Blog: From StARS to StARS+: a more ambitious vision

Professor Kathy Armour, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education) and StARS+ University Executive Board Sponsor
Professor Kathy Armour, StARS+ University Executive Board Sponsor

By Professor Kathy Armour, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education) and StARS+ University Executive Board Sponsor

The StARS (Student Administration Refresh and Simplification) programme is expanding significantly, following approval by Council at the end of January. This will build on the success of the StARS programme so far, and the expanded programme will be known as StARS+.

What is StARS+?

StARS+ is a University-wide programme to simplify, standardise and improve our student administration services, enabled by a replacement and upgrade of our student record system.

In November 2019, StARS successfully completed its “phase 1”: to deliver a series of major upgrades to Banner, the core part of our student record system; and to map out hundreds of our current processes to help the University understand the complexities of our ageing student administration systems and processes.

Why does the University need StARS+?

StARS+ is vital to the ongoing success of the University. The challenges it is addressing are complex, longstanding and long term, and we need to act now. If we don’t, our student administration system – and the people and processes around it – will be unable to support the University to achieve its long-term aims; indeed, it will become increasingly difficult even to conduct “business-as-usual” effectively.

Here are seven more reasons why the University needs StARS+.

What will StARS+ deliver, how, and when?

The programme will now run for an extra two years until summer 2024. All process and system changes will actually be completed by summer 2023, but a further year has been added to help staff and students to adjust.

StARS+ will be developed and delivered as a series of modules, meaning that different functions will be “switched on” and new processes adopted throughout the life of the programme. Unlike New Core, for example, there will be no single “go-live” moment for users (staff and students).

Key improvements will include:

  • A redesigned, simpler curriculum data structure – September 2020
  • A new “Programme Catalogue” to replace Programmes and Modules Handbook – September 2020 for prospective students, September 2021 for existing students
  • Automated student ID (Right to Study) checks during registration – April 2021
  • Online, single-system attendance recording and monitoring  – September 2021
  • Online optional module selection for students – September 2021
  • New online student registration – April 2022
  • Student information dashboard (undergraduates) – July 2022
  • Streamlined processes for aspects of student support, e.g. Reasonable Adjustment Plans and Extenuating Circumstances – September 2022
  • A new system for processing assessment, results and progression – May 2023
  • Student information dashboard (postgraduates) – May 2023
  • New online graduation management system – May 2023
  • Changes to staff structures, with some roles adjusted to enable more consistent and flexible staffing across the University and opportunities for development – July 2024

A more ambitious vision

StARS+ is about more than the improved processes and systems detailed here. Ultimately, the vision is of a fundamental shift towards a more flexible set of capabilities and services that are fit for the future, and which deliver a better experience for staff and students alike.

The University is fully supportive of StARS+, as am I as Sponsor. The programme team is looking forward to pushing ahead with this ambitious new scope, and to engaging the whole University community in making the StARS+ vision a reality.

Visit the rest of the StARS+ intranet pages for more information about the programme, what it will be delivering and how you can get in touch.



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