The University Record, March 22, 1993

Ease of use, greater security benefits of centralized ID card system

By Rebecca A. Doyle

Before long, University faculty, staff, students and other affiliates may be able to access buildings, use libraries and computing sites, and even buy lunch using their University identification card.

The University has set a goal of developing a single identification card to be used by all faculty, staff and students on the three campuses, according to Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Farris W. Womack.

The Universal Identification Card System (UIC) would “provide one identification card and supporting information systems that will serve faculty, staff, students and others while allowing for a single contact point within the University to manage situations such as lost or stolen cards, termination of employment or graduation,” Womack says.

A central database would provide information about the individual’s status with the University, and contain information about the facilities, resources and information to which the cardholder has access.

“This database will save the costs of data extraction and downloading of information for faculty, staff and students that currently takes place redundantly across the University,” Womack notes. A comprehensive database would streamline the current processes and cut administrative costs, he adds.

A planning team has been meeting since last fall and recently added representatives from the Housing Division and the Dearborn campus. Preliminary design of the database and the card is slated for April, when it will be unveiled to those involved in distributing the cards and representatives from units that provide resources requiring the cards.

Final design of the database and cards should be complete by early summer, according to John L. Gohsman Jr., coordinator of administrative systems planning in the Office of the Controller.

“Our intent is to provide the capability to use this system. It will be up to each unit as to whether access control makes sense for them,” Gohsman says. “We’ve tried to approach this by thinking about the cardholders as customers. If we can provide a standard way of doing things, maybe we can streamline the way things work for those people.”

Under the UIC system, cards could be easily replaced if lost or stolen, and that information entered in the database, quickly invalidating the missing card. Security for cardholders would be increased, Gohsman says, and the cards could be replaced at a central location, “just like an ATM card.”

Students and staff at the Dearborn campus and staff at the Ann Arbor campus may be using the system by fall term. The project will be phased in at other levels.

Members of the design team, in addition to Gohsman, are:

Clifford O. Arnott, director, Hospitals Security and associate director, Department of Public Safety (DPS); Larry A. Durst, Residence Operations; Raymond J. Geitka, director of the computer program, U-M-Dearborn; Jon L. Turbett, senior systems analyst, Information Technology Division (ITD); Sandra M. West, computer systems specialist, DPS; and Robert F. Wilke, systems development coordinator, ITD.

Design team members currently are gathering information from departments who issue or use identification cards and expect to be finished by the end of the month. They invite comment from any individual or group involved in current identification systems. To comment or ask a question, contact West, 763-3434, or Wilke, 763-0107.