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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

New Go Live Date Announced

January 30, 2017 has been set as the new ctcLink Go Live date for Wave 1 colleges (including LCC).

The Financial Aid module, which is part of Campus Solutions in the ctcLink system, will not Go Live at that time. Instead, it will be activated at the start of the next fiscal year. This will allow for a fresh start at the beginning of an award cycle, and help avoid some of the problems the FirstLink colleges (Spokane and Tacoma) experienced when they went live.

The Continuing Education portion of ctcLink is still under discussion at this time. LCC currently uses a system called Campus CE to manage Continuing Education functions. It is looking fairly likely that Campus CE will continue to be used after Go Live, but a final decision has not yet been made. Updates will be provided as more information becomes available.


The state ctcLink team is in the process of adding nine new people to their ranks. The extra staff will mean additional support for the Wave 1 colleges in preparation for Go Live in early 2017.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Benefits of ctcLink

By now you have probably heard that LCC is getting a new computer system, called ctcLink, likely in early 2017. You may have also heard about some implementation issues at Spokane and Tacoma, the state's first college districts to adopt the new system. You may be less aware, however, of the benefits the new system will bring. Here are a few.

Students, faculty and staff will have access to information from anywhere there is an Internet connection, at any time of day or night. There will be online tools for just about everything, and processes will be much more similar from college to college than they are now. This will be good for students who transfer between colleges, or attend more than one institution at a time. It will also lead to an overall increase in effectiveness and efficiency across the state.

Here are some additional benefits of the new system:

  • Common ID Numbers - Students will have a single, electronic record with one identification number, available to all 34 colleges in the Washington Community and Technical College System.
  • Admissions Application - Future students will have one admission application process regardless of where or when they decide to attend.
  • Student Monitoring Tools - Students will be able to monitor their "time to degree." Educational planners and faculty advisers will also be able to audit the process to assist students in achieving their educational goals.
  • Single Electronic Record - Faculty and staff will have a single electronic record with one identification number, even if they move between colleges or work at more than one institution at a time.
  • Purchasing and Payroll Process - Colleges will be able to consolidate purchasing and payroll processing.
  • Paperwork Reduction - Faculty and staff will be able to do most functions electronically, greatly reducing our reliance on paper forms.
  • Electronic approvals - managers and administrators will be able to electronically approve purchase requisitions, leave requests and much more without handling unnecessary paper.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

ctcLink Employee Training Update

Although our Go Live date has been postponed, employee training opportunities are still rolling out as planned this summer.

There is good news -- the delay means there will be about three extra months to convert and validate data, and get up to speed on the new system. How much training you'll need depends on your role at LCC.

Training Opportunities for All LCC Employees
If you work at the college, you will need to learn how to do some basic things in PeopleSoft, like report your time and manage your personal information. If you are the curious type and like to poke around online, the ctcLink Reference Center is a great resource for you. On this site, you will find instructions (with screenshots from the new system) on everything from activating your account to requesting an absence to reporting your time using a timesheet.

If you are the really curious type and want to learn about more than just the basic employee functions within PeopleSoft, there is a self-paced PeopleSoft Fundamentals course available to everyone. To enroll in the course, just use the same login information you would use to enroll in a college assigned Canvas course. For most employees, that's the @lcc email address (jdoe@lcc.ctc.edu, for example) and corresponding 900 (identification) number.

If you prefer face-to-face training, we will begin offering classroom-based sessions during in-service week (the week before fall quarter starts) in September 2016. Watch your email inbox for more information about face-to-face training opportunities, which will include faculty-specific sessions.

Training Opportunities for Individuals with Specific PeopleSoft Job Functions
People who are responsible for specific tasks, referred to as subject matter experts or SME's, have access to some additional tools beyond the general employee resources noted above. Just this week, many of our SMEs were invited into very specific Canvas courses designed to help them learn about how their roles will work in the new system.

There are also a number of individuals who have been identified as potential "Train the Trainers." Many of those employees will be traveling to Olympia in August and September for training from the ctcLink project staff. A portion of the Olympia-based training will be dedicated to helping employees at the Wave 1 colleges maximize the learning process for people they will be responsible for training.

For more information about ctcLink, please also visit our ctcLink webpages at http://lowercolumbia.edu/ctcLink/index.php.




Thursday, June 30, 2016

Account Activation in ctcLink

Some people are wondering how their accounts will be created within the PeopleSoft environment.

Our experience will be considerably different, and easier, than the FirstLink colleges. All faculty, staff and students who are in our system when our data is converted will have an EMPLID, and therefore an account, in the new system when we Go Live. This was not the case for Spokane and Tacoma.

In case you're wondering what an EMPLID is, it's the new acronym for identification number. Faculty, staff and students will all have EMPLIDs. These identification numbers will be unique to you within the community and technical college system in Washington, so if you are associated with more than one college you will use the same identification number everywhere you go.

Everyone that has an EMPLID will need to activate their account in PeopleSoft after Go Live. There will be training sessions as well as written instructions on how to do this. As a part of that process, everyone will need to create a password and provide answers to three security questions (similar to other online accounts you may have).

