purdue university
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Photo of Purdue Employees
September 2007
Issue 4
Photo of Pam Horne
Photo by Steve Jones
Pam Horne, assistant vice president for Enrollment Management and dean of admissions, speaks to the entire OnePurdue team on the importance of the new student systems to the University.
In this issue

Purdue committed to making new OnePurdue student systems a success at West Lafayette, North Central: A message from interim Provost Vic Lechtenberg

Financial Aid gearing up for Banner

FAQs of the month

ESA team learning the Banner way

Helpful links


Purdue committed to making new OnePurdue student systems a success at West Lafayette, North Central

A message from interim Provost Vic Lechtenberg

Computing systems for admissions, financial aid, academic advising, registration, student accounts and other areas are windows to the University — and center stage for students and parents. Such applications also are critical to our prospective and current students, and to the faculty and staff who serve them.

These systems are vital to fulfilling our core academic mission, and it is essential that they are accurate, user-friendly and accessible online.

Purdue has purchased licensing for the Banner software package from SunGard Higher Education and other components that will make up OnePurdue’s student-related applications. Already in use at Purdue’s Calumet and Fort Wayne campuses, in addition to more than 1,000 other institutions across the country, Banner soon will be utilized at West Lafayette and North Central as well.

Photo of Vic Lechtenberg

The software will be implemented as is and will be in keeping with OnePurdue’s guiding principles. Banner will be integrated with the other two OnePurdue components: human resources and finance.

This is a great opportunity for the University to examine its policies, procedures and processes. Some of the ways we do business today will inevitably change, so I ask for everyone’s patience and active participation as we learn about the new student systems.

Banner will bring new and improved functionality when it goes live in 2008, and enhancements will be added over the next few years.

Information about the new systems will be continually updated on the OnePurdue Web site and presented to key constituency groups throughout the academic year.

Thanks to the OnePurdue ERP Implementation Steering Committee, Enrollment Student Affairs (ESA) Advisory Committee and subcommittees, ESA team and many others from all the University’s functional areas. Their input has been invaluable throughout the project, and is even more so now as we prepare to launch our new student systems.

University Registrar Bob Kubat also has been working with the University Senate's Educational Policy Committee on Banner issues affecting academic policy.

This is a significant step for Purdue, and we are committed to a successful implementation.

Submitted by Vic Lechtenberg, Interim Provost

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Financial Aid gearing up for Banner

OnePurdue’s implementation of Banner, the suite of applications that will comprise the bulk of the new student systems at the West Lafayette and North Central campuses, is divided into two parts: the Financial Aid and Student modules — or, as is sometimes said, “Financial Aid and everything else.”

Indeed, the financial aid software is so far-reaching and complex that it will be released in February 2008 so the Division of Financial Aid (DFA) in West Lafayette can use it to get ready for disbursements to students in the fall.

DFA has had a stand-alone financial aid system since the early 1980s, and it’s undergone several major conversions and system upgrades over the years since then. Getting it to communicate with other student systems at West Lafayette has been increasingly challenging and time-consuming, said Joyce Hall, executive director of the Division of Financial Aid.

“Since this is a stand-alone system, we’ve needed to have major interfaces created for it so we could access student information and be able to convert our data into a format useable by other home-grown systems in other departments.

“This has been quite a feat for the programmers,” Hall said, “and maintaining these interfaces has made our work even more complex. With Banner, however, we will be part of an integrated student system that should smooth out some of these rough edges and make accessing data from others much easier.”

DFA is doing several things to prepare for Banner. Its Operations Group, comprised of eight financial aid leaders, is now meeting weekly with the Enrollment and Student Affairs (ESA) implementation team at OnePurdue. The committee is beginning to discuss issues related to resources, staff training, and project calendars.

In addition, financial aid personnel have been working closely with OnePurdue’s Enrollment and Student Affairs team to help prepare for and learn Banner. “We have had some very dedicated staff working on this project, and they’ve brought this knowledge back home to everyone,” said Hall. “So the people who stayed in the office are now getting more involved, too.”

The department also is working to maintain the current mainframe (“legacy”) computer system for summer 2008 financial aid in case there is a delay in the planned February launch. In addition, DFA has limited vacations for its 53 full-time employees from November 2007 to June 20 to help ensure a successful transition to the new systems.

“We are all working hard to make the move to Banner a reality while maintaining our current service and operations for students,” said Hall.

Marvin Smith, associate director for Financial Aid Services, was impressed by the positive reaction of staff members after they viewed a demonstration of Banner Sept. 6. “Our staff is really good at rolling with changes. When they saw Banner for the first time, they were excited, and they’re anxious to learn the new system. This is very encouraging.”

“We’re also continuing to benefit from the experience of other universities who use Banner,” Smith said. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign recently sent Bob Anderson, its senior associate director of financial aid, to West Lafayette, where he discussed implementation strategies, the hurdles UI overcame and demonstrated its Banner system for DFA staff.

“Getting this kind of help from a school similar in size to Purdue — and a Big Ten peer — is invaluable. They’ve been a good partner for us.”

