New Database Will Provide Students With Better Service

El Vaquero Staff Writer

GCC is implementing a sophisticated database that eliminates time-consuming bureaucratic paperwork for students, faculty and staff. STARS is gradually being replaced by the Oracle system, a universal application that will interconnect all the departments on campus.
According to Bob Owen, dean of information and technology services, the process for implementing the student system will take about three years beginning in June because cleaning up the existing data from all of faculty, staff and students is a painstaking technical process.

The Oracle system will allow students to avoid the long lines when applying for financial aid or the long lines at the admissions office when trying to register, because student will be able to have access to the forms on line and submit them online.

“It’s a really good product,” said Elsa Urquilla of Associated Students, who is one of the students involved with test-driving the product before it’s put to use by the students. “Its not complicated at all; everything you need is there.”

A key feature that will benefits students is the online registration. After creating the list of classes she wanted, the system automatically added her into those classes. With the current add system, STARS, students can’t look up the classes. “With STARS you need a ticket number and need to be entering it over the phone,” said Urquilla.

Oracle, however, will allow the student to shop around for the classes and add them as they go, all done via the Web. As the student picks the classes, the system tells the student who will be the instructor for that class who the instructor for that class is and if there are any prerequisites that need to be fulfilled before enrolling in the course.
“If there is some paperwork you need to submit, you can do it online and submit it…you don’t have to go through admissions and talk to them and get their approval you can just take care of it right there. It’s very easy and convenient,” said Urquilla
Oracle’s financial aid features are similar to that of MY GCC except that Oracle provides the student with more options.

The student applying for financial aid will know in a matter of seconds how much aid, if any, the student will qualify for. If there are any problems with student’s financial aid forms the system will automatically provide the additional forms needed to complete their FAFSA.

“You also have more control over your grants and scholarships that you get,” said Urquilla. Instead of having financial aid decide for the students how much of the qualified money the student will receive for a particular semester, the student gets to make those decisions and decide for themselves when they wish to receive the money and how much.
Oracle’s key feature’s is that it’s all integrated, said Linda Welz, from technical support. For example, when a student makes a change of address, it ripples through the whole system. This allows for the student to avoid having the student make the changes themselves at all the different departments.

The Oracle is a database system that also provides an application software. The college purchased the database and three software packages: “Financial Software,” “Human Resources Software” and “Student Software.”

“The decision to purchase Oracle was made by the end users of our campus — by the college community — a broadly based base group of users that included students,” said Owen.

There are four remaining modules that we need to implement before the student system:
The first is the finance module, “Oracle Time and Labor,” which allows the college to track the amount of hours and pay for the hourly employees.

The second module is “I Recruitment” which allows the college to go online to recruit faculty and staff.

The third module is “Compensation Work Bench,” which takes the information on the staff and faculty about where they are in the salary grades. This module will also provide the statistics that the college can use to project into the future the cost for salary increases, and cost for changing benefits.

Welz said that it’s very big job for human resources to manage the salary changes for all the faculty and staff because everybody is different depending on when they got hired and a whole lot other rules that need to be considered.

“Instead of having to spend time doing all this by hand, the system would be doing it all automatically,” said Welz. “We would actually be defining the rules to the system and it will know depending on the rules when is their turn to get a raise.”

The fourth module called “Self Serve,” is a module where employees themselves can go and update their own demographic data.

The outcome will greatly outweigh the long transition process because the “with the new system there will be one source of date for all the student offices to share data,” said Owen. “making it easier for the student services staff to provide better services to students and more timely data.”