The WUR Council intends to investigate the reasons for the long delay in introducing the new student information system WISE. The council aims to produce a report by the summer vacation.
Photo: Grant Hutchinson
The introduction of WISE, planned for 12 April, was postponed in March. The system was not thought to be ‘totally reliable and stable’ yet. Wageningen UR is now considering what the next step should be. ‘We are studying various scenarios for still being able to set up a new student information system (SIS),’ says Frank Bakema, director of Education, research & innovation. This means taking a ‘fresh look’ at the options. These include continuing with the current trajectory, a phased introduction of WISE, or going for an alternative system. Bakema hopes to present the options to the executive board at the beginning of July.
For the WUR Council the delay with WISE brings back memories of the failure of the project management system Kameleon, says Marc Loman, a member of the investigating committee. Wageningen UR abandoned this system in May 2012 because in seven years it had not been possible to adjust the software to the needs of the organization. ‘It never became stable and user-friendly,’ says Loman. An evaluation report recommended opting in future for ‘proven technologies, lower ambitions and safety first’.
The WUR Council wants to find out whether Wageningen UR has really acted on this advice in opting for WISE. ‘We are going to look at the decision making and the accountability,’ says Loman. ‘Who decided what and on what basis? Should someone have intervened earlier?’ In the coming weeks the four-person committee will ask for the relevant documents and hold discussions with those involved. Loman does not intend to go into the technical side of things. ‘That is not up to us and we don’t have the right expertise for it either.’
Bakema welcomes the WUR Council’s initiative. ‘It is very good that the council is investing some effort in this.’ Personally, he thinks the insights gained from previous evaluations have been followed as much as possible. ‘But you have to realize that an SIS of this kind lies at the heart of our administration system and that students have a lot of freedom of choice here.’ These factors make it impossible to buy an off-the-shelf SIS.