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A non-profit publication of the Office of the University Relations of Virginia Tech,
including The Conductor, a special section of the Spectrum printed 4 times a year

Banner changing student-systems project on campus

By David Nutter

Spectrum Volume 20 Issue 15 - December 11, 1997

One-hundred and twenty-five years after William Addison (Add) Caldwell walked from Giles County to become Virginia Tech's first student, Patricia Adeline (Addy) Caldwell registered as the first student enrolled through Virginia Tech's new student system.
While Add Caldwell came on foot, Addy arrived through the imaginations of the Student Systems Project Team. Addy is a virtual student.
The Addy Project is a vehicle that planners and developers for the new system are using to increase their knowledge of the future student system, and to open conversations with campus constituents regarding the needs in student systems in the opening years of the next century, said Susan Brooker-Gross, project manager.
The products underpinning the new system, Banner Student and Banner Financial Aid by SCT Corp., will be customized for Virginia Tech. Addy will be joined by many other "virtual students" to help the team explore the full range of complexity needed to serve the varied programs and diverse students of Virginia Tech.
Members of the project implementation team include liaisons to the student service offices--Undergraduate Admissions, University Registrar, Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid, University Bursar, and the Graduate School, along with technical staff and managers. Advising the implementation team is the Steering Team, composed of representatives from the colleges, the service offices, Student Affairs, Internal Audit, and Institutional Research, and representatives of students.
Brooker-Gross says that one goal to be met by the new system is to integrate administrative computing systems, reducing fragmentation of services and duplication of effort. The Student System will share basic sets of information with other administrative systems--Human Resources, Finance, and Alumni/Development.
This integration will minimize administrative duplication for individuals who may, for example, be both students and employees, and permit processes across administrative areas--paying tuition bills, for example--to proceed in a seamless fashion, Brooker-Gross said.
Another goal is to provide a means to implement innovations in serving students well. The new system places more capability in the hands of staff members responsible for carrying out university policy. This additional capability, along with the advantages of a relational database, will increase future flexibility of the systems.
Finally, and most importantly, a key goal is to enhance student access to their administrative records and administrative needs. Web applications which build on the present Hokie Spa will be one way of enhancing this access.
Brooker-Gross said standards for the resulting system include accuracy, adaptability, user-friendliness for both clients and decision-makers, efficiency, effectiveness, and support of continuous improvement in business processes. The system will support demographic information, recruiting and admissions processes, financial aid, curriculum planning, including advising, registration, and degree audit, as well as the catalogue, timetable, and faculty and room data necessary to create logistics of instruction; student accounts; and transcripts and other academic-history records.
For more information on the project, contact Brooker-Gross (srb144@vt.edu or 1-2367) or Randy Crockett (crockett@vt.edu or 1-8803).