It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness...

Mosaic Update for Managers

February 2015

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.

Charles Dickens should have been an IT consultant. His timeless opening to a Tale of Two Cities describes the feeling many McMaster staff and managers have about Mosaic. When it works well, it is great; when it's slow or you're confused about a process, it generates incredulity.

This issue of the McMaster Update for Managers contains insights on both the teething problems in Mosaic and the hopeful signs.
In this issue:


First off, the project wants to acknowledge that Mosaic has, at times, been slow this past month, leading to several comments substituting Mosaic into the popular aphorism about molasses in January. The underlying issues are complex but we want to assure you that improving performance is a top priority for the project. As of January 30, the project has resolved two issues which caused slowdowns and crashes in Hyperion. In addition, several improvements were made on February 6 to the Recruitment approval workflow which significantly improved the speed at which job openings load (particularly openings which are research-funded and pending one or more approvals). The team hopes to make similar progress on the other performance issues that are slowing portions of Mosaic, including Hyperion and Recruitment workflow.

Student Administration: the next launch

This March McMaster will close its current student administration systems: MUGSI, SOLAR, and the other mainframe applications that have for decades helped manage students at McMaster. The new system includes student registration, student accounts, transcripts, online grade entry and many other functions. There will be a new Student Center to replace SOLAR and MUGSI, a new Faculty Center for instructors to enter grades, and many new tools for staff to administer student functions.


Simply stated this is the biggest and most complex piece of Mosaic. The project has released a memo with a detailed set of transition deadlines. Please review it to find impacts for your unit. Critically, please note: ALL of Mosaic will be unavailable from 6 p.m. Friday, March 13 to 9 a.m. Tuesday, March 17.


A comprehensive training program for staff is underway. Staff who perform student administration functions should have received invitations to participate. Based on our experience with previous launches, staff who take training have significantly less difficulty using a new system. Please ensure you and your staff participate in training. To add staff to training, please contact

Key Dates

  • March 11 ​​
    • Last day until ​ March 23 for ​ students to request ​ an academic ​ transcript​
  • March 13, 6 p.m. ​
    • Mosaic Finance, HR ​ and Student ​ functions close as ​ do mainframe-based ​ student ​ administration ​ systems
  • March 14, 12:01 a.m. ​
    • SOLAR closes and ​ MUGSI has reduced ​ functionality​
  • March 17, 9 a.m. ​
    • Mosaic Finance and ​ HR system re-open​
  • March 19 ​
    • Mosaic student ​ functions open for ​ staff and faculty ​ members
  • March 23 ​
    • Mosaic Student ​ Center opens for ​ students ​

Does your area have a website?

Nearly every website at McMaster includes a link to MUGSI in the top right corner and the quick links list. With the retirement of MUGSI on March 14, these links will need to be renamed "Mosaic" and pointed to Speak to your local IT support for assistance. Links to MUGSI will be automatically redirected.

Absentee Recording

Beginning January 1, functionality was enabled to record short-term absences for TMG and Unifor Unit 1 staff in Mosaic using the time entry tools. Many departments are transitioning from their current time tracking methods to utilize this new functionality, with most currently using a central time administrator within the department to input absences for employees in their area. The ability for employees to enter time directly will be gradually introduced to the community during the coming months (a select group of departments already have this functionality). Refer to Mosaic's January message for more details.

Employee Recruiting

Mosaic's employee recruitment system which launched in December is working but it had been hampered by the performance issues mentioned earlier. In a nutshell, components of the recruitment system which use workflow were responding so slowly that users thought the system was not working. As noted above, the Mosaic team has been working to correct this frustrating issue and has recently implemented significant fixes to research-funded approval workflows, with more improvements coming within the next week to other types of approval routing.

Helpful Tip: To improve workflow routing efficiency always remember to add the primary Hiring Manager and the appropriate Recruiter to the Recruitment Team when creating a job opening, as this will prevent approvals from being routed in error to the workflow administrator.

The good news is that approved jobs are posting properly and candidates applying. There is a known issue which is currently preventing the mass download of candidates' resume files, which the Mosaic team is actively working to troubleshoot. In the meantime, resume file attachments can still be downloaded one at a time, until the more efficient mass download functionality is restored.

Recruiting for Work Study positions

Employers have now started to create job openings on Mosaic, instead of Oscar Plus, to request work program positions for their department. A drop-in training lab is scheduled for Wednesday, February 18 from 1 p.m. - 4 p.m. in T13-111 to assist employers with the new process. Attendees should already have completed the employee recruiting course and confirmed they have access to the recruiting tools in Mosaic. Users who want to submit a job but who don't have a recruiting role in Mosaic can request a recruiting role via IPACS. The deadline to request a position(s) has been extended to February 27, 2015.

Health and Safety training online via Mosaic

Employees can now register for health and safety training (both online and classroom courses) through Mosaic. Once registered, after 24 hours they will be able to take the online course in Avenue to Learn (McMaster's learning management system). Their online course quiz will be marked automatically and successful completions returned to Mosaic the following day. Going forward, managers can view their employees' health and safety training records in Mosaic (both for online and classroom courses). As an indication of the priority McMaster places on health and safety, a link to these tools is available on the Mosaic landing page. Maintaining a safe workplace is a priority for everyone and we're excited about the convenience Mosaic will bring to managing health and safety training.

Introducing Two New Payroll Reports

This past week, department (and financial) managers and administrators were given access to two new payroll reports: the Department Payroll Register and the Cost Centre Register. Both give a detailed view of pay period registers per employee, include both labour and fringe costs, and return results only for the department(s) each user has access to.

For those managers with system access to view data from more than one department, there is an option on each report to run it for a select list of departments, or for all available departments at once, depending on preference.

The Department Payroll Register pulls a full list of employees from the position listed on the employee's paycheque, and displays all earnings and corporate costs linked to the associated department on each position which the administrator has access to regardless of the department indicated in the GL combo code. Prior to Pay to GL being run, this register will show all earnings, and hours reported, but will show only those combo codes which are present on the paylines, and not be reflective of any funding splits which will occur when the Pay to GL has been run. Once Pay to GL has been run, the hours information will disappear from the report, and the output will change to include all GL funding information, including automated overrides, split-funding scenarios, and finalized labour and benefits distribution.

The Cost Centre Register, which is only available after the Pay to GL process has been completed for each pay run, pulls a list of employees from the department portion of the combo code, and shows the administrator all charges which are (or have been) directed to their GL department, regardless of which department is linked to each employee's position. The results will always be reflective of final labour and benefits distribution.

In both cases, the registers can be run for any payroll processed in PeopleSoft, and can be re-run when required.

Six tips for helping staff members through change

  • Make change small. Break large, daunting changes down into smaller, more manageable pieces.
  • Complaining is a disguised cry for help. Don't tune people out, rather be patient and understand what assistance your staff are seeking.
  • Recognize different learning needs. When people return from training, be prepared ot provide on-site coaching through those first early transactions.
  • Communication involves dialogue. Share critical information, but, more importantly, be prepared to listen with patience, empathy and caring.
  • We often see the flaws first. No change occurs without unfamiliarity and discomfort. Growing pains are guaranteed, but things will get better. Be optimistic and positive.
  • Celebrate the wins - all wins! Positively reinforce the actions and results that you wish to see repeated.


The "Support" tab on the Mosaic Portal is the first place to go for support information and can direct you to additional resources.

Project website:
General email: