Record Attendance at 1996 NASU Conference
by Val Meyers
This year's summer conference at the Adam's Mark Hotel in Denver brought a record number of members together for presentations on such varied topics as Year 2000 issues, the SAM GUI product, Voice Response and SAMU41. We were pleased to have more than 100 people in attendance our first full day of the conference.
On Wednesday afternoon, Sigma hosted their annual business meeting to review their accomplishments of the last year and their plans for the future. Many conference attendees took the opportunity to arrive early and attend this meeting and we appreciate that Sigma scheduled it so they could do so.
Wednesday evening, NASU hosted a reception along with opening registration for the conference to help folks get acquainted or reacquainted with their colleagues from other institutions. Then, Thursday morning, the conference kicked off with an informative -- and often amusing -- session on the uses of SAMU41 as presented by Laura Smith and Danielle Brauer of the University of Toledo.
Other sessions at the conference included roundtable discussions on NSLDS, the use of forms in the financial aid office (along with some great samples), and functional and technical issues. Presentations on the Internet, FFELP and CommonLine, FACTS, and the new Sigma GUI product were offered in addition to those mentioned earlier. We had some very professional, informative presentations that provided many of us with some new ideas to try out back at our own institutions.
Of course, no conference is complete without a bit of entertainment and Sigma pulled out all the stops at their Thursday evening reception where the brave, the talented, and the good sports gave country line dancing a try. The event was a great success, topped off as it was when Phyllis Sturm won a T-shirt as the best line dancer after a four contender "dance-off" took place. Thanks to Sue Ball and Sigma for providing a wonderful evening.
The following night saw NASU invading the Comedy Works off Larimer Square in downtown Denver for a show featuring several comedians of different styles. There was something for everyone (one unfortunate fellow, however, wasn't really anything for anyone present) and the event was certainly a success overall.
We also had some great goodies this year, starting off with complimentary cold-drink thermos jugs from Sigma, continuing with pen & pencil sets and "executive Slinky" toys from American Collegiate Marketing, and topped off with a T-shirt exchange and a wonderful raffle organized by Treasurer Kathy Schumacher. (Hey, who got that executive computerized datebook again?) Thanks to all for their donations and assistance.
For those of you who could not join us this year, we sure missed you! It was a great conference and I thank everyone who pitched in and made it a success.
A Profile of the President-Elect
Everything You Ever Wanted to Know
About Gregg Bartle,
But Were Afraid to Ask
The Berkeley campus, its Financial Aid Office and Assistant Director, Meg Fink, are profiled in the current issue of Sigma Systems' own Newsletter. Most of us should have already seen that. A lot of the who, where, what and how manys are covered in that article, so folks interested in our demographics are invited to peruse that execellent interview. Here, I think I'll just free associate for a while and see what happens.
I first laid eyes on the Berkeley campus of the University of California in the Summer of 1967 as a sophomore transfer student from the new Santa Cruz campus. I had my fill of counting trees and talking to squirrels and felt ready for a bit more of a lively and urban environment. Berkeley was not a let down.
While I and others sometimes pursued goals that seemed to include taking U.C. apart brick by brick, and my respect for the institution was often hard to perceive, I always knew that I never really wanted to leave this remarkable environment. So, man and boy, student and employee, I've been here for nigh onto thirty years now - with a few years off to practice being a bum, a hardware store clerk and a professional picket for the Amalgamated Clothing Workers Union (everyone be sure to look for the union label, now).
Since my degree from U.C.B. was in History, it was only natural that my first job at this august institution be as a clerk in the forms-bursting room of the computer center. Actually, I never applied for that job. It was offered to me through an error in the new computer system used by the personnel office. Since the English department had just turned me down for a part time job picking rubber bands up off the floor, I grabbed for the computer center job without looking back. The rest is History. (The irony of my position was made clear in my first task - learning to wire the control board in an IBM card sorter - I discovered that the error that gave me my job was really quite easy to duplicate - I believe I may have inadvertently helped a few others to their first jobs.)
Today, I am a Senior Programmer/Analyst - along the way, at least briefly, I've done most everything else in the computing world except keypunch (with a 'correct words per minute' typing speed that sometimes dips into negative numbers, I'd be much too embarrassed to try that). I first started working with the financial aid system and SAMS in 1982-83 in a data/production control capacity. At that time SAMS was in a development phase at U.C.B.. My first actual programming job was the following year when SAMS was moved into production status. In the dozen or so years I have worked with SAMS some things have changed and others have stayed the same.
