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UC Board Approves New Student Information System Contracts, Project to Launch in 2016


The UC Board of Trustees approved the software and implementation-related contracts necessary for a new student information system (SIS). The new system will better support the in-demand needs of students, faculty and staff.

Date: 2/18/2014 12:00:00 PM
By: M.B. Reilly
Phone: (513) 556-1824

UC ingot   A seamless student experience – from the application process through alumni activities – is the goal of a multiyear initiative that will replace the University of Cincinnati’s current student information system known as UniverSIS.

Two contracts necessary for the student information system (SIS) were today approved by the UC Board of Trustees. One contract relates to the new system's software to be provided by Oracle PeopleSoft Campus Solutions. The other relates to the university's implementation partner in the project, IO Consulting, to guide implementation, training, continuity and change management.

It’s estimated that the new system will cost about $46 million. Part of that  cost will be covered by funds already set aside for the project, and part (about $35 million) will be covered by 15-year bonds to be issued by the university. This funding for the SIS initiative will not affect tuition, as tuition dollars will not be used in realizing the project.

It’s expected that the new SIS system will launch in 2016. At that time, the current system will be past the 15-year mark, a long life for any technology.

The student information system is the main tool that supports services for students and is also heavily used by faculty and staff. 

Students begin to interact with the system as prospects and applicants to the university. They use it extensively while working toward degrees, and the engagement continues as they become  alumni.
  • See the SIS website for complete information on what a student information system does and the benefits of system replacement.
UC Provost Beverly Davenport stated, “This will be the largest initiative of its kind at the university, and it’s about promoting students’ success in their academic careers. The student information system is the engine supporting our academic operation and is used every day by faculty, staff and students. It’s key to our academic goals related to student engagement and satisfaction, enhanced retention and graduation rates.”

According to Caroline Miller, senior associate vice president and associate provost for enrollment management, students apply, register, receive advising, create academic plans and monitor academic progress, request and receive financial aid, pay bills and more by using the system. The system is key for faculty and staff in also monitoring students’ academic progress, recording grades, performing advising, transferring credit, interfacing with learning management tools like Blackboard and more.

She explained, “Its replacement is somewhat analogous to the standard technology upgrades and replacements we are all used to. After all, in today’s world, a desktop computer is outdated and needs upgrading or replacement about every three years. The end result of replacement will be a better set of tools available 24/7 from most if not all personal devices used by students, faculty and staff. We’ll have a 21st century tool for a 21st century campus.”

Nelson Vincent, senior vice president for technology, said the new system should serve the university  for about 15 or more  years, as software enhancements will be routine with the new system.
 
He stated, “As an enterprise solution that is supported by Oracle and a large higher education user community, the software will be regularly upgraded as needed to meet business and technology requirements of students, faculty and staff as standards evolve.” 

Across the nation, many other universities have been required to similarly initiate projects to implement new student information systems over the past decade. These include institutions like Ohio State University, University of Pennsylvania (involved in an ongoing upgrade), University of Pittsburgh, Purdue University, University of Virginia, University of Connecticut and the University of Houston.