Campus Engagement Readiness

Sessions offer chance for schools to discuss changes and their impacts

Over the course of seven weeks this summer, the Student Sunrise project engaged nearly 270 attendees in various change impact validation sessions for WashU’s schools and academic units and the project’s campus teams.

The sessions not only offered campus partners an opportunity to discuss expected changes that will come with the implementation of Workday Student, but also created a chance for WashU employees to exchange their ideas, ask questions, and offer input about the ongoing project.

“These change impact validation sessions create a valuable opportunity not just for our project team members but also for our campus partners to learn more about what’s changing and what these changes may mean for them,” said Danielle Bristow, change lead on the Student Sunrise project. “We were able to share more details about decisions and system configurations, and we can provide details and reasoning in cases where information and decisions are still emerging.”

Sunrise project representatives from the Organizational Change Management (OCM) team led sessions organized by both functional area (Advising, Financial Aid, Records & Registration, etc.) and unit or school (Brown School, Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences, etc.).


The Sunrise OCM team worked with campus partners, reviewing current configuration decisions for Workday Student and discussing if and how they will meet the needs of different groups at WashU. These sessions also served as an additional opportunity for campus partners to surface their unique needs and as an outlet to get their questions answered about anything that was configured between October 2021 and April 2022.

Dottie Petersen – an academic coordinator in the College of Arts and Sciences and a member of the Advising, Degree Audit & Curriculum Campus Team – said she got a sense of what has been accomplished and how much is still being configured. 

“I appreciated the opportunity for assessing the degree to which ‘done’ items were actually done. I appreciated the fact that, even though this process is moving ahead, things from the previous workset can be discussed and, in some cases, amended.”

Dottie Petersen, academic coordinator in the College of Arts and Sciences and a member of the Advising, Degree Audit & Curriculum Campus Team

By organizing participants in multiple ways, the design of the sessions also facilitated connections throughout common functional areas, as well as across and within schools and units.   

Emily Thompson, director of online programs at the School of Medicine, said “I especially appreciated hearing from University College colleagues who also often cater to non-traditional, professional or adult learners.”

Many improvements anticipated

Session participants confirmed a number of anticipated improvements for students, faculty and staff when Workday Student is launched.

Among the top improvements are:

  • Clearly defined advisor types and consistency across the university, which will improve student experience by allowing greater visibility and communication between roles
  • Adding more automation to onboarding, making it easier for staff members to report accurate student numbers for accreditation
  • Offering reserved “seating” for courses, allowing schools and units to ensure specific populations have priority in specific course sections
  • Enabling course search to filter by delivery mode (online or in-person), allowing online students to easily find courses that match their needs

Additional improvements and changes through the life of the project are detailed on the Student Sunrise website for each functional area the project addresses: Academic Foundations & Records, Advising, Curriculum & Registration, and Student Financials & Financial Aid. If these changes weren’t discussed yet, they will be covered in upcoming sessions.

Future sessions planned

Several more rounds of change impact validation sessions are planned. Change impact validations are held after each workset, or chunk of work, is completed by the project team.

The next round is scheduled to begin in February 2023.

Thompson says while she learned new information from the content presented, she also got a chance to speak up for differences that may impact the school’s graduate programs, and she encourages others to do so in the future.

“It’s so important to make your voice heard,” Emily said. “The success of the project relies upon all of us getting engaged, learning about how Workday Student will be different from current SIS, and contributing our local challenges as well as opportunities for improvement.”