The start of the new school year has brought many changes, one of them being the deconstruction of SU Online in a project called RevSU, and another being a new interface and online record-keeping program called Colleague.
For students and faculty members, SU Online was the portal that kept track of multiple academic and financial resources. Students could register for classes and employees could enter their work hours. However, the layout was becoming outdated and obsolete, as it was the same design that catered towards the University’s needs in 1997. Many thought the website was difficult to navigate.
From Oct. 12 to 16, the project team moved data from the old system into the newer, cloud-hosted version of Colleague. Because of this, SU Online, Student Account Center and other online systems were shut down so that no transactions could be made while the upgrade was happening. Those who logged onto the new system noticed the difference in the layout’s aesthetics and URL, but it remains mostly the same.
The goal and focus of RevSU is to have multiple projects that will gradually upgrade student, employee, and financial record-keeping that will make it easier for everyone to engage online with the university. The new interface is now also mobile-friendly.
Travis Nation, associate chief information officer and RevSU project director, led the planning and management of the whole program. He was involved with the logistics and contact points during the project, as he worked through contracting, identified resources, and established the governance.
“RevSU has been focused on ways to improve business procedures and to simplify as much as possible,” Nation said. “At the core of RevSU is a project to update the system, Colleague, that houses all of those records.”
Since Jan. 2016, RevSU has gone through significant amounts of planning and work happening behind the scenes. Individual sections within the online system, including the Student Account Center, EngageSU and ProcureSU went through many changes to get ready for the new program implementations.
It is now easier for students to view and pay their tuition bills, allow for professional and compliance training to be available with Learning and Development and procure functions for Human Resources and Payroll, among many other new undertakings.
Project Director Lauren Rochholz oversaw the implementation of the Student module within the Colleague system, which included how students, faculty and advisors interact with the system through SU Online and WebAdvisor under new Student and Faculty menus. She says there will be many more features to be placed into action in the future.
“The work to date has positioned the university to deliver more functionality over the coming months,” Rochholz said. “Specifically, RevSU will be deploying new functionality to register for courses and much more natively via your mobile device, find and register for continuing education courses, allow students to plan their path to degree completion, try ‘what-if’ scenarios for changing majors, and more.”
Director of Student Academic Services Carol Schneider worked on the Steering Committee for RevSU to represent Advising, and was heavily involved and present during the program’s development.
She said that RevSU costs Seattle University about nine million dollars, while other institutions have paid at least 20 million dollars for projects of the same caliber.
“To maximize the project funds, we negotiated with vendors to obtain favorable terms for the institution, looked to stretch consulting resources, and more,” Schneider said. “The RevSU funding covers the cost of software, implementation consultants, project resources, temporary staffing, training, and more.”
The team mentioned how much of a large-scale endeavor this project has been over the past two years, with many people putting in hard work and energy towards bettering a 20-year-old system. The partnership between the technological side of the Information Technology Services (ITS) office and functional departments, mainly in the Enrollment division, made this campus-wide effort possible.
“The university wants to better engage with students, faculty, staff, alumni and others, and the old system was hindering our ability to do so,” Schneider said. “The frameworks that have been put in place enable us to begin making significant improvements to the way people interact with the university.”
Nation also said that ITS played a key role in RevSU process.
“To the credit of Information Technology Services, they did an amazing of a job of keeping the old database functioning as long as they did, finding ways to support the university as it has grown,” Nation said. “But ultimately, we needed to upgrade the entire system for stability, security, and growth.”
The editor may be reached at