Administrative Information Systems

Administrative Information Systems

Collaborating with campus partners to build customized IT systems that meet the UI’s unique needs

MAUI milestones

Project MAUI, the new student information system, achieved several milestones in 2012-13 as remaining modules and components for student records, admissions, degree audit, financial aid, and billing launched. Significant progress was also made on initiatives for the next phase of the project.

With MAUI implemented, ITS was able to move all applications off the mainframe computer. Twenty-six systems were converted to other platforms or retired, including grant accounting, student records, admissions, identity and directory services, student health, and human resource applications. The mainframe was retired in April 2013.

Modernizing electronic research administration systems

Funded research accounts for over $430 million annually at the UI. To stay competitive and in compliance with changing rules and regulations, the UI has begun modernizing its electronic research administrative systems. ITS partnered with the Vice President for Research on a multi-year proposal bringing together resources to improve sponsored research administration, promote collaboration, and ensure compliance. This resulted in the development of an application suite that integrates process, data, and information across the research enterprise, creating the foundation to meet future administrative, compliance, and reporting needs.

New faculty administrative applications workgroup

In 2013, ITS partnered with the Provost’s Office to create a new workgroup focused on supporting faculty administrative applications, integrations, reporting, and business processes relating to their career lifecycle. The team’s initial projects include: Academic & Professional Record, Faculty Public Engagement, and integrating workplace conflict-of-interest forms into the existing electronic conflict-of-interest system. A workgroup leader was hired to provide project-management support.

Identity management initiatives

Major restructuring of core identity-management processes has resulted in significantly improved responsiveness. HawkIDs are now created in real time, and updating of identity data and service provisioning occurs four times a day rather than as a single batch in an overnight process.

Good progress was also made in the convergence of physical and electronic identity credentials. The Directory and Authentication (DNA) Team partnered in several deployments of the Iowa One identity/door-access cards, and developed an event-driven automation that grants access at designated times to 6,000 students living in residence halls. This access-control system was extended for other critical 24/7 facilities including the Learning Commons, Information Technology Centers, and walkways between buildings.

2014 and beyond

With the foundation of MAUI in place, AIS will turn its attention in the coming months to a host of second-phase initiatives: a syllabus repository, supplemental application attachments, prerequisite checking, course renumbering, an academic advising replacement system, enhanced guest accounts, integration of universal electronic workflow, and advanced reporting.

Work will also continue on a universal electronic workflow system that routes electronic forms for financial, human resources, and other purposes for approval by the appropriate individuals. Staff will complete the routing engine and convert forms to use the electronic workflow architecture.

To address increasing security threats, ITS will continue hardening its databases and applications. Significant effort will be placed on remediating Social Security Numbers from electronic records, and on creating a Social Security Number “vault” to ensure secure storage.

Also in the year ahead, AIS will focus on business intelligence (BI), which continues to be a strategic focus for the campus. Staff members are developing a proposal for a BI Shared Service Center with dedicated resources, and will be architecting a BI infrastructure based on Microsoft SQL Server 2012.

Improvements in financial systems

The Enterprise Financials application portfolio will be expanded beyond the PeopleSoft Financials application. It will include a web-based reconciliation system for bank receipts, along with enhancements to existing electronic procurement, flood-related reimbursements, and the grant accounting applications.

Identity management

In 2014, ITS will continue to enhance identity management infrastructure, middleware components, and additional self-service tools. Having upgraded the federated identity technology stack in 2013, the DNA team will expand its federation support model to meet the growing use of cloud services.

The emphasis for ID card efforts will be on making the academic campus a “one-card campus.” Deployment of the Iowa One Card as the primary credential for the AMAG security system will be completed for anyone issued the upgraded Iowa One Card, and much progress will be made in converting the legacy electronic access control system to use the same credential.

ITS launches internally built student record system

Information Technology Services and campus partners unveiled several major components of Project MAUI (short for Made At the University of Iowa), a new student-information system that was custom developed by a team of UI software engineers. The last big pieces of MAUI, modules used for financial aid and billing, went into production in early 2013.

