Banner system met with approval, despite complications

by Beacon Staff • September 23, 2009

Emerson students were given one more thing to memorize this semester when the college integrated the Banner system, a step that was necessary in order to replace the college's 20-year-old administrative systems, said Vice-President of Information

and Technology William Gilligan.,That author's birth date and death. The combination to your Piano Row mail lock. Now, a new student ID number.

Emerson students were given one more thing to memorize this semester when the college integrated the Banner system, a step that was necessary in order to replace the college's 20-year-old administrative systems, said Vice-President of Information

and Technology William Gilligan.

Banner is an administrative suite that lets students add and drop classes, register their hours for payroll and make financial payments to the school. It runs many applications from a single database and is used at both small and large schools.

Other features of the program include giving students access to an unofficial transcript, allowing address changes, and the ability to look up grades and holds.

Some students feel that more information on the program before the system switch would have been helpful, and said they think that the system has too many problems, like going down unexpectedly. Junior Arielle Waldman said she has mixed feelings about Banner, especially with getting a new ID to remember.

"I never memorized my old one, and now it's 10 numbers long," said the writing, literature and publishing major. The old student ID numbers were six numbers. "I think it's frustrating for the freshmen. And when I did my registration, it froze."

Before the new program, students relied on Interactive Services and eCampus or were forced to schedule appointments with the student services department or department

heads in order to accomplish these tasks. Banner consolidates these administrative

sections onto one website so students

can access all of them at the same time and complete them electronically rather than waiting days or weeks to meet with someone.

Junior Sarah Ginsberg said Emerson didn't necessarily need a new system.

"It's a hassle to change over," said the film production major. "The new websites like eCommon are getting to be confusing."

But the majority of students seem to feel that every changeover has its inconveniences and that Banner is worth it, making tasks such as signing up for classes and paying their bills much easier.

Sophomore D.J. Switz transferred from Hofstra University this year and said he is already used to the system from his old school.

"I like it," the marketing communication

major said. "I don't have to schedule meetings and stuff."

Senior Bridget Ford agreed.

"I've had no trouble," said the visual media arts major."I can do my schedule and my timesheets."

Emerson signed a contract with Sungard, Banner's creator, during the summer of 2007, and the program first made its appearance at Emerson two years ago when the Banner finance system was launched online. It was followed within the last year by the student module, the section which allows students to register for classes and make payments to the school. This summer brought the advancement module, which controls alumni information and development, and the human resources module, which organizes human resources and payroll for students.

Gilligan said he felt the transition went smoothly.

"I am happy to say there were no major problems," he said. "A very talented team... [who] worked long hours over many months to make it as smooth a transition as the Banner consultants had ever seen."

Gilligan has heard little from students and is taking that as a good sign.

"There hasn't been much student feedback," he said. "I think that is a sign that things are working as planned."