The University Record, May 6, 1997

M-Pathways get PeopleSoft software

By Gretchen Weir
M-Pathways

For most of us, the M-Pathways project is just beginning. Sometime in the next three years it will change the way you interact with the University. New software from PeopleSoft Inc., new computer systems and newly streamlined processes will make it easier to get the information you need. Yet a part of this project is already coming to a close.

The M-Pathways Student Administration Beta Team moved into the home stretch recently when it received the first copy of PeopleSoft's new student administration software. Michigan was selected to receive the first copy from among the seven schools that helped PeopleSoft develop this new product. The other beta schools (Cornell University, James Madison University, Southern Methodist University, Houston Community College, Northern Arizona University and California State University, Los Angeles) will receive their copies next week.

The team, a group of 14 representatives from across campus, has worked with PeopleSoft for the last 18 months to develop a new way to manage student information. Its goal has been to improve student services by providing an integrated information system to support recruiting and admissions, financial aid, student records, and degree progress.

Team members include: Laura Strozeski, School of Music; Stuart Churchill-Hoyer, formerly of Rackham, now full-time with M-Pathways; Patricia B. Jones, Kortney Briske, Caroline Pivirotto, all from the Registrar's Office; Robert Seltzer, Undergraduate Admissions; Elaine Nowak and Margaret Rodriguez of the Office of Financial Aid; Mary Bernier and Barbara White from the Medical School; Susan Eklund, Law School; Michael W Loviska, Information Technology Division; James Middlemas and Alexander Makarewich of Financial Operations; Robert Wilke and Philip Gorman from LS&A; and Robin A. Rennie, College of Engineering.

"I like working with students," says Eklund, Law School associate dean for student affairs, "especially when I can provide the services and information they need." A member of both the Student Administration Beta and Implementation teams, Eklund explains: "The new system will allow me to access all sorts of information from my own desktop, whether it was originally entered by me, my staff, staff in some other Law School office or by staff elsewhere in the University. Students do not and should not care whether the person who is helping them works in admissions, financial aid, career services or student affairs. They don't want to be sent from office to office. They just want the service they need."

John Gohsman, functional lead for the beta effort and the Student Administration Implementation Team, accepted the software on behalf of the University. "It is very exciting to be the first to get this new software.

Those of us who worked on the Strategic Data Plan knew there was no software capable of replacing our aging student systems and meeting the vision established by the University community for student systems and services. It didn't make sense to create a system from scratch, yet we wanted to make sure the University's unique needs were met. This new product, which we have helped shape, certainly brings us closer to our vision."

The next step, according to Gohsman, is to work with the offices across campus that serve students to decide how this software will be used here.

Although the PeopleSoft student administration software will not be available to the public until the end of the year, M-Pathways Implementation Team members will use this early release to prepare for the introduction of new recruiting procedures in April 1998. The admission systems will be replaced in October 1998, with the remaining student systems due to roll out in late 1999

 

Common questions easily answered


The new Student Administration System is designed to get the right information to the right people at the right time. Staff responsible for helping students will be able answer such common questions as:

 

Has an applicant been awarded financial aid?

 

Which course should a student take for a particular career path or to satisfy graduation requirements?

 

How can a student resolve an accounting entry that has resulted in a financial hold credit and is preventing the student from registering?

 

How does a reduction in course load affect the student's financial aid?

 

Were there conditions put upon a student's admission that influence what courses should be elected initially?