we thank her.

September 2010

Student Records is pleased to report that the second four components –Schedule of Classes– is live and in current use across the campus for scheduling of Summer and Fall 2011 classes. The training of nearly 200 people occurred with the wonderful help of schedulers from across campus – thank you one and all.
Our next Go-Live implementation is scheduled for January for student programs and plans (degrees and majors) and then enrollment (registration) in March.

Now that Catalog and Schedule of Classes are implemented, our work now turns to the student side of records and continued work on the conversion of data on student historical enrollments. While there is some rework as we review, it is taking shape and looking good. Thanks to all who volunteered to help us test this data.

One feature we have been very pleased with is the ability to display clear messaging on transcripts for undergraduate repeated courses and when the credits and grades are included or excluded. Also for the first time, GPA can display each term with both the semester and cumulative statistics.

July 2010

Schedule of Classes is scheduled to go-live in August and we are pleased to report we expect to meet that deadline thanks to remarkable contributions by departmental and central staff that has completed the final round of acceptance testing.  The results indicate that only a few minor adjustments are necessary and no major problems with conversion and functionality were detected.  Overall performance of the system is now the focus of current improvement efforts– making sure that everything runs smoothly.

Among the changes schedulers will be introduced to in July’s training is an expanded array of tools and a different delineation of some tasks.  We look forward to better display of class titles, access to full descriptions, prerequisites and equivalencies by the time students register and repeat course warnings (among others).  Some steps in the scheduling process done today will be reallocated between central to departmental scheduling offices to accommodate the UBSIS set up.  Overall, the addition of a few clicks will pay back volumes in terms of flexibility and transparency.

June 2010

The work to release the Scheduling component is progressing. Happily, the third round of Schedule of Classes testing is complete, with only a few adjustments required to get the data ready for go-live.   The multiple rounds of testing have included dozens of staff from across campus reviewing the data for quality assurance purposes. Details related to the Schedule of Classes have been finalized and training will be delivered to the campus in July 2010. We continue to examine all of our business processes and identify ways to improve efficiency and accuracy.

A significant gain of the new UBSIS is allowing scheduling of semester classes with many more tools that save work and provide the means to retain complex scheduling configurations from term to term. A shared approach between central scheduling in Academic Processing Services and each department will ensure an accurate, sophisticated schedule with enhanced details; students will have an improved display of classes available upon registration and increased information regarding course requisite information. The teaching faculty will have real-time class enrollment data.   

Elizabeth Stone, Elaine Cusker and Kara Saunders initiated the launch of UBSIS Schedule of Classes with a Town Hall presentation on May 19 to Departmental Schedulers and other staff involved with class scheduling. This session is the first in a series of orientations and training that will prepare the campus for this new functionality.  This information provided introductory information to departmental schedulers as well as addressing concerns and some misconceptions about how the new system will be introduced, how training will be managed and timetables for necessary information. A recorded webcast is available for review on the SST Webcast site.

Some concerns were raised during the Town Hall about the timing of the rollout, when information is expected to be available in the new system and how departmental schedulers will work with faculty to prepare for these changes. Many of the concerns and questions have been addressed or are being taken back to for consideration. The team certainly understands that as the project moves closer to the go-live date, people begin to focus more on details that directly impact their work. We look forward to addressing concerns in the coming months and please don’t hesitate to direct your concerns or comments to ub-sst@buffalo.edu.

April 2010

We are pleased that the course catalog is now live in production, functioning without incident.  Since February 2010, Academic Processing Services has been keeping the UBSIS course catalog up to date as the system of record for all new courses or course changes  at UB, while we also duplicate this on the mainframe so staff can continue to do their work.  The course catalog serves as the foundation for the Schedule of Classes, which will go into use following training this summer.  The new UBSIS will provide additional functionality and scheduling flexibility that  require some new ways of doing business in the short term, but save a lot of additional work each semester and over the long-haul.

