Meeting the progressive needs of our students in an ever-changing technological environment is one of Cal Poly Pomona?s most significant and important challenges. The need for an automated pre-requisite checking and degree audit system has been clearly and consistently communicated by the campus for a number of years.
After reviewing a number of degree audit models, Cal Poly Pomona selected the Degree Audit and Reporting System (DARS) of Miami University in fall 1998 to systematically assess a student?s progress toward a degree as well as evaluate a student?s transfer credits. At that time, Banner was expected to continue as our student system and discussions of PeopleSoft had not yet begun.
Following the system-wide CMS directive to convert to PeopleSoft, our campus originally targeted fall 2006 for implementation of PeopleSoft Student Administration (SA). However, recognizing a need to be more proactive, the campus decided last August to move forward with PeopleSoft SA for fall 2004, approximately two years before originally scheduled. Because the degree audit/pre-requisite checking module in PeopleSoft (PeopleSoft Advising) did not provide the functionality our campus required, a decision was made to continue the development of DARS for the degree audit/pre-requisite functions.
Two significant changes have taken place to make us reconsider this direction. First, recent upgrades to PeopleSoft Advising have provided the functionality that was missing previously. Based on feedback from other CSU campuses, PeopleSoft has significantly improved the module to include functionality comparable to products such as DARS. The result is that many CSU campuses (e.g., Fresno, Sonoma, Long Beach, San Jose) have changed their direction and are implementing PeopleSoft Advising.
Second, the CMS Executive Committee has recently updated the list of core functionality for Human Resources, Finance and Student Administrative systems, defined as the minimum implementation for campuses to comply with the CMS project mandate. The PeopleSoft Advising module is now considered core functionality, and Cal Poly Pomona will be required to implement PeopleSoft Advising before 2006. To meet this deadline, the university will need to begin implementation of this module no later than mid to late 2004, allowing approximately 18 months for implementation.
Because DARS implementation overlaps with that of PeopleSoft, we are now faced with defining the best way to direct our limited resources. In a budget climate that will provide significant challenges for the CSU over the next few years, it is essential that we make sure our students, faculty and staff are provided with a system that will provide long-term stability. Therefore, a decision has been made to focus our efforts on supporting and implementing the PeopleSoft Advising module. Support for checking prerequisites, including those satisfied by course transfers, will be included within the development of PeopleSoft.
While we would have preferred to have the degree audit system already in place, it is better to focus our efforts towards developing a system that can carry us into the years that come. The work that has been done to implement DARS has laid a strong foundation for us to move ahead with PeopleSoft in a timely fashion. We are working aggressively on a proposed timeline that we will share with the campus as soon as we have completed it.
Tomás D. Morales