University of The Bahamas’ (UB’s) digital revolution has earned the institution the Ellucian Impact Award, an international award which recognizes higher education institutions that best harness the power of technology to solve challenges, operate more efficiently and enhance the student experience.
The award from Ellucian, a leading provider of software and services for higher education systems around the globe, acknowledges the transformation brought about with the implementation of the Banner system at UB.
Five other institutions also received the Ellucian Impact Award, announced during the Ellucian Live Online event held on Tuesday, 6th October. Each institution is also receiving a $25,000 grant.
“To win the Ellucian Impact Award is an acknowledgment that University of The Bahamas is doing the right thing in terms of its digitization,” said a UB President Dr. Rodney D. Smith in a video announcement. “And if we did not do what we did, and digitize, we would not have been able to cope with either Hurricane Dorian or with the global pandemic. It really has an effect not only on University of The Bahamas, but the entire Bahamas. And that’s the kind of impact that really makes a difference.”
In the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian in 2019 and the massive damage to the UB-North campus in East Grand Bahama, operations resumed a month later as the university was able to maintain access to critical information and continue to serve the needs of students. Such efficiency was made possible due to UB’s efforts at digitization even before the storm.
The institution transitioned student processes into a cloud-based model, establishing an online process from application to registration and beyond. That move to the cloud allowed UB to adjust quickly to the global COVID-19 pandemic by not only enabling 90% of courses to be taught virtually, but allowing for university operations to move online and staff to work remotely.
“Our top priority and everything that we do, centers around the fact that we believe in preparing students for a better life in a global society,” added President Smith. “And so we have gone completely digitized which helped us a whole lot in two instances: one, in dealing with Hurricane Dorian, and two, in dealing with the global pandemic.”
The entire process involved a top-to-bottom restructuring of university processes, such as transitioning from Windows to Linux on the back end. Though challenging at first, the cultural change improved services throughout the institution.
“We actually started digitizing our University in 2016,” explained Dr. Smith. “Prior to that, when we registered students, when we advised students when students have to pay their tuition, there were always long, long lines that went into the evening. This was something that we had to focus on and get rid of as quickly as possible. And that is what led us to Ellucian Banner. Today I’m proud to say that as of Fall 2019, we became completely digitized.”
For its efforts, UB won the “Student Impact Category” of the Ellucian Impact Award, along with the Alamo Colleges District in San Antonio and Universal City, Texas. The other winners of the 2020 Ellucian Impact Award are Bryant University, Rhode Island; Western Governors University, Utah; Northeast Mississippi Community College and University of Greenwich in England.
“These six institutions are excellent examples of how technology is being used to address some of the most pressing challenges in higher education today,” noted Ms. Laura Ipsen, President and CEO, Ellucian. “We are honored to support these partners as they push the boundaries of what’s possible in higher education, and congratulate them on their success.”
Ellucian is the market leader charting the digital future of higher education with a portfolio of cloud-ready technology solutions and services. Working with a community of more than 2,700 customers in over 50 countries, Ellucian guides its customers through manageable, sustainable digital transformation—so that every type of institution and student can thrive in today’s fast-changing landscape.