Schools Administrative Management system (SAM)

Notes of a meeting held on Thursday, 25th January 2001

Present: John Buckett
Laurie Burbridge
Ray Burnley
Derek Lewis
Elizabeth Stewart
Keith Zimmerman

1. Background Information

1.1 LB had included a report on the SAM system in Annex A of the latest version of the University's Information Strategy. This indicated that the project had so far been funded at a level of £37,000 and included the statement "To date this project should be seen as a success". A copy of the report is attached to these notes.
1.2 RB had produced a very helpful position paper and it was agreed that with slight modification this should be publicised widely. It was noted that approximately 60% of FTE students were now administered via SAM and on this basis it should be seen as excellent value for money.
1.3 The continued maintenance and development of the system was currently being performed by RB on the basis of 1.5 days per week.
1.4 ES tabled a paper showing the following financial contributions agreed by Schools for the current year:
Biological Sciences£1,000
Business and Economics£1,000
Classics and Theology£1,000
Camborne School of Mines£1,000
Engineering and Computer Science£1,000
School of Modern Languages£1,000
(The contribution from Engineering and Computer Science was confirmed after the meeting)
Further contributions were expected from Chemistry and from Geography and Archaeology.
LB confirmed that this would be sufficient to allow RB to continue the support and development of SAM and that the time allocated should be increased to 50%.

2. SAM Steering Group

It was agreed that a SAM Steering Group should be formed. This would report to the SAG and would be convened and chaired by JB. RB would be in attendance and other members would be nominated by the SAG. The main purpose of this group would be to monitor the maintenance of the SAM system and to agree priorities for further development.

3. Priorities for Essential Developments

Proposed developments were discussed in detail and it was agreed that these should be implemented in the following priority order. Of the above tasks, 3.1, 3.2 and 3.3 were required before June; this was an ambitious programme of work.
3.1 Full roll-out of SAM to "dormant" Schools. This would require 3 days of developer consultation for each of the seven Schools and may involve the implementation of further exam board reports. (21 days total)
3.2 Provide inter-School data exchange, particularly for Schools with joint honours programmes. (15 days total)
3.3 Complete "SAMweb" development to enable publication of static pages of information. This would provide an easy-to-use means of disseminating School data to the School's academic staff. (10 days total)
3.4 Modify the way in which SAM handles postgraduates to allow for the different requirements for assessment reporting, progression, and thesis and dissertation recording. (5 days total)
3.5 Provide the ability to e-mail groups of students. (5 days total)
3.6 Provide tools to interface SAM data with Word documents and with the mailmerge facility. (5 days total)

4. Next steps

It was agreed that:
4.1 RB's paper, with minor changes, should be publicised widely, especially to members of the SAG. These notes should be linked to the paper.
4.2 It was agreed that the proposals listed above for the formation of the SAM Steering Group, and the priorities for SAM development, should be implemented immediately and reported to the next meeting of the SAG for comment.

Information Strategy 2000/2001 (extract)

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Annex A - Implementation of the Strategy 1998/1999

As a result of the first version of the Information Strategy, a total of £450,000 was made available towards implementation of the Strategy. A number of projects were funded and details were included in the Annex to the previous version of this Strategy. Three projects are on-going and brief progress reports are given below.

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2. Development of School Administration and Management System (SAM)

Funding: £12,000 from the Information Strategy, some £10,000 from a number of Schools (most notably SHiPPS), plus some £15,000 of staff time contributed by IT Services.

The SAM (School Administration and Management) system was originally developed by the School of Historical, Political and Sociological Studies under the leadership of Keith Zimmerman. Much of the programming was carried out by Ray Burnley of IT Services. The aim was to produce a PC-based system that met the needs of individual Schools and which would also be capable of integrating with the new Administrative Systems. The SAM system is now in use by 10 Schools and is under consideration by a further 5 Schools. Maintenance and development of the system continues and is funded by contributions of £1,000 - £2,000 per annum from participating Schools; there is now no central funding of this project. For the current year, £11,000 is available and this money is used to purchase a proportion of Ray Burnley's time, which in turn is covered by a part-time appointment.

The system has been well-received by users, although there is a question over just how much support and further development is necessary and how much can be made available within the annual budget. To date, this project should be seen as a success. It remains to be seen how well the SAM system will integrate with the new Administrative Systems. Opinion is divided on whether or not the Monarch system will be necessary once the new central administrative systems are fully implemented. Meanwhile, it is clear that there is a need for such a system for at least the next 2 years.

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The full version from which this extract has been taken can be viewed here: Information Strategy 2000/2001

06-Feb-2001 ~ Ray Burnley ~ ~