Discover how Lindenwood University embraced the power of Pathify alongside transitioning its Student Information System.

The Student Information System (SIS) manages nearly every aspect of academic life — from admissions and enrollment to financial aid, the bursar and registrar, faculty, staff and beyond. In short, it’s an institution’s back-end mission control. The thought of migrating Student Information Systems often sparks apprehension (even panic) — requiring years of time, effort and capital. For Lindenwood University, migrating to a new SIS aligned with its vision of providing a modern, unified campus experience for all students, faculty and staff. And amidst migrating to a new SIS, the university also implemented Pathify — providing a powerful “front end” mission control environment. Some might call it crazy, we call it revolutionary. 

Matt Hammond, Pathify’s Chief Revenue Officer, sat down with Karin May, Lindenwood University’s Director of IT, Enterprise Systems and Applications, to understand why the university chose to implement Pathify alongside the new SIS, how users interact with both systems and the importance of considering the front-end experience.

The Search for a SIS

Lindenwood University began considering a new Student Information System several years ago. Originally on CAMS, the university initiated a transition to Workday Student before realizing it didn’t fit their needs. In 2020, the university selected Anthology Student (Anthology’s SIS) after a rigorous RFP focused on scalable, cloud-based solutions.

May explained the nearly two-year-long SIS migration highlighted the critical importance of the user experience. “We didn’t have a unified portal for students, staff and faculty,” she recalled, describing the old “portal” as a webpage of links on the Lindenwood website. “As we evaluated Student Information Systems, we also evaluated a unified portal so all those links could be brought behind single sign-on.” This led the university to prioritize the front-end experience in addition to the back-end. “Ultimately we decided to implement a front-end portal before standing up the new SIS because we didn’t want to introduce a SIS student and faculty portal and then a unified portal on top of that,” May said. “We didn’t want to retrain users over and over on two different portal instances.”

Prioritizing the Portal

In 2022, Lindenwood launched myLU — their Pathify portal instance — to ease users into the new SIS. Although users don’t completely bypass the self-service SIS environment, access remains limited, with May and her team pulling relevant information into Pathify via widgets. She emphasized the importance of keeping resources like financial aid and class schedules front and center within Pathify, along with other resources such as events, calendars and alerts. “It can be confusing finding this information in Anthology,” May recognized. Hammond reiterated Pathify’s ability to simplify information access from the SIS. “You’re pulling out a magnifying glass onto the key things a student might need to see from their Student Information System,” he observed. He also pointed out this simplification helps students use SIS more effectively, suggesting enhanced usability leads to a better user experience and higher engagement. “At Pathify, we would contend that — if you are focused on and fix — the front-end experience first, it provides more flexibility as you work through any SIS changes,” Hammond added.

Driving Connection & Community

Putting the user portal first allowed Lindenwood to create deeper personalization across their entire campus using Pathify Roles. “Roles allow us to say ‘This is a faculty-employee,’ ‘This is a staff-employee,’ ‘This is an online student or on-ground student.’ And we surface content based on your role,” May said. As their university portal, Pathify pulls segmented and specific data both from the SIS — and outside it. Residential students may see information like email, billing, financial aid, meal plans, campus maps or housing applications, “while online students may see different resources” she noted. “Applying Roles to individual pieces of content makes it a really personalized experience for our user community.” Agreed Hammond, “The connected student is persistent.”

Lindenwood also integrates their Rave emergency alert system and campus-wide calendars into myLU, so “any user can find what’s happening on campus today,” stated May. Ultimately, “we’re driving everyone to the Pathify portal. Communicating to our community really drove its usage.” 

On Doing Differently

Lindenwood’s technology transitions didn’t come without some proverbial hiccups. “There was a lot of change for everyone,” May recollected, adding “One of the hardest things to get past is the notion of ‘we always used to do it this way, but we need to find new ways to do things.”

 When asked to reflect on her experience implementing both the portal and SIS, she paused. “Make sure you know your business processes,” she advised. “That way, you adapt the job to the technology that’s about to completely shift.” Hammond nodded in agreement, “Sometimes big changes like this are an opportunity to review some of those big goals and move the needle on them,” he said.

Lindenwood University’s experience offers a compelling blueprint for institutions considering SIS migration in addition to portal solutions. Prioritizing the front-end experience with the myLU portal alongside their transition to Anthology SIS allowed May and her team to align technology with a layer of simplicity and a better experience — ensuring all users remain informed, connected and engaged. 

Want to catch up on the full conversation? View the recording here.