One example of the changes that the new schedule will bring is with the process that we currently call “chaining.”  In UBSIS, this process of connecting classes together so that students register for all the parts of a course  is called “Association.”  Unlike in the current system, in UBSIS, Associations from the previous fall, spring or summer semesters will “roll” into the  semester being scheduled..  This will save a great deal of time and paperwork since Department Schedulers will not need to recreate Associations each semester.

Another example of change is cross-listing, which will also roll from semester to semester, saving considerable time and effort.  Also in the new system, the current use of cross listing as a way to reserve seats for different majors may not be required at all.  There is a tool called “reserve capacity” that a department can use to designate spaces for students in majors outside that of the parent course. Different courses taught at the same time in the same room will use a tool called “Combined Sections,” which will simplify the more complicated process today for such room assignments.  These changes may seem challenging, but training sessions   will demonstrate how Schedule of Classes works in the new system, and instruct each department scheduler in the specific tasks they will complete. Training and the Central Scheduling Office in Academic Processing Services will help everyone learn the necessary steps to utilize these helpful functions.

We are grateful to the many departmental representatives who have already been generous with their time and ideas, and are looking forward to additional involvement  to ensure a uniform and quality transition for everyone.  We have been reaching out across the University seeking help to test the system to make sure everything is functioning correctly prior to “go live.”  See the Opportunities for Involvement section of the SST website to learn how you can assist!

January 2010

For the Student Services Transformation, 2010 marks the first of several “go lives” throughout the year, so we are very busy and pretty excited.

We completed all the component modeling with remarkable help from many folks across campus.  Staff participated from Academic Processing Services, Anthropology, Chemistry, Engineering, Economics, Theatre and Dance, Pharmacy, Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Dental Medicine, Law, Student Response Center, Graduate School, VPUE and Psychology.  The next few months involve intense analysis of the results and adjustments to the system so that testing scripts can now become the training and tutorial modules as each of these components go live.

 The Catalog (the mainframe data on all courses) is pretty well fully converted – 28,000+ items of data – thank you very much to the army of helpers.  The big news here is that the Catalog will “go live” on March 1, the first “go live” of the project.  While this won’t impact too many people on campus yet, it is very significant and the building block for everything else in Student Records and much of the project as a whole.  In the meantime, other areas are underway.  The Schedule of Classes is in the retest phase where again we have had dozens of helpers testing and reviewing.  Concurrently, Program Plan – our degrees, majors, minors and concentrations - is in the mapping stage where we work to link our data to the required fields in PeopleSoft.  With over 500,000 student records – this is unbelievably complex, but we are making progress.  The third conversion underway is Transcript or Enrollments – this encompasses everything students registered for that is on their transcript.  Do the math and the quantity of data is extraordinary.  As these conversions progress we will reach a testing phase for each, so if asked to help please say yes.

Please contact me if you have questions or comments.  I will continue to forward updates to keep you informed. Please feel free to share with colleagues or send me names of any folks who you think might wish to receive these notices.

November 2009

The Student Services Transformation Student Records team is extremely busy with a rigorous modeling schedule that began September 28 and will continue till the end of December. To date we have completed modeling for course catalog, schedule of classes, program plan maintenance (degree programs and majors in legacy language), and enrollment. Three more sessions remain.

For each of these functional components 15 to 18 campus personnel have assisted us with considerable generosity of time and talent. Each modeling component begins with a three hour orientation followed by a two week period of testing the system using scripts representing both required UB processes and Campus Solutions configurations. The testing in some cases takes the equivalent of about two days time. We are extremely grateful for everyone's hard work and eagerness to learn about the new system. Each modeling session results in copious feedback which the SR team carefully analyzes. From these scripts we are working with Lisa Sandquist to build the library of training modules.

Staff has been providing wonderful insight about the system, and how it feels to try things a new way. At first it seems quite foreign and awkward, but by the third or fourth script, people begin to feel more comfortable and see the steps, logic and benefits.

Thank you to the 45 staff members who have participated to date.

Concurrent with this testing is ongoing conversion of Student Records Data. While we continue to identify aspects of the Catalog that will be revised and corrected, we have moved on to conversion of Schedule of Classes, Programs and Plans, and Enrollments. To help us address some of the challenges of legacy data, we have been in touch with Stony Brook and Albany to see how they handled certain conversion issues within their systems. It is a very valuable learning experience.

