from the budget update, “Technology at NMU” was the primary focus
of the Oct. 22 university forum. Here is a brief summary of some
of the presentations addressing that topic:
Gavin Leach (Finance
and Planning) and Dave Maki (AdIT) discussed the
future of the wireless network. Campus-wide implementation has focused
on classrooms, lobbies, hallways, student lounges, eating areas,
the library and student apartments. Leach said Northern plans to
continue expanding wireless to areas of campus where access is not
available. Another effort is under way to provide community-wide
wireless access to students, faculty and staff. The university has
begun testing access in select areas of the city. Antenna towers
installed on university buildings, Mount
) and the Pine Ridge apartments
are in test mode.
university will use GIS maps to review future locations for antennas
based on areas with a high concentration of students, faculty and
staff. Wireless access will be limited to the NMU community through
a required virtual private network connection. The software is available
via download, but will eventually be pre-installed on university-issued
laptops. Wireless capability may eventually extend to other parts
of the city and perhaps the Upper
Peninsula at large.
Felicia Flack (AdIT) presented an updated timeline
for conversion to Banner administrative software. Here are the remaining
elements and the respective month they are scheduled to go live:
alumni, December; human resources, January; admissions and financial
aid, February (for Fall 2004 applications); and registration, March.
Flack said the mainframe will be unplugged on Aug.
31, 2004. Flack demonstrated
some of the differences between the current mainframe processes
and Banner, in particular the different screens faculty and staff
will be using. For more information, go to http://aditweb.nmu.edu/Adit/Banner/
Ed Niemi (Dean of Students) reviewed the Student
initiative, which was implemented
at the beginning of the fall semester rush in anticipation of a
large number of questions pertaining to the new online payment plans.
The goals were to eliminate the number of callers put on hold without
“live” contact; reduce the reliance on phone trees; decrease the
need for front-line student services staff to answer calls when
long waiting lines exist; refer callers to online resources to answer
questions; and improve the speed of response or referrals to appropriate
the 7,061 calls received, 3,164 callers had their questions answered
by center staff. Frequently-asked questions related to financial
aid and loans, transcripts, address changes, adding/dropping a class,
registering for classes, withdrawing from the university, and setting
up a payment plan. Niemi said 1,251 NMU students took advantage
of the new online payment plans. The easy-pay installment option
was the most popular choice, followed by the early deferral and
late deferral options.
said data collected on the types of queries will be studied for
potential ways to communicate certain issues more effectively to
students and parents.