Student Services Initiative (SSI)

What is SSI?

The Student Services Initiative (SSI) is a program focused on advancing students’ aspirations with diverse curricular offerings and affordable interdisciplinary study, and is a collaboration between USC’s:

  • Enrolment Services Division (ESD)
    • Financial Aid Office (FAO)
    • Office of Academic Records & Registrar (OARR) and
  • Information Technology Services (ITS)

A Program of Six Projects

The mission of this student-centered program is to enhance the effectiveness and modernize six key applications:

  1. Registration (aka WebReg)
  2. Grading and Roster System (GRS)
  3. Online Academic Student Information System (OASIS)
  4. Financial Aid Summary and Tasks (FAST)
  5. Online Financial Aid Forms (OLF), and
  6. Financial Aid (FAO) Reporting

When is this happening

Work is underway for each project in the program.  Below are the target dates each project will be implemented:

Grading and Roster System – May 2020

Guest Access to systems – June 2020

OASIS Transition – September 2020

Registration – October 2020

Financial Aid Online Forms – October 2020

FAST – December 2020

Reports – Throughout 2020

Key Collaborative Strategy

A key strategy of the initiative is the collaborative approach utilizing feedback from USC stakeholders throughout the program. This approach enables stakeholders to engage early in the program to ensure services are tailored to their needs and supports USC’s strategic vision.

Collaborating closely with users, SSI Program teams are investigating current pain points to identify opportunities to support each project. The feedback learned is being used to thoughtfully plan, inform design and development, and share proposed changes to build awareness for each project as well as to elicit additional information to improve upon each application.

Who is involved?

Key Business Sponsors

Guiding the SSI Project teams are:

Executive Sponsor

  • Katharine Harrington, VP of Admissions and Planning

Program Sponsors

  • Frank Chang, Registrar
  • Thomas McWhorter, Financial Aid Dean
  • Noemi Garcia Tagorda, Financial Aid Associate Dean

ITS Sponsors

  • Doug Shook, Chief Information Officer
  • Veronica Garcia, Associate Chief Information Officer, Application Services

Program Manager – Nishigandha Emde

Program Advisory Council

Additionally, the SSI Program Advisory Council chaired by Rosemary Kennedy, Associate Vice President of Financial Services, is the governing body of approximately 25 influential stakeholders that provide leadership and guidance; the SSI Change Champion Network is a group of recommended and highly engaged students, administrators, parents, alumni, and staff members actively contributing to enhance the six projects.

Why are we doing this? Here are some of the benefits:

For all USC stakeholders:

Performance and security – Improved system performance & security resulting in a safe & reliable online experience for students, parents and alumni alike.

Help and Support Enhancements – Built-in system help, banner information, and notification features to better explain content.

Using the Latest Technologies – Designed to work with mobile devices, provide real-time information and a simplified user experience

USC Branding – An enhanced user-experience with modernized and consistent look and feel.

For Students:

Making Registration Easier

  • Improved stress-free and efficient registration experience.
  • Filter and prioritize courses to find what you need.
  • More context to make well-informed choices about what you can and can’t take.

Uniform guest access across services

  • Improving the way you give access to your information with more control over what guests see.
  • Current OASIS services will be accessible from MyUSC both for students and guests

Easier and Faster Grading

  • No more false negatives on missing grades. See only the final grade that matters.
  • Preferred name and pronoun added to class roster so professors will see you.
  • More notifications to professors to help make grading easier.

Demystifying Financial Aid Applications

  • Gives better information to make questions clear so that there’s no mystery about what information is needed
  • Forms are easier to follow, with questions being asked in a way that makes sense.
  • An easy to use dashboard communicates what you need and when.

Benefits for Staff

  • For Faculty – Enhanced roster and grading system that includes search capability, easier uploading of grades.
  • For Staff – clarity of processes such as departmental clearance and waitlist
  • For Advisors – Streamlined & supported registration process
  • For Financial Aid Office & Registrar’s Office – Systematized capture and responses to student inquiries, better real-time, visual reports for data-driven decisions
  • For ITS – Increased data security and scalable applications resulting in better user support and continuous improvement. Use of a Person Entity (PE) database will result in better performing and supported systems.

What are the six projects about?

GRS (Grading and Roster System) – Streamline the main roster and grading system for faculty, instructors, advisors, and academic support staff to better stabilize and enhance each user’s experience.

OASIS (Online Academic Student Information System) – Transition over 35 applications to MyUSC and other supported portals enabling the 2008 system to be retired.

Registration (aka WebReg) – Application enhancements to optimize the online experience for students registering for classes.

FAO Reports (Financial Aid Office Reporting) – Provide 65 relevant reports so the Financial Aid Office has timely data that can be shared with authorized users to facilitate more efficient decision making.

OLF (Online Financial Aid Forms) – Redesign three vital student and parent online financial aid forms for an improved user experience and services for students, parents, and the Financial Aid Office staff.

FAST (Financial Aid Summary and Tasks) – Redesign the planning tool portal with information to help students and parents make more informed decisions about the financial aid process.

How do I get involved and find out more?

Please contact or emde@usc

Let us know if you are interested in becoming a change champion and advocate.  By being part of the program as a change champion you will be the first to be informed and have the opportunity to contribute as part of the process.