On January 25th, Ravi Ravishanker, Wellesley’s Chief Information Officer (CIO), announced in an email to the student body that the College will stop using Banner for course registration after fall 2019. Ravishanker and Carol Shanmugartnam, Wellesley’s registrar, attended senate on April 8 to discuss these changes in more detail. According to Ravishanker, the company that owns the Banner software, Ellucian, was recently purchased by another company. The College is switching to Workday as a result of this merger.
In addition to course registration, several other functions will be added to the Workday interface. Students will also use Workday to register for P.E. courses, which will now be accessible through the course browser. In addition to registering for academic and P.E. classes, students will also use Workday to view academic progress reports. Academic progress reports help students keep track of their major and degree requirements and can currently be found under the Administrativa tab on MyWellesley. Additionally, student financial aid and billing information will also be moved to Workday.
Ravishanker and his team started a blog called “Workday: Communication about Wellesley College’s move to Workday” to better disseminate the new changes to the student body.
Speaking about the new changes on the blog, Ravinshanker states that the transition to Workday has been in the works for at least a year. “Staff members from LTS, the Registrar’s Office, Student Financial Services and the Dean of Students’ Office have been working for over a year to get to this point.” He continued, “Moving from one system to another is non trivial and a lot of effort has gone into configuring Workday to accommodate the needs of the College while planning to take advantage of what Workday has to offer that we have not been able to use so far.” In addition to Wellesley staff, a third party company, Alchemy, was hired to help Wellesley staff with the transition. The change ultimately stems from the need to “… consolidate the information sharing and registration processes for the convenience of students.”
The response from the student body about the switch to Workday has been mixed, and the new changes do not necessarily produce a perfect solution for the issues with Banner. Ashley Amoabeng ’21 asked during a senate meeting if the new academic progress report would help students keep track of their pre-med requirements. Shanmugartnam revealed that pre-med requirements would not be tracked on the academic progress report, although this is something that could be included in future iterations.
Sarah Young ’20 says, “Honestly, as long as they show us how to do it, I think it should be fine. I’m worried about Workday crashing when we register because that tends to happen with Banner. But ultimately I just want it to be easy and straightforward to use.”
But ultimately, most students are fairly indifferent to the new changes. Sarah White ’19 says, “Obviously transitioning will be challenging, but there are still needs to be met for this process. I hope the transition goes smoothly and that ultimately this simplifies the system.”
Dana Fein-Shaffer ’19 says, “Considering I’m a senior, I would say I’m pretty apathetic to the new changes. I think there are issues with Banner and an updated software would be beneficial, but at the same time, I don’t think the transition will be a smooth one.”
Only time will tell if the new changes are implemented smoothly, and whether the Workday software is more efficient than Banner.