Harnessing the Power of Scheduled Reports to Meet Increased Enrollment
Though Liberty University had a student information system and a reporting solution that had been working well for them, in 2005 all that began to change. The institution was going through a period of growth that was unprecedented in the university’s history. In the midst of the inevitable growing pains, they realized their aging, green-screen student information system was just too old, and it wasn’t going to be able to continue to meet their needs.
The staff in the registrar’s office especially needed an upgrade to a solution that could keep up with the university’s growing enrollment, improve the office’s communication with students and professors, and generate more complex reports. When the university decided it was going to switch from their previous system to Banner by Ellucian, the staff began looking for a reporting solution to be implemented alongside Banner.
The members of the staff who were tasked with reviewing vendors, researched 11 different products. After weighing their options, they chose Evisions’ Argos Enterprise Reporting Solution for its cost, its compatibility with other systems, and its ease of implementation.
Liberty began their implementation of Banner and Argos simultaneously in 2006, and the university has used both ever since. Though the implementation was large and complex, the transition was made much smoother with Argos’ Library of Objects feature, which provides templates and building blocks that speed the report development process along. The team was able to move many reports from the old system to Argos, and then used the Library of Objects to quickly set up the rest. Argos does not limit the number of report writers and users, which has proven very helpful and cost-effective as the university grew rapidly after Argos was installed. Today there are about 80 report writers, and as many as 1,300 active scheduled reports that happen daily and weekly.
The registrar’s office especially has taken advantage of Argos’ reporting capabilities. With more than 100,000 students on campus and online, the office relies on scheduled jobs for daily checks on GPAs, withdrawals, and more. On top of these standard reports, the registrar’s office runs additional daily reports such as a “health check” on the student information system that ensures everything is running as it’s supposed to. With these scheduled reports, Liberty keeps better track of all of its students, especially as enrollment has skyrocketed. Liberty’s registrar’s office has also found that Argos works seamlessly with Ellucian Degree Works, despite its complicated table structure.
Liberty uses Argos to improve its communication with members of the campus community. They’ve moved away from physical letters and more toward emails. Scheduled reports automate some of their electronic communication as well. For example, professors were looking for notification of when a student withdrew from a class, but with over 100,000 students, that was very difficult to do on a daily basis. Liberty again harnessed scheduled reports and runs a daily check on withdrawals and automatically email professors the name of the class and student who withdrew.
The registrar’s office staff and others on campus often refer to Argos as their “digital duct tape” because Argos identifies problems before they become bigger, as well as improve communication and reporting across campus. As the university continues to grow online and on-campus, Argos will no doubt help ease the shifts to come.