March 14, 2006 — Following an intensive, yearlong analysis, the University of Virginia has chosen PeopleSoft as its new student information system, which includes admissions, financial aid, registration, transcripts, billing and other student administrative functions, such as housing and dining, that now exchange information with the current system for all schools and offices at the University.
Charles Grisham, professor of chemistry and Student System Project director, announced the decision today. “We are confident that PeopleSoft is the best match for the University’s requirements,” said Grisham, who led the search for a replacement for the University's 16-year-old Integrated Student Information System (ISIS) with a modern, enterprise-level administrative system.
In particular, Grisham emphasized that PeopleSoft, which has been successfully implemented at numerous universities of comparable size and complexity to U.Va., offers flexibility that will accommodate both current and future University requirements.
PeopleSoft was acquired by Oracle in January 2005, and the University’s finance and human resources systems are both Oracle. That situation presents potential for integration of systems in the future, and Grisham noted that PeopleSoft continues to evolve since its acquisition by Oracle.
With the software decision made, Grisham will begin establishing a timeline for implementation. He said that, typically, other universities have required up to four years to fully implement a new student system. The next steps will be to continue refining the parameters of the project and build an implementation team.
“This is the beginning of a new, evolutionary approach to addressing the administrative needs of students,” Grisham said. “The project mission is to provide the University community with an efficient and effective student information system that supports the University’s mission, integrates with existing systems, and adapts to growth and change.”
Key stakeholders in the student system were involved and informed throughout the process and will continue to be part of the implementation. Advisory groups involved in the project include: Integrated System Executive Committee, Student System Policy Review Group, Core Advisers to the Student System (CASS), Faculty Advisers to the Student System (FASS), Student System Advisory Committee (SSAC), Technical Advisers to the Student System (TASS) and Student Advisers to the Student System (SASS).
Users participated in 17 workshops focused on current student business process and systems during the summer of 2005. An online brainstorming session was valuable in developing the mission and vision of the project. More than 2,600 different student system requirements were identified and prioritized as the process unfolded.
Grisham said that there was remarkable consensus among those who participated in the exercise to prioritize the requirements.
In addition to assessing the software available from a variety of potential vendors, Grisham and others not only contacted nearly three dozen institutions but made site visits to five schools — Georgia Tech, Stanford, Minnesota, the University of Mississippi, and James Madison — to examine the systems under consideration.
After synthesizing input from the University community and from peer institutions, there were only two viable vendors for the project, and “PeopleSoft was clearly the best alternative for our specific needs,” Grisham said.