Overhauled QCARD in the works

New finance administration system introduced in November, upgrades to follow

Ann Walski, QUASR communications and change management project manager, says the University’s new finance system will make administrative work more efficient.
Ann Walski, QUASR communications and change management project manager, says the University’s new finance system will make administrative work more efficient.

Students will soon have a revamped QCARD, thanks to the Queen’s University Administrative Systems Replacement (QUASR) project.

The project, which is split into four phases, overhauled the University’s finance administration system in November.

The three-year project will eventually replace the student, human resources, finance and research administrative systems of the University with Internet-style software.

Rector Leora Jackson, a member of QUASR’s steering committee, said the purpose of changing the administration is due to the old system being out of date.

Jackson said the University’s old mainframe systems are being replaced with Oracle’s PeopleSoft. PeopleSoft provides software solutions for large corporations and universities to allow for centralization of data and processes. QUASR, when completed, will consist of two PeopleSoft systems, one for finance and another for campus solutions for human resources and students.

The change will allow students to access their information more efficiently, she said.

The student component of QUASR is set to be completed by September 2011, Jackson said.

It will include admissions and student records, which allow students to view the course catalogue, enrolment and grading, academic advisement, financial aid, student financials and gradebook programs.

Students won’t notice a big change before then, Jackson said.

“From the student aspects of things, when we use QCARD, it can’t be accessed at any time of the day since the system has to daily download from the frame of the data in case it crashes,” she said. “Most universities use web-based systems. … Queen’s is quite behind in that sense.”

Jackson said the transition to a new finance system has appeared smooth.

“Old account numbers are being changed into new codes and account numbers,” she said. “People are being trained who need it first.”

Student users will be able to access their academic information for a longer period of time, rather than having to download the data from the old-mainframe system that Queen’s used, QUASR Communications and Change Management project manager Ann Walski said.

“The goal is to simplify the process for its users,” Walski said, adding that the University began the system overhaul in 2005 after a review showed Queen’s needed a new administrative system.

The biggest impact may be on administrative staff, who will be able to make payments and complete tasks faster, she said.

AMS Academic Affairs Commissioner Susannah Gouinlock said she’s excited about QCARD’s changes.

“With the QUASR there will be better hours, longer hours,” she said. “There’s a really cool feature where students can view their degree and see which courses they have to take in order to receive their degree.”

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