September 17, 2001
New system to ease access to student information
A new campuswide project to streamline access to student information for students,
faculty and staff is under way at UCSC.
The Academic Information System (AIS) project will replace the current Student Information
System. The project, which began an in-depth implementation-planning phase this summer,
will extend over the next four years. Vice Chancellor Francisco Hernandez is project
steward for the effort, which is designed to benefit the entire campus--faculty,
divisions, departments, staff, and students.
AIS will be built upon the Exeter Student Suite, a comprehensive academic information
software system from Sallie Mae Solutions. Based on current technology, this new
system is designed to foster "just in time, just for me" interaction and
is expected to serve as a crucial tool for administrative staff and faculty in their
The system is aimed at meeting students' expectations that they be able to interact
with the university at times and in locations convenient to them. The technical architecture
of AIS will allow use of the World Wide Web to offer many new self- service options
to both students and faculty, easing some of the staff's workload. In addition, the
new and innovative services of AIS will provide staff with a more comprehensive information
To prepare for the work associated with AIS implementation, a team of consultants
from the Exeter Group was assigned to the project.
AIS staff have been working with the Exeter Group--learning about the process methodology,
and reviewing, adjusting and customizing it to ensure a smooth progression at each
step throughout the project. At the same time, the Exeter Group team is becoming
oriented to the UCSC campus and Santa Cruz. Project success requires that they understand
the environment, culture, procedures, and organization of the campus.
The next phase in the project includes cataloging current business processes, followed
by testing the software to identify gaps between the two. Results will then be carefully
analyzed to determine the best approach for the new system.
Current AIS staff includes Mark Cianca, project director; Bonita Sebastian, manager
of training and communication; and Jeremy Tensen, project assistant. The AIS staff
and Exeter Group team are currently based in Hahn 104 (former home of the Career
Center), but will soon relocate to a new space in order to accommodate an expanding
For more information on the progress of the AIS Project, check the project web
site or call Bonita Sebastian at (831) 459-1471.