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Monday, June 30, 2014

ESUP Student team meets in-person to collaborate, share progress

More than 120 people involved with the Student systems upgrade met in-person June 16-17 to work together face-to-face. The group met on the Twin Cities campus and included representatives from all campuses and all areas of the Student project: academic advisement, admissions, campus community, financial aid, SEVIS, student finance, and student records. 

The two-day meeting kicked off with a visit from President Kaler who discussed his vision of operational excellence as it relates to ESUP. Following his presentation, attendees learned more about work stream intersections from ESUP leaders before seeing some of the student experience in the upgraded system and having time to work as module teams.

From top and left to right: All Student group from all campuses,
President Kaler, and All Student breakout session

The second day of the meeting began with Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education Bob McMaster addressing the importance of supporting and improving the student experience. Before having more time to work together as module teams, the group participated in a workshop on how to address difficult changes with stakeholders. The team was encouraged to follow the L.E.A.D. approach:
  • Listen using active listening skills
  • Empathize
  • Answer the person’s questions
  • Direct to other sources of information
Associate Vice Provost and University Registrar Sue Van Voorhis said bringing the Student work stream together was a good way to reconnect and collaborate with colleagues. “It was great to have representatives from all campuses meet in-person after a long period of virtual meetings and conference calls.” 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

ESUP at the Board of Regents

“We went into this [the upgrade] with our eyes wide open,” Vice President and Chief Information Officer Scott Studham explained at the June 12 meeting of the Board of Regents Finance committee.

VP Studham and ESUP Executive Program Director Dennis Wenzel presented an annual ESUP update at the committee’s June meeting, comparing the Program to a hockey game. During the first period, teams were actively engaged in discussions identifying processes they no longer needed. The second period--where the Program currently sits--is the building stage, where programmers are busy developing and ESUP delivers the system. The third period is reserved for post go-live, when the Program will deal with changes and issues.

“People tend to celebrate the go-live, but that’s only the end of the second period,” Studham cautioned. 

The Finance committee, which includes Executive Oversight Committee member Vice President and CFO/Treasurer Richard Pfutzenreuter, were encouraged by the Program’s status and appreciated the progress made to date. Committee members asked a number of questions, including day one reporting expectations, the status of Identity Management, tertiary system engagement, and lessons learned from previous upgrade projects.

The presentation slides can be viewed here. To download a PDF of ESUP’s official status report, click here.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

OIT shifting resources to ESUP

(Edited 6/25 to correct/add list of names)

ESUP received some welcomed news from their partners in the Office of Information Technology (OIT). Additional resources are on their way to help the program. 

ESUP OIT team member Jim Nolan says the shift is necessary. “We have more complexity at this stage of our plan with the creation of many new environments...as things wind down on the production side and ramp up on the ESUP side, there will be a natural progression of staff to ESUP to perform this work and gradually transition to support the new systems.”

The following OIT staff joining the program include:

  • Reporting - Alex Dean, Derek Widner, Fadwa Wazwaz, Lakshmi Meka, Suzanne Raph, and Joe Sullivan
  • Provisioning - Cathy Erickson, Carol Singleton, and Michele Berner
  • Infrastructure - Marianna Dobkina, Kim Laabs, Thomas Callaghan, Alec Abasov, and Dan Stout
  • Application Development - John Colosey, Jake Gage, and Chris Crosby-Schmidt
  • Testing - Todd Nielsen
  • Enhanced User Support - Sarah Patterson
  • Infrastructure - Clark Johnson
  • Portal - Jordan Slominski
ESUP’s Executive Program Director Dennis Wenzel appreciated the extra hands. “Our ongoing partnership with OIT and the other University work streams is critical to ESUP’s success. We are pleased to welcome this talented group of UMN staff to our team.”

