U. seeking Banner guru

Thursday, February 28, 2008

A new position in the Office of the Provost has been created to fill the void left by Associate Provost Nancy Dunbar, who took leave this semester after having overseen the Banner project since March 2006. Styled as “director of institutional research, assessment and academic information systems,” the position will give the provost representation in various campus offices “to make sure that new technologies match our academic needs,” said Deputy Provost Vincent Tompkins ’84.

“The role of this person will be to help set priorities for the identification and implementation of new academic information systems that will complement Banner and generate important data,” said Tompkins, who chairs the search committee charged with finding Dunbar’s replacement. “We wanted someone who could provide leadership around what will be some difficult questions about academic information systems, post-Banner.”

Funds for the position were approved at this month’s Corporation meeting after a recommendation by the University Resources Committee, which proposed a budget to President Ruth Simmons. Tompkins said he plans to finish the national search “sometime this spring” and have someone in place and working by the beginning of July.

The URC report, which recommends $361,000 for “staffing related to the Banner implementation and the need to enhance our academic assessment capabilities,” also suggests creating positions in admissions, business and financial services and the Graduate School. Tompkins said most of these other positions are not new but instead are positions that were once considered temporary but will now be made permanent.

“These are positions that were funded through the Banner project,” Tompkins said. “They were made secure.”

Scott Houde, a computing manager at the Grad School, will receive some of the recently approved funding, but he said his job – “everything from, ‘I’m having trouble with my e-mail’ to installing complicated software” – won’t be any different after the administrative changes.

“Not much is changing from my point of view,” Houde said. “Just where the money is coming from.”

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