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Office remains outdated

Smedberg, Matthew | Thursday, November 6, 2003

As Notre Dame becomes an increasingly electronic campus, certain offices, most notably the Office of the Registrar, seem to fall behind technologically, still requiring antiquated procedures such as requiring multiple signatures on documents for purposes as simple as cross-listing a class or waiving prerequisites.

Class registration by Irishlink was the first step in computerizing the Registrar’s functions. The next large step, according to Associate Registrar Lora Spaulding, will be the introduction of the Renovare database software currently under development for the University by SCT Corporation. The introduction of the software is tentatively scheduled for 18 months from now, Spaulding said. Renovare will form a central database to be used for purposes of financial aid, administration, human resources and methods of interaction between students and the University.

Spaulding said her office has looked at various ways to improve and electronicize “workflow,” the process by which information, whether print or electronic, is moved between campus offices. The registrar’s office concluded that there was no effective way to computerize the system to complete improvements before installation of the Renovare system. In the meantime, specific processes have been examined for ways that they could be streamlined.

“The forms which students find take most time are academic program forms, such as those used to add or drop a major, and exemption forms which students must get filled out if they do not have the ordinary requirements for a class,” Spaulding said.

Those students most prone to use exemption forms are transfer students and those from Saint Mary’s taking Notre Dame courses. In many cases, Irishlink will not recognize the courses that these students already have on their record as sufficient for the requirements.

Generally, processes that only require approval from one person – such as approval for overload – are those that the Registrar’s Office has successfully streamlined. Processes that require input from more than one person typically remain un-computerized and likely appear to remain so for at least 18 months, Spaulding said.