The homegrown student record system manages vast amounts of data, including nearly 1 million communications per year for more than 300,000 prospective students, 40,000 applicants, and 4,500 first-year students. Each year the system facilitates the disbursement of over $300 million in financial aid and the collection of $450 million in tuition, fees, and charges. More than 30,000 enrolled students register for classes online, generating up to a million transactions per day.

Seven years in the making

ITS has provided the university with a fantastic tool,” says UI Director of Admissions Emil Rinderspacher. “By having a system built by our own internal staff, we have the flexibility to shape our technology in the future, adding enhancements that work specifically for us.”

The student information system development efforts kicked off in 2006, after the university investigated vended solutions to replace its 30-year-old student record system and discovered that the products on the market didn’t meet the institution’s needs.

In building MAUI, developers used the existing student self-service portal (ISIS) as a foundation, and addressed technical limitations with a more contemporary user interface, better integration with other systems, additional features, and enhanced functionality. In the end, the custom system with re-engineered business processes based on new technologies was much less expensive to build and maintain than a vended system.

Features for students and applicants

Through an online portal, students can view schedules, grades, and financial aid information, and receive and pay their U-bills electronically. Students like the new degree audit format, which is more user-friendly and easy to read. Integrations with the course-management system and a student success early intervention system help officials identify at-risk students so the university can reach out to offer extra resources they may need.

Freshmen applicants can now find out within 48 hours whether they have been accepted to the UI, sparing them the inconvenience of waiting a couple weeks to receive a decision. That’s possible because MAUI is able to read data submitted by the applicants and apply business rules to determine whether they meet the basic criteria for admission, the honors program, and certain scholarships. The new system also automates processes for placement testing and transcript submission. 

Conveniences for UI administrators

MAUI is a great step forward for the admissions office, in part because it allows staff to work remotely—which is vital to those who are on the road representing the UI at high school visits or college fairs. New members of the team get up to speed quickly because the system is so intuitive.

A new built-in communication engine, Dispatch, is a big improvement from the previous commercial system. In 2013 it generated and tracked over 4.2 million e-mails and printed 360,000 documents.

The Academic Advising Center likes the “my advisees” page, which allows advisors to review caseloads from a variety of parameters. A feature that allows students to add or drop courses online during the first week of class is much more efficient than the old paper method, and advisors can easily track which advisees make changes to their schedules. 

Aiding efficiency

I can't say enough about what a great tool TeleHawk is,” says Eric Page, senior associate director of strategic communications in the Office of Admissions. “It has proven to be a fantastic tool from both an efficiency and caller accountability perspective. We’ve been able to increase productivity and quality contacts while decreasing the amount of student phone team resources.”

MAUI saves the financial aid office time by creating session-based costs of attendance using tuition and fees tied directly to a program of study. It allows staff to check student eligibility before releasing aid to billing, eliminates paper flow, and provides real-time simulations for awarding, requesting, and disbursing aid. Automated communications can now be sent with the click of a button.

Admissions is fond of the TeleHawk function, which supports calling campaigns by providing a call sequence and script, along with the ability to capture call details and outcomes. Integration into MAUI allows direct access to student attributes and eliminates the need for data imports and exports.

A monumental effort

Project MAUI represents a monumental effort and tremendous collaboration between ITS and Provost Office functional units,” says Mike Noel, senior director of ITS-Administrative Information Systems. “Our initial vision has been realized, and we now have a solid foundation to build on.”

MAUI has already proven its flexibility and expandability in supporting new gender codes for admissions and the first-week add/drop course functionality for student records. And, the custom-built system may even become a model for other schools. ITS has already heard from colleagues at other institutions who are interested in developing MAUI-like solutions of their own. 

MAUI Milestones


  • Tuition and fees assessment component
  • Modules for grade processing, advisor assignment, tuition/fee assessment, and end of session
  • Final components of admissions module (applicant processing, decisions)
  • 48-hour admissions application decisions
  • Degree audit and transfer articulation module
  • Communications processing engine, Dispatch


  • Final components of financial aid module (verification, awarding, disbursement, academic progress)
  • Final components of billing module (charges, payments, financial aid allocation, U-bills, accounting, collections)
  • New student orientation system, SOAP
  • MAUI security audit and ISIS penetration testing
  • Admissions Office call center application replacement, TeleHawk
  • Advance placement and testing score integration and processing
  • Automated course waitlists pilot
  • MAUI data warehouse and reporting
  • Automatic trigger of degree audits when a student’s record is modified
  • Electronic drop/add process during first week of classes
  • My Advisees (simple advisor view of core information about advisees)
  • Financial aid and billing reconciliation reporting

MAUI Metrics

Fall 2013 Financial Aid

  • Awarded $72 million in loans and $75 million in grants and scholarships to 19,457 students from over 1,000 unique sources

Fall 2013 Billing

  • Assessed $77 million in resident tuition for 16,202 students, $154 million in non-resident tuition for 13,784 students, and $4 million in tuition for 1,205 online students
  • Processed 54,423 U-bills for 29,342 students, 10,088 employees, and about 15,000 others
  • Sent 39,000 (over 70%) of U-bills electronically
  • Enabled 80% of U-bills to be paid electronically through payroll deduction or ACH payments

First-week Electronic Add/Drops

  • Spring 2013: 11,488
  • Fall 2013: 16,925


ITS plays key role in transition to all-in-one ID cards

ITS is playing an important role in the transition to new university identification cards that will also serve as electronic door access cards for buildings or rooms on campus.

These electronic door access cards offer higher security than keys because when they are lost or when a cardholder leaves the university, the card can be deactivated remotely. The cards are used for meal plans and checking out library materials. They can also be used for financial transactions like charging purchases to a U-bill, or as an ATM/debit card when tied to a Hills Bank checking account.

The Directory and Authentication Services (DNA) team is heavily involved in the Iowa One Card project, working in partnership with UI Police, Facilities Management, and the Treasury Office.

Planning for Iowa One

The new Iowa One Cards converge electronic identity (HawkID) and physical identity (ID card and electronic door-access card). DNA Team leader Chris Pruess co-leads the identity convergence project and participated in planning the re-carding project. She was also instrumental in the redesign of the card and in reviewing the request for proposals for the banking relationship aspect of the card.

In 2011, ITS accepted technical support responsibilities for UI ID cards. DNA upgraded the Iowa One Card management system to contemporary technologies and performed Social Security Number remediation. Since then, the DNA team has been steadily adding needed features and functionality.

Work behind the scenes

Several significant projects took place behind the scenes to fully utilize the door-access function of the new Iowa One cards, including upgrades to the ID Card system, electronic access control systems, and identity-management tools and processes.

In 2013, ITS and Facilities Management staff upgraded the underlying infrastructure of the UI’s door access systems, AMAG and Millennium, to current supportable levels of hardware and software. This included relocating servers to ITS data center space. Technology advancements associated with the software upgrade provided full compatibility with the Iowa One Card door-access capabilities. 

Automations and process improvements were deployed for loading and managing cards in the door-access systems. ITS staff has been working closely with Facilities and local departments to coordinate the timing of Iowa One Card-AMAG migrations.

Simplifying off-hours access to buildings

In August 2013, three engineering facilities became the first buildings on the Millennium system to use the Iowa One Card, simplifying off-hours access by eliminating the need for a separate door-access card. Going forward, efforts will continue on re-engineering access control data management processes, Iowa One Card conversions, and support enhancements.

This project accommodates the growth in use of electronic access control and is important to the security of our campus,” says ITS-AIS Senior Director Mike Noel. “The change should also add convenience for UI students and employees, who will now have one less card to carry.”

Developing an electronic conflict-of-interest app

Many faculty and staff are obligated to disclose potential conflicts of interest to internal and external authorities, and adhering to federal reporting requirements has become more time-consuming due to new regulations. 

In an effort to streamline this process, the Conflict of Interest in Research Office reached out to other university units responsible for complying with the reporting obligations. 

To standardize the process and reduce the administrative burden of filing the disclosures, a cross-departmental team developed a consolidated Electronic-Conflict-of-Interest Application, which they called eCOI for short. In just the first year, UI faculty and staff submitted almost 11,000 disclosures. 

eCOI wins IOWA Award

The eCOI won an Improving Our Workplace (IOWA) Award, designed to recognize UI employees who demonstrate initiative and innovation that has a positive impact in their workplace.

