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Barton data moving to the cloud
Employer and Education Expo a success

Barton Community College will move data operations now stored on 55 servers into the cloud over the next year. A five-year contract to move the college’s Ellucian/Banner operations to an Ellucian Managed Cloud for $1,938,600 was approved Tuesday at the BCC Board of Trustees meeting.

Michelle Kaiser, assistant dean of information services, said it could take 12 months to complete the migration, although the bulk of the work should be done in three to six months. In the end, it should make the college’s data more secure.

“Banner and the Ellucian products are at the very core of this institution,” Kaiser said in her recommendation to the board of trustees. “It is how we process student enrollments, grades, payroll, manage financial aid, retain students, financials (and) alumni ...” It includes the Enterprise System, which is used by employees and students for mobile-friendly engagement, single sign-on ability to access online courses, enrollments and grades.

Corey Crane, account executive from Ellucian, attended the meeting to answer questions.

“It’s a significant project,” board chairman Mike Johnson said of the move to the cloud. “It’s a significant need.”

Kaiser first broached the topic of a managed cloud service two years ago and did her homework, Barton President Dr. Carl Heilman said. She compared the cost of doing business in the Ellucian Managed Cloud to the cost of doing business today.

For example, Kaiser said it costs $4,000 a year to maintain a server, and Banner takes 55 servers. In addition to the annual cost of about $220,000, every five or six years a server needs to be replaced entirely. “We’re looking at (adding) another 22 servers yet if we don’t go to the cloud,” she said.

“From the financial side it’s pretty much a wash,” Johnson said.

The change will better protect the college from security breaches and unscheduled downtime. It will even reduce the number of air conditioners where servers as housed from three to two, Kaiser predicted.

Education and employment

During a report on strategic planning, Mary Foley and Maggie Tracy spoke briefly about the college’s Education and Employment Expo, held earlier this month in the Case New Holland Shop on campus. It was hosted by BCC Workforce Training and Economic Development.

This first-time event didn’t have the turnout that they hoped for but it did lead to at least one business asking about customized job training, Tracy said. The college also signed up some new students for the welding program and employers offered several job interviews.

There were 22 employers with booths and about 50 people came through. The employers who attended expressed satisfaction with the day and are excited about having another expo next year, Tracy said.

Vice President of Instruction Elaine Simmons said there were other benefits to be reaped from the contacts made. Employers learned about the WorkFit program, a partnership between Barton and Advanced Therapy and Sports Medicine that provides companies with Physical Capacity Profile testing of new employees.

Dr. Vic Martin, who coordinates the college’s agriculture program, said students in the college’s scale technician program were among those at the expo who secured job interviews.

“We have a lot more to offer the business community than they thought we did,” Martin said. He noted there are many job openings in the community that cannot be filled, and yet a vision task force wants to bring new industry here. The college's role in career training is part of the solution. 

Meeting at a glance

Here’s a quick look at Tuesday’s Barton Community College Board of Trustees meeting:

• Vice President of Instruction Elaine Simmons presented a monitoring report of Academic Advancement.

• Dean of Institutional Effectiveness Charles Perkins provided an update on strategic planning.

• Director of Public Relations and Marketing Brandon Steinert provided a marketing review.

• Michelle Kaiser presented information on the Elucian/Banner Cloud proposal, which was approved.

• Joseph Vinduska was hired as a public relations and social media specialist on the Barton County campus.

• An executive session was held for 30 minutes to discuss an individual employee’s (or employees’) performance under the open meetings exclusion for discussing personnel matters. Barton President Dr. Carl Heilman joined the board in the discussion.