Faculty Senate approves study of SIS systems, calls for improved reporting of problems

By Daniel J. Fitzgibbons

Computing issues topped the Faculty Senate agenda Sept. 23 as senators called for improvements in reporting problems associated with student information systems (SIS) and endorsed the creation of an ad hoc committee to study alternative SIS systems.

The votes came in the wake of problems that shut down the SPIRE registration system during the add-drop period at the beginning of the semester. SPIRE is part of the PeopleSoft SIS module used by the campus.

John Dubach, the campus’s chief information officer, said the Office of Information Technologies already employs a “trouble-ticket” system for reporting problems, but acknowledged that some improvements could be made to communicate information about difficulties to faculty and appropriate departments, such as the Registrar’s Office.

The ad hoc study committee will be charged with exploring the success of other SIS systems at sister institutions to provide the senate with comparative data for evaluating PeopleSoft, according to Steven Brewer, chair of the University Computer and Electronic Communications Committee.

The administration’s response to the study will depend on the results, said Chancellor John V. Lombardi, who noted that the range of SIS-related services vary greatly between institutions. “There’s nothing wrong with studying the issue,” he said.