The University Record, January 21, 1997

So just whose idea was this M-Pathways thing, anyway?

By Gretchen Weir


Whose idea was it to overhaul the University's administrative systems?

The executive officers launched M-Pathways in 1996 to carry out the University's Strategic Data Plan (SDP). The SDP, based on interviews, surveys and focus groups with more than 500 University faculty, students and staff, argues that to preserve our standing as a world-class institution we must:


Conduct our daily business in a way that makes interaction with the University easier for applicants, students, faculty, researchers and staff.


Share common information so that it is collected only once.


Use new technology (electronic data interchange, web interfaces, and remote data access) to speed the exchange of information.


Who is going to make these changes?

M-Pathways proposes to streamline the University's administrative processes by harnessing the knowledge of experts: those who carry out the University's business. The hundreds of representatives from colleges, schools and central offices who make up our project teams will be using demonstrations and focus groups to get as much input as possible from their colleagues who will be using the end product.


When will M-Pathways start making a difference for me?

A handful of people will be involved in pilot programs this year. For the vast majority, however, M-Pathways will not become a reality until 1998. Even then, only basic functions will be introduced. Additional improvements will come over time. Learn more about our implementation plans at this month's M-Pathways Interchange, Jan. 29, 1-2:30 p.m. in the Pond Room, Michigan Union. Laura Patterson, project manager, will speak.


If M-Pathways isn't going to affect me until 1998, why should I be thinking about it now?

We can't make the plans for 1998 without you. Now is the time you can influence how the new systems will work. Now is when you can suggest ways to introduce the system in your area so that it will take advantage of your work cycle.


How will M-Pathways change my job?

Some units will make fundamental changes in procedures. Some information that is currently captured on paper forms will be entered directly into the system. Other units will find the only change is that information is suddenly easily available via the WorldWide Web. Some people will need to learn PeopleSoft programs and have them installed on their desktop computers. Whether your use of M-Pathways will require a new desktop computer will depend on the kind of work you do. Currently PeopleSoft programs require a Windows 95 or Windows NT environment, but a Mac version is being developed for release late this year. It is too soon to be purchasing computers for 1998. Technology changes so quickly that you will want to delay hardware decisions as long as possible. For more details, see our web page: