Office of the Provost

Memorandum

To: Deans, Directors, Department Chairs
From: James V. Maher
Date: August 21, 2003

Student Information System Implementation

At the conclusion of a lengthy review and analysis of enterprise student information systems by the CERMIS Committee, the University recently selected the PeopleSoft product. The formal structured evaluation of the competing products, in which numerous individuals from a large number of University offices and constituencies participated, resulted in a unanimous conclusion that PeopleSoft offered a superior product well suited to our needs. This implementation is the final phase in a process that began some five years ago. I am confident that the results will justify the delay.

The implementation of the system, with Vice Provost Robert Pack serving as project director, is beginning now and will be completed by August 2005. Included in the new student information system are modules for recruitment and admissions, financial aid, billing and cashiering, academic records, housing, and degree audit. These modules will be introduced on a rolling schedule, so the features of the new system will be realized throughout the implementation period. All units of the University will benefit from the significantly enhanced capabilities that this web-based system will provide, and the quality and variety of our services to students will be greatly enhanced. The new system, coupled with the enterprise portal and data warehouse that have already been introduced, will immeasurably increase the amount and quality of information about our programs and our students available to all appropriate levels of the University.

I am writing to request your full cooperation in the implementation of this new system. Many concerns and questions will inevitably arise as this project moves forward, and I ask you to participate constructively in addressing them. It is critical to the long-term success of the system that it be implemented in a comprehensive manner and that all units and activities are brought under its aegis. It is also essential that the system be implemented to the greatest degree possible without fundamental changes in its underlying structure and capabilities. This will require a careful analysis of our practices and processes to ensure that they do not needlessly complicate the implementation. It will be very important during the implementation process that our existing staff in Computing Services and Systems Development not be distracted from their primary commitment to implement the new system. I am therefore requesting that no changes be implemented in ISIS except as approved specifically by my office.

The offices most directly involved in recruitment and admissions, advising and registration, student billing, and student records are enthusiastic about the potential that this new system has to enable them to provide even higher qualities of service to students and faculty. The implementation team, led by University Registrar Samuel Conte, and the functional management committee, chaired by Vice Provost Robert Pack, are comprised primarily of talented individuals from these offices. But all of us will have to play a constructive role in this implementation if it is to be successful.

I have full confidence in the teams that have been put in place to implement successfully this new system. Please extend to them your full cooperation. I invite you to follow the course of the implementation on a web site that has been specifically created to provide information about the selection and implementation of the new system: www.pitt.edu/studentsys. The site is restricted to members of the University community, so you will have to enter your network account user name and password to access it. In addition, a comprehensive communication plan will ensure that everyone is kept informed about the progress of the project.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation in ensuring the success of this vital new capability.

c:

Mark A. Nordenberg
Arthur Levine
Jerome Cochran
Arthur Ramicone
Robert F. Pack
Samuel D. Conte
Jinx P. Walton

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