FlashLine makeover planned for Fall ’07

Theresa Edwards

More security is top priority of new system

The way students communicate with Kent State and find information is going to drastically change by the end of June 2008.

However, many changes will be made before then, said Roberta Sikula-Schwalm, executive director of the Enterprise Resource Planning implementation. The ERP will help heighten security, because students, faculty and staff will no longer use their social security numbers as their primary IDs. Everyone will have a new ID, which he or she will use to log in and out of Kent State’s system.

Security is a big deal on college campuses, as reports of information breaches at institutions, such as Ohio University, made the news this summer.

The ERP will change FlashLine, the information portal for every student and faculty member on campus. Links will become icons similar to a computer desktop. Its function will also change.

Students will still be able to register for classes and access WebCT. Through the new portal, Kent State employees will also be able to log in to clock in. Employees will also be able to access information dealing with benefits, if eligible.

“Depending on the different roles you have, the more resources you’ll have available to you,” Sikula-Schwalm said.

When project “Kent State: ERP is Your Solution” fully takes place in June 2008, students will have 24-hour access to Web For Students. In the meantime, students can expect to see major changes within FlashLine by October 2007.

Project K.E.Y.S. is a 30-month project, using 60 staff members of which the program takes up about 50 percent of their work time. There are also 15 consultants hired full time to help the program run smoothly, Sikula-Schwalm said.

The ERP implementation would take multiple areas of Kent State, such as the human resource department, finances and the student portal, and combine them into one major resource.

Matthew Fajack, executive director for financial affairs, said the new system would free up time for faculty and staff to allow more time for instructing and researching. On the student’s end, all grading will be posted, and the new system will simplify class scheduling.

“You’ll basically be able to do everything you’ll need to do on the Web,” he said.

The project will also free up lines at offices around campus.

“Everything you can do today financially online, plus anything you have to go to any office to pay them, you will be able to do online,” Fajack said.

Sikula-Schwalm said the first changes are expected to take place Jan. 1 within the human resources department.

One-on-one and Web-based training for the new portal will be available through the university, she said, so users can learn the new system.

The budget for the project is $23 million, which was approved by the Board of Trustees.

“The average cost for an institution this size is $44 million, so we think we’re bringing a lot of value to the university within the budgeted amount,” Sikula-Schwalm said. “(This) provides tools and access to information greater than any other time before.”

Contact news correspondent Theresa Edwards at [email protected].