ISIS dwells among us. While that might sound ominous,
it's magic to thousands of ears.
Although still 24 months away from full
Internet Student Information System is out of the
starting gate, as a permanent executive director for the
project has been appointed and ISIS's development teams
have knocked down the first in a series of "go live" target
As of fall semester, a common database has been
created, and the Peabody, Part-Time Engineering and
undergraduate Arts and Sciences and Engineering admissions
offices have implemented the ISIS admissions module, which
allows them to enter and track prospects and applicants.
The software also makes it possible to send out automatic
e-mail confirmations upon receipt of materials.
Begun in March 2001, ISIS is a Web-based system that
will effectively store in one place the records of all
current full-time and part-time Johns Hopkins students. It
is designed to be a user-friendly gateway to their
school-related financial and academic details. Upon its
full implementation in the summer of 2005, students will be
able to apply to Johns Hopkins, register for classes,
receive their grades and access financial aid and billing
information through a single portal.
The system is divided into four "modules"--admissions,
billing, financial aid and records/registration--that are
integrated by a common database and software. The user can
sign into the system's home page and link to all existing
modules. The 24/7 service will be provided to students,
staff and faculty in all eight of the university's academic
divisions. The School of Medicine, however, will
participate in only the financial aid and billing
The School of Professional Studies in Business and
Education will go live with its admissions module later
this month, followed by the School of Arts and Sciences'
Advanced Academic Programs in November.
The further implementation of the system will take
place incrementally, with financial aid and student billing
modules set to go live sometime in 2004, and the
records/registration module scheduled for completion by
In September, Barb Shaffer was named executive
director of the ISIS project, replacing Robert Evans, an
independent consultant who had served as project director.
Prior to her new post, Shaffer was senior director of
enrollment management at SPSBE.
Shaffer says that while implementation is proceeding
mostly as planned, students and staff should realize that
the journey to completion is far from over.
"What we have attempted to undertake is huge. The
various legacy systems used by the eight schools were not
integrated, even at the school level, much less across the
university. We'll get there, but it's not an easy or
straightforward path," Shaffer said. "What we do have is a
structure in place and teams of dedicated and talented
people who are working together to implement this
The ISIS team leaders, or functional architects, for
each module are:
Admissions: Steve Hellen, from
IT@Johns Hopkins-Student Information Services.
Common: Craig Smith, associate
registrar for information systems in Homewood's Office of
Financial Aid: Thomas McDermott,
associate director of financial aid systems in Homewood's
Financial Aid Office.
Records and Registration: Teresa
Schwartz, director of records and registration in the
Bloomberg School of Public Health's Office of the
Registrar, and Linda Blankenship, registrar in the School
Student Billing: Barbara Warren,
director of tax/payroll in the Office of the Controller,
and Beth Bishop, manager of Homewood Student Accounts.
In addition, the IT project director for ISIS is
Denise Antinori, and IT project managers are Melissa
Beneway and Geoffrey Corb.
"There are almost 300 people involved in this project,
as it really is that enormous and that complex," Shaffer
said. "But when it's all said and done, we will be better
able to serve our customers and provide them with
high-quality Web-based services."
The impetus for creating a new student database was a
need to integrate existing disparate systems, allowing
users to get all the information they need from one
With the new system, student information will be
shared across modules as soon as it's entered. For example,
when a student provides an address and phone number to an
admissions office, that information will be instantly
usable by other offices, such as financial aid. By using
ISIS, faculty will be able to post grades, manage advisees
and monitor class enrollment, all in real time. For staff
in the admissions, financial aid, student accounts and
registrars' offices, ISIS will be a tool to automate
repetitive tasks and provide the flexibility to respond
quickly to changing market demands.
"This software is highly configurable so that it will
accommodate the diverse business practices of the eight
schools of Hopkins while providing enough of the same look
and feel that students can know they are at Johns Hopkins
University, whether they are a student at Peabody or
SPSBE," Shaffer said.
To learn more about ISIS, go to
To register for the ISIS listserve that will offer periodic
updates on the project's status, click on "More