Photo of San Francisco

Dedication to making the student experience on campus easier to navigate is at the core of the work done by the creative and innovative people who support UC Berkeley’s Student Information Systems (SIS). At the Oracle OpenWorld conference on Sept. 16, the SIS eForms team got a well-deserved moment in the spotlight when UC Berkeley was recognized as PeopleSoft Innovators for the team’s creation of electronic forms simplifying several student and instructor processes and saving tons of trees.

The electronic forms effort began in January 2016 as part of the SIS Implementation Project. Working within Berkeley Campus Solutions and a third-party application, Gideon Taylor (GT) eForms, the team was able to dramatically expand student and faculty self-service options by introducing powerful, workflow-enabled electronic forms. The SIS eForms team brings together business analysts and developers who have a dedication to innovation, efficiency, and sustainability. “It’s been inspiring to watch this team in action – and so gratifying to see the practical results of their expertise in action,” said Jane Valentine, SIS Support Services Associate Director.   

The team has created online forms to empower students to quickly and easily apply for emergency loans, to select and manage graduate committees, to add or change their academic program, to add and drop classes, to withdraw from the University, and to submit petitions for a variety of exceptions. Other eForms enable faculty members to submit workflow-enabled award recognitions, course credit requests, enrollments, and re-enrollment requests for graduates.  

The following is a partial list of the University’s eForms:

  • Emergency Loan Request
  • Undergraduate Change of Academic Program 
  • Graduate Change of Academic Program Plan
  • Undergraduate Readmission
  • Concurrent Enrollment 
  • Special Enrollment Petitions
  • Graduate Committees 
  • Term Withdrawal form
  • Late Petition Form
  • Veteran’s Benefit Form
  • Course Attributes
  • Graduate Qualifying Exam
  • Graduate Re-Enrollment
  • Doctoral Candidacy
  • State Bar Exam
  • Jurisprudence/Prosser Awards
  • Academic Rule Petitions
  • Law Interdepartmental Class Enrollment Request
  • Graduate Petition for Exception

Through the implementation of eForms, the University has eliminated over 250,000 paper forms (approximately 500,000 pieces of paper) in just two years. In tangible terms, each tree cut down for paper can produce approximately 8,350 – 12,000 sheets of paper. Over time, as SIS sustains eForms processing this will help reduce the university’s carbon footprint, contributing to campus sustainability goals. 

By creating an electronic form exchange system where there was not one in existence prior, the team has helped to significantly reduce the number of hours required to exchange documentation which greatly enhances how students and staff experience campus administrative processes. The process time savings enable staff to focus on different touch points in the student experience. Beyond campus, the constant push for innovation by the SIS eForms team has resulted in significant changes to the GT eForm product, which benefits not only UC Berkeley, but any institution of higher education that uses them.

“Although most of our clients succeed at using GT eForms to improve the initial business processes they target, relatively few have managed to create a self-sustaining, internal eForms automation initiative. Organizational roadblocks, functional siloing, and the distractions of the urgent often prevent the “holy grail” outcome of an empowered team that consistently produces new efficiencies and business process wins for their organization. The Berkeley team has earned a rare place in the ranks of those who have succeeded. New mobile forms with intelligent workflow and automations keep rolling into Production, elevating employee and student experience and freeing Berkeley staff from tedious transaction-centric effort and data entry. Our tools and our consultants can help with such success, but we can’t make it happen; that takes a determined, invested, and innovative team like Berkeley has created. Our hats are off to the Berkeley team for their amazing achievements!” Paul Taylor, President and CEO of Gideon Taylor.

eForms Facts & Figures

Following are some of the results that UC Berkeley has achieved with their eForms.

Committees eForm

The Committees eForm combined three manual paper processes into one dynamic, workflow-enabled eForm:

  1. Qualifying Exam (QE) request allows the graduate student to apply for their PhD qualifying exam. When applying for this exam, the student selects a panel of committee members along with additional information related to their research. 
  2. Advancement to Candidacy (ADV) request allows students to apply for their advancement. This request also requires the student select a panel of committee members along with additional information regarding their research.
  3. Reconstitution of Committee request allows students to modify their committees for either of the two previous requests.

With features like pre-population, intelligent edits, and conditional workflow built in, the Committees eForm has:

  • Replaced intercampus routing done once a week with a real-time, online eForm.
  • Improved turnaround time from 2-3 weeks to minutes.
  • Eliminated the need to route ALL forms to the Graduate Division for routine reviews. Today, only exception requests are routed for review.
  • Given staff the option to route outside of dynamic parameters when necessary using ad hoc approvals.
  • Saved over 1,200 staff hours (an average of 20 minutes per form).

Concurrent Enrollment eForm

Concurrent Enrollment program provides an opportunity to enroll in UC Berkeley campus courses on a space-available basis without formal admission to the University. Concurrent Enrollment is a rapidly growing program for UC Berkeley. It’s also a large source of revenue for Berkeley academic departments. This form was developed to meet business process needs that were not addressed by delivered PeopleSoft functionality.

The new eForm replaces a parallel system that did not enroll them in the main database. This now allows students and faculty to use one system for all enrollment purposes. Students have real-time visibility into courses that are available as well as enrollment information.

The Concurrent Enrollment form has also dramatically improved accessibility, transparency and efficiency. Both students and faculty are able to see the status of enrollment requests at any time. Through the use of the GT Action Center, faculty members can approve multiple requests from one consolidated page rather than having to access individual eForms.

Over 40,000 Concurrent Enrollment forms have been processed, accounting for millions of dollars in revenue.

Change of Academic Program eForm

Berkeley’s large advising staff needed a way to route and approve change requests for student academic programs and plans. The Change of Academic Program eForm enables these requests to be handled entirely by advising staff; the Office of the Registrar no longer needs to be involved in the process.

The Change of Academic Program form has:

  • Replaced intercampus routing.
  • Automated conditional routing for seven (7) different colleges, each with complex requirements.
  • Improved turnaround time by weeks in some cases.
  • Given staff the option to route outside of dynamic parameters when necessary using ad hoc approvals.

The University has processed tens of thousands of Change of Academic Program eForms.

Leave a Reply