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March 3, 2011

CONTACT: K.E. Schwab




SRU’s Banner project ‘progressing as planned’         


SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – Slippery Rock University’s $4.6 million upgrade to a new student information system is progressing near schedule. The admissions and enrollment management student communication module that allows prospective students to apply online is up and running and the fall class registration system is expected to be online before month’s end.

           The system, under the brand name Banner, is progressing as planned, said Simeon Ananou, associate provost for information and administrative technology services. The system upgrade was launched in spring 2009.

           Connie Laughner-Ramirez, director of advisement systems and degree audit, will train orientation advisers the week of March 14 to begin scheduling students on the system during the week of March 21.  

           SRU’s student implementation team completed a registration simulation and additional simulations are scheduled over the next month, Ananou said. The student team has also contacted a limited number of faculty and support staff to help test the system. The system’s consultants and the University’s technical and functional staff use the simulation process to determine what is working and what challenges remain in the program.  

           The new system is designed to replace the University's more than 40-year-old legacy system and provide a cohesive data processing system. Special bond financing from the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education is supporting the project at SRU and other system universities undergoing similar upgrades. In addition to the actual software, a new infrastructure is being put in place.

           Ananou said campuswide training on Banner would begin the week of March 21 with priorities placed on rolling out the training to academic department chairpersons, assistant chairpersons and secretaries, Dean’s office personnel and students registering for fall classes. “All registration for fall will be handled on the new system, however, those scheduling summer classes will continue to use the existing system,” Ananou said.

           “Since the beginning of the Banner project, the student implementation team has been working diligently to complete tasks such as the creation of the course catalog, master schedule of classes and develop SRU’s student records and business processes,” Ananou said.

           He said it has been an arduous process. “Following several months of training, setup testing and configuration, our Financial Aid Office began accepting all new applications for financial aid through Banner in early February. Although the financial aid module is far from being a finished product, it is important to note this is a major milestone for SRU, and we should all be proud of our team for their dedication.”

           “As each unit of the system is launched, efforts are initiated for developing reports for each of the areas using the system. There are several hundred reports used across campus,” he said.

           Efforts are under way to migrate academic history records.

           “In recent weeks, approximately 138,000 student records along with their associated 3 million academic history records, including courses taken and grades earned, have been migrated from the legacy system into Banner. These records are now in various stages of being validated for accuracy. This process will continue for several months,” he said.

           “In the initial phase of the current launch, all records for current students are being validated. In late spring and throughout the summer, the remaining student records in our history database will be validated,” Ananou said.

           The new system also employs security and access priorities that are to be in place during the initial week of training.

           Campuswide training for all other appropriate offices and departments will be scheduled after the initial training process is complete. The Luminous Portal, best known as “MySRU,” will also be launched at the same time.

           “We must keep in mind that it took 40 years to build the current mainframe system to its high level of customized functionality that meets our needs. The implementation of the Banner Student Information System and all the other associated technologies and interfaces are comprised of a series of business processes with many phases and complexities, so the work is daunting, but possible,” Ananou said.

           “We are excited to have launched the admissions and financial aid processes. We are looking forward to bringing to the campus the next step – our student registration processes,” he said.  

           Among the segments yet to be completed dealing with enrollment reporting are prospective student and applicant communications and payment processing.

Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania’s premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.