Submitted by Marvin Smith, Associate Director, Division of Financial Aid

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FAQs of the month

Why will the Banner Student modules be implemented in July 2008 and the Fall 2008 registrations converted?
We wanted to implement the student applications in March 2008 to support the Fall 2008 semester, but there is not enough time to complete the preparation needed to do so. We must go live with Banner Financial Aid to support a new processing year, so February is our only option for that. Only after Financial Aid goes into production can we implement Student, and since we can't be ready to do that by March, we’ll need to convert registrations at some point during the student cycle.

The most logical opportunity for this would be sometime after Day on Campus and before fee assessments. Converting once assessments have been made and payments begin coming in would be very complicated; in addition, we need to be able to disburse financial aid to students before the semester begins. We agree that registration conversion may be a little confusing, but good communication and training will help keep that to a minimum.

Will we use prerequisite and corequisite checking in OnePurdue?
Yes, we plan to use prerequisite and corequisite checking to support registration for Spring 2009 (and thereafter). We will not be able to implement this before then because we’ll be converting the registrations from the legacy system, in which enforcement of prerequisite and corequisite checks do not exist.
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In addition, prerequisite and corequisite checking relies on academic histories, which will not be converted from legacy data until after the Summer 2008 semester and grades have been processed. In order for prerequisite and corequisite checking to work properly, then, the earliest registration period it will be able to support will be for Spring 2009 semester.

Submitted by Lori Shipley, Enrollment and Student Affairs Team Lead

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ESA team learning the Banner way
Photo of Sue DeChant and Chris DeHahn
Photo by Steve Jones
Sue DeChant (left) of OnePurdue's Enrollment and Student Affairs team assists Chris DeHahn, assistant registrar for records, registration and graduation in West Lafayette, during MIF (Multi-Institutional Functionality) testing in September.

With the first Banner software scheduled to be released at West Lafayette and North Central next February, OnePurdue’s Enrollment and Student Affairs (ESA) team has been busy learning what the new student systems can do and how the University can make the most of it.

Team members will ultimately complete more than 20 courses in all aspects of the Banner components being implemented by OnePurdue — seven of them regarding Financial Aid alone. Consultants from SunGard Higher Education, the company licensing Banner to Purdue, have been to West Lafayette during the past few months to lead the training.

“They have given us a lot of hands-on examples of how the system is used and how we can use it here,” said Deb Wilson, former assistant director of federal programs in the Division of Financial Aid (DFA) and one of three financial aid experts on the ESA team.

“A lot of our business processes are going to be revamped, so we’ve needed to learn to think outside the box.”

Banner financial aid training began in March and ends in October.

Seven DFA staff members also joined Wilson and three other financial aid specialists on the ESA team, for three days of training to learn processes in Banner’s Financial Aid module, including:

  • Receiving records from the Department of Education’s Central Processor
  • Processing verifications
  • Constructing student budgets (to determine financial need)
  • Awarding aid
  • Processing loans
  • Tracking academic progress

“They will become power users back in their office,” Wilson said, “and are now more aware of Banner’s functions, which can only help during implementation.”

Another financial aid expert on the ESA team, Mary Ann Bishel from Purdue Calumet, also has played an important role in this training. Banner has been used at the Calumet and Fort Wayne (IPFW) campuses for several years, so Bishel knows it well.

“Mary Ann has been a huge help,” Wilson said. “She’s helped keep us on track as we learn about how to make Banner work for Purdue.”

Wilson is excited about what Banner will bring, including a feature that will allow students to not only check their financial aid status, but also accept, reject or reduce loan and work-study award offers online.

“OnePurdue and Banner will help those of us serving students to be much more responsive to their needs.”

Academic History
Another important area of student services involves maintaining an accurate collection of students’ academic histories at the University, said Sue DeChant, an ESA team member and IPFW’s representative on the OnePurdue team.

“This information is used in a number of vital ways,” she said, “including producing transcripts, calculating GPAs and satisfying degree requirements so students can graduate, so it must be accurate.”

These tasks are the responsibility of the Office of the Registrar, which will continue to maintain these records, but, beginning in 2008, its staff will use the Banner system to do so.

DeChant, who was an advisor at IPFW for 12 years, has been busy studying how Banner handles academic histories.

“Even though it’s been used at Fort Wayne since 2002, I’ve learned some new tools here to better access student information.”

Several registrar staff also have been participating in this training, she said, in addition to helping with testing and validation.

“This training is really giving us a comprehensive view of Banner and how it works. Understanding what goes on behind the scenes will help us configure it better for Purdue.”

Submitted by the ESA Subcommittee on Preparing Organizational Communication

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Helpful links

OnePurdue Enrollment and Student Affairs Team

ESA Organizational Chart

ESA Advisory Committee

Registration and Scheduling Work Group

Scheduled Milestones

Frequently Asked Questions about ESA and Banner

Information about SunGard Higher Education and Banner

OnePurdue Home Page


ESAnews is published by OnePurdue. Please direct all questions and comments about this newsletter to onepurdue@purdue.edu.

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