by Val Meyers
Greetings from Breckenridge, Colorado!As I write this, the NASU Board has just returned from our spring meeting which was held at the Resort in Breckenridge, Colorado where the annual NASU Conference will take place this summer (July 23-27 -- mark your calendars!). I am pleased to report that I found this site to be a wonderful change from our usual urban conference setting and I am sure you are all going to enjoy the experience of this year's conference.
There is going to be so much to do and see that you might be tempted to skip the sessions altogether, except that we also have some intriguing- sounding presentations scheduled. So my advice to you would be to plan to arrive before the conference, or add a few days to your stay afterward to enjoy the area and the activities it has to offer. I plan to skip the white-water rafting myself, but will probably take advantage of the horseback riding and the bicycle rentals. There are 40 miles of paved bike trails (all the way to Vail) for the ambitious biker.
In addition to spending a good part of our weekend planning the conference itself, the board also addressed the issues of software testing, enhancements, the videoconference, gathering nominations for next year's board positions, and the state of our finances. Many of these topics will be addressed in detail elsewhere in this newsletter. As always, I think that the board members have done a great job this year -- we have also learned a lot along the way.
Particularly, it seems very plain that the membership has embraced the concept of the annual videoconference in place of the regional newsletters that Sigma and NASU used to offer. I personally agree that this is a great concept. It saves both Sigma and the member schools a great deal of time and expense in traveling to the various sites of the old regional conferences. Most member schools are capable of receiving the video- conference right on their own campuses, so there is a minimum expense involved in traveling and thus more people can participate at each school. When you had to send someone 50 or more miles to attend a regional conference, you might limit your participation to one or two staff, but at Michigan State this year, we had five financial aid folks and four technical folks come across campus to attend.
I mention this because the videoconference, while much more economical for the schools, still costs NASU more than the regional conferences did in the past. We think it is worth it and hope our membership agrees. The advance in technology that permits us to share information via the newsletter, the web site, the listserv, and the videoconference has made NASU a more vital organization and one that the board hopes you find useful to you, day in and day out.
In closing, I would like to welcome our new member schools and hope that you find both the Sigma product and the NASU membership serve your needs and make your job a little easier. And I want to urge all of you, new members and old, to join us in Breckenridge this year for the best conference ever!
CONFERENCING IN BRECKENRIDGE:
WILL I REALLY MISS PHILADELPHIA IN JULY,
AND DO I NEED AN OXYGEN MASK?
by Gregg BartleAs you all should know by now, the Summer NASU Conference is being held high in the Rocky Mountains at The Village Resort in Breckenridge, Colorado. This is in an alpine valley that at 9,000 feet is best known as a Winter ski area. It also provides an attractive and varied site for Summertime activities - including conferencing for creative and independent spirited groups like NASU.
This year by our choice of site we will have the opportunity to add a bit to our independent image. We are not in D.C. or Philly and we're sure not at Disney World. We're out of Denver for a change, and the venue we have chosen is more than appropriate to who we are in both scale and character. After this years meeting, when you return to your various campuses and institutions, I believe you will have a clearer and stronger impression both of NASU as an organization and your colleagues in the membership.
The registration forms have already been
mailed to all NASU members as well as other selected Sigma
clients. The forms should also have been made available through
the NASU-L mailing list. As I write this, an updated set of
pages with many details and valuable links is being prepared
for our website -
So - what might you (and your family) find in Breckenridge when you aren't at the conference sessions sharing profound professional insights? Among other things - forty miles of hiking and mountain biking trails - an outdoor Summer Classical music festival - an almost endless variety of restaurants, shops and galleries - mountain streams and lakes - lift rides to high mountain meadows - crisp, dry air and clear bright skies - and much more. Sigma will host a social event Thursday evening - a spectacle we have all come to look forward to (a 'Murder Mystery' this year), and NASU is planning another (optional) social event Friday evening.
There will be a variety of excellent accommodations available for your stay. The details are with the conference registration materials and on our web pages. We strongly urge you to make your arrangements as early as possible to help us in working with the resort management on planning and logistics. As I have mentioned on the registration materials - please let me know personally by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you *do* plan to attend the conference, but are unable for any reason to finalize your rooming arrangements before June 20th.
Oh Yes - that is to say - No, you won't need to carry your own oxygen. Breckenridge *is* over 9,000 feet though, and the humidity is very low, so here are a couple steps you may take to minimize the effects of the altitude if you think you may be susceptible to 'altitude sickness'.
First of all (perhaps least useful to mention, unfortunately) if you can afford it, come a couple days early, have a vacation - bring the family - and get acclimatized (the resort will extend group room rates for three days before and after the scheduled conference on a space available basis). If that isn't feasible - and it probably isn't for most of us - then the most important thing you can do is to avoid dehydration. That means - for 24 hours before traveling and on the first day in the mountains consume absolutely no caffeine or alcohol but drink plain water 'til you burst (or close to). It really does help. Otherwise, just try to be happy and healthy when you arrive and you will most likely stay that way.