For example, we no longer see Jim Farmer flying in to deliver a new install tape and staying with us for three days (and nights) to debug need analysis programs and help rewrite our JCL procedures. E-mail, FTP and experience have helped to make that kind of nerve-wracking occasion less frequent. I doubt, though, that I will in ten years be telling stories of the bizarre early days of Sigma's FTP. Like this - once, late at night after Jim had been living in the Financial Aid office for a couple days, and needed a break to mull over a few last code changes to Need Analysis he left to go to his motel for some sleep, promising to have the code ready in the morning. We were getting anxious when Jim didn't show up in the office right away next morning, but he finally did get the code to us - over the phone - from Pennsylvania. Somewhere on the road to the motel Jim had been diverted to the airport and a new fire fight at U. Penn. What's a continent more or less when there's COBOL at stake.
We don't see the Chairman of the Board doing this kind of thing anymore, and I doubt that anyone really misses those 'old days'. These are much more stable and orderly times - in comparison. Still, we all experience the seasonal paranoia that convinces us that this academic year may be the one when 'It' happens. It being the unsolvable bug - the literally impossible schedule - the totally clueless congress that decides to mandate by law that effect must precede cause and money cannot be allocated until it is spent. Ah, well - my brother has an organic farm on the Central coast and when it all gets to be a bit much, I visit for a few days to put things in perspective and baby-sit my two year old nephew. If my nephew goes to Cal in sixteen or so years, it will probably cost about thirty-two grand a year as an in-state student. We had better still have a strong, well administered, and effective financial aid system then.
When not musing on my nephew's problematic future or my own prospects for early retirement (seven years two months to go - then I hit the road), I keep myself busy with book collecting, genealogy and Pogoism. I am trying to construct an extensive World Wide Web site devoted to the wit, wisdom and political and spiritual insight of the great twentieth century avatar of the talking animal archetype, Pogo Possum - as presented by cartoonist Walt Kelly (yes, an archetype *can* have an avatar). Pogophiles (if any) are welcome to get in touch. This is a much neglected cultural corner of the Web.
Running out of steam.... final notes - vegetarian, non-smoker (three- years), only drink beer, seldom get enough sleep but have been told I have an Olympian sno
when I do sleep.
NASU Board Election Results
by Rick Shipman
There was a wonderfully full slate of candidates for the 1996-97 NASU Board positions. I want to extend a big thank you from all of the elected NASU leaders to those of you who were willing to run for these positions. It is very gratifying to see this level of involvement. Unfortuately, only one person could be selected for each vacancy, so many of those who wanted to help will need to wait until another year to join the Board. Here are the final results.
President-Elect (3 year term)
University of California at Berkeley
Committee Chair and
Communications Committee (World Wide Web)
Secretary (1 year term)
University of Northern Colorado
Treasurer (2 year term)
University at Buffalo (SUNY)
Delegates (2 year term)
Pete Bartow *
University of Miami at Coral Gables
Quality Assurance Committee
(*1 year term to complete Gregg Bartles remaining year as delegate)
University of Missouri at St. Louis
University of Connecticut
Communications Committee (NASU News Letter)
State University of NY at New Paltz
Quality Assurance Committee
Committee assignments for continuing Board
Fay Scheil - Membership Committee
Eleanor Hacket - Membership Committee
Chris Knickerbocker - Video Conference Committee
Val Meyers - Communications Committee (Email)
Thanks again to all of those who were willing to serve the NASU membership and to those who will have the opportunity to do so.
The Facts About FACTS
by Bob Bevers
Two sessions were devoted to FACTS at this year's NASU Annual Conference.
The first was a presentation at a general session and the second was a hands on lab special interest session. An article in the current issue of The Record summarizes the comments and suggestions made by NASU participants who attended the FACTS sessions.
This article in the NASU Newsletter will expand on the current status of FACTS and some of the comments introduced in the article in The Record.
Many NASU participants reacted positively to the availablility of the Editor. The FACTS Editor can be used by an institution to develop training materials on any subject. Sigma will not place any restrictions on the institution specific subject matter that is developed. The training materials developed with the Editor can then be used with the FACTS Administrator and Mentor programs at that institution in accordance with the institution's license for the FACTS Administrator and Mentor.
