The Information Services(IS) department offers a broad array of support services to all units of the university and to external bodies as necessary. Its primary purpose is to facilitate the collection, analysis and interpretation of institutional data, to provide business process support, and to enable project management practices to support planning, decision-making and achievement of key university objectives.
To accomplish these goals, the department focuses on understanding the needs of various UWS stakeholders. Efforts to facilitate process improvement may include increasing data accessibility to permit data-driven decision-making, designing streamlined workflows for efficiency, sharing industry best practices or supporting projects related to key university objectives.
The IS department is also highly motivated to reduce staff frustrations and increase workplace satisfaction for UWS faculty and staff. These efforts require cross-departmental collaboration and focus on our shared responsibility to strive for continuous improvement.
The IS team is led by Chief Information Officer, Dr. Rebekah Anderson, and includes:
- Jessie Mason, Senior Business Analyst
- Paula Funatake, Business Analyst
- Chelea Holdt, Business Analyst
- Nichole Rip, Data Architect
- Kristin Browne, Project Manager
Between them, this department has extensive experience in quality assurance, change management, and software development as well as:
- 53 years in project management
- 48 years in business analysis
- 40 years in data development and support
- 26 years in higher education
Business Process Support
Business process support can help teams maximize efficiency and save departmental resources. To begin, IS consults with the departments involved to develop a detailed understanding of their operational workflows, technical requirements and business needs. Together we implement improvement strategies or facilitate improvements to known frustration points to help staff and faculty achieve their goals.
Business process support also includes assistance with the collection of standard operating procedures (SOPs), vendor selection and compliance analysis (e.g. for HIPPA, FERPA, security, accreditation).
Data Integrity and Governance
What is project management?
Project management (PM) is a methodical approach to guiding projects from initiation to close. Projects, as opposed to operational procedures, are temporary efforts that produce well-defined, specific outcomes.
The IS department is implementing PM practices to support greater success in achievement of organizational goals. These successes may arise in the form of increased community satisfaction, decreased costs and energy expenditures, as well as improved project completion rates. While PM practices require adherence to standardized practices and documentation, the planning efforts and targeted focus decrease the risk of projects going over budget or extending past the intended date of completion. These benefits translate into greater organizational effectiveness and bring a competitive advantage to UWS.
Examples of projects include, but are not limited to, automating existing processes, integrating software or implementing new products.
To submit a project request, complete the IS project request form.
With finite IS resources, it is crucial that projects with the highest institutional impact are selected from the long list of potential initiatives. As part of the initial organizational efforts, in fall 2016, a list of projects was compiled from a variety of campus constituents. From more than eighty projects, the ten most impactful items were selected based on strategic and operational importance. A subset of the factors assessed to rank projects includes: potential time and cost savings, regulatory compliance and institutional risk, fulfillment of accreditation standards, estimates of effort required and alignment with the UWS core themes and strategic plan.
For future projects, the first step of the intake process is the IS project request form. Staff and faculty submitting project ideas should complete the form as thoroughly as possible. Included in this form are a variety of questions designed to identify the estimated impact the project would have on the campus community and how it relates to key institutional goals.
After a form is submitted, the project undergoes initial review by the IS team. Project proposals are then created for the executive team to review. Multiple outcomes are possible following the executive team’s review: the project may not be approved, may be approved but placed on indefinite deferral, may have judgement postponed until further information is gathered, or may be moved immediately into the next stage, which would be the development of a project charter. These steps are summarized in the chart below.
Click chart to enlarge
Subset of active projects as of fall 2016:
- eMedley implementation
- Start of term account management process
- Dual enrollment PowerCampus transcript customization
Next projects in queue:
- 1098T report update and PowerCampus upgrade
- Current student lists
- NSLDS upload file
- Strategic plan support software
Subset of projects completed in summer and fall 2016:
- Pardot implementation (communication automation software)
- TIPS implementation (incident reporting platform)
- Enrollment Rx implementation (customer relationship management (CRM) platform)