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Course Guide Retirement

The Course Guide, an online publication designed to give students information for making informed registration decisions, will be retired as part of the Upgrade. In addition to resources such as course descriptions in the University catalog, after the Upgrade is complete, faculty, instructors, and their proxies will be able to include a URL in the Class Notes. Students will see this information in the Class Search results. The URL can link to a departmental website, a course website, or other public location where students can access information about the course.

View of the page where the course/class URL can be entered by faculty and instructors
Entry of the URL for more course information.

During the term, faculty, instructors and their proxies can update the link in the Faculty Center (accessed in the new MyU). Departmental class schedulers can update the link at any time in the Collaborative Class Scheduling page. It is important to note that the information currently in Course Guide will not automatically be transferred to Class Notes.

View of class search results with emphasis on where the class link will appear.
What students will see in a class search.
In addition to the link, the course description from the University catalog will also display. 

Course Guide will remain available to students until the Upgrade is complete.

If you have questions regarding the retirement of Course Guide or the new Faculty Center, email upgrade@umn.edu.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

On the Road Again...

Santiago Fernandez-Gimenez between
Nolte and Williamson Halls going to another
University unit to share ESUP information
In the past year ESUP staff, mostly Santiago Fernandez-Gimenez, Change Management director, has logged many miles visiting over 100 unit, governance, and professional network meetings including the:
  • Senate Committee on Finance and Planning 
  • College of Science and Engineering
  • Carlson School of Management
  • All five system campuses
  • College of Biological Sciences
The visits offer the opportunity for face-to face communication between ESUP staff and stakeholder communities across the University’s five-campus system.

These crucial conversations have transformed over time, starting with executive and leadership meetings focusing on the why and how of ESUP. (Watch the first three “About ESUP” videos for this high-level context.) As the program moved past the analysis phase and into its current development phase, these conversations are starting to address specific changes coming with ESUP. 

Many blog posts in the Upgrade newsletter are based on questions faculty and staff asked during these face-to-face meetings. Listening and responding to stakeholder concerns is at the core of ESUP’s change management strategy. 

ESUP is interested in meeting with more faculty and staff prior to or during fall semester to hear concerns and share the latest information on faculty-facing changes. Please email the program at esup@umn.edu if your college or unit is interested in more information.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Will the New myU be Mobile-Friendly?

“Will the new myU portal work on my phone or tablet?” This is one of the most common questions asked of the portal team.  The answer is yes!  The new myU will have a responsive design.

What does “responsive” mean? Like other University of Minnesota websites, the layout of the new portal landing page will adapt to your phone or tablet to provide an easy reading and navigation experience. Let’s use the University’s OIT website as an example of a responsive site:

On the left is a desktop browser, in the middle a portrait tablet view, and on the right a smartphone view. As the screen gets smaller, the images and menus respond by collapsing and stacking to make a better, easier navigation experience for the user. This is responsive design, and will be how many pages in the new myU portal will function.

While the myU portal will be responsive, power users in PeopleSoft (such as EFS users) should continue to perform their work on a full-featured laptop or desktop computer.

Check back regularly to the new myU project website for updates on this and other developments related to the new myU launching with ESUP in Spring of 2015.

Questions about responsive or mobile? Email us at esup@umn.edu

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Navigating by Stars: HRMS kicks off advance team strategy

Visual notes from the HR Stars kickoff meeting, courtesy of Jen Mein.

The HRMS Upgrade Project took the next big step in its change management and communications plan last week by launching the HR Stars, an advance team strategy to provide local system support in all academic and administrative units system-wide.

 More than 90 Stars have been nominated to date, including at least one representative for every unit and campus, and the vast majority attended the kickoff meeting on May 21, either in person or online. They received additional information and context about the project and their new role, and offered their thoughts about what units will need for successful implementation of the new HRMS system and business processes. The thoughts ranged from the real and personal (what do we do when a co-worker is falling apart because they can’t figure out how to get their work done?) to the fanciful (a chip to implant all the right answers directly into people brains) -- but all with the goal of enabling Stars and their unit colleagues to hit the ground running with the new system.

