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OAK Initiative

The OAK (Optimization, Analytics and Knowledge) Initiative, started in Fall 2012, seeks to transform data into usable information, present information visually, and increase transparency and fact-based decision making for the benefit of all.


Its goals include a process of continuous improvement achieved through stakeholder input, better communication within and between departments, increased data sharing and updated data access tools, better management of constituent relations, and reduced paper usage through online process management.  Knowledge gained will be fed back to key players to continually inform the process.

The data warehouse is the keystone of the project.  The warehouse will centralize data storage and permit easier access to information by both people and applications. Tableau, a business intelligence solution, will gather data from the data warehouse, turn it into usable information, and present graphical dashboards to support decision making across campus.

If you have any questions or feedback please contact Brendt Simpson from the OAK Initiative team.

Data Access and Sharing

Data Warehouse and Business Intelligence
The data warehouse will synthesize data from Banner and other systems for easy access by applications.  Tableau will be used to create online data visualization tools based on these data.

Constituent Management

Integrated Advising
Integrated Advising will serve as a centralized data repository and management system for all student advisors.  In addition this system will tie in with Degree Works (listed below) to keep advisors up-to-date on students’ academic progress.
A degree audit system that allows students, faculty, and administrative advisers to track student progress toward degree, major and minor completion.

This comprehensive constituent relationship management (CRM) tool will be used by Admission to manage prospective student information through the recruitment process.  This includes technology to automate communication through e-mail, print and the web, allowing for customized recruitment efforts. A visit calendar system will also be implemented for both on campus and off campus recruiting.  

Faculty Activity Reporting
Faculty will be able to view and enter information about their teaching, research and service to the university via Digital Measure's ActivityInsight product.  Faculty Activity Reporting will move the current faculty self-report process to an electronic environment, saving both faculty and staff time.  Additionally, when fully implemented, it will also update faculty web profiles as information about new articles, books, speaking engagements, art work, etc. is entered. Finally, faculty can use the system to print a current, customizable CV.

Student Onboarding
This application will help integrate incoming students into the Colgate community, even before they arrive on campus; a portal Web site is being considered as this gateway for incoming students.

Student Evaluation of Teaching (SET) Forms          
This internal online tool captures students’ teaching evaluations and summarizes results in a graphical format for each class.  Access to results is achieved only through Tableau server so only professors can see their evaluations.

Online Tools

Concur (Travel and Expense Management)
This online tool allows employees to manage their travel arrangements and expense reimbursements electronically, thereby reducing paper usage and reimbursement time.

Classroom Scheduling    
Classroom Scheduling will allow centralized room assignments in the Class Schedule process to ensure consistency and to reduce classroom conflicts.

InfoShare (Web Proxy)
All grade and financial aid information will be solely available online, and InfoShare will allow students to grant proxy access to their parent(s)/guardian(s) to view this information.   This will eliminate several thousand grade-mailers being printed and delivered each semester. 

TouchNet (e-commerce)
TouchNet enables departments across campus to accept electronic payment transactions, thereby reducing paper usage and processing time.

Web Time Entry
Web Time Entry, an online Banner application for employee time entry and approval, was fully implemented in Spring 2014.  All benefitted hourly, casual wage and student employees now enter their time online, thereby reducing paper usage and processing time.

OAK Initiative Team

If you have any questions or suggestions please feel free to contact any member of the team.
Brendt Simpson
Associate Vice President of Institutional Planning and Research
Annie Angueira
Associate Vice President for Facilities and Capital Projects
Daniel Berry '17
Student Government Association Representative
Tim Bortfitz
Director Enterprise Systems
Lori Chlad
Associate Vice President for Human Resources
John Collins
Associate Vice President for Budget and Financial Aid
Mark Hine
Project and Communications Manager (Information Technology)
Lindsey Hoham
Senior Associate Director of Advancement Operations
Ellen Holm
Director of Operations, Office of the Dean of the College
Jason Kammerdiener
Lead Information and Digital Architect
Sue Dolly Lathrop
Senior Associate Dean for Admissions Operations
Tom O’Neill
Associate Vice President & Comptroller