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Bloomsburg continues to experience issues with Banner

At the end of the 2022-2023 academic year, Bloomsburg University transitioned to using Banner, a software system designed for higher education institutions. The need for a transition came with the merging of Bloomsburg with Lock Haven and Mansfield into the newly christened Commonwealth University. The university needed all three campuses to share one Student Information System (SIS). 

Students and faculty first look at the new programs resulted in a lot of confusion as the BU community experienced what they perceived as a half-finished program.

Their concerns were met with sympathy from the university and promises of a quick fix come the new semester. Yet now, as a new semester begins, students and faculty don’t see those promises being fulfilled.

In the span of the first week of the new academic year, several emails have been sent out acknowledging issues with the “Banner ecosystem” and alerting users that updates are being made.

In an email sent to the “Commonwealth University Community” on Aug. 18, the Commonwealth Academic Technology and Support team (CATS), wrote, “We understand this is not an ideal time, and look forward to our realtime integration with Banner to return to full working status.”

This plea for sympathy followed the announcement that the issues discovered were delaying course enrollments and faculty assignments.

Only three days later a similar email was sent out by the Office of Information Technology sharing that the vendor Ellucian/Banner is experiencing “bandwidth issues, affecting a number of colleges and universities…”

Students have grown more and more frustrated with what seems to be the system’s never ending parade of issues. Some students have encountered problems that have the potential to cause serious hitches in their academic careers.

“I went on Banner and it said I am a dual major. I am not. If I was not able to figure that out [quickly,] it probably would have messed me up with credits,” said junior Lauren Miller.

Students aren’t alone in their frustrations. Faculty have also struggled with the many hurdles they’ve encountered since the introduction of the new system.

Dr. Michael Martin, an associate professor in the English department and the director of the professional writing and digital rhetoric program, has faced many challenges with the system as both a professor and advisor.

As an advisor, he’s unable to walk his advisees through technological issues on this scale.

“I can’t do my job without help anymore,” he said.

Martin predicts that the new SIS will only begin to be fully functional three years from now.

While a set timeline hasn’t been given to faculty and students about when the issues will be fully resolved, the BU community can only hope for a quick turnaround.

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Novalea Verno, Editor-in-Chief

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