Jacob Hayward recognized for his far-reaching impact on University systems

Jacob Hayward received a 2020 U-M Staff Impact Award for developing several systems that have made life easier for staff and administrators across the University
Jacob Hayward Enlarge


On July 21st, President Schlissel awarded Hayward the President’s Staff Award of Distinction. This award is only given to  one staff member at the entire university and recognizes that Hayward’s impact goes far beyond EECS and CoE.

Jacob Hayward, EECS Applications Programmer Lead, has been honored with a 2020 University of Michigan Staff Impact Award, which recognizes individuals and teams that have made the workplace better for all.

Jacob joined the University of Michigan in 2009, and the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in 2015. He is a member of the Departmental Computing Organization, which serves several hundred faculty and staff as well as thousands of students. However, his impact reaches far beyond the department.

It was Jacob that created a system known as UGrab, which captures the student lifecycle from application to graduation. With UGrab, all information about a student – milestones, financials, research, academics, etc., is available in one location. UGrab accesses information from the U-M central data warehouse, while adding information relevant to the department, such as communications between the student’s advisor, the HR staff, the financial aid staff, the student services staff, department administration, and the students themselves. This ensures complete transparency so everyone is able to best support their students. The EECS Department was able to reduce staffing through this system, and each year more departments throughout the College of Engineering are adopting the system for their own needs.

Some say Jacob Hayward is a unicorn while others say he is a wizard. All I know is that he makes magic happen daily for the university.

Lisa Armstrong

Jacob also developed a web-based purchasing system that is widely used across campus. And though not yet shared due to its relative novelty, he created a faculty information center which incorporates all information about a faculty member’s time at the University, such as appointments, teaching history, students, etc. This system is sure to be another “hit” with other departments.

And that’s not all.

Addressing a hidden cadre of individuals within the department, Jacob developed a Visitor System to track individuals who are loosely affiliated with departments through a variety of means, though primarily through personal invitation by faculty. For example, the College of Engineering alone processed approximately 550 visiting scholars and researchers in the past 2 1/2 years.

Prior to Jacob’s system, these individuals were difficult to track, and it was a challenge for HR managers to understand these visitors’ roles at the University.

“The CoE Visiting Scholar program has now been recognized by the Executive Officers of the University of Michigan as a valuable and timely contribution and a potential model for other schools and colleges to consider,” said Capt. Rick Vanden Heuvel, Director of Research Development for the College of Engineering. “This program would not have been successful without the dedication to excellence demonstrated by Jacob.”

All of these systems developed by Jacob require significant work with other individuals whose job it is to recruit and advise students, handle purchasing and payments to individuals, and manage faculty as well as external visitors. He is extremely well regarded, and staff from a wide variety of positions and departments find him easy to work with and attentive to their individual problems.

“With his good humor and decorum, he can diffuse the most complicated situation, bring everyone to consensus and then quickly return a system solution that meets everyone’s needs,” said Department Manager Lisa Armstrong. “This is truly an art since every user has their own idea of how a system should work.”

“Some say Jacob Hayward is a unicorn while others say he is a wizard,” summarized Armstrong. “All I know is that he makes magic happen daily for the university.”