ITS Enterprise Applications has helped UNC Global’s International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) office roll out a new immigration case management software to allow for electronic streamlined processing and enhance user experience and compliance.
In November, Enterprise Applications and ISSS switched the University over to Sunapsis as the new system of record for this University-sponsored immigration information. ISSS initiated talks to procure the system in November 2021 based on feedback on the product from peer institutions.
Consolidated to one system
Before implementing Sunapsis, ISSS used two separate systems to manage information for international students, scholars, and faculty: ConnectCarolina for international students and International Student and Scholar Management (ISSM) for international scholars and faculty.
Sunapsis allows for University-sponsored immigration information to be captured in one system and contains data, documents and reporting in one space. It also sends information to ConnectCarolina, which is the University’s system of record for finance, human resources and student information for business processes and record keeping.
Sunapsis also interfaces with the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). That’s the database that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security uses to track the arrival, enrollment and departure of international students and scholars sponsored under the University’s J and F programs.
To maintain valid immigration status in the United States, all UNC-Chapel Hill international students, scholars, faculty and hosting units must follow reporting requirements. When new international students are admitted, they will enter information and documents necessary for processing and meeting reporting requirements into Sunapsis. When hosting units extend a job offer or visiting scholar appointment to an international scholar who requires University sponsorship, they will initiate an electronic request in Sunapsis. International scholars are also prompted to enter information and documents into Sunapsis necessary for processing. Additionally, faculty mentors and hosting unit heads are able to enter information and review and approve requests.
The system is being rolled out in phases, beginning with international student related requests and J-1 Exchange Visitor requests in early November 2022. Future phases will include H-1B and other employment-based requests. ISSS conducted a J-1 Requests Pilot in the Fall, which included participants from the School of Medicine, College of Arts and Sciences, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research, and School of Social Work. Pilot participants submitted test J-1 initial and update requests and provided feedback. ISSS incorporated most of the feedback into the new process.
Enables better reporting
Switching to Sunapsis enables the University to streamline processes and create efficiencies, fulfilling Carolina’s strategic plan to optimize operations.
This tool “provided ISSS with the capability to develop electronic forms and workflows that will make processing quicker and easier for users,” including hosting units, academic units, as well as international students and scholars, said Julie Dockens, ITS Enterprise Applications Manager of Student Administration Projects. By having all the data in one place, Sunapsis also enables better reporting and makes it easier to comply with federal standards, she said.