Members of the eCOI team were: Charlotte Talman of the Conflict of Interest in Research Office; Jose Jimenez, Gayle Elliott, and Ashok Vijayendra of Research Information Systems; Denise Krutzfeldt of UI Hospitals and Clinics’ Conflict of Interest Office; Diane Finnerty of the Provost’s Office; and Susan Zollo of the Continuing Medical Education Office.

Impressive cooperation

The award is well deserved, and I am thrilled that the group won,” says nominator Jim Walker, an associate vice president for research. “It’s a challenge to coordinate IT and personnel components of a project of this scope at a large institution. We were under a tight time frame, and I was impressed by how smoothly the team moved forward to create a consolidated system that meets diverse needs.”

Walker noted that the project could not have been successful without contributions from many other employees in Health Care Information Systems, ITS, and RIS.

2013 enhancements

In 2013, the eCOI application was enhanced and expanded to include the new Provost Office and Human Resources conflict-of-interest reporting policies. The new enhancements are ready for the 2014 reporting cycle.

Business Intelligence

As part of the MAUI student system, staff developed a comprehensive BI solution that includes SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS), Oracle data warehouse, and a sophisticated row-level data access security model. Features include parameter-driven reports with drill-down capabilities, hyperlinks to MAUI application pages, and Excel downloads. Staff also assisted the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in porting a Microsoft Access-based financial reporting system to SSRS. Staff members are currently working on an Excel-based financial reporting project with the State Hygienic Lab. 

Cloud Service Support

Adoption of cloud services continues to grow on campus, and to simplify the user login process, ITS uses a single sign-on solution called Shibboleth. In the last two years, 16 new service providers were added so users can use HawkID credentials to gain access for research, collegiate, CIC, and Regents collaborations. ITS began moving student e-mail to the cloud-based Office 365 solution in 2013, and by the end of the year about 7,000 accounts had been moved to Office 365.

Development and Operations Infrastructure

ITS manages over 44 enterprise applications across 34 servers. Improvements to ITS’ internal application deployment, change management, and logging infrastructure supported 1,175 application deployments in 2013 with a 99.94% uptime for critical systems ITS monitors. Improved change management processes include approval, history tracking, and scheduling features. Standardization of application logging infrastructure helps staff efficiently search log files, and expanded monitoring utilities provide better metrics tracking.

Directory Services and Identity Management

A new real-time HawkID assignment process allows admissions applicants to select their HawkID. The Identity Warehouse was extended to include University Housing and Dining and Athletics ticketing information, and the HawkID login page is now mobile friendly. The printed UI Student/Staff/Faculty Directory (Herd Book) was replaced by the online-only version, a “greener” sustainable solution with automated updates and better search capabilities. In partnership with the UI Unix/Linux community, staff extended the enterprise identity management infrastructure, implementing services that provide tighter user and group integration with the Unix domain.

eFlood Application Support

In February 2012, the eFlood application went live tracking flood-related expenses. The team worked throughout 2013 on second- and third-phase initiatives that improve the application’s ability to handle complex general ledger transactions, integrate with Risk Management’s adjustment, reimbursement, and eligibility workflow, and provide better labor expense processing and reporting.

Electronic Procurement Enhancements

The e-Pro system was integrated with UI contract pricing information that drives purchasers to use the university’s preferred vendors. Payments can now be made with prepaid debit cards in addition to checks, and processes for business justifications and technology reimbursement were enhanced.

Electronic Research Administration (eRA)

The initial research portal went into production with single sign-on, alerts/notifications, and the ability to drill down to core eRA system data. It now includes federal announcements and personalization features. Several other components within the eRA system were also upgraded:

The non-monetary contract submission component of the pre-award system was improved to provide better grant and contract information access for investigators and to integrate with UI workflow. A new system for animal research protocols provides smart forms and templates, and work continues on the protocol review and amendment process, in preparation for a pilot.

Enterprise Database Support

ITS assumed system administration, hosting, and database administration for the College of Dentistry’s clinical applications. ITS also commissioned over 40 new SQL Server database instances in 2012, including the first two installations of SQL Server 2012, and another 27 instances in 2013. The Enterprise Data Warehouse (UDW) tripled in size to 4.1 terabytes of data with the addition of the remaining MAUI Student Information System data.

ePost Application Support

With the Grant Accounting Office, ITS completed several major enhancements to the post-award grant accounting application, ePost. These improvements eliminate over 2.2 million printed pages per year. A new effort-reporting module calculates the time spent on each grant award. ITS worked with the IMFO team to create a grant reporting and distribution module that provides more useful and detailed information to researchers and administrators. Star Metrics data extracts were created to capture impact and outcomes of federally funded research.

