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Administrators Approve Creation of Centralized Student Information System

By Michelle Denise L. Ferreol, Crimson Staff Writer

University administrators officially approved the creation of a centralized Student Information System, which will allow students from across 12 Harvard schools to complete tasks ranging from submitting study cards to handling billing payments, all on one online platform.

According to Faculty of Arts and Sciences Registrar Michael P. Burke, the project was presented before University leadership last May, at which point administrators officially green-lighted the development of the new platform.

Burke predicted the potential for visible progress on the system by the end of the fall semester, but said that the process would take years to complete due to the complexity of the system.

“You’re not just creating a mobile app with one or two functions; you’re creating a sophisticated system that does hundreds of functions and abides by federal regulations while meeting the needs of all the schools,” Burke said.

Besides study cards and billing, students will also be able to access their advising portal on the system, while professors will be able to submit grades. Several other functionalities meeting the individual needs of each school will also be added.

“The system will have a customized user experience for students,” Burke said.

The project was first proposed by the FAS Registrar’s office in 2011, and official approval for the creation of this system followed the year-long work of a steering committee, which presented the final proposal to administrators this past April. The committee was comprised of deans and faculty, and was co-chaired by Burke and Anne H. Margulies, University Chief Information Officer.

Burke said that members of the steering committee attended several meetings with administrators from the participating Harvard schools to ensure the adaptability and efficacy of the platform. From this point forward, software engineer company Oracle will oversee system creation, while a University-wide working group composed partly of HUIT staff will be created to support the platform.

The creation of the SIS is one among several University-led measures working towards “One Harvard,” a theme which has been central to University President Drew G. Faust’s administrative goals.

“There are two main reasons for this system,” Burke said. “First, we’re at the point where our current Student Information System is out-of-date and we have to replace it. Second, the University values that we don’t have to do this separately. It feeds into the idea of ‘One Harvard.’”

—Staff writer Michelle Denise L. Ferreol can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @michiferreol.

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