University Information

Systems Project


Winter 2006


Links to Stories:


Visions of the Future


University Information Systems Project


Blackboard Goes Enterprise


Killin’ That Spam


Website Redesign Update


News Bytes from the Wilds of Technyland


Assess Yourself


Announcing SurveyGold


Good Computing Habits


Kim’s Column—Just What Is UCS?


Editor-in-Chief: Kim Tracy, Executive Director of University Computing


Managing Editor: Anna Brown, Computer Literacy Training Coordinator


Special Thanks to:

Tony Pina, Center for Teaching and Learning, for the update on Blackboard.


Please send all comments, questions, and exclamations to

The University Information Systems project will impact almost everyone at the University. In particular, it will impact every faculty member, staff member, and student of NEIU. How will it impact us? For students it will provide online registration, access to information, and the ability to perform many of their administrative actions online. Faculty will submit grades online, obtain class lists, and more. Staff will also begin performing most administrative work online, such as purchase order processing and accessing human resources information. While these changes will happen over time, the cumulative impact on how we carry out our day-to-day activities will be significant.


Once we have completed the current phase of the project, selecting a particular product to use as the basis for our system, we will begin the implementation phase. Implementation implies configuring the system to meet our needs. This process, which will happen in phases over the next two years or more, requires that we make choices about how we wish to run NEIU. While the systems themselves are based on best practices and what the vendors have learned from previous customers, we still have to choose which of those practices best fit us. We do not intend to do any core modifications to the base product itself; rather, we will do our best to gradually adapt our business processes to the system. We are currently actively considering two products as the foundation for our new system. These are Sungard/SCT’s Banner suite and Oracle’s PeopleSoft suite. As of this writing, we have not made a final selection of a product and both seem to have appropriate functionality to be reasonable matches to what we need. Many folks from across NEIU have been involved in the planning and evaluation activities up to this point. Key among these activities was reference checking, which included site visits and phone calls to other universities using these two products. We’ve learned a great deal about how other schools use these products as well as things to watch out for in the implementation phase.

In particular, we learned that our thorough planning and inclusive approach was affirmed by almost everyone we spoke to about it. We also learned that it is critical to carefully pay attention to the changes that will be made to both the way we do our work and the way the system is configured.


The next steps for this project are to select the finalist vendor (using the criteria laid out at the time the Request for Proposal was issued) and then negotiate a contract favorable to NEIU. Once that process is complete, we expect to quickly begin implementing the chosen product.