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Technolutions Slate

UC Davis students walking on campus in the autumn.

The Slate System - Information for UC Davis Faculty and Staff

On the timeline you’ll see that we’ve referred to several components of the Slate system. Here’s what those components do in practical terms.

  • Inquiry Forms - Our new inquiry forms allow us to collect preliminary information from prospective applicants who are still in the investigation stage of their graduate school application process. This information will be used to provide prospective students with pertinent information about the application process and for assessment.
  • Application - This is perhaps the most familiar component of the Slate system. The Graduate Admission and Continuing Student Fellowship applications are forms which allow applicants to submit their information and documents for consideration by the graduate program and university. The Slate application will be replacing our prior vendor application system, ApplyYourself.
  • Reader - This is the system which allows faculty and staff to review applications for admission or fellowship. Reader will be replacing the GARD system.
  • Campaigns - The series of communications we have with applicants regarding their application status. Campaigns include promotional emails but also notifications regarding forthcoming deadlines, missing application materials, and admission decisions.

Timeline Questions

  • When will we have access to the Slate Reader (the component which will replace GARD)?
  • Now that the graduate admissions application system has been launched, we are turning our attention to Reader. We anticipate that building Reader will take through the end of October and that we will be able to begin training graduate programs in November. We expect that the implementation of the Reader system will be complete by December 2018.
  • When will we be able to start admitting graduate students?
  • Admission notifications will be sent directly from the Slate system, so graduate programs should be able to start admitting students in December. However, it will be necessary to complete the Banner integration before admitted students are able to enroll in courses. Since Banner integration is scheduled for completion in February/March, we are unable to offer early admission (Winter or Spring admission) to graduate students this year.
  • Why is it not possible to admit students to the Winter/Spring quarter this year?
  • The most complex part of implementing this new system is the integration of Slate with the campus Banner system. Without those Banner integrations, any applicants who are admitted in Slate will not be recognized by the campus as students.  Unfortunately it is also not possible to manually add new graduate students into Banner. Because the Banner integrations are not likely to be complete prior to February/March, it will not be possible to get applicants into Banner in time for them to start in the Winter/Spring.
  • When will you begin training staff and faculty on Reader?
  • A: We anticipate that training will begin at the start of November. It is our intention to provide several training opportunities to ensure that everyone who needs training is able to receive it. Our expectation is that we will begin by training Graduate Program Coordinators who will in turn facilitate training for faculty reviewers.

General Questions

  • Why are we replacing ApplyYourself?
  • Our campus experienced significant challenges with the ApplyYourself service and product for the duration of our contract with them. In addition, the product has recently been sold to another company that intends to phase it out. As a result, the decision was made not to renew our contract with ApplyYourself.
  • Why are we replacing GARD?
  • GARD was a highly-customized, home-grown application review system built using an outdated programming language. Although it functioned well from a user perspective, it required a massive amount of maintenance and upkeep each year. The replacement of GARD was inevitable, and since Graduate Studies does not have the resources to build a new system from scratch, the decision was made to transition to a vendor system.
  • Why Slate?
  • UC Davis Graduate Studies undertook an intensive review process to try to find a system which would not only replace existing systems but exceed their capabilities. Slate is not only a highly customizable application and review system, it is also a robust CRM (customer relationship management) system. In recent years, many of our national competitors have replaced their own systems with Slate, including our colleagues at UC Berkeley and UCLA. In fact, within the next two years, we anticipate that 8 of the 10 University of California Graduate Divisions will be using Slate.
  • How similar is Slate to GARD?
  • In terms of functionality, Slate and GARD are very similar. However, the Slate user interface is considerably different from what was in GARD. The good news is that the Slate application content is easier to navigate and the review component is very intuitive. As with all new systems, it may take some getting used to, but we anticipate that faculty and staff will ultimately be pleased with the results.
  • Will Slate have more features than GARD?
  • Our goal in this first year is to provide comparable features to what previously existed in GARD. Slate is a system which gives us the capacity to add a lot of new features in the future, but, for the time being, we are focused getting the system up and running as soon as possible so that graduate programs can start reviewing applications and making decisions.
  • How do we get access to Slate?
  • Our office is working on integrating Slate with the Graduate Studies PRM (People and Role Manager) system. Once the integration with PRM is completed, Graduate Chairs and Graduate Program Coordinators will automatically have appropriate access in the system.  Graduate Program Coordinators will also have the ability to assign review access to committee members in PRM. We will distribute instructions for this once the integration is complete.

Some changes this year

Here are a few changes this year which are worth noting:

  • Unfortunately we are not able to admit students to the Winter or Spring quarters during this admission cycle (see explanation in the Timeline section).
  • We are no longer accepting paper checks - applicants will be required to pay their application fees via credit card.
  • We are still accepting unofficial transcript uploads for review purposes, but this year UC Davis students will need to upload their unofficial UC Davis transcripts as well.

Who to contact with questions

If you have any additional questions, please contact Brian Gallagher, Director of Admissions and Academic Services, at bgallagher@ucdavis.edu.