Academic journal article
By Elisala, Tandy R.
College and University , Vol. 80, No. 4
The University of Phoenix is a large, private, four-year university with a commitment to providing timely and efficient student services. With continued growth and process improvement opportunities utilizing technology, the institution had an opportunity to automate and streamline grade processing. This article focuses on the Faculty Web Grade Entry project at the University of Phoenix and will discuss:
* Project plan, old vs. new process, and timelines
* Communication strategies
* Implementation plan, monitoring, and measurements
* Summary/lessons learned.
The University of Phoenix processes over 1.5 million grades annually. At the time of project implementation, we had 50 grades staff and 8,000 faculty members across all 26 campuses (now there are over 11,000 faculty members). As it relates to this process, all campus locations are responsible for attendance and grade entry. The Registrar's Office in Phoenix, Arizona, is responsible for ensuring the academic rules are supported in our student systems, performing quality control checks on grades processed, and processing all grade changes.
Prior to faculty grade entry implementation, grade processing time averaged 21 days from the course end date. Faculty would turn in their final grade rosters to their local campus, which would enter the grades in our student system. Our objectives with this project were to:
* Reduce overall grade processing time by 75 percent or 14 days.
* Make grades available on the Web.
* Streamline the process internally through bypassing the 'middle person' and allowing campus student services staff to grow at a slower pace and focus on more valueadded activities.
* Utilize technology wherever possible.
* Reduce paper.
Project Plan and Timelines
Our goal was to roll out our faculty grade entry process to everyone in September 2000. To accomplish this, we started working with our Information Technology department in February 2000 to begin defining the rules. The stakeholders and their role in this project included:
* Registrar-Project & Business Lead
* The Provost, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Senior Vice President for Student Services-Overall approval and project support and sponsorship
* Deans and Campus Directors of Academic Affairs-Hone the academic and operational requirements and be responsible for faculty communication and training
* Campus Directors of Operations-Communicate this change to campus student services staff, hone operational requirements, and implement process changes
* Information Technology Department-Technical analysis, development, testing, monitoring, and modifications needed
* Faculty-Test the new system, provide feedback, and implement new process
* Registrar's Office Staff-Business requirements contributor, testers, and quality control check the process for goday period
* Communicate project request volunteers and gather small committee to define initial requirements (Feb '00)
* IT develops prototype for review (Mar '00)
* Gather stakeholders to kick off project and review proposed process (Apr '00)
* Make modifications and establish implementation time-frame (Apr '00)
* Develop communication plan, training plan, and all training documents (Apr '00)
* Recruit faculty and campuses for testing (May '00)
* Test new application and make modifications (May '00)
* Extend pilot to larger faculty and campus population (Jun '00)
* Send reminder communication, finalize IT requirements, and make internal changes to prepare for new process (Jul '00)
* Install training and communication materials on Web (Aug '00)
* Implement University of Phoenix-wide (Sep '00)
* Monitor and quality control (90 days)
* Work with new and existing campuses to ensure appropriate faculty training (ongoing)
Before faculty grade entry via the Web, grade entry was a five-step process; afterwards it became a two-step process. …