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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Eleanor’s update

As we’re embarking on summer term and preparing for the next academic year we have many projects in the works. This System Campus Update issue highlights several OIT technology related projects that impact all of us, as well as an update on the Campus Solutions PeopleSoft 9.2 Upgrade project. When I read about all of this work in progress it makes me wonder whatever happened to the “lazy hazy days of summer?”

Sue's update

Another semester under our belt. It was a rough road system-wise at the end, but we made it. Hopefully it is behind us. Commencements are complete. Summer classes have begun and orientation is right around the corner. Terrific job, everyone. We are still waiting on the Board of Regents regarding tuition, however, it is dependent on our legislative final budget so it could be a bit before we hear anything. It has been a rough legislative session for the University of Minnesota this year at the state capital. Hopefully the University can establish meaningful relationships going forward for next year with the hiring of Matt Kramer, vice president for university and government relations.

Board Of Regents system-wide strategic plan

At the May 11-12 meeting, University Regents reviewed a draft of the system-wide strategic plan covering all five University campuses. The proposed plan focuses on three strategic intentions related to the University’s core mission, as well as a capacity-building plan for the system and specific steps to advance this work. The system-wide strategic planning process formally launched in Fall 2016. Feedback was collected from students, faculty, staff and leaders at each campus, as well as Extension, the College of Continuing Education, Research and Outreach Centers, Public Engagement Council, external stakeholders, and staff and faculty governance bodies. The Board is expected to take action on the plan at its June meeting.

Custom Solutions 9.2 upgrade

PeopleSoft Enterprise Component Tools Training took place for business analysts and IT staff on April 18-22. Training evaluations showed that 80% of participants gained valuable education regarding the benefits of the tools. The technical upgrade (phase 1) is progressing as planned. We are scheduled to begin our first round of testing May 22. The functional upgrade (phase 2) scoping is near completion. Thank you to all who have been part of conversations to generate priorities. If you would like to receive project updates, email Eleanor Pijut (e-piju@umn.edu) to be added to the lists.

One Stop website governance

In order to maintain the new One Stop website and ensure the functionality of the site, the System Campus Steering Committee finalized a governance process for the site. The governance document outlines everything from various roles, style, content, tools, and expectations for the site.

The steering committee is composed of one designee from each system campus, and one One Stop representative from the Twin Cities campus. Each campus has a designated backup approver for when primary members are unavailable. Members of the steering committee are Melissa Dingman (UMC), Brenda Herzig (UMD), Jill Beauregard (UMM), Laura Walker (UMR), Carin Anderson (UMTC), and Richard Campo (UMTC, One Stop). If you have questions or concerns regarding the One Stop website, contact your campus’ steering committee member.

Public forums: vice president/chief information officer finalists

The University community will have the opportunity to hear from the finalists for the next vice president for information technology next week. Public forums will be held at the Best Buy Theater in Northrop and live-streamed across the system. Candidate resumes and livestream links will be posted when they become available. See forum dates and times >

IT feedback survey closed--learn what’s next

The Office of Information Technology’s annual IT feedback survey closed for this year’s input phase of the IT governance process on May 1. This year, more than 1,800 responses were received--an increase of nearly 50% over last year!

In addition to the survey, meetings were held with leaders from each of the colleges and system campuses. The combined individual- and unit-level input will be provided to IT service owners and senior leadership for consideration as they determine priorities and initiatives for the coming year. The last part of the input phase is to synthesize the collected feedback, an event that will be held on June 15. More details will be shared closer to the date.

Moodle future for the University

The Office of Information Technology (OIT) has determined that the current onsite Moodle structure will not continue to meet the University's needs, and proposed that the University transition to a cloud based system, either Moodle Cloud or Canvas.

Learning Management System (LMS) forums and vendor demos occurred throughout the University system during March. Presentations included LMS demonstrations, system campus open forums, and town halls about the LMS evaluation, followed by a listening session dedicated to the community’s input. Information produced as a result of these sessions is available for review.

OIT Next Generation WiFi planning

As part of the Next Generation WiFi planning, the networking team has been working on reducing the number of University SSIDs, which would:
  • Simplify user experience
  • Increase performance
  • Improve scalability and stability
  • Enhance security and onboarding features
More information can be found at Next Generation Digital Learning Environment (NGDLE) concepts and the consortial efforts underway at the University to advance this work.

TransForm OIT pilot program

Academic Support Resources is participating in an OIT pilot program for a new tool, Perceptive TransForm, a digital form and workflow tool that allows for digital signatures and multi-step workflows. If implemented enterprise-wide after the pilot, TransForm will be an option, in addition to WorkflowGen, for units who are looking to streamline the intake and processing of student requests.

