On November 15th, I completed 9 years at the College. It has been an enjoyable ride and the time has gone by a little too fast. We have accomplished a lot and we could not have done it without the dedicated and hard working team that we have! The list of Annual Reports is a good list to look back at the progression and if you haven’t looked at the 2019 one, please do so here. One of the major effort for the past 3 1/2 years has been Workday and now that we have completed the initial phases of Human Resources, Financials and Student, we will be concentrating on the post production work, which seems like a very different mode than the period when we were implementing. There are still a lot of things to do, but the pace is different.
Talking about Workday Student, I wrote about our First Year registration earlier, but the real test was going to be the time when all four class years register. They did it in November and by all counts, it was successful.
We had advised the students to follow a specific path for successful registration in Workday. That is to create a single set of sections to register in, called a Saved Schedule, and tabs where they have selected the alternates, ready to click on when the results of the Saved Schedule registration came back. That is, if they got into all classes in saved schedule, they are done. If not, they can go to one of the tabs depending on the result and try to get into other classes. The process to register is simpler than the previous methodology which the students appreciated. Workday like tools provide a fair amount of data about the process that helped us proactively reach out to any students prior to registration who had not prepared for a good registration experience and help them be ready. We also could monitor the progress as registration happened. All indicators were good.
This article in Wellesley News captures the responses from students. I should point out that some statements in the article are incomplete (especially reference to the reasons why we moved from Banner to Workday) and were taken from an interview a couple of years back. But a large percentage of respondents liked the new registration system!
We also took the steps to use some features that we have never dared to implement before. One was prerequisites. Several departments participated in a pilot and we coded the prerequisites for those sections. They are called eligibility rules and can be both simple or pretty complicated. Workday tries to show the rule in plain English also. As always, when you do it for the first time, you miss a few things. However, the planning stage of preparing the Saved Schedules actually helps find any of these issues and correct them quickly. Saved Schedules flag for the routine things such as time conflicts or whether a student is eligible to register in a section or not.
Some students who wanted to register for an Econ course had the prerequisite but were marked as ineligible. This is because they satisfied the requirement by having a particular score in International Baccalaureate test whereas we had not loaded the results of those tests in Workday initially. Thankfully, we got to know about it early enough to be able to load the scores and inform the affected students to try again.
We also implemented reserved seats. Faculty wanted to reserve seats in their classes based on different criteria, but mostly based on students from different class years. So, one may want 50% seniors and 25% juniors and 25% sophomores, for example. We implemented this also successfully and had a view of how this is working through the audit history that shows why a particular student didn’t succeed in their attempt to register and the reason. If there were 7 seats allocated for seniors and during senior registration day the 8th student attempting onwards will not be able to register and now we have this information at a level of detail that was not available before.
While all of these are going on, the staff in Library Collections have been busy looking at alternatives to institutional repositories. We have also successfully negotiated a different subscription model with Elsevier and you will hear more from me later.
One of the things that the Advisor Committee on Library and Technology Services is discussing is how best to develop an institutional framework for Digital Literacy. LTS Staff are already doing a lot in this area, but they need to come under an institutional umbrella to be more visible to all students. I believe LTS Staff have been invited to over 400 teaching sessions in credit bearing classes to talk about topics that fall under digital literacy – from reliable searches to digital humanities to makerspace projects. Talking about Makerspace and Virtual Reality, they are hopping!
And so are our Special Collections and Archives. Reliance on these resources for teaching and research continues to grow and it is amazing to hear how the community is using these resources.
We are also researching a new telephone system because the current one is old and we have a couple of years left before it will no longer be supported. And another group is working hard on implementing a new advancement system!
Everything we do is all collaborative and Workday Student could not have been completed without the strong collaboration between LTS, the Registrar’s Office, Student Financials and Student Life. Similarly, Advancement system is a strong collaboration between LTS, Development office and the Alumnae Association. And there is plenty of collaboration between Library Collections, Research and Instructional Support and faculty members.
So, as always, there is a lot going on and excitement continues… On to the next year 🙂