Frequently asked questions

Below you'll find answers to common questions about the StARS programme. If you have any further queries, please email


1. What is StARS?

StARS is a major change programme that will transform many aspects of student administration for the benefit of students and staff alike. It is an essential modernisation programme that is required to enable the University to function effectively now and into the future. In transforming our digital interface we will be taking major steps towards improving persistent challenges in the student experience.

2. What is going to change as a result of StARS?

The scope of StARS is extensive, covering a large number of student administration processes and services that take place throughout the student lifecycle, as well as the systems that underpin them.

StARS has already made some changes, with Right to Study checks for international students moving online in July 2020, proof of study letters made accessible via self-service in September 2020, and the postgraduate leave of absence process being refreshed in June 2021.

StARS has been designed to ensure the University can: 

  • offer a modern student experience of student administration services
  • deliver a more flexible learning offer to better meet the needs of students
  • grow student numbers sustainably and where desired
  • secure the future of the student records system to ensure it can offer robust and regularly updated services
  • run student administration efficiently and invest sustainably in constant improvements

See What will StARS deliver? for the programme roadmap.

Changes will happen gradually and with appropriate support in place to ensure that individuals are well prepared for any adjustments to their ways of working, and that “business as usual” is not negatively affected.

3. Why are these changes being made?

4. When will I start to see any changes?

StARS is being developed and delivered in a series of releases, meaning that different functions will be “switched on” and new processes adopted throughout the life of the programme. Unlike New Core, therefore, there will be no single “go-live” moment for staff and students. This approach means we will be able to test and embed each phase as it is introduced.

Staff will be involved in the development of new processes and systems that are relevant to them. They will be supported with training and guidance before and after every change that affects the way they work.

Some benefits will be noticeable and measurable as soon as changes or new functionality are introduced. Others will be felt over time as a series of service and system improvements are introduced and fully adopted.

5. What happens if the University doesn't make these changes?

If we don’t make this investment in refreshing our student administration services and the systems that underpin them, we will limit the University’s ability to function in the long term and to meet the changing needs of students, staff, and external stakeholders and regulators.

It will be hard to improve student and staff satisfaction with our student administration services if we do not look afresh (in some cases for the first time in years) at how we approach these not just as administrative tasks that need to be completed but as services that users (students and staff) experience. 

6. What difference will StARS make to Professional Services staff?

7. What difference will StARS make to academics?

8. What difference will StARS make to students?

9. What will moving Banner to “the cloud” mean?

Moving Banner to be hosted and managed by the supplier (Ellucian) in “the cloud” will be a more resilient long-term solution that will make it easier to meet users’ (students, staff, regulators) needs, keep us in line with the marketplace trend towards cloud hosting, and align us with the University’s Digital Strategy.

Being in the cloud will allow us to take advantage of new technologies quicker, in support of the University’s strategic objectives for student number growth (as systems in the cloud are far easier to scale up than on-premise infrastructure) and increasingly flexible education provision (staying up to date with developing technologies will make it easier for the University to innovate).

Moving Banner to the cloud will also push us with greater force towards simplifying our systems and processes as we go along that path, in line with one of StARS’s key aims.

However, moving Banner to the cloud is by no means StARS’s end goal. Rather, it is simply the best technological approach to help us achieve our vision to simplify, standardise and improve our student administration services

10. What changes will StARS make to BIRMS?

The student administration functions of BIRMS will cease to be in use from September 2023 when Banner moves to the cloud, and takes over with more modern and resilient functionality. 

11. How are staff being involved in the development of StARS?

From the beginning, colleagues right across the University have contributed valuable expertise to the StARS programme, supporting our initial mapping of some 300 business processes and helping us to identify current challenges and future improvements.

We are continuing to draw on the knowledge and ideas of staff across multiple business areas by involving them in the design and development of these process and service improvements. Each release within the StARS programme is based on requirements and input gathered from user representatives. These colleagues form “user groups” that help to shape the design/redesign of processes, working with business analysts and the supplier.

User group members are identified and nominated by the area of the University they come from. Some of these are line or team managers, others are “frontline” users without management responsibility. The key attributes StARS is looking for in these partners is their subject matter expertise and their ability and authority (or delegated authority) to speak on behalf of their area.

Similarly, academic staff are invited to participate in these groups, to ensure their voice is represented and their requirements taken into account.

Colleagues in IT Services are also involved throughout, and are instrumental in developing, testing and implementing all changes that involve any kind of system.

12. How are students being involved in the development of StARS?

StARS approaches students to give input on specific developments via focus groups and surveys. We sometimes reach out to students via the Colleges, and sometimes via the Guild of Students.

The Guild Education Officer sits on the StARS Steering Group, and the Guild is kept up to date via its regular meetings with the Director of Student Engagement, who also sits on our Steering Group.

Students will hear about service, process or system changes that will directly affect them via existing student communications channels, e.g. the MyUoB app, the regular student newsletter sent by the Communications and Engagement Team in Student Services, and through their College and School.

13. How will I be supported through the changes?

StARS will do all it can to ensure that when refreshed processes and new system functionality is introduced it is done so as smoothly as possible. Every effort will be made to ensure that change won’t happen until everything and everyone involved is ready.


You will hear about StARS and how it will affect your work or area from the programme team itself, who will send out focused communications about what to expect, as well as details of the support available to you. If you are College-based, this will include hearing from your College Projects Manager, who is your primary contact point for the programme.

User involvement

Subject matter experts from the relevant areas will be involved in the design, testing and approval of all changes to processes and systems, so nothing will “go live” without approval from representatives of the affected areas. These representatives are responsible for feeding in any concerns or support requirements their respective business areas may have along the way.


User training will be offered before all releases of new processes or system functionality. The training methods will be tailored to be appropriate to the nature of the change and the users’ requirements, but will include such things as classroom-based functional training, less in-depth familiarisation sessions, online user guides, videos, and peer or “expert user” support.

We have set up a StARS Canvas site where all training materials will be accessible.

If you want to find out more about how StARS will be supporting users through the planned changes, contact Mary Li, Business Change and Benefits Lead ( 

14. What will success look like?

All changes will have their anticipated benefits “baselined” (measured and agreed in advance) so the programme, users and the University have an agreed idea of what success will look like by way of comparison with what went before.

Given the long-term nature of many of the changes, it may take a long time for some benefits to be felt; but some should be evident much sooner.

15. Is the Dubai campus affected by StARS?

Yes. Student administration in Dubai is based on the Edgbaston model, so the same processes and services are in scope. There may, however, be some exceptions where there are Dubai- or United Arab Emirates-specific considerations or regulatory requirements to take into account. Where this is the case, suitable variations/adaptations will be developed to ensure changes work for staff and students there.

16. Who can I contact for more information?

Email us with any questions, suggestions or concerns at and one of the team will get back to you.

If you know that your query or comment relates to a particular project, feel free to contact the lead in that area (see names and addresses on each of the Projects pages). 

17. How do I get involved?

Colleges and Professional Services divisions are represented on each of the programme’s Project Boards, and those projects approach staff to contribute to user groups for particular “releases”.

But if you would like to approach us to get involved in any particular project or release, please contact the project lead or business change officer for that project.



Professional Services