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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Launch of new online transcript ordering system delayed

Due to unforeseen technical difficulties, the launch of the new online official transcript ordering system and pricing structure has been delayed until February 8, 2012. The current system and pricing structure will be used until then.

See the previous entry on The Ledger to learn more about the new online transcript ordering system.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Resolved: 1/30/12 system issue (email slow)

The issue reported earlier with email log-in appears to be resolved. If you have any issues, report them to 1-HELP. For an up-to-date status of various University systems, check the Office of Information Technology's system status page.

Original message:

Staff are reporting issues logging into their email this morning (Monday, January 30, 2012). The problem seems to be isolated to Gmail; all system issues should be reported to 1-HELP.

Friday, January 27, 2012

What is a "Plan Level Coordinator"?

In order for graduate education processes to be automated, specific roles (i.e., individuals who will be included in a workflow) must be clearly defined. One such role is the "Plan Level Coordinator" (PLC). There is a PLC identified for each degree plan (frequently a DGS assistant) who will receive requests, consult with those who need to be involved in the decision-making, and record the decision in the workflow. This role is integrated into the registration exceptions process and will be important in future processes.

If you are unsure who is the PLC for a specific plan, contact Heather McLaughlin.

Confirm Completion of College Review of Graduate Program Data in PCAS

The Grad PCAS project team is requesting that all colleges verify that they have completed the review of their program entries in PCAS. To confirm the review is complete, send an email to Vicki Field by February 1. If the review has not yet been completed, the email should include the names of the programs still under review and the expected completion date.

Vicki Field, on behalf of the Grad PCAS project team, sent an email to collegiate contacts on January 27 with detailed information about this request.

New contact information for ASR imaging unit

All requests for the ASR imaging unit should now be directed to asrfiles@umn.edu. This includes name changes, duplicate records, and record conversions.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Reminder about the "April 15th resolution"

The Council of Graduate Schools has published a statement, "Resolution Regarding Graduate Scholars, Fellows, Trainees and Assistants," since the 1960s and the University of Minnesota is a signatory of this resolution. The resolution, commonly referred to as "the April 15th resolution," concerns conditions surrounding acceptance of offers of certain kinds of graduate student financial assistance.

The general spirit of the resolution is that:

  • Students should have an opportunity to consider more than one offer and should have until April 15 to do so.

  • Institutions and students should be able to view acceptances in force after April 15 as binding.

  • Everyone should know what the rules are.

  • An offer by the institution and its acceptance by the student constitute an agreement which both are expected to honor.

All University of Minnesota graduate programs that offer funding to admitted students must abide by this resolution and must use clear wording about acceptance deadlines in all funding offer letters sent to admitted students. Graduate programs should also provide a copy of this resolution or a link to the URL along with every offer letter for a scholarship, fellowship, traineeship, or assistantship. More information, including examples of acceptable working for funding offer letters is available at http://www.grad.umn.edu/prospective_students/april15.html.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Ordering official transcripts online

Update (2/9/2012): The launch on February 8, 2012 was successful with students ordering both paper and electronic (certified PDF) official transcripts.

Update (1/31/2012): Due to unforeseen technical difficulties, the new online official transcript ordering system and pricing structure launch has been delayed until February 8, 2012. Until then, the current system and pricing structure will be used.

A new online system for ordering official transcripts is scheduled to go live on February 1, 2012. This new system will be available for all students, past or present, on all University of Minnesota campuses. It offers faster ordering and processing, an electronic (certified PDF) official transcript option, and doesn't require an Internet ID (x.500) and password to create an order. In addition to the system change, a new pricing structure for transcripts will take effect.

About official electronic (certified PDF) transcripts

Electronic transcripts offered through this new system are official, certified PDF transcripts that are offered and recognized by many institutions. The authenticity of the transcript is verified each time a recipient opens the PDF transcript. A message will display indicating if it is authentic or not.

Example of what displays when document is authentic:Avow blue ribbon.JPG

Students will automatically receive information about the status of their order, including when the transcript has been downloaded by their listed recipient. Student may also opt to add a tracker to a transcript for an additional fee. When this option is selected, students will receive notifications whenever the transcript is opened, including the location where it was opened. This allows for confirmation that the transcript was viewed (and not just downloaded), which offers a measure of security as the student can confirm it is only opened where they directed it.
Because of these features, only Adobe Reader or Adobe Acrobat may be used to view electronic transcripts. Information about the free Adobe Reader is made available to all recipients of electronic transcripts.
While the certified PDF transcript is considered to be official, students are advised to confirm with their recipient that it will be accepted.

The online ordering process

Students who know their Internet ID (x.500) and password will sign in to the system as they would any other University system. This will immediately identify them with their student record. They will be asked to create an account with basic information that will be used for billing and order status notifications.
Students who do not have or do not know their Internet ID (x.500) and password will be asked for more details to create their account including their date of birth and last four digits of their Social Security number. Nearly all students who provide accurate and complete information in this step will be identified and tied to their student record automatically. When this automatic identification is not possible, staff from the Office of the Registrar will investigate and may contact the student for more information.
After this initial step, all students will proceed to the same ordering process. Those familiar with ordering products online will recognize the process: the type of transcript will be selected, delivery address (physical or email) set, and billing information provided. Both electronic and paper transcripts can be requested in the same order with the option of multiple copies going to one or more addresses. Charges for the order will only be made once the transcript is processed (i.e., electronic transcript emailed or paper transcript mailed).

