Update to TigerPaws coming early next semester


christianjbrewster.wordpress.com Photo credit: Oliver Chapin-Eiserloh

Photo by Oliver Chapin-Eiserloh

New changes are coming to TigerPaws with several areas of the system getting revamped in the coming months. Both the Office of the Registrar and Student Financial Services are updating their areas of TigerPaws.

Trinity’s TigerPaws system is the branded version of Web Advisor, a component of the enterprise resource planning (ERP) system that deals with mostly student needs. Ellucian is Trinity’s vendor for this product. Trinity’s overall ERP system is run out of another Ellucian product called Colleague.

TigerPaws has been used at Trinity since 2001, according to Ender Ergun, systems and business intelligence administrator in Information Technology Systems (ITS).

Aspects of TigerPaws, including the registration system and the student financial aid system, have been undergoing a change from TigerPaws to a new product called Self Service. Self Service is the newer version of Web Advisor. ITS has been waiting to implement the new tool to ensure that there won’t be any glitches during the switch.

“Self Service has actually been out for a while, but the way that they’ve delivered functionality has been piece by piece, and our overall strategy has been, Let’s wait until they have more robust solutions instead of tiny pieces here and there’,” Ergun said.

This transition process began at the beginning of June of this year. This request for an update to TigerPaws went through the IT Administrative Systems Committee as it has to do with administrative aspects of the university instead of the academic sphere. According to Ergun, the decision to move with Self Service came from ITS, Financial Aid and the Office of the Registrar and was a collaborative process.

The registrar and financial aid offices will be in charge of testing the system themselves with minimal assistance from ITS.

“We just make sure that the lights are on and everything is running smoothly, but in terms of data entry and maintaining the data, unless it’s an extreme case and we have permission from the department, we don’t touch any of that,” Ergun said.

The offices involved are expecting a soft launch at the beginning of next semester.

To improve the financial aid experience, a checklist will be added for students who need to complete steps before receiving their financial aid. Additionally, a feature will be added for students to accept and decline different kinds of financial aid offers, eliminating the paper notification of offers. Lastly, there will be a new messaging system to improve student and staff communication.

Registrar Alfred Rodriguez anticipates the registration process changing immensely.

“TigerPAWS will have an entirely different look and feel. For example, the new ‘Self Service’ registration system (as it’s called) will be compatible with mobile devices, Search for Sections will have better filters so students will be able to pull up open classes by Pathways area, a student’s schedule will show graphically on a weekly grid, and students will be able to use Student Planning features to plan future courses with their advisors. That’s just a sampling,” Rodriguez wrote in an email.

Not only will there be updates to the system on the student end, but faculty advisers will also be able to view schedules and predict which classes will be offered for students. According to Duane Coltharp, associate vice president for Academic Affairs concerning curriculum and faculty development, these updates will help students plan their schedules in advance.

“It’s always been the case that you could look at the class schedule and the listing of Pathways curriculum courses that appears in the early stages of the class schedule and you could see what’s being offered that semester. That’s always there. What this does is it allows you to see that of those classes which ones are offered and which ones are closed at any given moment,” Coltharp said.

Coltharp believes that these updates will improve student experience. The update will not cost the university more money because there is already a license agreement with Ellucian.

“That just comes from a sense, say from people on the curriculum council and elsewhere that students just need more information. There are things that are hard to get out of the current TigerPaws system, and so we need to find a way to make that work,” Coltharp said.

ITS also anticipates an overall update to Colleague in the next few years.

“That’s where payroll is run out of, where the institution’s general ledger is kept track of, that’s where registration happens like the entire gambit of what could happen on campus happens there for the most part,” Ergun said.

Colleague has been used at Trinity since 1996. Ender believes that this update will be big cultural change to Trinity. So far, the timeline and cost is unknown.

“It will be a huge cultural change. A lot of things that we’ve been doing manually will be automated, so it’s like updating those workflows that we’ve had, streamlining things, making things more efficient,” Ergun said.