The implementation of SUNStudent, the new state-of-the-art student information system (SIS) of Stellenbosch University (SU) was launched this week. The new system will elevate student administration and academic curriculum management to a higher level.
“This is a big milestone for us. Administrative systems and records form the foundation of the University," Prof Wim de Villiers, Vice-Chancellor and Rector, said at the launch function in Stellenbosch on Monday night (6 May).
The implementation of SUNStudent, a comprehensive and hypermodern software package from the service provider Serosoft Solutions will now start and it is expected that the system will be fully operational over a period of two years. Change management consultants from the company Eiffel Corp will combine forces with Serosoft to assist and support staff and students in the transition process from the current system to SUNStudent.
According to Prof De Villiers, SUNStudent is one of the enablers that will contribute to the realisation of the University's Vision 2040 to be Africa's leading research-intensive university, globally recognised as excellent, inclusive and innovative, where the University advances knowledge in service of society.
“That is the bigger picture of where we want to see ourselves in future. We want to be relevant to the people of our country, Africa and the rest of the world, making significant contributions to the highest quality," Prof De Villiers said.
According to the Rector, this is where SUNStudent fits in. The new SIS is aligned with SU's Vision 2040 and Strategic Framework 2019–2040.
“The hard work now will be to build and implement the new system. It will be a complicated process to switch over from the current system to the new SUNStudent – a bit like building an aeroplane while you're up in the air!" Prof De Villiers commented.
A project management office has already been established with the SU Registrar, Dr Ronel Retief, taking the lead on the SUNStudent project. She will be assisted by a strong steering committee and project management team, with capable representation from the SU's Information Technology and Information Governance divisions and the relevant functional departments will be involved throughout to contribute from a user perspective.
Dr Retief said during her welcoming note that the students are the most important stakeholders. “We truly believe the students will reap the benefits of the new SUNStudent system." She also extended a special word of thanks to Prof Ian Cloete, who chaired the steering committee for the system renewal project of which the new student-information system is an outcome.
The chief executive officer of Eiffel Corp, Mr Ian Light, expressed his excitement about their partnership with the University. “This project is for us as a company one of the most important ones in our 21-year history. “It is an honour to partner with the University. Stellenbosch is one of the best universities in the world," Light said.
According to Mr Arpit Badjatya, founder and chief executive officer of Serosoft Solutions, a software provider in India, his company's staff members internally refer to SUNStudent as 'Project Sunshine'. “We are excited about the time that we will spend here in South Africa and Stellenbosch. We know that the University is going through a transformation process. The transformation will be incomplete if it is not done digitally as well. We are ready to deliver our best," Badjatya said.
SUNStudent will consist of the Academia SIS product from Serosoft that will provide the basis for the administration of each phase in the life cycle of a student from recruitment to graduation and thereafter. For more information on the SUNStudent click here.
With reference to the implementation lying ahead, Mr Batjatya closed his speech in the words of Robert Frost:
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
Photo: Present at the launch of SUNStudent this week are from the left, Mr Ian Light, (CEO of Eiffel Corp), Mr Siddharth Badjatiya
(COO & Director of Serosoft Solutions) , Prof Ian Cloete (Chair of the steering committee), Dr Ronel Retief (Registrar), Prof Wim de Villiers (Rector and Vice-Chancellor), Mr Attie
Juyn (Senior-Director: Information Technology) and Mr Arpit Badjatya (CEO and founder of Serosoft Solutions). Photographer: Stefan Els
Photo: Guests at the launch of SUNStudent. Photo: Stefan Els
Main picture: Mr Ian Light, Prof Wim de Villiers en Mr Arpit Badjatya. Photo: Stefan Els