HR Collaborations

ITS partnered with IMFO on several major projects in addition to universal electronic workflow, including a PeopleSoft HR version 9.1 upgrade, two PeopleTools upgrades (8.5.2 and 8.5.3), a hardware infrastructure update, and hosting JOBS@UNI for the University of Northern Iowa.

PeopleSoft Financials Enterprise Resource Planning

Staff performed several process improvements, including the development of an encumbrance reconciliation process  and streamlining the property management quarterly capitalization process from months to minutes.

Also completed were several major system integrations, including a PeopleSoft inventory process integration with the new UI Hospitals and Clinics Main Operating Room supply management system, and security integration that allows PeopleSoft Financials to use HawkID credentials.

The Human Resources bank account reconciliation process was integrated into the existing PeopleSoft Financials process, allowing retirement of the mainframe BARS system. In addition, ITS implemented the inventory function for eight campus units including the Iowa River Landing pharmacy and material services.


Application and database security efforts ramped up with a proliferation of threats and attacks. Staff performed penetration testing and security audits, added more application monitoring capabilities, and improved processes for authentication, account provisioning/de-provisioning, and application development. New HawkID login security efforts included the implementation of additional authentication protocols (two-factor and OAuth2), a redesigned login page, and self-service tools for reviewing logins. 

Social Security Number Remediation

Many legacy databases were dependent on Social Security Numbers (SSN) as primary keys. Database administrators developed scanning processes to identify and inventory possible SSN exposures and assisted system owners with remediation. Scans detected 19 systems with just over 400 tables containing SSN vulnerabilities. About 60% are remediated, and plans are in place for the remainder. 

A major strategy in remediating the remaining systems involves a newly architected SSN vault that encrypts and isolates SSNs from other personally identifiable information. Applications that have an approved business need for SSNs can access the vault through a secure web service. When the conversion is complete, over 1.4 million SSNs will be stored the secure vault.

Universal Electronic Workflow

Development continued with the deployment of a new workflow system, a joint project with the Human Resources Information Management, Finance Operations (IMFO). Work in 2012 focused on building tools to manage workflow routes at both the form and office levels. Staff developed services for handling attachments, built interfaces for managing office structures, and established the unified workflow inbox. The inbox was piloted and put into production in 2013, allowing ITS and IMFO to retire disparate MAUI and Self-Service inboxes. To date, there have been over 270,000 logins.

HawkIDs Managed

Two of the primary electronic identities are the University ID and HawkID. While the growth of HawkIDs remains fairly constant, there is more variability in University ID creation due to campus Social Security Number (SSN) remediation projects. In 2003, ITS began generating University IDs for current faculty, students, and staff. In 2004, ITS assigned University IDs to alumni and former students. Final SSN remediation efforts began in 2013 with the retirement of the mainframe.

The total number of HawkIDs managed has nearly quadrupled since 2002, from about 58,000 to more than 224,000.


University IDs Assigned

ITS now manages over 1 million University IDs.

University IDs0116,306545,089576,057607,885641,331675,551711,964750,483789,638830,0511,085,199

HawkID Logins Through the Single Sign-On Solution

HawkIDs are used to authenticate to both on and off-campus systems. In 2010, ITS implemented a federated authentication system, Shibboleth, that allows the use of HawkIDs to access off-campus and cloud-based systems.

  • Use of the HawkID Single Sign-On Solution has grown by 269% since 2006
  • ICON now makes up more than 50% of all logins
  • Use of HawkID by other systems has more than doubled since 2006
  • In 2006, there were over 6.5 million HawkID logins; by 2013, there were 17.5 million
ISIS - Iowa Student Information Services3,442,6113,689,9863,898,4933,784,8733,918,5843,833,9283,508,4613,590,582
HRIS - Employee Self-Service2,177,0112,385,7592,530,4762,561,3122,698,9622,722,8812,429,0832,454,473
ICON - Iowa Courses Online05,6359,62910,8168,394,3368,961,0288,947,8189,281,876

Shibboleth Federated Authentication Support

Since the implementation of a federated authentication solution in 2009-2010, the number of services that use it has grown steadily, as has the number of logins.

