Oct 22, 2013

College Responds to Concerns Raised About Financial Impact of Genesis Project

Genesis, a "key strategic project" of College, will have cost approximately €12m by the time it is completed.

Hannah RyanNews Editor
Sinéad Baker for The University Times

A college representative has spoken out about concerns that the cost of a new student information system being implemented will be detrimental to College as a whole. The University Times has heard that Genesis, a “key strategic project” of College, is expected to have amassed expenses of €12 million by the time it is completed.

The Genesis website states that the project has been “prioritised by the Provost and the College Board”. At a meeting of the College Audit Committee in May of this year, concerns were raised about the financial impact of this, the effect these spendings will have on college activities and whether the eventual outcome of the project will justify the cost.

In response to these concerns, a representative of the project committee explained that the project was “very large” and stated: “Its primary purpose is to enable academic and administrative staff to enhance the student experience by achieving efficiencies in how College gathers, holds and transmits student information through the integration of activities in areas such as student admissions, student fees, student records and accommodation along with the integration of associated business systems.”


“Due to its size and complexity, the project has been phased in over a number of years… Over the past 14 months, modules including course information, admissions (CAO offers & direct applications), student finance (fee calculation & collection), course and exam timetabling along with student records have been successfully delivered, and two registration cycles have been undertaken, with our students now completing significant amounts of their administrative business with the College on-line and in real time via their “MyTCD” accounts.”

When the new system went live in August 2012, it was initially thought that the project would cost €10.8 million to carry out. However, “In September 2012, the Project Governance Board identified that further funding would be required to optimise the system deliverables and to bring the Project to completion.”

It was subsequently decided that an external review of the Project would be carried out, “the terms of reference of which included project deliverables, timelines, budget and governance arrangements.” Following the recommendations arising from this review, the Project Board set out a revised Project Plan, which was considered and approved by the College Board in June 2013. Phase 1 of the new Project plan will be completed in late 2013 or early 2014, “at an additional cost to College of €1.2m.” Deliverables under Phase 2 of the revised Plan will be considered at a later date.


“The revised Project plan and governance arrangements, which include the appointment of an independent project monitor who reports directly [to] Board, both acknowledge and address the concerns expressed by the Audit Committee,” the statement continued.

At the meeting of the College Board on May 29, at which the new proposal was first presented, the Provost mentioned the “additional cost” attached to the establishment of the Academic Registry. A new Project Governance Board was proposed at the meeting, the membership of which would be decreased “in order to ensure it operates as effectively as possible”, and concerns were expressed about the failure to include a Students’ Union representative. The Board, which has since been set up, does not include a student representative but a User Working Group has also been established and is attended by Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union Education Officer Jack Leahy as well as a representative of the Graduate Students’ Union.

President of TCDSU, Tom Lenihan, said: “The success of the project is given huge priority by the Board and there have been efforts made to correct the mistakes of last year. It is a significant undertaking by the College and it is expected that such projects of this magnitude can encounter difficulties in its early stage.

“We aim to have a representative on any committee where key decisions are made by College and as such Jack, our Education Officer, sits on the User Working Group which has been set up and has had its initial meeting.”

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