2011 TC Pressroom
Teachers College, Columbia University
Teachers College Columbia University

TC Media Center from the Office of External Affairs

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We’re OK for Y2K

As that fateful day, January 1, 2000, approaches many people are concerned about what technology will do to our lives when the "99" changes to "00." According to Patrick Norton, Associate Controller and Y2K Project Coordinator, the College computers and systems, equipment and facilities have been extensively tested and confirmed to be Y2K compliant. In fact, President Levine received a letter from the Department of Education Direct Loan Origination System which declared TC as having "Honor Roll Status" for its readiness in the area of financial aid transmissions.

"That was just one small piece of it," Norton said. The testing actually included anything that might have some technology embedded in it, from PCs and software to elevators, phones and security systems. "We also looked at our relationships outside the College," Norton added, including banking, investors, suppliers and lenders.

The BANNER 2000 information system was even tested by turning the clock ahead to a "Year 2000" date in the test database. Testing was done on everything from procurement to registration processes. "We were able to register students, disburse financial aid and make payments against student accounts," Norton explained. "People were hired, received benefits, and were paid. In addition, purchase orders were cut, invoices processed and disbursements made - all in a ‘Year 2000' test environment." The testing plan that was followed in July and August - as well as the entire project plan is detailed on the Y2K Web site at http://www.tc.columbia.edu/~administration/Y2K.

The Web site also provides a tutorial to help users back up their files onto zip or floppy disks. Following these instructions would ensure that files will be saved. All employees and students are encouraged to follow these procedures. Students who will be in the residence halls are also encouraged to prepare for any Y2K disruptions by having flashlights and extra cash on hand.

Informational letters informing employees and students of the Y2K project and TC's readiness were mailed in November.

Norton was quick to point out that while he was involved in making sure the College was prepared for the Y2K concerns, there were many people and departments who worked toward compliance. "This project isn't just a technology issue it's a business issue," Norton said. "We are in an excellent state of readiness because of strong leadership from the beginning." He credited Ena Haines, CIS, Banner Users Group, Financial Systems Group and all the Departmental Coordinators for their involvement, as well as Michael Cook, a financial systems analyst, who was Norton's lead on the project.

Plans are to have staff coverage on hand at the College at the end of December and at the beginning of January 2000, including New Year's Day, to be sure that everything goes smoothly. If there are any glitches, someone will be on hand to rectify problems.

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