TransForm features include:
  • Easy-to-use form designer - work can be done within unit, not exclusively by a developer
  • Build multi-step workflows and approval processes, including multi-directional routing features
  • Ability to attach multiple documents to the form
  • Easy Perceptive Content integration (both produced by Lexmark Perceptive Software) for processing and archiving in a form layout - not just a data sheet
  • Simple versioning control and new version deployment/old version removal
  • SIS integration - auto-populate form with PeopleSoft data
  • Multi-system integrations possible - including CRM, housing systems, and other database systems.

ASR’s pilot includes two forms: Cost of Attendance Appeal process for Twin Cities and Rochester students, and Change of Expected Graduation Term process for Twin Cities undergraduate students. By converting these to electronic forms, we have decreased processing time, increased data validation, and removed One Stop from the middle of the process, allowing them to continue to counsel students on the policy and procedure, but streamlining the workflow for more efficient and timely processing.

The tool will be managed and supported by the OIT Document Management team, while units will manage the creation and maintenance of the forms within TransForm. Once a form is created, units will work with OIT to build the workflow and publish the form. Pilot participants include TC Admissions, TC ASR & One Stop Student Services, UMD Office of the Registrar, and UMR Student Services. The pilot program will continue into the fall semester when OIT leadership will make a final decision on whether to make TransForm available enterprise-wide. For questions regarding ASR’s involvement in this pilot program, please contact the Project & Work Facilitation Team at pwf-team@umn.edu.

Annual financial aid and finance audit

On Monday, May 15, the auditors from Deloitte will commence their annual financial aid and finance audit (also known as the Single Audit and OHE [Office for Higher Education] audit). The auditors will be on-site on the Minneapolis campus for about a week and then return again to campus shortly after fall semester begins. Regina Moran in the Office of Student Finance Fiscal unit is the acting liaison for all auditor questions.

System Registrar Council (SRC) news

April 24-25 SRC in-person meeting summary
The agenda was full at the SRC’s recent in-person meeting hosted on the Twin Cities campus. The group had robust discussions on both policy and procedural matters and benefitted from the expertise of guests from ASR Training and Support, ASR-IT (SR BAs and Student Data & Analytics), Student Degree Progress, and team members from the Transforms pilot.

Transcript vendor RFP
The University of Minnesota currently uses Parchment as its transcript vendor, but this contract will expire in February 2018. We plan to issue an RFP (request for proposal) by the beginning of June as required by Board of Regents policy. Members of ASR and the SRC will be involved with vendor demos once proposals have been received and reviewed. More updates will follow.

System Student Finance Council (SSFC) news

Collection agency contract up for review
The Twin Cities campus issued an RFP for new collection agency contracts for student accounts in January. The RFP team has been reviewing the responses, calling references and scoring all of the results. The contract is expected to be awarded before the end of May.

Nelnet QuikPay pilot
The System Student Financials Council (SSFC) has been informed that Nelnet will be doing a QuikPay release (2017.1), over the next few months. SF-IT will use the results from the pilot to determine the best time for installation of this release. A review of changes from the update will be provided in the future to the SSFC.

System Financial Aid Council (SFAC) news

Department of Education eases verification requirements
As a result of the Direct Retrieval Tool (DRT) being unavailable, the Department of Education has authorized some regulatory relief to make the verification process easier for students. The relief will allow schools to accept a copy of signed tax returns to replace DRT. Students may continue to submit tax transcripts if they are not able to locate a copy of a signed tax return. Additionally, instead of requiring a ‘Statement of Nonfiling,’ schools can accept a signed statement that a tax return was not filed and not required to be filed, a listing of income and a supporting W2 form. Our forms, communications, and business processes have been updated to take advantage of this relief.

Summer awarding
Summer financial aid awarding for all campuses is completed. Award notices were added to the batch schedule on May 11, so students are receiving notices about summer aid.

Restoration of year-round Pell

In early May congressional leaders released a tentative agreement on government spending for federal fiscal year (FY) 2017, which funds award year (AY) 2017-18 and includes the restoration of the year-round Pell Grant and a cut to the Pell Grant program surplus. The agreement includes the restoration of access to an additional Pell Grant award in an award year and maintains the 2017-18 maximum Pell Grant of $5,920.

