University begins process of changing online information system

Media Credit: Ethan Stoler | Contributing Photo Editor

Chief Information Officer Loretta Early announced at a Faculty Senate meeting Friday that the University will decide the next management system within two years.

Students and faculty may soon part ways with Banweb as the University looks for a new information planning system.

Chief Information Officer Loretta Early announced at a Faculty Senate meeting Friday that the University will decide the next management system within two years, after the company that makes the current Banner system announced it would stop updating its software. She said moving to a new program will help the University move forward technologically and update its wide-reaching digital platform to serve changing faculty and student needs.

The current Banner system regulates a range of University transactions, including student course registration and accounts information. The system also manages financial aid, payroll and tracks employment decisions.

Systems that are necessary for day-to-day functions of the University will be transferred to the next version of the Banner system by the end of September, while officials search for a “long term” solution, Early said.

“We are just starting the conversation of what will be a multi-year project to select the right solution, then kick-off and implement the new software,” she said in an email.

Early, who was hired last summer, said evaluating the Banner system has been one of her main goals since arriving on campus.

“But before we implement a new system, we have an opportunity to look at the way that we do things through a new lens,” she said.

She declined to give a final deadline for selecting a new system. Early said committees and task forces will begin meeting in the coming year to determine what faculty and students want in a new system.

“The higher education landscape, particularly in the areas of student expectations, business needs and technology offerings, has changed significantly since many institutions implemented these enterprise systems, leading many institutions, like ours, to review our systems as we continue to focus on services that impact the student experience,” she said.

She said the Division of Information Technology had talked to more than 100 faculty members about enterprise resource planning systems over the past semester.

“The focus for our ERP will be on not just the student system, the processes around the day in the life of the student, but also the faculty’s role, activities that faculty are involved with, student success, student retention,” she told the Faculty Senate Friday.

Early said the top two choices for the system are an updated version of Banner and Workday, a system known for its ability to personalize the user experience based on the person’s role at a university. Workday offers systems for student information management as well as human resources management systems, according to the company’s website.

More than 80 universities currently use Workday, including four of GW’s peer institutions, like Georgetown University and the University of Rochester, according to the website.

Although some faculty at the University feel that GW would adopt Workday long-term, Early said that no decisions have been made yet.

Philip Wirtz, a professor of decision sciences and psychology and chair of the Faculty Senate’s educational policy committee, said at Friday’s meeting that the last time the University updated their system to Banner, it was a “wrenching” experience for faculty because some were still opposed to the system when it was chosen.

“A lot of people were vehemently opposed to it,” he said.

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