American English Institute set to integrate into Banner

President Michael Schill and AEI Executive Director Cheryl Ernst meet with AEI students

Thanks to a collaborative effort among numerous units on campus, the American English Institute will integrate its recordkeeping into the Banner system by the end of June.

The institute provides English language instruction to international students who do not meet the University of Oregon language requirement for their academic studies. These students may be study abroad students, conditionally admitted students or prospective UO students.

The students meet academic requirements but need to further develop their language skills. Once they successfully complete the program, they can start undergraduate coursework or apply to UO graduate programs.

“The problem is AEI students have been invisible to the rest of campus,” said Cheryl Ernst, executive director of the American English Institute and the project sponsor. “Not only does this impact the student experience, it is also a safety issue of knowing who is on campus if there is an emergency.”

Banner, the university's enterprise resource planning software, works behind the scenes to support the core academic and administrative functions at the university by allowing UO staff to perform fundamental processes as scheduling classes, entering grades, creating invoices and issuing paychecks.

Because Banner does not include records of American English Institute students, units across campus have had to create unique processes in areas such as housing, advising, information technology and the health center.

“It makes sense to integrate AEI into Banner for multiple reasons,” said Paul Taylor, enterprise IT project manager providing information services for the institute’s Banner integration project. “It meets the functionality needs, has financial benefits and allows us to retire the parallel system.”

Being on a separate record system from the rest of campus has created many challenges for international students in the language program. Students may spend one to four quarters on campus while attending the institute, but that time is not captured in Banner. They are treated as new students once they start their degree programs. 

“Our goal is for students to have a rich educational experience,” Ernst said. “We also want to dispel the myth that AEI students are not UO students. We want it to be a nice, smooth transition for students into the UO and set them up for success.”

The integration should be complete by June 30. Information Services has set up a project blog with more information and regular updates.

“This has been a collaborative project across campus,” said Jessica Carlson, assistant director of finance, human resources and operations for the institute. “We noticed there was a gap in inclusive and equitable support for our international students and we are working together to fix it.”