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Registrar: Online registration ready

The grim reaper is preparing to visit the ACES lady, and this time, a last minute-reprieve won't be coming.

As implementation of the new software that will unify the University's departments continues, administrators expect that students will be able to use the new program to register for the summer and fall semesters, as well as check their personal information online. They had similar expectations for spring 2000, but unexpected delays pushed the debut back.

"The new student information web site should be up and running around mid-March, shortly after spring break," said Bruce Cunningham, University registrar and Student Information Services and Systems project manager. When that occurs, students will be able to register online, check grades, look up their schedules and check other personal information, including financial aid information.

The software, which is manufactured by PeopleSoft, has taken at least one problem-filled year to implement. "It's been a long process to get this thing up and running, and we continue to run into glitches common with any new software as complex as this," Cunningham said.

Lately, however, implementation of the software has been moving more smoothly, thanks to a new customer service approach by PeopleSoft. Many universities criticized the company's efforts, as earlier versions of the software continued to cause glitches that PeopleSoft was not cooperative in fixing.

The company has become much more responsive, Cunningham said, and has begun providing better customer support.

"There has been quite a bit of publicity lately about problems schools have had with the software, but we're actually feeling pretty good about it right now," he said. "We've seen considerable evidence of this new approach over the past six months and have forged a strong partnership with them in order to see this implementation through to a successful completion."

Cunningham isn't the only one with a changed opinion. Robert Kvavik, the provost's chief of staff at the University of Minnesota, expressed dissatisfaction last semester with the PeopleSoft implementation process, but of late has changed his tune.

Last year, Kvavik admitted that he liked the software itself, but said that the implementation required a lot of maneuvering. Now, however, he is exceptionally pleased with the software and particularly with PeopleSoft's increased customer support.

The benefits of the PeopleSoft software have not yet been felt by many of the University's students, staff and faculty, but the software has already begun improving computer systems. Previously, University departments were operating on different software systems, but with the unified program, data is more easily retrieved for institutional reporting, Cunningham said.

By this summer, all University programs will be fully live under PeopleSoft, though many of the old systems will keep running as a precaution.


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