In mid-August, Enterprise Applications worked with the College of Arts and Sciences, The Graduate School and several other groups across campus to launch the Graduate Student Hub.
Before the Hub, each graduate program had its own way of tracking its graduate students’ information, from Excel spreadsheets to physical file cabinets.
“Part of what kicked this project off was when one of our department’s own internal graduate student databases got corrupted and was no longer usable. They reached out to us in a panic to see if we could fix it,” said Andy Lang, Associate Dean of IT and Analytics for the Office of Arts and Sciences Information Services, also known as OASIS.
OASIS began wondering if other departments across the College had similar problems and, sure enough, Lang soon received requests from other departments asking for easier ways to access graduate student information.
“That’s how this idea got started. Administrators in our departments wanted a better way to track significant information and to have it all in one place,” Lang said.
Enterprise Applications’ role
The Graduate Student Hub project began in late 2017.
“We did six months of data gathering and designing, then went to The Graduate School and said, ‘We’re interested in building something that tracks graduate students’ information,’” Lang said.
This led to the partnership between the College, The Graduate School and Maribel Carrion and Julie Dockens of Enterprise Applications to advance the project. Enterprise Applications began building out the project in ConnectCarolina and got the Gillings School of Global Public Health and the School of Education on board to participate.
“Enterprise Applications did the development support of the system, helped design and manage the project, and brought it up to production,” Carrion said.
The immediate impact
The Graduate Student Hub is now live for all graduate programs at the University. The Hub stores student profile information, degree progress, achievements, courses taken, courses taught, funding and alumni information.
“When making this centralized location for graduate student information, we wanted to make sure it included all graduate programs and not just the College of Arts and Sciences,” said Stephanie Schmitt, Associate Dean for Academics in The Graduate School.
In addition to making sure that University staff has access to all current graduate student data in a single place, the Graduate Student Hub advances the University’s Carolina Next strategic plan to strengthen student success and optimize operations.
“The Hub brings transparency and consistency of data, which will be good for students,” Carrion said.
Building out over time
If the Hub continues running smoothly for The Graduate School, groups across campus are considering using it to manage undergraduate student data.
“We have lots of other ideas for later phases. This is just the start of the core. Hopefully, we’ll continue to build it out over time and add more types of users,” Schmitt said.
“We got it right by tackling this now, and we’re going to discover things to be added as we go along,” Lang said. “It’s a tool with solid core functionality that can be built upon, and that is a great thing.”