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Driving for data consistency and governance within university admissions
October 15, 2020
The Student & Academic Support Systems (SASS) team has supported automated, custom admissions data integrations for Yale College, the Graduate School, and all the professional schools for about a decade. These admissions departments utilize vendors like Common Application, Slate, WebAdmit, AMP, AMCAS, CASPA, SOPHAS, and more to collect admissions applications, make admissions decisions, and finally export data into Banner. Custom Banner data integrations have been developed over many years for different schools, with different data requirements, and different file type layouts. This has led to population and data inconsistencies over time, which required unique integrations and pose a significant challenge both technically and functionally. With a combination of new software, vendor expertise, and functional unit steering committee decisions, SASS intends to address this much needed and long-standing issue.
SASS engaged with a vendor, Axiom Elite, earlier this year to migrate away from these many disparate old custom data imports into Banner. SASS will leverage Axiom Elite software for the data imports, and their service to build and maintain the integrations. Axiom is partnered with Banner (Yale’s student information system) and many of the vendors who supply applicant data to Yale. This project will streamline more than 20 applicant data integrations, reduce annual integration maintenance, and seek to consolidate and unify the integrations as much as possible while conforming to data governance standards across all admissions departments.
To ensure data consistency and governance, SASS worked with admissions departments to organize a steering committee to guide decisions as integrations are built. Committee membership is comprised of admissions volunteers, IT, University Registrar’s Office, and pulls in data consumers as needed, like Office of Institutional Research and Alumni Affairs. The chairperson will rotate annually and is currently held by Kelsey Abbott, Senior Associate Direct of Admissions at Yale’s School of Management. This new committee has already proven invaluable when discussing data populations, data standards, and processes. The expectation from all involved is that the committee will continue beyond this initiative as a cooperative functional team driving admissions decisions across the campus.
The project has already delivered two integrations to production – Yale Physician Assistant Online Program (PAO) and Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS). Each school utilizes a different admissions vendor (CASPA and Slate respectively), but the project has helped standardize the data attributes, their codes, and their ultimate location in Banner. GSAS is a Slate school, as are the majority of other professional schools. The queries and knowledge built for GSAS will greatly accelerate other Slate school integrations and ensure consistency going forward where it lacks today.
The team has two other integrations in flight, one with the Yale School of Public Health and the other with the Yale Law School. All other schools will follow in calendar 2021 with an expectation to complete by the end of FY22.