Solutions

FileMaker Pro 7 enhances security and eases distribution of essential administrative data for a major university.

Cornell University

One of the most prestigious institutions of higher learning in the United States, Cornell University in Ithaca, NY prides itself on the diversity of both its student body and the educational experience it offers. Incorporating 11 undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools, Cornell is world–renowned for its specialized programs in hotel administration, industrial and labor relations, and veterinary medicine. A dedicated faculty and support staff are essential to carrying forward Cornell's mission, and FileMaker Pro 7 is a valued tool for the university's administrators.

Overview

  • Ivy League university with over 20,000 students attending 11 undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools
  • Based in Ithaca, NY
  • Approximately 10,000 employees

Industry

  • Higher Education
  • Information Technology

Solutions

  • FileMaker Pro 7 administrative database system processes essential information — documenting staff performance, allocating teaching assistants, and determining compensation.

Benefits

  • Information is easily distributed via FileMaker Pro, eliminating inefficient emailed spreadsheets.
  • Sensitive information is secure in protected FileMaker Pro databases.

One of the special things about universities is that they're extremely decentralized, and in that context, where you have lots of specialists creating systems that aren't necessarily being managed top down, FileMaker Pro is a great fit.

— Paul Davis, Programmer Analyst Senior, Cornell University (College of Engineering)

Business Challenge

With thousands of employees, documenting job performance and determining appropriate compensation for Cornell's staff is a complex task. At Cornell University's College of Engineering, currently ranked by U. S. News and World Report as one of the top ten graduate engineering programs in the nation, Programmer Analyst Senior Paul Davis develops solutions to meet that challenge. "I gather a lot of data for our faculty data summary," explains Paul, "for the dean and the department chairs to use in quantitatively measuring faculty effort each semester. This information is used in helping directors, chairs, and the dean in determining performance levels."

The information is also important in the classroom itself — where documenting the number of course hours taught helps in allocating the number of teaching assistants assigned to each class.

There was a time when this information shuttled from office to office and desk to desk in clumsy emailed spreadsheets — and not only was this an inefficient method of conveying information, it could also leave sensitive data open to unauthorized access. Clearly, there was room for major improvement.

Successful Solution

FileMaker Pro is widely used around the Cornell campus and Paul has been using the software for many years. He was looking for greater efficiency, greater flexibility, and the ability to build a more comprehensive system by migrating to FileMaker 7. He was delighted with what he found he could do.

Paul's system is made up of 19 FileMaker Pro tables, containing thousands of individual records. It fulfills three major functions — gathering recommendations for compensation, documenting contract hours taught by faculty members, and the preparation of an overall faculty data summary. Administrative officials throughout the College of Engineering are able to key in the necessary information, submitting the raw data Paul uses to generate the necessary reports.

With FileMaker Pro 7's SSL encryption across the wire, we can know who's logged in and we can track that and attach it to our logging. This will save us a lot of effort in managing security. FileMaker Pro 7 has delivered a much more secure platform for us, and that just can't be underestimated in our context.

— Paul Davis, Programmer Analyst Senior, Cornell University (College of Engineering)

Customer Benefits

Compared to the old spreadsheet–based system, FileMaker Pro 7 allows the rapid distribution of sensitive data without compromising security. "With FileMaker Pro 7's SSL encryption across the wire, we can know who's logged in and we can track that and attach it to our logging," Paul notes. "This will save us a lot of effort in managing security. FileMaker Pro has delivered a much more secure platform for us, and that just can't be underestimated in our context."

When it comes to development, the FileMaker Pro 7 allows Paul to expand the capabilities of the system far more easily, far more efficiently than before. "The calculations in FileMaker Pro 7 are wonderful," he declares. "I can have local variables inside the calculations and for me as a programmer this is a really wonderful addition. Our users will get more applications — and richer applications — because we can develop them more quickly."

But the most important advantage Paul sees in the new FileMaker Pro 7 database system is its smooth integration into the decentralized nature of campus data management — and that's an advantage he says, that benefits not just his department, but ultimately the entire campus. Newly introduced in December 2004 for deployment in the spring 2005 term is a FileMaker Pro–based grade submission systems, following on the heels of a FileMaker Pro test–question delivery system — and other innovative solutions are in the pipeline. "One of the special things about universities is that they're extremely decentralized," Paul concludes, "and in that context, where you have lots of specialists creating systems that aren't necessarily being managed top down, FileMaker Pro is a great fit."

For FileMaker:

Kevin Mallon
Public Relations Manager
FileMaker Inc.
408-987-7227
kevin_mallon@filemaker.com
http://www.filemaker.com

For Cornell University:

Paul Davis
Programmer Analyst Senior
Cornell University
607-255-6227
prd9@cornell.edu
http://www.cornell.edu