The University Record, September 10, 1996

Patterson resigns to lead M-Pathways project

Photo by Bob Kalmbach


By Gretchen Weir
M-Pathways Project 

Laura M. Patterson, University Registrar since 1993, has resigned her position to become Project Manager of the M-Pathways Project. "In many ways, I wasn't ready to leave the Office of the Registrar," Patterson says. "We hadn't finished all I wanted to do. It is only because of the importance of the M-Pathways Project that I could give up a position I enjoyed so much." Patterson assumed her new responsibilities as of Aug. 1.

Patterson's new position involves managing the massive change process outlined in the University's Strategic Data Plan (SDP). Adopted in March 1995, the SDP prescribed a method for determining which Universitywide business processes need to be improved and defined the kinds of information systems necessary to support those processes. M-Pathways is charged with implementing the SDP. To do this, the University has created a project structure that brings together representatives from across the University. As project manager, Patterson reports to both the Associate Provost and the associate vice president for finance, which reflects the University's commitment to an organizationwide approach.

"Laura Patterson has proven to be a visionary in the area of student academic services," said Susan Lipschutz, associate provost for academic affairs. "She is dedicated to improving academic processes for the benefit of students, faculty and academic units. I know that her vast technical knowledge, her experience as registrar and her network of connections in the academic units will serve her well in her new role."

As registrar, Patterson ushered in a number of new services such as touch-tone registration, Wolverine Access and on-line transcripts. Touch-tone registration allows students to register for classes by phone. Wolverine Access and on-line transcripts give students the ability to view their academic records from any computer, on or off campus. "In the Office of the Registrar," Patterson says, "I felt our service should be invisible. By offering efficient systems, we got out of the way of the real work of the University." M-Pathways has the same goal, according to Patterson. "The purpose of this project is to create a new way of doing business that helps rather than hinders the work of students and faculty."

Thomas McElvain, associate University registrar, is succeeding Patterson as University registrar. He joined the U-M in 1982, first as assistant registrar, managing the CRISP system. He was appointed associate registrar in 1994, assuming responsibility for the operations of the Office of the Registrar. In that role, he designed the touch-tone registration system, Wolverine Access and other projects.