There will also be training and instructions provided for how to do general employee tasks such as checking your leave balance.

People who are not already at LCC when our data is converted will have a different process to follow for account creation.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Q & A about Wave 1 Go Live Delay

On June 15, 2016, LCC President Chris Bailey announced that the ctcLink Go Live date for Wave 1 colleges had been postponed. This means that LCC will not be going live with the new PeopleSoft system on October 31, 2016 as previously planned.

Here's what we know so far.

Q: Why was Go Live postponed?
A: The delay was largely due to to issues related to Finance at the FirstLink Colleges (Spokane and Tacoma) which delayed things for Wave 1 colleges. It became clear that the timeline for data conversion and testing was too compressed (given the demands of year-end close) to support a successful transition.

Q: What is the new Go Live date?
A: The state project team is looking to extend the timeline for Wave 1 colleges by about three months. A new Go Live date will be selected in consultation with the colleges, and will take business processes such as registration and financial aid deadlines into account. A new Go Live date is expected to be announced in July 2016.

Q: Is LCC the only college affected?
A: No, LCC is not the only college that is being delayed. This was a system, rather than a college, decision. All of the Wave 1 colleges (LCC. Clark, Grays Harbor, Peninsula, Green River and Columbia Basin) have been postponed. It's possible that Waves 2 and 3 will also be postponed, but it may be some time before we know for sure. Changes to the Wave 2 and 3 schedules will not impact LCC.

Q: How will this affect you?
A: Unless you are a subject matter expert working on data configuration, the change shouldn't have much impact on you. It might actually be a positive thing, because the state project team will have more time to develop training. In particular, the delay will allow more time for them to develop training around business processes (in addition to how to use the new technology).

Q: How will the delay affect training?
A: Postponing the Go Live date allows us to extend the training timeline by about two months, which means more training sessions will be provided. And, as noted in the question above, it allows the state project team more time to develop training resources for our use.

Q: Will the change impact leave requests?
A: Always check with your supervisor about leave requests. In terms of the project, training will likely not start for staff until late August or slightly later. We don't expect any training to occur on scheduled Friday closures over the summer (which was previously a possibility).

Q: Will the work that's been done so far by subject matter experts still be relevant, given the delay?
A: Most of the data configuration work that's been done so far will still be relevant. We believe that only data that is specific to Fall Quarter 2016 (which mostly occurs in the Campus Solutions pillar) will need to be configured again. More information will be provided to the subject matter experts as it becomes available.

Q: How will this affect work that is being completed by the subject matter experts?
A: Ongoing work in each of the pillars is being reviewed by the project team, and they will make any needed adjustments to the timeline. Generally speaking, Campus Solutions and Human Capital Management will have an expanded timeline for configuration, testing and training. Work in Finance will be delayed until after year-end close (approximately mid-July).




Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Check Out Draft Communication-Change Management Plan

If you are interested in learning more about how different aspects of communication and change management will be handled during the ctcLink transition, please check out the draft ctcLink Communication Plan posted on the LCC website.  the plan is accessible through our main ctcLink webpage; see "ctcLink Communication Plan" on the navigation list on the left.

The plan, which was reviewed by the Executive Leadership Team on June 8, provides an overview of the primary audiences for the project--students, faculty/staff, community and media--and primary channels of communication and training (if applicable) for each.

Because we want to use the communications plan to assist with change management as well, expected outcomes are also included. For example, it is expected that within two weeks of Go Live, students will be able to perform basic functions like accessing their EMPLID. Why two weeks? Because registration for winter quarter will be starting not long after Go Live, and we want to make sure students are prepared.

In the faculty/staff section, one of the expected outcomes is that faculty will be able to post grades within four weeks of Go Live. Why four weeks? Because that puts us just ahead of finals for fall quarter, and entering grades will be an important task faculty will need to accomplish in that time-frame.

We will continue to update and adjust the plan as needed throughout the project period.


Monday, June 6, 2016

ctcLink Project Employees Hired

The clock is ticking on our ctcLink conversion, and work continues at a brisk pace! 

Within the Campus Solutions pillar, three project-based Program Assistants have been hired to support departments with considerable workload issues related to ctcLink. The employees are Karen Boyle and Hannah Taylor (Registration), and Sarah Nichols (Financial Aid). Karen, Hannah and Sarah will perform tasks routinely covered by others who are immersed in data conversion and related issues. 

It is anticipated that at least one more project employee will be added within the next month or two to provide additional support for areas heavily impacted by the conversion.

In other ctcLink news, there are no additional CONFIRMED data configuration meetings on the calendar for the moment. The ctcLink project team out of Olympia is heavily occupied with ongoing Finance issues at the FirstLink colleges (Spokane and Tacoma) right now, and we are awaiting further instructions from them about additional meetings. 

The next data conversion (Cycle 3) is currently scheduled for June 22 (subject to change). As a Wave 1 college, we will go through a total of five data conversion cycles before we Go Live later this year. In contrast, the FirstLink colleges (Spokane and Tacoma) only went through two conversions. By the end of July, we should be fully converted and will have had multiple opportunities to correct any issues that arise along the way.