This agreement must now pass through the House and Senate before heading to President Donald Trump for final passage. In the bill’s accompanying explanatory statement, the Department of Education (ED) is instructed to “implement this provision to maximize flexibility for institutions of higher education and avoid unnecessary administrative burdens while ensuring the best interests of students.” Further, ED is instructed to issue guidance on year-round Pell not later than July 1, 2017. The coming guidance from ED will be critical, as there remain some unanswered questions about the potential interpretation and implementation.

Crookston updates

Crookston welcomes new chancellor
Dr. Holz-Clause was named as the new University of Minnesota Crookston chancellor effective June 30, 2017. Dr. Holz-Clause's appointment was brought forward for final approval at the May 12, 2017 Board of Regents meeting.

Dr. Holz-Clause comes to UMC from California State Polytechnic (Cal Poly) University Pomona, where she has served since 2014 as dean of the Huntley College of Agriculture and a tenured professor in the Department of Agricultural Business Management and Agriculture Science. Before Cal Poly Pomona, Holz-Clause was the vice president for economic development at the University of Connecticut. This position at UMC marks a return to the Midwest for Holz-Clause, who has spent much of her life in Iowa--mostly at Iowa State University in Ames. After earning her BS in agriculture business, a master's in public administration and a PhD in agriculture education and extension, Holz-Clause spent 25 years working at her alma mater.

Class of 2017 commencement
University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler addressed the Class of 2017 during commencement exercises on May 6th. This year's commencement marks the close of a year-long recognition of the 50th anniversary of the campus as an institution of higher education.

Study Minnesota Delegation

University of Minnesota Crookston Director of Admissions Michelle Christopherson was part of the 12 member Study Minnesota Delegation who had a very successful trip to multiple embassies in Washington D.C. during cherry blossom season. The delegation met with high-level diplomats and strengthened relationships with Thailand, Colombia, Mexico, Indonesia and also with Education USA, US Department of State, Partners of the Americas, Senator Amy Klobuchar, and Senator Al Franken. The visits, along with a recent trip to Ukraine, are all a part of international student recruitment efforts.

Duluth updates

UMD Commencement
On Saturday, May 6, 2017 a total of 1,861 undergraduates, 189 graduate students, and 8 doctoral students participated in commencement at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center (DECC). UMD’s Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Fernando Delgado was the ceremony speaker. For the first time students received Military Honor Cords following this protocol: “If you are graduating and are an honorably discharged US veteran, are currently serving in the US military (active duty, National Guard, or Reserves), or will be commissioned upon graduation, you are authorized to wear a Military Honor Cord.”

On-time grades
UMD faculty did a great job of grading. Even with an increase in the total number of grades due over spring 2016, UMD faculty increased their percentage of final grades in by the due date by 1.6% for undergraduate grades and 2.9% for graduate grades. Over 96% of the 43,546 grades were received on time.

Staffing updates

Congratulations to Donna Triebwasser who retired on May 5th from the Office of the Registrar.

Kelly Johnson has left Student Financial Services office as of Friday, May 5th. A search for her replacement will commence shortly.

Morris updates

Morris Commencement
Approximately 370 students received their degrees at UMM's 54th Commencement on May 13. Special guests and speakers included University of Minnesota Regent Peggy Lucas, Ravi Norman '98, Amy Doll-Wohlers '90, Zoey Cook '17, Katherine Ledermann '17, and the Northern Wind Singers.

May/summer terms underway
May session classes began on the May 15. Summer session I begins on May 22. Summer session II begins on June 26.

Minnesota Climate Adaptation Award!
Morris earned a 2017 Minnesota Climate Adaptation Award from the Minnesota Climate Adaptation Partnership (MCAP). The awards are presented in recognition of exceptional achievements in leadership, education, research, policies, and practices that result in development or implementation of climate change adaptation strategies.

Rochester updates

Rochester Commencement
Approximately 108 students received their degrees at UMR's 2017 Commencement ceremony on May 13. Regent Steve Sviggum conferred BSHS and BSHP degrees. Audrey Betcher, director of the Rochester Public Library, served as grand marshal. Speakers included Rachel Olson from the Center for Learning Innovation, Andreah Schouweiler '17, and Elizabeth Richards '17.

Twin Cities updates

New associate director for compliance, scholarships, and athletic aid
On April 10, Michelle Curtis joined the Office of Student Finance as the new associate director for compliance, scholarships, and athletic aid. Michelle comes from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and has extensive experience in a similar role.

One Stop financial wellness counseling expanded
One Stop Student Services is now expanding 1:1 financial wellness counseling by offering appointments at all three Twin Cities locations. Financial wellness appointments have been available at the East Bank and St. Paul locations, and now are offered on the West Bank.