Staff Profile: Meet Gerald Lindo

Name: Gerald Lindo
Job Title: NGSIS Project Manager

Working On:

-Project Managing for Safety Abroad and CM/Calendar: Working with stakeholders to create an adaptive infrastructure that facilitates project deliverables while working to meet agreed-upon milestones.
-Program Management: Working with project teams to help to identify & address risks/issues/dependencies that allow us to facilitate delivery of the NGSIS initiatives in the Academic & Life Experience, Student Records, Student Finances, Curriculum Design & Development and Planning & Analytics streams.

Where did you study?
University of Toronto ~ I graduated from the Faculty of Applied Science’s Engineering Science Program, specializing in Computer Science / Communications engineering.

How are you feeling about your first two weeks on the job?
I’m feeling quite optimistic.  I’m really enjoying working with my project teams and stakeholders and contributing to the project work already underway, here. The team has been very welcoming, sharing their own ‘newbie’ experiences with me and helping me to feel very much at home.

Share with us a few ideas, how you perceive the university environment, any thoughts of optimism?
From a professional standpoint, many facets of this position, itself, may seem to be daunting. Despite this, my colleagues have helped me to feel confident that I’ll meet these opportunities as part of a strong and compassionate team, which is, in itself, very reassuring. After graduation, I’d returned to the university several times to volunteer with and help out student groups that interested me. This served to expose me to many  different sides of the university that I’d never been able to see and enjoy as an engineering student. Lastly,  I approached this job as an opportunity to contribute to my school in a professional aspect, while still being able to share in the wonderful culture that I’d been able to discover over the past several years and what I’ve seen so far is definitely cause for optimism.

ROSI reborn as ACORN – From UTM’s The Medium

As we near the intended launch of ACORN later this spring interest from student newspapers has been increasing. Starting in November, we had our first ACORN related article in The Varsity, and this week UTM’s The Medium has published a great overview of ACORN and its current status. The most recent article highlights the key features that will be in ACORN, particularly enrolment related as well as aspects of the user centred approach that we’ve taken on the project.

Thanks to Farah Qaiser and colleagues at The Medium for the informative piece on ACORN!

NGSIS at TechKnowFile 2014

TKF

TechKnowFile (TKF) provides a platform for IT Professionals and Administrative staff from Academia to discuss, share and disseminate innovative and pioneering views on recent trends and development in communications, IT, management and leadership.  On May 7th and 8th of this year, Next Generation Student Information Services staff showcased a number of their projects and development methods.  The following are their presentations:

Achieving efficiency through automation

AutomatedBilling

Student residence billing just got a boost

We are pleased to announce yet another enhancement implemented for the University of Toronto residence management software, StarRez.  In collaboration with residences across the three campuses, Student Accounts and Housing Services, has implemented a new automated billing process for student residence financial transactions as part of the Next Generation Student Information Services (NGSIS) program.

The need for a more automated process was identified in a 2012 residence fees process-streamlining report developed by a team including representatives from Student Accounts and residences. Prior to this enhancement, integration with ROSI was a one one-way feed of student data from ROSI to StarRez. With over 10,000 students residing in U of T residences, Student Accounts and residence staff were required to manually enter approx. 50,000 financial transactions into ROSI each year, including residence fees, deposits, meal plans and other miscellaneous charges such as lost keys or damages. A very labour intensive process, it also had significant opportunity for error and delays.

With the majority of residences now using the same management system (StarRez), Housing Services and the NGSIS team saw an opportunity to create an automated connection between StarRez financial transactions and ROSI student accounts.  This project has resulted in tremendous benefits, including improved accuracy and timeliness of posted charges, staff-time savings and an improved student experience.

Where students might have waited two weeks or in some cases significantly longer to see a residence deposit reflected in their ROSI account, they now see it within 24 hours.  And by eliminating manual entry of data, there has been a significant reduction in incorrect charges.  All this alleviates time spent by both students and staff to implement corrections or request adjustments.  This translates into improved student satisfaction — Student Accounts staff report that the number of student inquiries/complaints received regarding residence deposits this year has dropped, from a few hundred to none. And for each residence, the project has resulted in a savings of approximately one week’s worth of work, work that often accumulated during peak times. That equals approximately 400 hours saved annually across the 11 residences, time that can now be dedicate to other activities that ultimately deliver a better experience for the student.

For more information on the Automated Billing project, please contact: 
Arlene Clement
Director, Housing Services

Making the Fee Payment Process Easier

Invoice Improvements

Introducing a New Online Invoice and Improved Fee Payment Process Information

Five Ways We are Making the Fee Payment Process Easier to Understand

The Student Accounts Office in collaboration with the Next Generation Student Information Services (NGSIS) project team have revised your online invoice and other SWS screens.

  1. Online Invoice Improvements to make it easier to understand:
    • Clearer, better organized invoice with additional information
    • Campus Services and Student Society fee details are now displayed
    • Award disbursement method is now displayed e.g. to be refunded or debit/credit account
    • Refund payment disbursement method is now displayed e.g. cheque or direct deposit
    • Deposit payments are labelled as “academic” or “residence”
    • Subtotals and TOTALS are clearly labelled
    • For more information about these improvements, check the New Guide to Reading Your Invoice and Invoice FAQs. Click on the link at the top of the online Invoice screen.
  2. New Guide to Reading Your Payment Report. Click on the link at the top at the top of the online Payment Report screen.
  3. What are your fee payment deadlines for the upcoming Summer session? Click on the Minimum Payment to Register Deadline link on SWS Homepage to view registration and full session fee payment schedule.
  4. What is a debit account balance? Select the Financial Accounts tab to view an explanation of the debit account balance and a link to fee payment instructions.
  5. What is a credit account balance? Select the Financial Accounts tab to review an explanation of the credit account balance and a link to instructions for making a refund payment request.