INSIDE BINGHAMTON UNIVERSITY
Banner system nearing launch date
Two town hall meetings last week offered opportunities for the campus community to get an update on the Banner Project.
Banner will replace the University’s current patchwork of student systems with a more streamlined, integrated suite of applications. It will also offer a portal page called BU-Brain, where students may access a variety of information.
Jennifer Schorr, special assistant to the provost, serves as project manager. She led the meetings, providing a status report and taking questions from faculty and staff.
The project, which began about a year ago, will go live on schedule beginning with the fall 2008 semester.
That means that Admissions will begin accepting undergraduate and graduate applications through the system in November. Other offices will come online soon after, and students will use Banner in the spring to register for fall classes.
Simulations are planned the week of Oct. 22 and again in January and February to ensure Banner works the way it’s supposed to. “We will try to exercise every part of the system,” Schorr said.
Some 130 people from more than 20 offices have been involved with the project, Schorr noted, and more than 200 people have already been through some training on the system. Workshops for staff are ongoing.
Seminars for students will begin in January or February; online modules will be available to walk them through the steps they’ll need to take to use various parts of the system.
Schorr expects to offer faculty training in the fall of 2008, since most professors won’t need to use the system until that December, when grades are due.
One faculty member asked about how grading will work.
“No more bubble sheets,” Schorr replied.
Instead, faculty members will access a class list and click through it to enter grades for each student. It’s not clear yet whether the system will interface with Blackboard, which many instructors use for grading.
SunGard designed the software, which will have support from the Student Information and Campus Administrative Systems Center in Oneonta.
Banner will replace the current systems used in Admissions, the Registrar’s Office, Student Accounts and Financial Aid. In addition, it offers an operational data store through which users can get reports. The BU-Brain, a self-service section, will let students do everything they now do in BUSI and more. Another part of Banner will offer forms, the way CICS does now.
However, not all systems are changing. Student housing, recruitment and DARS, as well as Oracle Finance and Human Resources, will not be replaced by Banner.
The new system will include students, faculty and staff, Schorr said, and provide an identification number that is not a person’s Social Security Number. Legacy files, including students’ academic histories going back to 1992, will migrate to the new system.
The spring 2008 semester will be a time of transition, Schorr noted.
“We are going to have one foot in one system and one foot in another system,” she said.
On the Internet
Learn more about the Banner Project, see the PowerPoint presentation from the town hall meetings and read the FAQ at http://banner.binghamton.edu.