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Graduate Student information moving to Banner

by James Pepler

The College of Graduate Studies and Research (CGSR) is having an information overhaul. For years they have been using a “built in house” built database called Graduate Student Information System (GSIS) to store and access student data. This system used an archaic programming language that very few people knew how to work. A change was inevitable and after much deliberation the College decided to switch to Banner rather than build another in-house system. This switch was titled Project Marquee.

There are many advantages for switching to Banner. Dr. Trever Crowe, Associate Dean of CGSR, explains that “Banner has a consistent look already used for undergrad, and could be a smoother transition for the staff to learn.” Regardless of what switch CGSR made, the staff would need to be trained, and the University already has Banner tutorials readily available. Dr. Crowe adds that it makes sense to use a system through which the University has already made significant investments. 

One of the major benefits of using Banner is having access to DegreeWorks as a bolt-on interface application. DegreeWorks is a web-based tool, used by both students and supervisors, which allows the monitoring of a student’s progress toward his/her degree completion. The visibility, security, and organization of student data are all important factors in this tool. “It’s about information,” Dr. Crowe summarizes, “helping students to know what their requirements are, and making sure that if there are any hiccups or challenges that student, supervisors, or departments can address them quickly and properly.” Graduate students will have access to DegreeWorks in early January 2013 through PAWS.

The CGSR is poised to greatly increase its student enrollment in the coming years, and Banner is the system that has the capacity to make it an effective growth period. In the end this is about the students. “The exciting part is that units will be able to make decisions and do what they believe is best for their students and their programs, within the constraints of the College’s policies, and be able to make more timely decisions so that things are more effective and efficient, which makes a better experience for the students.”