The BATTERY Project is a multi-year, multi-million dollar effort to choose and implement a new suite of computer programs that will provide greater access for faculty, staff and students, and improve the operations of the College in areas such as admissions, financial aid, student records, finance and advancement. Learn more about The BATTERY Project.
What's Going On Now
Charging Up Campus Operations with the BATTERY Project
This semester has seen more and more advantages from the new suite of services delivered by the College’s BATTERY Project. Below are just a few of the stories about how people across campus are using the tools made possible by the BATTERY Project to make students more successful, campus operations more efficient and employees’ jobs more straightforward.
What Works? DegreeWorks
Chris Noland, Assistant Registrar for Transfer Credit, Office of the Registrar
Chris Noland has to give credit where credit is due. And, when it comes to transferring academic credits for students, he acknowledges he couldn’t do it without DegreeWorks.
“It is a huge advantage for us, because it makes everything straightforward,” says the assistant registrar for transfer credit. “It makes it very easy to see not only where the transfer credits come in, but how they come in.”
That’s because DegreeWorks’ transfer articulation tools populate Advanced Placement (AP) exam scores, International Baccalaureate (IB) exam scores, College Level Examination Program credits and transferrable courses from other institutions – assessing and applying these credits toward students’ degrees at the College.
“It’s all right there – it makes it easy to see which students qualify for what,” says Noland. “It really helps us strategize and come up with the best possible plan for students.”
Students also benefit from easy access to DegreeWorks: They can log on through MyCharleston and view their pending and awarded transfer credits in a straightforward, easy-to-understand format. It’s a huge improvement over CougarTrail, which was used in the past – and it’s only going to get better.
“It’s constantly changing, so the potential is fluid,” says Noland. “Everything we do is for the students, and we’re going to take every opportunity to make it even more advantageous for them going forward.”
And, for that, the Registrar’s Office gets all the credit.
Feeling Better Sooner with Banner
Dottie Minotti, Office Manager, Student Health Services
The call comes in: “I’m not feeling well.”
Health Services workers spring to action, scheduling appointments and prepping charts for the next day’s visits. Part of that preparation involves making sure students are indeed eligible for care: checking to see that they’re registered for classes and haven’t graduated. To do this, Dottie Minotti turns to Banner. She runs a registration query, quickly learning the student’s status.
“That tells us if we can see them or not,” says the student records data manager. “I really like the system and how it’s organized.”
Besides Banner, Minotti and her colleagues use the Banner Document Management System (BDMS) to scan inactive medical files and store them for later use.
“Emailing from BDMS is a breeze,” says Minotti, who also uses Cognos reports to obtain lists of new students from the Registrar’s Office. “Health Services uses those lists to print labels for students’ charts. The Cognos reports also have other information that can help us provide care for the students.”
Put all these tools together, and the end result is less fuss with computers and more focus on student care. And that makes everyone feel better.
The Vitals on Campus
Bryan Ganaway, Faculty Fellow and Academic Advisor, Honors College
If the Cistern Yard is the heart of campus, then Banner is the backbone directing its everyday operations – at least that’s the way Bryan Ganaway sees it.
“Banner is at the core of everything,” says the faculty fellow and academic advisor for the Honors College. “We use it on a daily basis. Indeed, we could not function without it.”
From admissions to registration to curriculum management to advising and assessment, Banner makes it all easier – and more efficient – for the Honors College.
“I’d have to say that my favorite thing about it is having real-time access so I can solve problems immediately,” says Ganaway, adding that the advantages of more flexible class schedules and more diverse credentialing processes are a great service to students. “Another great advantage is the advising process – it’s more personalized, but it allows students to be more self-sufficient at the same time. It empowers them. It treats them like adults.”
It’s for that reason that Ganaway hopes that faculty continue to embrace the many advantages that Banner has to offer.
“Remember, this kind of cross-purpose platform is only going to be more and more important in the future. So, from a professional standpoint, there’s incentive to get into it,” he says. “Anyone moving up in their career or who has the potential to be a department chair will need to know how to use this. It just seems smart to learn it now so you have the basics down as it continues to develop.”
And that’s the way Bryan Ganaway sees it.
A Roadmap for Campus Resources
Anne McNeal, Director of Student Retention, Office for the Academic Experience
They’re at the wheel for the very first time. In unfamiliar territory. There will be bumps in the road – maybe a few wrong turns. But, as long as the College watches for signals and heeds the warning signs, it can get students back on track before it’s too late.
It can do that with MAP-Works, a comprehensive student-retention and -success program that combines students’ survey responses with their demographic data and grades to identify students in need of support and intervention. Starting with data from Banner Cognos reports, MAP-Works builds a profile for each incoming freshman; then, each of those students completes a transition survey that includes self-efficacy questions about their expectations, behaviors and issues revolving around academics (attendance, study skills, time management, etc.) and personal development (social integration, stress indicators, homesickness, etc.).
“The survey picks up on students who are at social-emotional, academic or financial risk of not being able to stay in school. It’s the most important component to building students’ profiles,” says Anne McNeal, director of student retention in the Office for the Academic Experience, adding that – as midterm grades and semester grades get uploaded and more surveys are answered – the algorithm gets stronger and stronger for each student.
But even as soon as the first survey is complete, MAP-Works can begin doing its job.
“It has immediate feedback to the student, and they can watch a video or a PDF report with their strengths and weaknesses and the resources to help them improve,” says McNeal, noting that faculty and staff connected to the student can also see the student’s profile and intervene or direct them to the appropriate resources. “We have such fabulous resources for students on this campus. Why would you not use them? That’s all it’s doing: encouraging students to take advantage of what we’re already offering them. There are so many ways we can help, but we have to know which students need what kind of help – and they have to know where to go for it.”
All You Have to Do Is Ask
Julie Dahl, Student Records Data Manager, Office of the Registrar
Academic departments at the College have questions. Julie Dahl has answers.
It’s a perfect match, and this harmony is enabled by the many Cognos reports Dahl and her colleagues in the Registrar’s office write whenever they receive a request for student data.
For example, one department might want to know how many declared majors exist this semester. Another might want to know which of its students are cleared for graduation. And yet another might be curious to know which students are failing, whom they need to help get back on track.
Dahl can help them all, drafting up Cognos reports that sift through student data and present the appropriate results efficiently and accurately. Best of all, says the student records data manager, “Cognos is really great about letting us put a prompt on a report.”
By that she means that once a department requests certain data, like which students are eligible for an honors award, they can ask again and again each semester without Dahl having to rewrite the report. In other words, Cognos remembers the original criteria and just applies these parameters to each semester’s new student data.
And, with each of the 300+ reports Dahl and her colleagues have written in the last 18 months, academic departments are getting exactly what they need.