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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


New system hits roadblocks

The 21-day statistics each Arizona university posts aren’t available for the UA — and it’s day 38 and counting.

“”The data is never available on the 21st day, it’s just taken a few more days this year,”” said Rick Kroc, associate vice provost for the Office of Institutional Research and Planning Support. “”This is expected that it would take longer this semester because of the system change so it’s not a big surprise. People need to be a little bit patient and we’re getting there.””

Last semester the UA was transferred to a new system using the program PeopleSoft, which connected all the different systems on campus onto a single one.

“”It is absolutely something we did expect,”” said Hank Childers, director of the Mosaic Project, which is in charge of the switch. “”There really are a number of factors, but the underlying notion is we’re changing things in a relatively short time.””

Childers said the Mosaic team trained about 1,000 different people on campus on using the new system.

“”It takes some time to get used to the way information is presented and in some ways the information is new,”” he added. “”We also have a great deal more information than we had in the past.””

There are 39,099 students enrolled at the UA this semester, according to the 21-day data e-mailed to the Arizona Daily Wildcat by the Office of Institutional Research and Planning Support. That is the highest number of students enrolled at the UA.

Kroc said the new system makes data harder to find and match up, but overall is worth it.

“”Data is restructured so we have to learn where to go and get it but the new system is already showing itself to be superior than the old one,”” Kroc said.

Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University switched to the same system a few years ago.

“”If you were to talk to ASU or NAU, they experienced similar things and it’s actually smoother here,”” Kroc said. “”We learned from our sister institutions.””

The Honors College is waiting for its 21-day report.

“”We’ve sent several requests to them to look into things,”” said Patricia MacCorquodale, Honors College dean.

Officials are also hesitant to release numbers until they are confident they are correct. This year they have had to re-check a number of statistics.

“”For an office like ours, that looks at the number of students, number of national scholars, it’s been slower for us to get up to speed because we have to compare our data to last year and the year before that,”” Kroc said. “”When something doesn’t line up, we have to look at did we get the right numbers or did data actually change?””

For example, there was a significant increase in the number of UA students eligible for the Federal Pell Grant from last year. Officials had to confirm that there was a real increase in the numbers and that they had not pulled different data with the new system and check with the Office of Student Financial Aid before posting.

“”We will only post the ones we’re sure about but we’ll post more when we get more accurate and checked numbers,”” Kroc said.

Childers expects campus officials to be better acquainted with the system and to start running smoothly within 30 days.

“”I don’t see it being longer than that (for a year) … a year from now we’ll be as efficient or more with this new information than we were in the past, and in many cases it will be faster than that,”” Kroc said.

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