One person at the NASU meetings suggested that NASU may want to serve as a catalyst for a group of NASU members to work together to develop training materials that could then be used by any NASU member who had a license for the FACTS Administrator and Mentor. I offered to help with such a collaborative effort and promised to come up with a license agreement that would cover such a situation. That has not been done yet, but when a group of enthusiastic NASU participants are ready for it, it will get done.
All of the features of the Editor that have been used to implement the FACTS training books are operational in the version licensed for use by institutions. This includes the ability to construct training books consisting of chapters and lessons with instructional items at several levels of complexity. Each lesson can have two tests, one of which serves as a preliminary test that enables the learner to assess their own level of understanding of the material. The second test establishes the learner's proficiency with and mastery of the material covered in the lesson. Instructional items can be text, images or OLE objects such as audio and video clips.
If an institution has licensed the network version of the FACTS Administrator and Mentor, it is not necessary to license the network version of the Editor. Books created with the single computer license of the Editor can be installed on the network with other FACTS books for access by people anywhere on that campus. The decision of which Editor license is needed is based upon the number of people who will be creating training materials and their ability to share one computer on which the Editor software has been installed.
A popular modification of the structure of the FACTS content database is the separation of the content into several books based upon major subject. Previously, the training book included a chapter on FERPA, one on FFELP and another on Direct Lending. Feedback indicated that some institutions did not want their staff to study the Direct Lending regulations if they were not a Direct Lending institution. Others wanted their staff to understand the Direct Lending regulations, even though they were not a Direct Lending institution, so that they could more effectively handle questions of students who were comparing financial assistance offers from several institutions. Since the major subjects are now delivered in separate books, each institution can decide which subjects should be assigned to each individual person registered as a FACTS learner.
FACTS Books that are being delivered now include:
- Principles of Good Service (For institutions
that license the Editor, this book will be modifiable.)
- General Program Administration, Title
- Family Educational Rights and Privacy
- Federal Family Education Loan Program
- William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan
- Campus Based Programs
- Federal Pell Grant Program
FACTS Books that are planned for delivery in the next few months include
- Financial Aid Forms
- Refunds & Repayments
- Leaves of Absence.
FACTS Books planned for delivery by the end of 1996 include:
- Cash Management
- Introduction to SAM
- Veteran's Educational Benefits.
In addition to the addition of new FACTS titles, the content of existing lessons is being expanded. For example, presently there are over 1,000 instructional items in the ten books being delivered compared to 860 items earlier this year. With the additional books planned for delivery by the end of this year, there will be over 3,000 instructional items in the content database.
FACTS is becoming more extensive, is growing in features, and expanding in capability. As mentioned in articles in earlier editions of The Record, your feedback is considered most useful. Please don't hold back on suggestions and questions that will make FACTS most useful for NASU member institutions.
1996-97 NASU Executive Board OFFICERS
Financial Aid Officer
Office of Financial Aid
252 Student Services Building
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824-1113
1212 West Wisconsin Ave
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53233
Gregg M. Bartle
550 Banway Building #3816
University of California-Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720-3816
Assistant Director for Systems
Office of Financial Aid
Hayes C, 3435 Main Street
University at Buffalo
Buffalo, NY 14214-3016
David J. Cox (DJ)
Room 5, Carter Hall
University of Northern Colorado
Greeley, CO 80639
Peter F. Bartow
Senior Systems Analyst
202 Ungar Building
1365 Memorial Drive
University of Miami
Coral Gables, FL 33146
Director, Office of Financial Aid
75 Grasslands Road
Westchester Community College
Valhalla, NY 10595
Director, Financial Aid & Employment
P.O. Box 6011
Binghamton, NY 13902-6011
Gerard L. Joseph
Student Financial Aid
209 Woods Hall
8001 Natural Bridge Road
University of Missouri-St.Louis
St. Louis, MO 63121-4499
Cheryl A. Roy
Sr. Programmer Analyst
University Computer Center
196 Auditorium Road, U-138
University of Connecticut
Storrs, CT 06269-3138
Senior Programmer Analyst
Computer Services - HAB 56-2
75 South Manheim Boulevard
State University of NY-New Paltz
New Paltz, NY 12561-2499