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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Officials to modernize Banner system, streamline user interface

Kaiden Yu | Staff Photographer
Students roam through Kogan Plaza.

GW will expand its partnership with Virginia software company Ellucian to update digital systems for students and employees.

Officials launched the project last month and will use Ellucian’s Banner Software as a service platform to provide a “modern and intuitive user experience” for many of the University’s digital systems, according to an Ellucian release. The Banner system already supports 30 percent of GW’s infrastructure in addition to the University’s internal human resources administrative platform.

Deputy Chief Information Officer Anna Vakulick said the Banner SaaS platform will automate some human resources, payroll, enrollment, admissions, advising and financial functions to adapt to the University’s changing needs. She said implementation will include streamlining processes like exempting a student from a course and inputting grades for Banner and Blackboard.

Vakulick added that the modernization of GW’s Banner systems will reduce 96 percent of the software’s carbon footprint. She declined to comment on how much officials are paying for Ellucian services.

“Modernizing our student information and human resource system (GWeb) is a university-wide initiative offering significant advantages in efficiency while simplifying and transforming the faculty, staff, and student experience,” Vakulick said in an email.

Ellucian President and CEO Laura Ipsen said in a release that Ellucian will promote cross-department collaboration and help officials achieve University goals.

Mike Wulff, the chief product and technology officer for Ellucian, said GW has enlisted Ellucian’s services since the 1990s for Banner HR, Degree Works — also known within GW as DegreeMAP — and Banner Finance.

“We are extremely proud of our partnership with GW and look forward to supporting its students, faculty and staff long into the future,” Wulff said in an email.

An Ellucian spokesperson said Banner SaaS allows universities to create a “central hub” to oversee grades, admissions, finances and schedules. They said the software also consolidates financial budgeting, accounts payable and reporting into one hub and automates some processes for financial aid offices.

The spokesperson said Banner SaaS’ consolidation and automation of University processes will decrease IT maintenance costs and allow more time for IT staff to focus on other tasks.

“Ellucian’s complete suite of SaaS solutions helps institutions manage the end-to-end student lifecycle — from recruiting and enrollment to student success to alumni advancement — integrating data across applications to ensure better insight and decision-making for all constituents while delivering a modern experience for students, faculty and staff,” the spokesperson said in an email.

An 11-member “stakeholder committee” of administrators began holding a series of “campus engagement” events related to the expanded use of Banner in January, meeting with 14 groups on campus so far to explain the rollout, according to the GW Information Technology website. Groups included the GW Staff Council, the Faculty Affairs team, human resources leadership, the Office of the Registrar and undergraduate advisers.

The rollout is expected to take between 12 and 18 months, according to the GW IT website.

A GW IT presentation in March stated the Banner expansion will address the need for a modernization of old digital systems, threats to digital security and user frustration with current digital interfaces. The expanded partnership will facilitate the creation of personalized dashboards for students, condensing information on classes, financial aid and advising, which normally appear throughout the GWeb system, according to the presentation.

Faculty and staff dashboards will feature information on benefits and task lists. University community members can also view their dashboard in multiple languages, according to the presentation.

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