New CUNY Initiatives Supporting Academia

Brian Cohen, Vice Chancellor & Chief Information Officer

Computing and Information Services

CUNYfirst and You Benefit from Upcoming PeopleSoft 9.2 Upgrade


Oracle PeopleSoft is the enterprise software foundation upon which CUNYfirst was built. The upcoming upgrade from PeopleSoft 9.0 to PeopleSoft 9.2 provides a number of benefits to CUNYfirst users and to maintaining CUNYfirst.

CUNYfirst User Interface Improvements

  • A new “Fluid” user interface provides screens and tiles with a modern look and feel as well as the ability for screen content to re-orient itself to fit within the available display space
  • More mobile friendly
  • User customizable – add, drop or rearrange tiles to match your preferences 
  • System-wide, enhanced search capabilities (“Google-like”) makes it easier to find the searched data as permitted by the security profile of the user

Other CUNYfirst Improvements

  • Faster development and delivery of new CUNYfirst functions
  • Works with the newer versions of web browsers and computer operating systems
  • Improved system performance
  • Oracle support for PeopleSoft 9.2 through 2032 ensures that CUNYfirst receives security patches, bug fixes and software updates for years to come

The PeopleSoft 9.2 upgrade will take place in two phases. Phase 1 upgrades the CUNYfirst Human Capital Management (HCM or HR) and Financial systems to PeopleSoft 9.2 in December 2021. Phase 2 upgrades the CUNYfirst Campus Solutions (CS) system to PeopleSoft 9.2 Spring 2022.

For the latest information about the PeopleSoft 9.2 upgrade project, please visit the revamped CUNYfirst web page on the CUNY website.

See the CIS Training Technology Training Resources SharePoint site for user training specific to the user interface improvements for the Phase 1 launch in December, including CUNYfirst employee self-service and Human Resources and Finance functions.

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Mark Your Calendars for the CUNY IT Conference

The 20th Anniversary CUNY IT Conference will take place on Thursday, December 2 and Friday, December 3, 2021 and again be virtual. This year’s conference theme is: “Technologies for Teaching, Learning and Working at the Future CUNY – Utopias and Dystopias.” Panels will explore such issues as Artificial Intelligence, HyFlex solutions in the classroom, and the impact of our increasing reliance on the Internet for courses and services.

The first day’s Keynoter is Dr. Mary Aiken, a professor of Cyberpsychology and member of INTERPOL who focuses on cybercrime and human factors in cybersecurity. The second day’s Keynoter is Michael Miller with Gartner, who will provide an overview of utopia and dystopia in higher education.

Please visit the conference website for more information and to register.

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October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month


October is Cyber Security Awareness Month, a global effort to help you stay safe and protected when using technology whenever and however you connect. To raise awareness about cybersecurity, CUNY once again is participating in the National Cyber Security Awareness Month program run by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and the Cyber Security and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

This year 2021’s awareness theme is “Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart.” Each week in October, CUNY shares information and tips from leading Cyber Security organizations on protecting yourself online.

There are also many CUNY resources to keep you safe:

You may also find a growing security resources list on the CUNY Information Security site. Additionally, you can subscribe to OUCH! — the world’s leading, free security awareness newsletter designed for technology users.

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Blackboard SaaS Arrives Late December

Blackboard will be moving to the Blackboard SaaS cloud platform at the end of December (28th-30th). As always, these migrations take place during a period when there are no classes as Blackboard will be inaccessible during this time.


Migrating to the Blackboard SaaS platform is necessary as the company is moving all its clients to the cloud. It will have no pedagogical impact on CUNY faculty or students, but will ensure that Blackboard is available 99.99% of the time.

In the meantime, a CUNY Committee is preparing to launch a RFP for the next generation LMS platform. Responses are expected to be reviewed during the fall and spring.

In addition to the SaaS cloud platform, CUNY has licensed the accessibility tool Ally to make help make course content accessible to those with disabilities. You can read more about plans for Ally in our Spring 2021 issue.

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Check In with CISTraining for Your Tech Training Needs!

CISTraining will continue to offer technology training webinars on CUNY-provided cloud platforms such as Microsoft 365, Zoom, and Dropbox to all faculty and staff in Winter 2022. In the meantime, you may request custom training on these topics for your department. Additionally, in preparation for the launch of the new version of CUNYfirst based on PeopleSoft 9.2 this winter, CISTraining will be offering webinars on the overview and navigation of the improved user interface starting in November 2021.

You can view the upcoming webinar calendar, register for training, access hours of full webinar recordings from the past year, and view curated video playlists on a variety of technology training topics on the CISTraining SharePoint site. You will be required to enter your CUNY Login credentials to access this site.

CISTraining is now open to direct feedback regarding our offerings – if you have any thoughts, concerns, questions, or requests for us regarding our offerings, please take a moment to fill out our feedback survey.

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Get Your CUNY Access Pass

CUNY now uses the CUNY Access Pass, a mobile solution designed by Cleared4 that facilitates entry to CUNY colleges and the Central Office. The CUNY Access Pass is a useful alternative for those whose ID card is unable to let them into the building facilities automatically and can be used for all CUNY buildings and facilities. #

  The CUNY Access Pass is available to CUNY students and employees whose vaccinations have been verified or who have received negative COVID PCR test results in the last 7 days. Because Cleared4 provides an integrated solution for both the vaccinated and testing communities, the CUNY Access Pass replaced the Everbridge VaxPass (used by those with verified vaccinations) on October 1, 2021.

The CUNY Access Pass can also be used by many others who wish to enter a CUNY facility and have a verified vaccination or a negative COVID PCR test result within the last 7 days, including visitors, contractors and vendors; employees with auxiliary, affiliate, athletics, college association and college foundation employees; and continuing education faculty and students.

Further information, including guidance on getting the CUNY Access Pass, is available on the CUNY website and in CUNY IT Help.

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CUNY-wide Software Available for Your Use

Don’t forget that CUNY provides a wide variety of academic and administrative software to help faculty and staff in your work, in addition to what your college may offer. You can find out more about the following software and how to access it on CUNY IT Help or on the Software and Vendor Information site:

  • Adobe Creative Cloud and Document Cloud
  • ArcGIS geographic information system
  • CambridgeSoft chemistry and biology suite
  • Camtasia (video recording tool for faculty)
  • CUNY Assistive Technology Services –
  • IBM SPSS statistics software
  • Snagit (screen capture tool for faculty)
  • Respondus Online Proctoring tool
  • Dropbox for sharing files/collaboration
  • Maplesoft technical computing software
  • MathWorks mathematical computing software
  • McAfee endpoint security protection
  • Microsoft Office 365 online applications, including Teams and OneDrive
  • RefWorks online research management
  • Wolfram Mathematica for automation in computation
  • Zoom

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We welcome your comments and ideas for new initiatives at