UC Berkeley creating new Student Information System

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Lorenz Angelo Gonzales/Staff

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UC Berkeley is creating a Student Information System that will replace Tele-BEARS and other online systems by consolidating admissions, enrollment, financial aid, student accounts and advising.

The project started in August and is still in its beginning stages. Most recently, the campus hired the company Oracle in June to provide the software for the new system and is in negotiations with a consulting firm that will provide support in implementing the system across campus; the implementation will be completed in January 2017.

“Our core systems today are more than 30 years old, and maintaining services on such old technology platforms is becoming increasingly difficult,” said Caryl Miller, communications manager at the SIS Replacement Project.

The campus held demonstrations to explore different kinds of software in March and confirmed its contracts with vendors in June.

“Today, students need to log into multiple systems to check course schedules, register for classes, get financial aid or scholarship information and pay their bills,” Miller said. “The new Student Information System will eliminate most of these challenges by integrating different systems, providing easy-to-use, web-based and mobile access to the system and delivering real-time information.”

The campus is encouraging feedback from students and faculty in its preliminary stages of development, using an online survey tool that gathered responses from 596 students, faculty and staff last fall, according to the SIS website. The project has also conducted 40 interviews with the campus community.

“The main enrollment system is really old, and frequently you’re fighting to get into your appointment slot,” said Skyler Rojas, who represents the Student Technology Council at UC Berkeley on the SIS Leadership Group, along with three other student representatives from the ASUC and Graduate Assembly. “If you try too much, you might overload the system.”

While students have for the most part agreed on a desire to replace Tele-BEARS, some are divided over exactly how the new system should work.

“I’m much more concerned about SIS because they’re using Oracle PeopleSoft Campus Solutions,” said incoming freshman Domenic Bottini in a Facebook comment. “Now that is outdated. It’s fickle and looks like it belongs on Windows XP.”

Rojas, who has been working alongside administrators on the project, said while the user interface of the Oracle system is “outdated” as it currently exists, the nature of the system allows for customization and will be streamlined before its final iteration in 2017.

Contact Madeleine Pauker at [email protected].