The Financial and Academic Services Transition (FAST) teams are now in place. As part of student services reengineering, they are focusing their efforts on the services provided by the Financial Aid, Registrar's and Bursar's Offices as well as many other services provided by the graduate and undergraduate academic administrators.
FAST is following up on the work of the Student Services reengineering redesign team, which completed its work last spring by recommending various improvements in how MIT tracks and provides access to students' academic and financial records. More than 100 staff, students and faculty, some working full-time but most part-time, are involved.
Each team (see chart) is responsible for implementing a redesigned process that will make administrative work easier. The Automated Academic Requirements team, for example, is designing a single, reliable source of information that will let students and their advisors easily track progress toward a degree. The Online Hourly Payroll team is automating the student payroll process, and the Student Services Center team is creating a central physical location where students can easily obtain information and conduct basic financial and academic transactions.
Several of the FAST team projects are already in place or will be in place shortly. The Online Graduate Awards and Appointments team introduced a new system that lets departments enter research and teaching assistant awards directly into the MIT Student Information System (MITSIS). They have also automated the process that generates stipend checks.
On September 16, the Online Student Access Team will let students use SIS (the Athena online student information system) to see their most recent bursary bills and information on their account activity. It will also let them track their financial aid and scholarships. Previously, this information was available online only through MITSIS, which students were unable to use.
The team has also speeded up the process by which students will be able to get their SIS password. In the past, it took two weeks to activate a student's password; now, it can be activated overnight. OLSIS team members are now working to make these functions available on the Web, which will enable students to get information more easily in their dorms and off-campus.
Dean for Undergraduate Education Rosalind Williams is the overall sponsor of Student Services reengineering. Professor Martin Schlecht of electrical engineering and computer science is the FAST team sponsor, and Jennifer Dowling Dougherty serves as project manager. Director of Student Financial Aid Stanley Hudson and Bursar Carolyn Bunker are leading the financial services teams. Dave Weber, formerly the director of the Sloan School's educational services, and Connie Scribner, associate registrar, are leading the academic services effort.
The FAST teams want to expand community involvement in their activities. Members urge all members of the MIT community who have ideas or questions or who want to participate to contact leaders of specific teams or project administrator Laura Capone at <email@example.com>.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on August 28, 1996.