A Major Cross-College Collaboration

This week, The Key with Inside Higher Ed podcast explores how CampusWorks is helping a five-college consortium in New Mexico known as CHESS (Collaborative for Higher Education Shared Services) create a common enterprise resource planning (ERP) structure to share resources and information, increase efficiency, and streamline the student experience.

CHESS is comprised of Central New Mexico Community College, Clovis Community College, Northern New Mexico College, San Juan College, and Santa Fe Community College. The consortium chose CampusWorks to provide guidance as they work to set up multi-institution HR and financial services modules, followed by a student service platform intended to handle numerous aspects of the student journey, from recruitment and registration to completion and career. In this interview, Inside Higher Ed Co-founder and Editor Doug Lederman interviews Becky Rowley, president of Santa Fe Community College, and Tracy Hartzler, president of Central New Mexico Community College about this cross-college collaboration.

Episode 69: A Major Cross-College Collaboration

Colleges tend to compete rather than collaborate. That’s why a new five-college cooperative in New Mexico is so unusual.

This week’s episode explores the Collaborative for Higher Education Shared Services, or CHESS. It’s made up, so far, of five independent community colleges in New Mexico that have teamed up because they think they’re stronger together than apart.

They’ve started by agreeing to create a common enterprise resource planning structure to share resources and information in areas such as accounting, student records, human resources and payroll, but the vision ultimately includes many of the features you might see in a formal college system, including smoother student mobility and more efficient and cost-effective campus operations.

In the conversation, the presidents of two of the colleges, Becky Rowley of Santa Fe Community College and Tracy Hartzler of Central New Mexico Community College, discuss the combination of trust, subjugation of institutional ego, and internal culture change required to bring about a massive cross-institutional collaboration like this. They acknowledge the help they’ve gotten from the external partners guiding their work, CampusWorks and Workday.