Yale Daily News

A new student information hub could come to Yale College and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences as early as this summer.

According to University Registrar Emily Shandley, this new, to-be-named project is a partnership between the Registrar’s Office and Yale ITS, with input from across the University. It is intended to bring together commonly used online tools and resources under one banner. Even though a similar hub already exists — the Student Information System, which allows users to view transcripts, access financial aid and update personal information — Shandley told the News that the new hub will replace how students access the features of the SIS. The current web interface will remain available past this summer as all functionality and students are moved to this upcoming hub. Shandley told the News that her team plans for this new project to be customizable for each student.

She added that the idea for the project came out of plans for a major upgrade to the technology that supports the SIS — and because many other schools already have digital hubs.

“We saw this as a good opportunity to consider how we provide students access to the systems they need and want to use at Yale,” Shandley wrote in an email to the News.

Its first phase will be made available to students at Yale College and the GSAS. After that, she said, there are plans to extend the interface to those in the professional schools.

The online student hub is among the latest in the University Registrar’s latest pushes to improve student access to campus resources. Last year, the office introduced NameCoach to the SIS, allowing students to spell out their names — or even record them — to prevent often awkward mispronunciations. Around the same time, many students cheered when the Registrar added a non-binary option to the SIS’s personal data page. Shandley explained that all of the SIS’s functions will have the same functionality once this new system is rolled out.

Associate Chief Information Officer of Enterprise Applications at Yale ITS Frank Matthew told the News that this new web application should be intuitive and mobile friendly. The ITS teams responsible for student systems and user experience have been “really energized” by engaging with students for their feedback, he said.

“Beyond [the first phase] we hope for continued partnership and engagement with the students to keep improving and enhancing [the hub] over the next few months,” he wrote in an email to the News.

GSAS Dean Lynn Cooley, whose students will be among the first to try the program this summer, praised the development of a new online hub.

“I am excited that graduate students will have better access to information about their own academic records and important Yale messages in a system with a greatly improved interface,” she wrote in an emailed statement.

This interface will get a name soon. Shandley said this could likely come around spring break. But thanks to a survey that closed on Friday, students were able to voice their preferences online and choose between examples like “YaleHub” “My-Y” or “GoYale” or submit their own.

Though unlikely to be instituted, some students are pushing for a more humorous choice: “Hubby McHubface,” modeled after the popular online survey choice “Boaty McBoatface” for a British polar research vessel in 2016. But unlike that ship, whose submarine now dons the name, this new online hub likely will not do the same, Drew Medway ’22, who supports the name, told the News.

“Though they ought to be more responsive to a democratic institution such as this, I unfortunately do not expect the Yale admin to use the name,” he told the News.

The survey received over a thousand responses, she explained, and more than 500 were unique. While some were “very clever,” and others “tongue-in-cheek,” Shandley said that sheer volume of submissions will not be the only decisive factor in name choice.

“We will weigh the options presented for how well they would represent all Yale students using the hub, reflect what the hub is designed to do, and to some degree, how well the name will persist over time.”

Still, the survey received considerable attention from Yale students looking to make jokes. A prank email, circulated to members of the Yale community, spoofed the University Registrar’s Jan. 27 email and listed fake top choices, which ranged from the letter “B” to mentions of Stephen Schwarzman ’69 and former Yale College Dean Jonathan Holloway, now President at Rutgers.

Matt Kristoffersen | matthew.kristoffersen@yale.edu