Changes give new faculty an earlier start on SmartSite

NOTE: the advice offered in this article is now outdated. Please read this notice, posted to campus technology listservs on June 29, 2009:


The question came up today on tsp-share: How do you process paperwork for new employees so they can have a temporary campus computing account before they start their job, and how do you make that account permanent after their employment is processed?

Recently, we have been advising you to enter them into the PPS system with a future hire date; however, after a review of this practice by Accounting and Finance, we need to change our recommendation to you. We now recommend that you request a temporary affiliate form (TAF) for the employee-to-be, then ensure that the same data about the new hire is entered into PPS after the new hire starts working. Careful data entry in both areas will help prevent any confusion in the records. After their data is entered into PPS, please contact IT Express so we can merge the temporary affiliate entry with the PPS entry.

I apologize for the change in our recommendations and any resulting inconveniences. If you have any questions or feedback about the change in our recommendation, please call me at 530-752-7947. If you have any questions about the TAF process or reconciling records, please call the IT Express Computing Services Help Desk at 530-754- HELP (4357) weekdays between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m.

Mark Stinson
Client Services Manager
Information and Educational Technology
University of California, Davis


(original article follows)

You're a new faculty hire. You won't start teaching for another quarter, but you want to begin building your SmartSite course site. Now you can.

As of about six months ago, campus administrative systems will grant faculty w ho are hired, but not yet teaching, the permissions they need to create a campus computing account and establish their course sites, as long as they \034go active\035 as a faculty member within four months.

The change required data-sharing adjustments between the Payroll Personnel System (PPS), Mothra account management system, and Banner Student Information System. The adjustments themselves were fairly simple. "The biggest thing," said Linda Durst, project manager of the Data Warehouse unit in Information and Educational Technology, "is that we are increasingly addressing business needs, like this one for SmartSite, that cut across several administrative systems."

"We're streamlining the processes for faculty getting into the system ahead of time," said Curtis Bray, technical architect for middleware in IET. Middleware helps glue systems together by connecting applications on a network.

The change allows new staff employees to create a campus computing account before they start working, too. The four-month limit applies because PPS routinely separates employees who have been inactive that long. (New hires who don't start work for at least four months can still access campus systems by completing a Temporary Affiliate Form.)

SmartSite, which runs on Sakai open-source software, is the campus's preferred system for managing coursework online. It can also be used to manage projects. Faculty, staff and students use SmartSite to teach, do research, work, study, and collaborate. It began as a pilot program three years ago, and became a mainstream campus system in the fall of 2007.

Recently, a staff employee, working with a newly hired instructor who wasn't yet teaching at UC Davis, contacted SmartSite project manager Sandra Stewart to brainstorm ideas about using SmartSite. Stewart encouraged her to sign up the faculty member in PPS, so that the new hire could create the SmartSite account.< /p>

The staff employee was reluctant, saying that based on past experiences the new faculty member wouldn't be able to get access, but agreed to try. She later called Stewart back to say the access had gone through.

Said Stewart, "we really do need to get the word out about this change."

For more information about connecting new faculty to SmartSite, contact Stewart at