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Informs and engages the UNB community on IT developments and news

Management Briefing - Online Application Project Completed

Author: ITS

Posted on Aug 8, 2014

Category: Management Briefings

Management Briefing – Online Admissions system fully deployed August 8, 2014 – ITS is very pleased and proud to advise the community that the Online Admissions (OA) system has been fully deployed throughout GAUs and undergraduate programs across the university. OA allows prospective students to apply for admission to UNB using a state‐of‐the‐art, web‐based service that dramatically speeds up the process by placing all the necessary information, requirements, tools, and notifications in one place. Prospective students who apply and the faculty and staff who review and process applications have a much more efficient and satisfactory experience carrying out this vital task. OA is the culmination of several years of ITS development, consultation, and collaboration with all academic units, Registrars, and other stakeholders. Background Prior to the launch of OA, faculty, staff and prospective students were faced with daunting manual processes, experienced slow progress in the application cycle, and coped with delays in related correspondence and notifications. Application processing was necessarily labor‐intensive, and greatly impacted by workflow variations within the various GAUs. And, of course, all data had to be added to, extracted from, or updated within, UNB’s core enterprise computing system, Colleague. To alleviate the pain, ITS partnered with Graduate Studies in 2009 to seek out a software application to automate some or all of the application process. Unfortunately no commercial product could meet the university’s needs; a false start with a potential service, an exhaustive review of the market, and consultation with colleagues at other universities, led to the conclusion that we would have to develop our own solution to this vexing situation. Development and rollout Once it had been decided to build rather than buy, development of the OA system proceeded quickly, distinguished by a remarkably close and collegial relationship between ITS and external stakeholders. The MBA program in Fredericton was the first to use the new system, going live in June 2010. Since then, all GAUs have been added, one at a time, ensuring the necessarily unique requirements and workflows of each unit is met. The final GAUs to be added, Earth Sciences and Physics, were completed in June of this year (ahead of schedule, incidentally). The undergraduate service went live in October 2011, and was an instant success; OA for undergrads, both domestic and international, was enhanced with features such as status indicators showing required documentation received, including official transcripts, English language test scores, etc. The undergrad version also runs auto‐assessments of high‐school admissions applications through pre‐defined rules and requirements, and dynamically generates printed admission letters and email communications. The Law Faculty has long had its own automated admissions system (also run in collaboration with ITS), and was not included in this round of implementations. However, with the success of OA as a feature‐rich, proven system, Law will be migrating soon. CEL will also deploy the system for non‐credit courses. Finally, Graduate Studies would like to extend many of the features of the undergrad version to the GAUs, automating even more of the myriad application process elements. Delivering strategic value OA has vastly improved student experience at UNB—a once‐daunting process has become much less stressful and onerous. The university itself is better for having eliminated or reduced manual (i.e. expensive) processes, and making crucial data far easier to access and analyze. Finally, the incalculable benefits of having so many stakeholders work together on a common project in collaboration with ITS are still being realized, and will continue to be enjoyed for years to come.

Terry Nikkel, AVP, ITS