Alternative to online ordering

A paper form will still be available for submitting official transcript requests. This will be useful for those who cannot use the online ordering system (i.e., they do not have an email address and/or credit or debit card) or for those who prefer another submission method or form of payment. The price will be the same regardless of the method of the request.

Pricing and Payment

The price for all transcripts, regardless of ordering method or format, will be $12. This represents the first price increase for basic, non-rush transcript requests in more than ten years. There is no longer an additional charge for "rush" service as all transcripts will be processed within one business day (certified PDF transcripts can be processed and delivered as soon as a few minutes after the order is made regardless of the time of day).
Priority overnight and international priority shipping for paper transcripts are still available for an additional charge, but there will no longer be an option to fax the transcript.
Online orders can only be paid for with credit or debit card. Charging to the student account will no longer be an option. Transcript requests made by paper form can be paid via credit card, check, or cash (if submitting in person).

About the vendor

Academic Support Resources worked closely with the Office of Information Technology and the selected vendor, Avow Systems, Inc. to ensure the system is secure and works seamlessly with existing University systems. Many U.S. institutions are using Avow's Authentic Document Delivery Service for their students and more than 3,000 post-secondary institutions world-wide have received certified PDF transcripts through Avow Systems.

New look for Office of Classroom Management website

The Office of Classroom Management (OCM) unveiled a new look for their website last week. Features of the new design include:

  • Simpler page design. The left navigation column has been removed from pages to allow more space for content and more white space around content.

  • Drop-down top navigation. A horizontal menu bar is at the top of all pages, offering drop-down navigation that doesn't clutter page content.

  • OCM news spotlight. The news spotlight, on the homepage, now offers users a view of multiple fresh news stories from the OCM blog.

  • Easy access to popular pages. A left-center bar of buttons on the homepage offers users quick access to the OCM site's most-used sections.

Though the look and navigation have changed, the content itself remains the same. Any bookmarks you may have will still work.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Best practice: Drafting collegiate policies for graduate education

At the January RAC meeting, Lisa Wiley presented how the College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resource Sciences drafts its policies for graduate education. She has provided her presentation, hand outs, and the manuals used by faculty and program coordinators.

Presentation: CFANS Graduate Education
Handout: UMN/CFANS graduate faculty status
Handout: Flowchart for routing ECAS graduate course proposals for non-fast-track changes
Handout: Table for registration exception requests
Reference Manual: Graduate faculty
Reference Manual: Graduate program coordinators
Handbook: Prospective graduate student

FERPA Q&A: New FERPA Regulations mean little change for U

Question: How will the new FERPA regulations affect our work at the University?

Answer: New FERPA Regulations were released in December by the Department of Education. Most of the regulations related to a greater ability for the University to share information with state and local education agencies. There were no changes that affect how student service professionals work with private student data.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Graduate Student Services and Progress Office hours

In order to prepare for the Graduate School transition, the Graduate Student Services and Progress (GSSP) office will close on Tuesday afternoons to allow transition working groups to meet. Starting Tuesday, January 17, the GSSP office hours will be:

Monday 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Tuesday 8 a.m.-noon
Wednesday 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Thursday 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Friday 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Change to liberal education requirements

Students on the UMTC campus who started in fall 2010 or later can now satisfy their liberal education theme requirements by completing four out of five themes. Students who started before fall 2010 will continue to follow the requirements that were in place prior to fall 2010. This change does not affect students enrolled in programs offered exclusively on the Rochester campus.

Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education Bob McMaster sent an email explaining the change[PDF] to directors of undergraduate studies, associate deans for undergraduate education, college deans, and the Council of Undergraduate Educators on December 13, 2011. Please note: the email incorrectly stated that the change applied to the Rochester campus. The change applies only to Twin Cities campus programs.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Registration queue for fall 2012

All stages of the registration queue for fall 2012 will start with last names that begin with the letter "R." The complete registration queue will be posted on the One Stop website in late March.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Workflow for assigning a committee for graduate students

Work is underway to automate the process for assigning a committee for graduate students. Following the consultative model for transforming administrative processes, a user group representing both Twin Cities and Duluth programs has been assembled (see below). This group has completed an initial review and has documented the current official process for assigning a committee. The group has also started the discussion on requirements for the process going forward. Analysis of future process requirements and system capabilities is ongoing.

User group for assigning a committee
Duluth Representatives
Steve Frickstad (Academic Affairs)
Jenny Kroft (Math and Statistics)
Lori Lucia (Computer Science)
Tami Vatalaro (American Indian Studies)
Twin Cities Representatives
Danielle Bordeleau (Child Development)
Jan Goodno (Social Work)
John Gardner (Mechanical Engineering)
Laura Krider (Music)
Barbara London (Anthropology)
Lisa Wiley (CFANS)
Graduate School
Renae Faunce
Amber Knapp
Robert Bode
Eric Ecklund
Heather McLaughlin
John Vollum

Friday, January 6, 2012

Add/update adviser form (an update)

Testing is underway of the new online form and workflow for adding and updating advisers for post-baccalaureate students. Initially scheduled for a December release, the form will instead launch early spring semester to align with the release of an online form for adding and updating committee member assignments. These forms will launch together because of the critical relationship of advisers and committees; the joint release will also allow for a more effective revision of the Degree Program Form.

New Sign-in Pages for University Systems

The Office of Information Technology recently announced a new look for the sign-in page for University of Minnesota. More information, including a visual comparison of the current and new sign-in page, can be found on the OIT site.