The student information system is the main tool that supports services for our students. Students apply, register, receive advising, create academic plans, request and receive financial aid, monitor academic progress and more by using the student system, and they have high expectations for usability and access.
Students begin to interact with the system as prospects and applicants to the university. They use it extensively while working towards degrees, and the engagement continues through their lives as alumni.
The University of Cincinnati currently uses a homegrown student information system (SIS), titled UniverSIS.
Current system: UniverSIS
UniverSIS serves the functions it was designed for related to student affairs, managing fairly simple one-to-one transactions.
However, it has limited ability to meet current and projected demands because it cannot easily communicate with other systems and applications: systems related to instruction, courses and learning, in particular online courseware. In addition, it cannot meet current and expected demand for functionality, capacity and accessibility by students, staff and faculty, including management and decision-making tools.
We need to make information more accessible to a wider customer/user base in appropriate formats to meet student and business needs. Core administrative users may be willing to master outdated “green screen” text-only technology, but general users like students and faculty are not. Faculty and advisors use the student information system to monitor progress and record grades. The integration with learning management tools such as Blackboard is essential. Student information registration, financial aid and billing data should integrate real time with our business/financial core system.
Because UniverSIS is dated and a homegrown, one-of-a-kind tool (non-standards based), it is increasingly difficult to find technical support personnel to maintain and troubleshoot problems and/or build new functionality for emerging needs. Technical workers today are not routinely taught the decades’ old technology that supports UniverSIS, as most institutions in the marketplace have already upgraded to much newer, more commonly used systems in order to achieve improved functionality in the current environment. This is unlikely to change since there is no widespread market demand for the technical expertise necessary to operate a system like UniverSIS.
Ultimately, if the UC Board of Trustees approves funding for a new system, that replacement would be 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. In that context, UniverSIS is not unlike using a rotary telephone. You can make a call with it, but you can’t get the parts to fix it, and it doesn’t interface easily with today’s technology.
View PDF: "Student Information System Replacement Project White Paper" (PDF, 264 KB)
Return to Main Page: SIS Replacement Project