Software purchases at Barton Community College used to represent major expenses requiring the approval of the Board of Trustees. Nowadays, the cost of software has come down, but implementation can be time-consuming and expensive, said Charles Perkins, dean of institutional effectiveness.
Corporations and higher learning institutions rely on Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems to address every aspect of information management. At Barton, the Banner ERP by Ellucian has been in place for several years. Now multiple departments are involved in upgrading Banner from version 8 to version 9, Perkins told trustees last Tuesday.
Employees must enter everything from employee job descriptions and policies to student addresses into databases. While the initial task can be tedious, the end result is a streamlined, secure and responsive organization.
At this time there are 18 projects related to planning, record keeping and other aspects of running the college, Perkins said. The Banner upgrade is one. The president’s office monitors the projects on a white board that lists the activities and people implementing them.
For example, there may be many ways to write a student’s address, but an integrated program called “CLEAN_Address” verifies, corrects and standardizes postal addresses within the Banner system. Angie Maddy, dean of students services, and Michelle Kaiser, dean of information services, are leading that project.
It isn’t all about software. Dean of Administration Mark Dean leads the Clery Act Compliance Team, documenting compliance with this federal campus security act. BCC must keep and disclose information about crime on and near its campuses. Compliance is monitored by the U.S. Department of Education, which can impose civil penalties up to $35,000 per violation and can suspend institutions from participating in federal student financial aid programs.
Maddy is in charge of implementing Maxient Conduct Manager to track all things related to student conduct and well-being: student discipline, academic integrity, care and concern records, and Title IX matters. Information helps identify students in distress and coordinate the efforts of various departments to provide follow-up.
Enrollment Rx customer relations management software helps with enrollment management, marketing, recruitment and admissions. Another program tracks academic advising, transfer articulation and degree audits to help students graduate on time. Yet another project, Campus Logic, drives down the cost of financial aid administration, increases accessibility and reduces students borrowing.
Amazon Web Services, along with Microsoft Office 365 and Sharepoint, are used to store data to the Cloud. Staff can store, access and share documents that can be accessed anywhere, across many devices. Website www.bartonccc.edu uses the Amazon Web Services, said Brandon Steinert, director of public relations and marketing.
Perkins noted that having data “in the Cloud” reduces the number of servers on campus. Running and cooling servers uses a lot of electricity, so removing data storage on-site cuts energy bills and adds a secure backup.
Associate Dean of Distance Learning Claudia Mather said BioSig-ID software provides biometric identification verification used to authenticate a user’s identity when attending a class or taking a test online. The software was purchased, now instructors must learn how to use it.
Barton President Dr. Carl Heilman said only 2 percent of BCC courses are assisted with Bio-Sig technology, but it will become more prevalent in the next five years. “It’s a necessary tool.”
“The students have quite an array of technology for cheating,” Perkins commented. Colleges need even better technology to ensure academic integrity.
Barton Mobile Applications and Beacons have several uses for communicating this students via digital devices, Kaiser said. For example, smartphones listen for signals from beacons, so someone entering the gym may be alerted to a special offer at the concession stand.
“These projects represent greater efficiency,” Heilman said.