The University Record, April 10, 2000

New student administration system offers online registration

By Linda Hancock Green
M-Pathways Project

The redesign of the Wolverine Access Web site is the result of a collaborative effort on the part of staff from across the University, U-M graduate and undergraduate students, and local high school students. ‘Students were involved in all aspects of the redesign,’ says David Sweetman, a third-year business student. ‘We made specific recommendations about menu names and panel labels, and made suggestions about how we wanted to view class schedules.’ John Gohsman, director of the Student Administration Core Process Unit notes that, ‘Students will be able to do everything in the new Wolverine Access that they can do today, but they’ll get more complete information out of the new system.’
Students may have their last opportunity to talk with the automated “CRISP lady” when they register for fall term 2000. Plans are under way to introduce a new Web-based registration system that will replace the current phone-based registration. Incoming students who enroll during summer orientation are slated to be the first to use the new online registration system. Returning students will use the new registration system for the first time to drop/add classes during the summer.

Online registration is part of the newly enhanced Wolverine Access system. The Web site, managed by the Office of the Registrar, will have a new look, improved functionality and a new location at http://wolverineaccess.umich.edu. The redesign is the result of a collaborative effort on the part of staff from across the University, U-M graduate and undergraduate students, and local high school students.

“Students were involved in all aspects of the redesign,” says David Sweetman, a third-year business student. “We made specific recommendations about menu names and panel labels, and made suggestions about how we wanted to view class schedules.”

Students can currently view their own records (grades, class schedule and financial information), search for class availability, change their address and phone number, and order transcripts on the Web site. “Students will be able to do everything in the new Wolverine Access that they can do today, but they’ll get more complete information out of the new system,” says John Gohsman, director of the Student Administration Core Process Unit. “Information will be based on more integrated data from the underlying systems.”

The enhanced Wolverine Access system is one visible result in the process to make the student administration segment of the Strategic Data Plan (SDP) a reality. The SDP, completed in May 1995, called for a number of initiatives aimed at improving the quality of U-M’s administrative systems. The M-Pathways Project has worked with the Office of the Registrar, the Office of Financial Aid, and Student Financial Operations to redesign central office processes. Departments in all schools and colleges that manage the administration of student records also have been actively involved in the Project.

“Our goal is to simplify how an individual conducts business with the University. Using the new M-Pathways system, we’re confident that we’re going to reach that goal. However, in the short term, staff have a unique challenge facing them,” says Thomas McElvain, University registrar. “Staff in the central offices, as well as those in the schools and colleges, may struggle this summer to continue to provide the same level of service to students while the systems are in transition.”

Supporting online registration is M-Pathways technology that will enable staff in the schools and colleges to set up and schedule classes, set class enrollment limits, and establish enrollment restrictions. The new system will produce reports for curriculum administrators and verify data. The Office of the Registrar will continue to be responsible for the ongoing maintenance of course information. Schools and colleges will have new capability for maintaining certain parts of the student record, and they will be able to view individual student data online and generate reports.

Financial data that supports student accounts will be converted into the M-Pathways system this spring. With the new system, both students and staff will benefit from improvements in the quality of the information they have at their fingertips. “In the current system, students see financial information in one way, and staff see it in another,” says Jim Middlemas, assistant manager of Student Financial Operations and Cashier. “This makes it difficult for both sides when there is a question on an account.”

The new system will present information to both students and staff in a more logical way, with better descriptions and explanations. These improvements should reduce confusion and eventually lead to fewer questions. Some financial aid information will be converted to the new system this spring, but students will continue to view their financial aid data in the old Wolverine Access system, which will be linked to the new Wolverine Access for convenience.

The Office of the Registrar will be communicating with returning students over the summer to tell them about the new online registration process. Information will be available at www.umich.edu/~regoff beginning May 15. Faculty and staff can view a presentation about online registration on Wolverine Access at www.mpathways.umich.edu/.