This meeting should be a memorable one, and I hope to see many, many of you there.
If, after seeing the registration materials, you still have questions you'd like to ask before contacting the resort, feel free to send me email and I'll try to respond quickly.
- Gregg Bartle(email@example.com)
* WHERE ARE THEY NOW? *
* Steve Bryant came to Sigma in December
from Colorado State University. He is working in Mike Schumacher's
* Konrad Hajdukiewicz joined Sigma as an intern in January. Knorad comes to Sigma from University of Wisconsin Whitewater and will be working for both Mike and Judy.
* Cliff Clevenger joined the Sigma staff on May 1. Cliff came from Michigan State University and will be working for Harriet as a Trainer/Consultant.
* Buffalo's loss was UConn's gain when Pablo Gutierrez joined the FAO as a Systems Administrator at the University of Connecticut.
* Wendy Kurkowski came to Sigma in December from the proprietary sector. She will be working the HELP desk under Judy Barnes.
* Sigma's Maureen McClellan. returns from maternity leave June 1. Congratulations Maureen!
* Rick Hafenbredl of Sigma was promoted to
Director of Network Technology in February 1997.
* Val Meyers of Michigan State Univ (and current president of NASU) was promoted to Assistant Director for Systems and Packaging on April 1,1997.
?? WHO DONE IT?? ??
?? MYSTERY & MURDER AT BRECKENRIDGE
Sigma invites all who are bound for Breckenridge
to join us for an evening of intrigue as we attempt to solve
the murder of Pug Perkins. The investigation will be held on
Thursday, July 24th in the Forest Room. Federal Marshall Red
Dog Timmons and Sheriff Sam Schumacher beseech you to come forth
with any information you may have regarding this horrible crime.
A reward is being offered, so don't miss out on your chance to join the posse! We're bringing in the Chuck Wagon, so you can get your eats. Then set yourself down at the saloon and loosen your tongue. More information will be available at the NASU conference registration in Breckenridge.
QUALITY ASSURANCE COMMITTEE
The OLTM is currently in Beta testing in
by Peter Bartow & Phyllis Sturm
Online Task Manager(OLTM)
* Digital Vax
Currently the online task manager has been able to package students online. Testing and error correction is continuing.
The May 16th release of the century conversion
software is on schedule. The database schemas will be going
out at this time. The converted Sigma software will accompany
this release. Sigma would like to get more people to test the
converted database schemas.
If you would like to participate in testing this conversion, please contact Phyllis Sturm (914) 257-3136, or Pete Bartow (305) 284-6251. Sigma has decided to allow users to maintain the old and new formats of their data. This will allow us as users to convert our data to the century format, and then convert it back to the old format for reporting for use with our in-house programs and processes. This option will give us some breathing room during the conversion process.
HTML add-ons to the text based Sigma
Sigma is currently Beta testing some HTML
add-ons to the text based Sigma products. This will allow users
to deploy certain functions over the World Wide Web. Sigma will
provide more details at the conference in July.
The functions currently being tested are:
* Address changes
* Financial Aid Status
* Accept/Decline Awards
* Departmental Award Posting.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
by Faye ScheilThe NASU Executive Board, at its May 2-3 meeting, voted to increase the 1997-98 annual membership dues. NASU dues are based on institutional membership (not individual) and will be as follows:
Institutions with a 1996-1997 FTE of:
|1 -9,999||- $160|
|10,000 - 19,999||- $200|
|20,000 +||- $240|
The major reason for the increase is the need to cover the costs of the Video Conference which is being planned for February, 1998. The annual video conference replaced the Regional newsletters beginning in 1995-96. The 1995-96 Video Conference was funded by a grant because it was an experimental project. The 1996-97 Video Conference was jointly funded by NASU and Sigma Systems, Inc. NASU had some "reserve funds" which were utilized for the 1996-97 expenses. Because the reserve has now been depleted, we will need to fund this activity from the current 1997-98 fiscal year funds.
The 1997-98 renewal membership mailing will be sent to all current NASU members in late June, 1997 with payment due by September 1, 1997. It is sent to the institution's designated Voting Representative. Please watch for the mailing. Next year's Membership Committee chairperson will appreciate your quick reply so as to facilitate the printing the 97-98 NASU Directory.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The 1997 NASU Enhancement Survey should be
in your mailboxes the week of May 19. We are going back to the
basics and hope you will take the time to complete the survey
and forward any enhancements request you have. Surveys are due
back by June 6. The survey results will be compiled and presented
to the membership at the annual conference in Breckenridge.
