I want to use this occasion to provide the WSU community with an update on the newly installed Student Information System, commonly referred to as zzusis. It is important to note at the outset that the old Student Information System was antiquated, and we had considerable difficulty maintaining its functionality. It had limited user capacity and was prone to melt downs during heavy usage periods. We had to find a more reliable and dependable system. Staying with the status quo was not an option.

The transition from MyWSU to zzusis has not been without its challenges. We experienced longer than usual lines for students seeking financial aid last fall, and our collections took longer when compared to previous years. Frankly, we moved to implementation of the new system earlier than was ideal, and some of our training and testing protocols fell short of expectations. The new system worked much better this semester as our staff became more familiar with both its capabilities and limitations. Still, it was evident to me that we had to make the new system more user-friendly and easier for our staff to fully understand and use its enhanced capacities.

Achieving both of these goals would require a different way of thinking, additional personnel, and a renewed focus. That is why I asked Matt Skinner, who had been working as the operating budget director for the university, to serve as the university’s interim Chief Enterprise Systems Officer. Simply put, his responsibility is to plan and successfully navigate our path to the smooth and effective operation of the system. Matt is a strong leader and already has assembled a very talented team of professionals from all of the key student services and advising areas of WSU. They ultimately will relocate to the Math Annex, but for now, they are coordinating efforts in their respective offices and departments. I envision the team working collaboratively and across all functions to identify end user needs, develop solutions, and smooth the path of implementation. The team is already working to understand and prioritize the issues lingering from initial implementation and to develop action plans. While their work will take significant effort and time, I have already seen some early successes. For example, within recent weeks, they completed reports that were long overdue and, in some instances, incomplete; both situations completely unacceptable.

I have every confidence this team will solve the implementation problems of the past, and we will execute a highly efficient and responsive student information system. Our students, faculty, and staff deserve nothing less.