Looking Back / Looking Forward

Looking Back / Looking Forward

Release 1 – August 7, 2017

In 2015, the University of Florida embarked on an ambitious program to update aging computer hardware and software systems and take advantage of advances and best practices in how to acquire, track, manipulate, share and analyze information. While the program was aimed primarily at creating a new student information system (SIS), other components were considered essential as well, including improving the user experience and connecting the campus.

The result was COMPASS (Campus-wide Modernization Program to Advance Student Services), which completed a major milestone August 7th, going live with its first virtual upgrades rollout: Release 1.  This portion of the overall implementation put in place the foundation of the new student information system using software specifically designed to better facilitate business processes relating to admissions, student records and registry data maintenance, or the maintenance of “people records.”

“Release 1 was the first step towards transitioning from our old admissions legacy system to the new student information system. The Office of Admissions will also be using a constituent relationship management system (CRM), which is a cloud-based tool that will allow UF to have a 360-degree record of applicants and their interactions with the university.”

-Shannon Parrish, Admissions Officer and COMPASS Admissions Team Member

Office of Admissions staff are now using the newly operational SIS to process Fall 2018 applications, the freshman application having opened for submission August 15, and will continue to do so as processing for Fall 2018 admits increases.

This initial release also affected processes and information controlled by the Office of the University Registrar, allowing the aforementioned admissions applications to interact with academic structure framework, or the way in which UF’s colleges, departments, majors, minors, certificates and terms are organized and defined within the new SIS.

“The interaction between academic structure and the application identifies what courses of study are taught at UF and allows students to select those values in the application process. In Release 1, we’ve readied the admissions application to ‘play nice’ and interact with the academic framework as designed in the new student information system.”

-Diana Hull, Senior Associate University Registrar and COMPASS Student Records Team Lead

Many areas and units on campus rely on student biographical/demographic information and service indicators – notification of an alert or flag on a student’s record – that were, in Release 1, installed within the new student information system by COMPASS’ Campus Community Team.  The team also worked with the Student Health Care Center and International Center to ensure that UF maintains and evaluates proper immunization compliance within the new SIS.

Comprehensive testing for Release 1 spanned 12 weeks, with the overall goal of ensuring excellence in performance, accessibility and security, and was judged “extremely successful” by COMPASS Testing Team Lead Jamie Burgess.

Training for core-office staff was undertaken by COMPASS subject-matter experts in small-group sessions (as photographed below).

COMPASS Campus Community Team members LB Robbins and Karen Pridgen (not pictured) train core-office staff members

With this initial release under COMPASS’ belt, it’s time to look forward to what’s coming next from the project, and what it might mean for your unit, department or college.

Release 2 – November 6, 2017

Release 2 will continue to ready new systems to facilitate core-office business functions and processes in admissions, student records and financial aid.  This release will also refine and improve the Transfer Credit Evaluation process, which allows university departments to make admissions decisions on transfer, post-baccalaureate and certificate-seeking students.   

Regarding admissions, Release 2 ensures applications can be received in the new SIS.  The Office of Admissions will now store applications, receive electronic transcripts and test results, and complete Transfer Credit Evaluation in this new and improved system.

For transfer applicants and those applying to graduate, professional, post-baccalaureate programs and certificates, UF must evaluate those applicants’ past course work and determine how this work relates to the requirements of the department or program being applied to.  This process, Transfer Credit Evaluation, will now be executed in the new SIS.  This generates a Transfer Credit Evaluation report, allowing departmental reviewers campus-wide to assess the past work of and make informed decisions about applicants to their program.

The financial aid component of this release readies the new system to receive Institutional Student Information Records (ISIRs), which the Office for Student Financial Affairs uses to administer financial aid to students, as well as to meet federal, state and institutional reporting requirements.

This release will also install and implement a new and improved digital course catalog, which differs from the current printed catalog.

“Right now the Office of the University Registrar has what we call our curriculum inventory, and that is our canonical source of the classes we offer.  What that contains is the prefix and number, the title, the amount of credits and those kinds of details about a course. However, there’s no course description tied to the curriculum inventory, so we have to tie it to a description over in the printed course catalog. The course catalog in the new SIS is the equivalent in our old system to the curriculum inventory, but it also includes the course description that belongs in the catalog.  This is one of the improvements we’re really looking forward to, having one source where all of that course information will live, machine-readable.”

-Diana Hull, Senior Associate University Registrar and COMPASS Student Records Team Lead

Testing, Training and Future Releases

With Release 1 now live and operational, the testing efforts of COMPASS teams are focused on Release 2, making sure that its components are both fully functional and able to handle UF’s performance, accessibility and security standards. Testing for Release 3 will begin in October.

Training for this second release will be needed by select staff in the Office of Admissions, Office of the University Registrar and Office of Student Financial Affairs, as well as departmental reviewers in the UF community who evaluate Transfer Credit Evaluation for admissions purposes. Staff in the core offices listed above will be contacted individually and personally by the appropriate COMPASS subject matter expert.  UF departmental reviewers who have Transfer Credit Evaluation job functions can expect training materials to be online and available from UF Human Resource Services one month prior (October 6) to release date. 

We remind you that information about future releases and related training needs will be communicated well in advance and in a variety of ways, such as by notifications from core offices and units, COMPASS Update, the COMPASS Training Page, and/or individual emails and relevant listservs.

COMPASS Release Schedule:



Go-Live Date


Graduate/Professional Supplemental/UF Online Application, Academic Structure, Biographical/Demographic Data, Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) Phase 2 Prospecting and Recruiting College of Engineering Pilot

Aug. 7, 2017


Course Catalog, Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR) Loads, Transfer Credit Evaluation

Nov. 6, 2017


ISIR Processing, Career/Program/Plan Stack (Major/Minor), SHCC Immunizations, Residency Processing

Jan. 16, 2018


Degree Audit, Registration Prep, Award Aid, Schedule of Classes, Holds

March 5, 2018


Registration, Enrollment Verification

March 26, 2018


Tuition Calculation, Student Billing, Admissions Processing

Aug. 6, 2018


Grades, Transcripts, Aid Disbursement, Graduation, Master Data Management (personal data)

Aug. 20, 2018