Project WakeDay’s five functional areas include admissions, financial aid, advising and curriculum, student financials, student records and technical. And there’s at least one team lead for each area (two for advising and curriculum). It’s their job to oversee progress toward project deliverables and to manage their respective team members and subject matter experts.
Team Leads play a critical role in defining campus and unit needs as well as bridging connections between technology, practice and support. Below, meet each of the workstream team leads and find out how they’re participating in Project WakeDay.
|Karen Bennett (MA ’98) celebrated 38 years at WFU in August. While she is officially 100 percent on Project WakeDay, she still performs several of her assistant dean duties in the Office of Academic Advising. For the project, she’s a co-lead for Curriculum and Advising. She says she appreciates the University’s approach to the implementation. “Something I appreciate is the holistic approach to the SIS (student information system) experience. No more using three, four or five different platforms to perform tasks that we do on a daily basis. One Stop Shopping.” When asked about her role on the project, she shares, “I think we, as team leads, came to the realization that this project is bigger than us all. It is bigger than all its potential end users. It is a monumental undertaking that now that we are halfway in must be completed. The entire team has worked so hard to navigate a huge change in how we process academic processes. It is interesting how we have bonded. Some members of the former HCM team came to speak to us early in the process and it is interesting to see how they predicted how we would all become so connected and close.”|
|Tom Benza (MA ’13) has been at WFU for a little more than 17 years. Day to day, he’s the director of financial aid, where he oversees the awarding of federal aid for all schools on the Reynolda campus and federal, institutional and state aid for the College, Graduate School and Divinity School. On Project WakeDay he’s serving as the Financial Aid lead. He says that one of the exciting things he’s discovered in this role is that, “the business process for Satisfactory Academic Progress to determine federal and institutional aid eligibility is an enhancement.” He says he’s also excited about seeing the University move forward into Workday Student. “I want to ensure that we’ve laid strong foundations for financial aid systems as the University continues to move forward in the dynamic, ever-changing world of higher ed.|
|Jamie Costello, who has been at Wake Forest for six years, is full time on Project WakeDay, serving as the Student Financials lead. When she’s not on the project, she serves as a senior accounting manager in Student Financial Services. Her focus for now is an even better student experience. “I hope my commitment to this role puts Student Financial Services in the best position for go-live. I really want to support the configuration of a student information system that best meets the needs of our faculty, staff and students. I also want to contribute to readiness and knowledge transfer that will prepare staff, students and parents for the changes that will accompany a new system and make for a positive experience.” She says she’s especially excited about how Workday Student will positively change some of the University’s business processes. “Workday will enable WFU to configure and maintain core business flows in one place. This is very exciting because it will help eliminate many manual processes. Student Self-Service is also exciting. Our students will more easily be able to review holds, see their account transactions and balances, make payments and print statements.”|
|Trey Frye (MA ’13), started at WFU as a student worker in Summer 2009, becoming full-time in 2014. These days, he’s full time on Project WakeDay as a co-lead for the Curriculum and Advising work stream, as well as a subject matter expert for Academic Foundation, Records and Reporting. Beyond this project, in his daily role at the University he’s the law school registrar. He says one thing that encourages him about Workday Student is how it will be integrated across the University. “The biggest thing that I find exciting is the fully integrated student, faculty and staff experience that will be consistent across all the schools. I’m also excited that we’re establishing data standards for the system at the get-go, which will have a huge impact institutionally in both reporting data out of and supporting this huge new system.” He says his goal as a team lead is to help modernize WFU’s systems. “I hope I have done all I can to help bring our student administrative services into the 21st century. I’ve tried to abide by our guiding principle of One Wake Forest — a single University approach — bringing it to all aspects of our business, and I’ve looked to Workday first in establishing best practices for the use of the system and to streamline our business in as many areas and processes as possible.”|
|Bryan McKinney, who has been at WFU for 11 years, is full time on Project WakeDay as the overall technical lead. He says his goal is to provide support to both the technical teams and the workstream leads. “I want to help the technical team provide what’s needed for the implementation to be successful. We’re here to support the needs of the workstreams as we make this major paradigm shift with a new SIS. And I just want it to be as smooth as possible.” Outside of the project, as the assistant director of applications development and integrations in enterprise systems, he “triages errors that happen with current production integrations. I also evaluate tickets requesting changes to production integrations or new integrations. Since most of my team is busy with student integrations, I end up making fixes to the production integrations whenever possible to keep them focused on the project tasks.” He says one thing he’s excited about is the project’s guiding principle of One Wake Forest. “It will greatly simplify things from a technical perspective. It will help the functional teams since many academic units will be operating the same way whenever possible. The student experience will also be smoother for those who are enrolled in multiple academic units.”|
|Michael Moore is the full-time Student Records lead on Project WakeDay and has been with the University since 2019. When not serving on the Workday Student project, he’s the senior associate University registrar. “One exciting thing I’ve learned about Workday,” he says, “is the ability to define business processes and establish workflows which will modernize many of our paper-based processes. Students, faculty and staff will be able to kick off various business processes and the workflows, which will ensure that the right person(s) are notified to review and approve, deny or send back. We’ll also be able to see a digital paper trail every step of the way, which will help us understand where in the workflow a business process is.” He says that Workday Student’s many exciting features are one thing he’s excited about bringing to the campus community. “I hope my role as a work stream lead serves the University by fully exploring the functionality that Workday offers and recommending the uptake and implementation of these exciting features.”|
|Sheena Ramirez came to Wake Forest in 2021, which is also the year she earned a doctorate in Voice Performance, Pedagogy and Literature from James Madison University. In addition to her role on Project Workday, she oversees operations for the Office of Undergraduate Admissions as a senior associate dean. Day to day, that entails building out functionality in the Slate CRM, managing the file-review process, creating policies and procedures and annually preparing WFU’s application for students. Since the start of this project, she has served as the subject matter expert for undergraduate admissions. Just recently, she also took over as the Admissions workstream lead. She says she’s encouraged by all that Workday has to offer. “I love how customizable Workday can be, which allows us to replicate some of our old operational practices while also evaluating new and better ways to streamline student application data coming into the system.” And when it comes to her role on the project, she says she wants Workday to work for all students, including new ones. “Admissions is the front door to the University, and making sure that every student who enrolls enters Workday correctly and seamlessly will allow all of our campus partners the tools and resources necessary to best welcome our future Deacs to campus!”|