Appendix 7: Administrative and Student Services

This appendix is based on the Administrative Computing Advisory Group (ACAG) Technology Plan (1998). The ACAG Technology Plan was an update and supplement to the TLTR report of December 23, 1997. The ACAG is comprised of 13 members consisting of members from units within Academic Affairs, Administrative Affairs, Student Life and Development and University Communications. The primary basis of the report was a technology survey distributed to each of the departments within Administrative Affairs, Student Life and Development and University Communications.

Throughout the survey, the common themes of seamless access, a reliable communications network, integrated systems and user training emerged. Beyond the obvious investments in communications and desktop microcomputers, the ACAG concluded that a comprehensive e-mail, calendaring, messaging system with the inherent workgroup software capabilities represented the most critical information technology investment that could be made in 1998 for St. Cloud State University. A comprehensive system would have a price tag in the area of $200,000 and would serve as the major conduit for most of the other outcomes defined in these planning documents.

In the Administrative and Student Services section in the main report, five areas were identified. Below are descriptions of these areas and specific examples of potential use of technology.

Facilities

Some services might include an inventory of buildings, equipment and room scheduling. The following is a list of specific examples:

  • To make workers more accessible, plans are to replace radios with cellphones (reduction in cost) and to give maintenance workers access to PCs to use email.
  • Smart automatic sprinklers that regulate output based on environmental conditions should be installed.
  • Electronic work orders should always be accessible.
  • A barcode system is needed for inventory and identification that includes a database and scanners.
  • Technology to mechanize bleachers produces less wear and tear on the bleachers and allows faster turnaround between events.
  • Mailroom equipment could be upgraded so that it could be integrated with printing services to do more presorting and bulk mailing. If mail were barcoded, postage could be charged and not prepaid and return mail could be sorted and tracked.
  • A centralized database for checking availability and "booking" (reserving) facilities would improve efficiency and satisfaction.

University Curricula

Some services might include an inventory of courses taught and approved, and enrollment. The following is a list of specific examples:

  • Changes in curriculum could be electronically announced and distributed.
  • Room-scheduling software could assist departments attempting to schedule rooms they do not normally use or academic events that are not a whole academic term in duration.
  • The university needs improved ability to predict student need for particular parts of the curriculum such as general education.
  • Making the curriculum available in electronic form is important for future flexibility and efficiency for the entire university community.

Student Information

Some services might include an inventory of students: who they are, where they are in their programs and so on. The following is a list of specific examples: enrollment management, recruitment, admissions, advising, registration, degree audit, grades, transcripts, scholarships and financial aid. Each application should be

  1. accessible electronically
  2. integrated with other related applications
  3. capable of doing some automated functions
  4. capable of serving the client's needs with and without professional assistance

Human Resources

Some services might include an inventory of employees of the institution, tax information and so on. The following is a list of specific examples:

  • Making forms available for download or electronic processing will increase our Web presence.
  • Electronic time sheets can interface with payroll.
  • A centralized calendar/scheduling system could facilitate campus-wide and individual meetings.
  • Appropriate training is necessary for employees to use technology effectively.

Financial Records

Some services might include an inventory of budget: expenses, revenue, and so on. The following is a list of specific examples:

  • It should be possible to transfer funds, including financial aid, electronically.
  • Parking ticketing should be made electronic.
  • A working database that is user friendly, easily accessible, accurate, and expandable should be established.
  • Ideally, electronic records could minimize the need for auditing activities.
  • Electronic communications can provide timely service that reduces paperwork and is easily supervised.
  • Electronic record-keeping can assist the institution in meetings its financial reporting obligations.
  • Technology should provide decision-makers with reliable information.

This list of areas and examples does not describe services that may be provided from MnSCU Integrated Statewide Records Systems (ISRS). As the ACAG report (1998) indicates, careful consideration has to be taken when evaluating MnSCU's ISRS. Some systems, such as short term loans, expendable inventory, parking tickets and telephone, are not included in ISRS. Other systems will most certainly need to be modified to meet the unique needs of SCSU, which means that personnel, software, hardware and support will be needed to "fill the gap" between what MnSCU delivers and what is needed locally.