Howard University’s Campus Life announced a change in the student information system called BisonWeb, citing the release of a new system for students and faculty that is expected to be completed by the fall semester of 2024. The system’s new name will be decided from the results of a student naming contest this upcoming week.
The announcement about the system’s new name contest was made in an Instagram post on Jan. 3 which announced the five finalists. Another post was made on Jan. 5 asking the student body to vote for the winner.
The Five finalists names selected are “BisonReady” from Shaneel Young, “BeHerd” from Truth Burney, “HUCONNECT” from Matthew Guillaume, “BisonBridge” from Jada Bess and “BisonHub” from Suprabhat Rijal.
The transition from the Ellucian Banner system, also known as BisonWeb, to Workday Student has been a project since the fall of 2021, with the goal of the system being completed in the fall of 2024. Ellucian Banner is a system designed specifically to assist colleges in maintaining information that students need, such as accessing financial aid and creating their class schedules.
Workday is a cloud-based system providing applications for effective management “designed for the way people work in today’s organizations,” according to their website. The software they use specializes in helping companies manage large amounts of information, navigate through different parts of the business, and provide tools for managing the different sectors of their business.
Howard University announced the contract with Workday on Aug. 27, 2020, to transform the current administration system and reports the contract aligns with the “Howard Forward 2024 plan” on the Efficiency and Effectiveness pillar, according to The Dig. It details a commitment to improving current operating systems and processes and seeking solutions to increase productivity campus-wide.
Sierra Pegues, an Organizational Change Management and Training Specialist, works in the learning development department of the human resources office that works on the Workday Student project.
“This implementation of the Workday Student project was meant to raise the concerns that the students presented to get some upgraded technology,” Pegues said. “So with this being the student information system, it was important for us to include the students in on the process.”
Pegues explained the purpose behind the system’s naming contest was to involve Howard students in the process since the system will be primarily used for them. The name chosen out of five finalists will be “attached to the system that they’ll be using for the management of their progress through the university.”
“It was important for the students to be able to have a connection to the system especially because they’re currently using the BisonWeb/Banner technology that will be going away after this launch,” Pegues said.
Shaneel Young, a sophomore marketing major and one of the finalists said she applied on a whim. The Tennessee native came up with the name “BisonReady” in between her classes.
“I just literally had some time in between my classes and was like ‘hmm okay I like that one!’ So I came up with the name and I submitted it,” Young said. “It was a very mundane moment, honestly nothing special. I honestly forgot about it until I got notified of the finalist situation.”
She felt the name was fitting for everything that BisonWeb does in terms of preparing students for “college readiness” and thought that it would be a smooth transition of the names.
BisonWeb is the main way to access registration for each semester, a portal that all students use to review student accounts and financial aid, and academic records, as well as apply for graduation.
“It has all of the resources on it that we need to be academically and financially ready,” Young said. “Anything that we need is on BisonWeb so “BisonReady” was a perfect representation of college readiness.”
Young was very excited about being a finalist, but as a student, she has hopes that with the new program, there will be a substantial improvement in terms of functioning. Clarice Yekeh, a sophomore computer engineering student, also hopes to see improvements.
“With the new program, I would like to see less glitches and shutdowns. I’d also like for this new program to be accessible 24/7,” Yekeh said.
“I just hope that it can hold the capacity of students that we have,” Young said. “I know a big issue with BisonWeb, especially during registration is the BisonWeb…I hope that it can support us in the way that we need to be supported especially with registration that’s my number one thing.”
The system’s new name will be announced sometime this week, according to Pegues.
Copy edited by Alana Matthew