November 28, 2022
Ithaca, NY | 39°F


Admissions implements paperless system

Ithaca College’s Information Technology Services is currently implementing a new, paperless system in the Office of Admission. College administrators said this initiative will significantly reduce paper consumption in the office.

This system is a sub-project of the larger Enterprise Content Management initiative, a college-wide program designed to streamline the document-sharing process. The online course override form, which was implemented last semester, is another sub-project of the program.

Director of Admission Gerard Turbide said his office is one of the biggest users of paper on campus.

“This is the biggest win for admissions, with an obvious gain in cutting down paperwork,” Turbide said. “If we are not the biggest paper user on campus, we are one of the biggest.”

According to data from the Office of Civic Engagement’s sustainability program, the college purchased more than 10 million sheets of office paper in the 2011–12 academic year. In a 2009 report, the Office of Admission estimated handling 250,000 pages per admission cycle.

With the implementation of a paperless admission system, that number will be reduced, and paper applications will only be used in select cases. The implementation of the system will last through 2017.

David Weil, director of enterprise application services, said after implementation process is complete, the college will no longer hand-review admission applications.

Turbide said the biggest advantage of the new system will be the fast movement of documents.

He said with the large number of applications to the college last year, the Office of Admission decided that there was a need to handle documents differently for undergraduate admissions.

A year before this decision was made, the office was testing the system. Turbide said the office used graduate student applications as a pilot test in the Fall 2012 semester so the office could see if the system would have a positive response.

The college hired a consultant in Fall 2011 to identify which departments across campus should implement this program. The consultant found 60 core areas to address in departments like the Office of Admission, Student Financial Services and the Office of the Registrar. These recommendations were based on data from 2009, in which Student Financial Services used 30,000 pages and the Registrar used 29,000 paper invoices.

“Workflow focuses on processes primarily related to an academic process for a student, such as course registration override,” Weil said. “There are 27 different academic workflow processes that are on the list to be implemented.”

Marian Brown, special assistant for campus and community sustainability, said any online function that can effectively meet the needs of the consumer while also reducing environmental impact is commendable.

Turbide said he expects the effects of this system to be campus-wide.

“At the end of this project, it will probably touch every single office or department on campus in some way,” Turbide said. “It will impact those offices in a very positive way.”