Penn State Intercom......April 11, 2002

eLion system wins
national accolades

By Allison Kessler
Public Information

Colleges and universities across the country attempt to mirror Penn State's highly successful online academic advising system. But eLion certainly has managed to turn more than the heads of academia. Now, eLion has attracted the attention of the Computerworld Honors Program, as it formally became part of the Computerworld Honors Archive at ceremonies April 7 in San Francisco.

Each year, the Computerworld Honors Program identifies and honors organizations worldwide whose visionary use of information technology produces and promotes positive social change. These innovators, true revolutionaries in their respective fields, are nominated by chief executive officers of the world's leading information-technology companies. Thomas Nies, president and chief executive officer of Cincom Systems, nominated Penn State's eLion in the education and academia category for the ease with which it allows students to navigate their academic schedules.

"Academic advising is a critical factor in enabling students with on-time, successful completion of graduation requirements. Through the application of technology, Penn State's advising process has been measurably improved and the delivery of student academic services also have been enhanced," said James Wager, assistant vice provost for enrollment management and University registrar.

Special functions of eLion include:

* academic and advising references, which include links to information such as advising procedures, University programs and courses, career assistance, continuing and distance education, administrative offices, and policies and rules;

* student services, which provide students with access to their own administrative records, an ability to take academic actions and receive quality academic advice in the process;

* faculty services, which enable faculty members to receive class lists online; and

* adviser services, which provide pertinent information on students' academic activities and achievement to advisers only.

eLion was not created to replace face-to-face contact with academic advisers.

"The system is designed to be a tool that will supplement and enhance the current advising model. It has not been designed to replace the existing system," said Eric White, executive director of the Division of Undergraduate Studies. "Rather, through the use of current technology and networking capabilities, the system has been structured to assist both the academic adviser and the student as they work through the academic advising process at Penn State."

eLion is a collaborative project at the University among three administrative areas -- Enrollment Management and Administration, Information Technology Services and Undergraduate Education. The eLion Web-based services are housed and maintained by Administrative Information Services, a unit of ITS@Penn State.

Allison Kessler can be reached at