ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., Feb. 11, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Five New Mexico public colleges have announced a groundbreaking partnership that will fundamentally change the higher education student experience, as well as business operations and other campus functions. Clovis Community College, Central New Mexico Community College, Northern New Mexico College, San Juan College, and Santa Fe Community College have joined forces to develop a single, shared enterprise technology system to manage student, financial, human resources, and various other campus services and records.
This transformative effort, the first of its kind in the nation, is supported by the New Mexico Independent Community Colleges and the New Mexico Higher Education Department. It will provide much greater synchronicity and efficiency among the colleges, with the primary focus being to create much easier and more convenient ways for students to interact with one or all of the colleges.
"Bringing together five diverse colleges from five unique communities to reimagine and implement a life-changing college experience for our students is the most important action we can undertake to improve the education and quality of life for New Mexicans," said Becky Rowley, Ph.D., president of Santa Fe Community College. "With a student-focused perspective, together we will transform what higher education can offer so that all students may reach their potential more quickly, more fully, more affordably and with personalized cross-college support."
Prior to the pandemic, and without a directive from any oversight entity, these five colleges joined forces to find a solution to common, yet very significant, technology challenges faced by colleges across the country. Working closely together, they identified a solution: The Collaborative Higher Education Shared Services system. There are many benefits to sharing an integrated system across colleges, most important of which is to better serve students.
Once actualized, CHESS will eliminate the need for multiple applications for student admission and registration; reduce duplication of student and employee records; streamline the student transfer process; provide academic programming and staff reinforcements when needed across colleges; increase interaction with prospective and current students, community members and business partners; and more. All five colleges will share one system while protecting personal information and managing data in a secure environment. To further advance the project and provide guidance, the group is in the process of forming a nonprofit.
"This landmark effort is going to make so many processes outside of the classroom much simpler for students by reducing the barriers and time that's typically required to enter college, stay in college, and transfer between colleges," said CNM President Tracy Hartzler. "This will help more students successfully enroll and progress to graduation and jobs. The new shared technology will also allow our colleges to be more efficient, more effective, and more collaborative than ever before. Our colleges will be able to share expertise to a much greater extent since we'll all be using the same systems and processes. It's going to be a game-changer for how colleges collaborate to improve the effectiveness of higher education across the state."
Through CHESS, participating colleges will share decision-making, data and processes, resulting in more efficient and cost-effective operations. Users will also find the new platform more agile and more intuitive, including on mobile devices.
Multiple teams from participating colleges with expertise in specific areas have been collaborating for many months to develop a comprehensive Request for Proposals. The five-college collaborative is soliciting proposals from qualified vendors and system implementors to provide a comprehensive, state-of-the-art Enterprise Resource Planning solution and configure and implement this product as a single, shared ERP, with a single, shared data repository for all the participating institutions. The new system will allow for sharing of staff and skillsets across the institutions and contain technology costs by leveraging economies of scale and reducing the need for many third-party systems.