Student ID Action Project

Institution: Northern Michigan University
Submitted: 2003-05-26

A. Give this Action Project a short title in 10 words or fewer:

Create a student identification system and interactive services Web site

B. Describe this Action Project's goal in 100 words or fewer:

This action project will replace the current student identification system—using Social Security numbers—with a more anonymous, individual ID number.  In addition, we plan to establish a web site that provides extensive information on programs and procedures, with an interactive areas where students can carry out routine transactions, the sort that currently require an office visit or some type of paper exchange.

C. Identify the single AQIP Category which the Action Project will most affect or impact:

Primary Category: Supporting Institutional Operations

D. Describe briefly your institution's reasons for taking on this Action Project now -- why the project and its goals are high among your current priorities:

This action project, first submitted as a “Provocative Proposition” by multiple groups at Campus Conversation Day, has received considerable support in follow-up conversations, especially from student groups.  An additional stimulus for this project is the federal law (FERPA) prohibiting the use of  even the last four digits of a SS# for identification. This change will enable us to avoid the problems of identification theft which have been experienced by other universities.

E. List the organizational areas - -institutional departments, programs, divisions, or units -- most affected by or involved in this Action Project:

All areas involved with student identification will be affected when the system is changed.  Also, the project will ultimately reduce the number of student office visits for services.  Employees providing student services will benefit because more business can be conducted privately and routinely online.

F. Name and describe briefly the key organizational process(es) that you expect this Action Project to change or improve:

Critical processes include advising, registration, scheduling, financial aid, admissions, student services, and any areas involving student identification.  Since the student identification number will replace SS numbers, all student records will reflect the new numbering system.  Because NMU is already a mobile university, the student web site will not significantly affect many critical processes; it is the students who will benefit from it.

G. Explain the rationale for the length of time planned for this Action Project (from kickoff to target completion):

Strong support for this project from student groups will help keep it on the front burner.  Because NMU is a mobile device institution, creating a student services web site means that students can take even greater advantage of the mobile devices they are leasing to conduct university business.  This project can be completed relatively quickly with a new numbering system in place for incoming students in summer 2004; a year of monitoring and collecting responses will let the numbering process and the Web site be improved during the second year.

H. Describe how you plan to monitor how successfully your efforts on this Action Project are progressing:

Surveys will be made after the system is in place to secure feedback for improvements. It will probably take about a year once the system is in place to secure feedback and tweak the process to make it as effective as possible. We will track whether most of the students are satisfied with this method of ID security and privacy and whether most of the students are satisfied with the services and information provided at the Web site.  “Satisfaction” bench marks will be established by the action project steering committee.

I. Describe the overall "outcome" measures or indicators that will tell you whether this Action Project has been a success or failure in achieving its goals:

Assigning an anonymous individual ID number means greater student privacy, protection against identity theft and a simplification of the many routine processes students currently face.  The project will also eliminate the need to have as many staff available for routine business transactions. We will also track whether most students are satisfied with the privacy and security of the numbering system and with the information and services at the web site.

J. Other information (e.g., publicity, sponsor or champion, etc.): 

Form Student ID System Committee, identify charge, determine details of the problem, determine outcomes, research potential solutions others have found, and review Northern's climate for this change. Decide on a draft plan and completion date, identify draft steps and timelines, evaluate resources necessary, and publicize the plan/solicit input.  Modify draft plans, steps, and dates from input, distribute and publicize the plan, and implement the plan. Collect data on satisfaction with the system and Web site, review plan's success according to criteria, make appropriate changes, and communicate the plan's completion to AQIP.