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April 6, 2011

CONTACT: K.E. Schwab




Banner day: SRU launches new course registration process


SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – It has been nearly two years in the making, but Slippery Rock University’s new, state-of-the-art online course registration system is ready to debut Monday when current students log on and begin scheduling classes for fall semester.

            “When all is said and done, we expect it will total between 70,000 and 80,000 individual transactions,” said Eliott Baker, executive director of academic records and summer school.

            The process is a component of the new $4.6 million comprehensive student-information system known as “Banner.” Students will access Banner from the SRU homepage using the “My Sru” button and their University ID. All SRU students have been e-mailed the date and time they may begin their fall registration.

            The comprehensive system tracks student graduation requirements related to their major, including mid-term and final grades, instructors, courses added or dropped, courses attempted and other academic information. The system also houses student home and campus addresses, e-mail addresses, landline and cell phone numbers, and emergency contact information.

            Initial verification of information migrated from the University’s existing system to the new Banner system for current students has been checked for accuracy and will be re-checked during the remainder of spring semester, Baker said. During the summer and early-fall information regarding graduates will be re-verified.

            “We are using the new system for fall semester course registration as we transition from the old system. Those enrolling for summer courses will continue to use the RockTalk system they have been using for several years. We expect the switch over to the new system will be completed by August,” he said.

            Simeon Ananou, associate provost for information and administrative technology services, has led the transition, which launched spring 2009. He has said the system implementation has been labor intensive, but has remained on schedule and will bring greater efficiencies to overall handling of student information.

            Faculty and essential staff have been trained in using the system, and incoming fall semester freshmen have already used the system in test runs to register for fall classes, he said. Student implementation team members have used the new system to help workout potential kinks before the system went live in late March.

           Banner is replacing the University's more than 40-year-old mainframe computer system, now referred to as the “legacy 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 was put in place.

           The SRU Financial Aid Office began accepting all new applications for financial aid via Banner in early February. 

           Ananou said in addition to being state-of-the-art, the new system makes report generation much easier. The University generates hundreds of reports to track such items as dean’s list students, those nearing graduation, course and major demand trends, classroom availability and a host of others.

           Approximately 138,000 student records along with their associated 3 million academic history records have been migrated from the legacy system to Banner, Ananou said.

           He said the legacy system took 40 years to build, and some glitches are expected as the new system is implemented. “We hope everyone will be patient and understanding during the initial registration period,” Ananou said.

           The next phases of the system’s overall installation include prospective student and applicant communications, and payment processing modules.

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.