“Every department has someone that people go to for answers,” said one Star following the meeting. “It makes good sense to invite those people into the upgrade effort earlier and get them trained so they can help others be effective more quickly after the upgrade. Meeting the people who fill this role at the kickoff was encouraging -- the group seemed excited and ready to learn. It bodes well for the overall success of the upgrade.”

Stars will receive advance training and early information from the HRMS project, but the expectation is for two-way communication -- the project team hopes to hear about challenges or concerns early so they can be addressed quickly and systematically, before they become major problems. In fact, even before the kickoff meeting, most of the Stars responded to a brief survey that provided a first look into the expertise of the group and the experience of the units to date. Out of 70 responses to our survey:

  • 66 Stars have hands-on HRMS experience (including 22 with HRMS and Finance, and 7 with HRMS, Finance, and Student).
  • 56% have already completed HRMS High-Level Functions and Processes Training. 
  • The biggest perceived area of strength is Position Management: 
    • On a scale of 1 to 5 (newbie to expert), our average is 3.24. 
    • 29 Stars rated themselves a 4 or a 5. 
  • The biggest challenge is Recruiting Solutions: 
    • On a scale of 1 to 5 (newbie to expert), our average is 2.16.
    • Only 4 Stars rated themselves a 4 or a 5.
These results, along with answers to open-ended survey questions, feedback from the kickoff meeting, and ongoing interactions via the HR Stars Google Group will be used to shape the agendas of future Stars meetings. The group will reconvene on June 25 and will meet regularly through early next spring. A listing of all Stars by unit will be made available soon.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Q & A: What is "SEVIS"?

When thinking about the Student work stream, many people can easily name admissions, financial aid, and student records. Less frequently named is a very important module for our international students and scholars: SEVIS. We asked the SEVIS team a few questions about what they do and how ESUP has affected their work. 

What is “SEVIS”? Does that stand for something?

Yes, SEVIS is the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. It is a system maintained by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to track and monitor schools; F and M students, and J-1 exchange visitor program participants (those here for education and cultural exchange) while they visit the United States and participate in the U.S. education system. To remain compliant with federal immigration regulations, the University electronically transfers information on F and J visa holders daily. All of this work is coordinated by the University’s, International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS).

There are a lot of international students and scholars. That seems like an important job. 

It is. ISSS serves the University’s 7,395 international students and scholars on the Twin Cities Campus. Not only do we report on all international students and scholars to the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State, we offer immigration advising which helps our students and scholars to navigate the complicated U.S. visa regulations. We provide both personal and academic counseling so that we may help our students to be academically successful. We have numerous programs that help to engage our student and scholar population with the rest of the University community. We also seek to encourage “Internationalization at Home” through outreach we provide in the form of presentations, trainings, and collaborative initiatives. We’re able to accomplish all of this with a relatively small amount of people by taking advantage of technology to automate several processes. Although ISSS primarily serves the Twin Cities international student and scholar population, we provide technical assistance and support for the entire University system.

That’s great! So does that mean PeopleSoft has this all taken care of?

Not exactly. Because SEVIS reporting is a federal requirement, PeopleSoft has some functionality, but it’s not a good fit “as-is” for an institution of our size. To use what PeopleSoft offers, we would need to increase our staffing levels. The modifications we made to our current system allow us to be more efficient. We’ll be using those same modifications in the upgraded system. 

What has been a big win for SEVIS because of ESUP?

Analyzing our processes and evaluating our options. By taking this time, we found a few modifications that we could eliminate because they didn’t fit our needs. We also explored using functionality available in the HRMS 9.2 system. The visa page within HRMS is a better option than the one offered in the Student system (CS, or “Campus Solutions”). We found a way to use that page and ensure the information would populate in both the HR and the Student databases. 

How will that affect students and users of the system?

People outside of ISSS should not notice any changes. 

Details about changes to the SEVIS module can be found on “What’s Changing?”