Please contact me if you have questions or comments. I will continue to forward updates to keep you informed. Please feel free to share with colleagues or send me names of any folks who you think might wish to receive these notices.

August 2009

We are winding down the configuration of the system for student records. Initially, there were over 50 tables that had to be configured in the PeopleSoft Campus Solutions System for Student Records. This included not only entering extensive data, but also selecting the myriad choices to have the system operate according to our rules. This has been extremely labor-intensive, but very illuminating about how the system operates. Many people have assisted in this effort, including Shelley Frederick, Sue Geib, Michelle Gonzalez, Mona Bogush, Elizabeth Stone, Philippa Radzawich, Priscilla Clarke, Mike Randall, Sandy Flash, Debbie Falter, Joseph Zambon, Athena Tsembelis, Bobby Jo LaDelfa, Katie Darling, Gayle Brazeau, Jennifer Hess, Mark Sauberan, Irene Holohan-Moyer, Jennifer Gottdiener, Janel Caleb and many others—forgive me if I omitted anyone—the number of names will continue to grow. The enthusiasm and effort are wonderful.

The conversion of UB data activity continues simultaneously. The next steps include the historical Schedule of Classes, then student programs and plans, enrollments, transcripts and several more such documents. While we do not expect any to be as challenging as the Catalog (called “course file” in SIS), each one is a multistepped process with tests and retests to identify issues and correct as much as we can identify. Some items from the legacy record need considerable corrections. Most will be done before deployment, but some will be done afterward if it does not imperil the functioning.

Meanwhile, work continues on creating prerequisites (“requisites” in PeopleSoft’s Campus Solutions), a major functional requirement we have all been waiting for. The system is quite robust, but the configuration is complex. Our team is committed to making this as effective as possible. We look forward to testing later this fall.

While we are still two years from full deployment, we are already beginning the initial discussion of issues of security (access) to the system and even training. Lisa Sandquist is coordinating the training plan, and it will be extraordinary.

Please contact me if you have questions or comments. I will continue to forward updates to keep you informed. Please feel free to share with colleagues, or send me names of individuals you think might wish to receive these notices.

May 2009

It has been some time since we worked so closely together for the Student Records FIT/GAP Sessions. Well all that discovery is beginning to bear fruit as we start the initial configuration of the system.

I have been very busy working with Mark Molnar, Academic Structure Functional Lead, to develop all the Careers, Programs, Plans (UB majors and minors), SubPlans (UB official concentrations), Calendars, Grading Schemes, and numerous other sources important to our academic architecture. Obviously these go hand and hand with Student Records.

At the same time we have been working hard to convert the first data source in our legacy system to the PeopleSoft Campus Solutions system, the Course Catalog. What we mean by this is the catalog file in SIS and some other sources to acquire the list of all UB courses. During this spring 2009 semester, the Records Team of the Student Services Transformation Project has been busy preparing the course catalog data for this conversion. As I write, testing is underway to assess the accuracy of the conversion data. The next phases in Student Records’ conversions include historical class schedules and then enrollments.

Another area we are exploring and testing is the functionality of the system to redesign final exam scheduling to a more rational process. In legacy, the final exam schedule was created by considering the student’s class schedule in order to avoid exam conflicts. In Campus Solutions, the final exam scheduling process is based on the pattern of class offerings and as such can yield an exam schedule as soon as there is a semester class schedule. While this shift offers many benefits, it also requires us to reconsider several aspects of our process. Stay tuned!

Recently, we have been able to move to space in MFAC, Room 220 where all the Leads and CIBER consultants can work closely together which is already reaping many benefits.

We are generally on schedule according to the Project Plan, and have accomplished a great deal over the past few months. Thank you all your dedication to the project. Our work will continue over the coming months and your attention and feedback is critical. I look forward to working with you in the days ahead and will be relying on your expertise as we reach stages where testing and review become essential. Please contact me if you have questions or comments. I will be forwarding updates periodically to keep you informed.

Please forward any comments or questions to us. | Provide feedback