New Deployments578412
Production Services05122024

Daily Wait List Entries

In the fall of 2013, ITS implemented a Course Wait List Pilot for 315 courses across various colleges and departments. Just over 200 of the courses had actual wait list activity. About 650 students accepted open seats, close to 100 declined seats, and almost 200 notifications expired without action. About 750 students were still on the waitlists at the start of the semester. Half of the students notified of an open spot responded in less than an hour, with 80% responding in less than 8 hours. Wait list data will be very useful in course registration analytics.

The graph below shows wait list entries by day through the spring early registration period.


ISIS First Week Electronic Adds and Drops

In the spring 2013 semester, ITS implemented a new program that allowed students to electronically drop and add courses the first week of school, without intervention from instructors, advisors, or the Registration Center.

CategoriesUnique SectionsUnique StudentsTotal Enrollment ActionsAddsDrops
Spring 20133,3863,87511,4885,4766,012
Fall 20134,1735,32916,9258,0418,884

Annual Oracle Database Growth

From an Oracle database perspective, ITS supports 115 test and production databases containing over 21 terabytes of institutional data across 30 database servers.

Baseline Size9429421,0581,7112,1042,7453,3964,894

Microsoft SQL Server Major Customers

From a Microsoft SQL Server perspective, ITS supports over 2,000 databases containing over 9 terabytes of institutional data across 144 database servers.

Business Services130
Facilities Management822
ITS - CIO182
ITS - DNA493
ITS - EI2,090
ITS - ICON2,156

2013 Enterprise Financials Activity

Since the implementation of PeopleSoft Financials in 1998, the system has provided general ledger, purchasing, accounts payables, asset management, inventory control, and supplier contract management services. Providing services and supporting a growing health care enterprise presents different challenges than the academic and research missions due to high transaction volumes and mission criticality.

OrgOffice of the PresidentOffice of the ProvostVP Medical AffairsVP ResearchVP Finance and OperationsVP General CounselAthleticsVP Strategic CommunicationCollege Lib Arts and SciencesCollege of Business AdminCollege of DentistryCollege of EducationCollege of EngineeringCollege of LawCarver College of MedicineCollege of NursingCollege of PharmacyCollege of Public HealthInst Clinical & TranslationalGraduate CollegeSummer SessionLibraryUniversity CollegeContinuing EducationOakdale CampusInformation Technology ServiceUniv Related OrganizationsVP Student ServicesIowa River LandingUniversity HospitalsPsychiatric HospitalCntr for Disabilities and DevChild Health Specialty ClinicsSpec Child Hlth Srv PedsUniv Hygienic LabStudent Health and WellnessUIHC AffiliatesHealth Care Enterprises
GL Transactions11,024155,50713,01672,137586,2541,068106,36916,447219,16053,612146,11239,61595,82843,9321,845,64919,53740,74191,8117,15424,54468830,97514,50926,05520,19328,374298,176289,13394,4732,052,46530,00824,84719,53848850,2997,61627,65113,560
Voucher Pmts791721923063,620141,0072251,1314493,1871545211957,445913262985213624594210174454543,0211,40074,1746212626301,39638385185

2013 Purchasing Transactions for Campus Organizations

A majority of campus purchases are made through electronic procurement systems. Users can choose to purchase directly from vendor catalogs using eBuy, or create orders using PREQs, an internally developed electronic requisitioning application. Organizations that support inventory business units also generate purchases through an auto replenishment process directly through PeopleSoft Purchasing.

Organization NameAll OtherVP Finance and OperationsCollege Lib Arts and SciencesCollege of DentistryCarver College of MedicineVP Student ServicesIowa River LandingUniversity HospitalsPsychiatric HospitalUniv Hygienic Lab
eProcurement Purchases6,4252,4969741,6814,2412,47282445,16548900
eBuy Catalog & Contract Purchases9,4251,2194,71488512,5201,3873106,9504421,334
PeopleSoft Purchases019211,5402,74627060231,00014515