There will also be a panel discussion to review the results
and enhancement requests and Sigma's response at the conference.
by Jerry Joseph
You have a chance to guide the future direction of Sigma modules and systems and, as such, please make time to provide your input.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
VIDEO CONFERENCE SURVEY RESULTS
We would like to thank those of you who took
the time to fill out and send in your evaluations of the February
7, 1997 NASU/Sigma Systems, Inc. Satellite Seminar. The overall
rating given by the eleven (11) sites that responded to the
survey was positive. The attendance at the 11 sites was a total
of 104 persons; with 76 coming from financial aid and 35 from
Chris Knickerbocker - Chairperson
The percentages below were compiled from the evaluations.
5 = Very Positive 3 = No Opinion 1 = Very
4 = Positive 2 = Negative 0 = Did not watch
5 = 11%; 4 = 54%; 3 = 26%; 2 = 7%; 1 = 2%; 0 = (0)
Electronic Data Exchange
5 = 13%; 4 = 45%; 3 = 31%; 2 = 7%; 1 = 4%; 0 = (0)
5 = 5%; 4 = 47%; 3 = 36%; 2 = 7%; 1 = 5%; 0 = (0)
5 = 4%; 4 = 27%; 3 = 45%; 2 = 11%; 1 = 4%; 0 = 9%
5 = 6%; 4 = 42%; 3 = 42%; 2 = 8%; 1 = 2%; 0 = (0)
5 = 18%; 4 = 44%; 3 = 27%; 2 = 7%; 1 = 2%; 0 = (0)
5 = 9%; 4 = 43%; 3 = 25%; 2 = 6%; 1 = 4%; 0 = 13%
Displays and/or handouts were useful to
5 = 17%; 4 = 40%; 3 = 25%; 2 = 12%; 1 = 6%; 0 = (0)
Century Conversion was voted the most useful part of the seminar (17 votes), with the explanation of the new ZU screens coming in a distant 2nd (8 votes).
The voting was close for the least useful part of the seminar. Direct lending came in first with 6 votes, verification was a close 2nd with 5 votes, and Web products and online packaging tied for 3rd with 4 votes each.
The NASU Executive Board and Sigma are already making plans for next year's Satellite Seminar. If you have any comments or suggestions, please contact Chris Knickerbocker (FA0002@bingvmb.cc.binghamton.edu).
How would you like to get involved with an
exciting, dynamic group of energetic people? It's easy! It's
simple! Volunteer to run for an office on the NASU Executive
Board. The Board meets 3 times a year - fall, winter, and spring
(not counting the meeting held immediately following the NASU
conference). At least one meeting will be an "in person" meeting.
One will always be a conference call. The third meeting could
be either a call or in person. Yes, there is some work to do,
but those of us who work in and/or with financial aid all know
how to do that! It is actually quite rewarding. From those who
are currently serving on the Board and from those who have previously
served, it is very common to hear us say that when it is/was
over we will miss the interaction and the camaraderie.
!! ATTENTION ALL NASU MEMBERS !!
Positions available for the 1997/1998 NASU Executive Board
* President Elect
* Delegate at Large (3 positions available)
Duties of NASU Officers
President Elect -
The President-Elect shall preside at all meetings of the Association and the Executive Board in the absence of the President, represent the Association when designated by the President, and perform any other duties defined by the President and the Executive Board. The President Elect assumes the position of President after having served as President Elect.
The President, in accordance with the Constitution, shall be the chief executive officer of NASU. The President shall appoint the Chairpersons of all committees and shall be an ex-officio member of all committees. The President shall also oversee the enforcement of the Constitution and by-laws, convey the desires of the Association to Sigma Systems, Inc., oversee the receipt and report of Sigma responses, and oversee arrangements for future meetings of the Association. S/he shall submit a written annual report, which includes all matters of interest and concern, to the Association. The President shall represent the Association at appropriate meetings, review the established committee descriptions, and provide directions for each committee chairperson. Upon completion of the term of President, the President assumes the position of Past President on the Executive Board.
The Secretary shall issue the notice and agenda of meetings as directed by the President and Executive Board, be responsible for keeping records of all meetings and for distributing such records to the members of the Executive Board and the Association, be responsible for the correspondence of the organization, and shall perform any other duties defined by the President and the Executive Board. This is a one year position.
Delegate at Large -
The Delegates shall represent the membership in the policy determination of the Association, shall carry out the assignments and instructions of the President and the President-Elect, and shall chair and serve on committee(s) of the Association at the request of the President. This is a two year position.
If you have any questions, please give me a call. If I don't hear from you, you will be hearing from me.
NASU Executive Board
Asst Director of Systems & Packaging
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
BOARD MEMBER (ex-officio)
President & CEO
Sigma Systems, Inc.
650 South Cherry St., Suite 1035
Denver, Colorado 80222