Letters to Loyola: Caring for Our Institution
December 9, 2021
I want to give you exciting news on typically unexciting subjects. We are doing the hard work of tackling longstanding problems, problems that affect each of you, so I’m hoping you’ll read this update. In Jesuit terms, we call this cura apostolica, care of the institution that binds us all.
First, the state of campus. While parts of our campus are new and beautiful, other buildings have serious wear and tear. We are about to begin tackling what we call “deferred maintenance,” mostly in the residence halls. While obstacles like our seemingly cursed plumbing system have built the character of generations of students, we are very excited to give you fewer stories to tell.
It takes time to design, bid and construct the work, but we’re moving as quickly as we can. And more immediately, we’ll use the winter break to do another thorough check of residence halls for Hurricane Ida damage. We know that problems have continued to emerge since the storm.
(For employees, this funding came from a refinancing of a portion of our debt in ways we are allowed to spend only on capital projects. It does not come from operating budgets.)
You may have noticed that Loyola’s technology is very, well, last-century. Currently we function on a mainframe computer built long before most of our students were born, and possibly before some of your parents were born. We are now moving everything onto the cloud—student records and registration, financial aid, human resources and finance.
It is ridiculously hard to make a change like this, a daunting quantity and complexity of work. We owe the dozens of people involved incredible gratitude, and patience, and baked goods.
What will it mean for you when we achieve this over the next year?
For students, course registration will be more streamlined and intuitive. You will have a course planning feature—a multi-year template that you can use to plan out your degree program. In turn, this feature will help the academic departments know which courses will be in demand to better plan their offerings.
Faculty and staff will have easier access to their departmental financial information. The requisitions and purchasing process will be streamlined, and departments will be able to track the status of their purchase orders in real time. All parts of the system will talk to each other, so you will no longer have to articulate courses on SIS and then also point to requirements in UAchieve to get a student’s record to match (or even know what those acronyms mean). It all happens seamlessly. And while we’re at it, we’re taking the opportunity to fix our own Loyola policies and practices to make them more efficient.
Thanks to all of you for your patience, and an enormous thank you to the people making it happen.
Prayers and blessings,