Regents creating SD student database

Justin R. Lessman

Justin R. Lessman

The South Dakota Board of Regents is creating a massive information database that will electronically link the state’s six universities and simplify information sharing among students, faculty and alumni.

The South Dakota University System STUDENT (Student University Digital Enterprise) Program was initiated just last spring, an SDSU official said last week.

Edward Hogan, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Chief Information Technology Officer, said the program is complex.

“It is an all-inclusive information technology system. The program will provide on-line access for student service information,” he said.

“Information will be accessible for the life of the student, from admission to alumni status. The ultimate goal is to make things more user-friendly for the student.”

Information will include university catalogs, faculty information, student records and admission information.

A main feature of the program will be the accessibility of student transcripts, Hogan said.

The BOR’s program proposal package says the STUDENT Program was created as “an integrated statewide response to student-centered needs.”

The BOR formed teams among the six universities to assist in the program’s creation.

SDSU’s team consists of President Peggy Miller, Hogan, and Ranny Jones, who serves as SDSU’s Campus Project Manager and the university’s prototype design team representative.

In its program proposal, the BOR outlined job responsibilities for each team member.

Miller will check program progress and host monthly meetings with the BOR, senior university staff and the project team.

Jones’ will build the model and share information.

Hogan said creating the program is challenging.

“It’s true that individual questions still need to be addressed on each of the six campuses,” he said. “Things need to become universal with the whole system.”

One of the problems with university uniformity lies within the grading system. Some of the state institutions use the plus and minus scale, while others, including SDSU, do not.

“The Program may require us (SDSU) to change the way we do some things,” Hogan said. “But, when it is done, the South Dakota University System will have a student information system that is superior to any one around.”

Hogan said the fact that the program is just being developed presents a unique opportunity for future users of the system to give input to the BOR and the campus teams.

“Nothing is carved in stone, yet,” he said. “Students and faculty are welcome to call with suggestions, ideas, questions.”

The BOR and campus planning teams hope to have a system prototype set up by January 2003. The estimated final completion date is October 2003.