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Monday, October 3, 2016

Human Resources Office - October Closure Dates


Due to mandatory ctcLink training in Olympia, there will be no Human Resources staff at LCC on the following days:

·         Monday, October 17
·         Wednesday, October 19
·         Thursday, October 20

Due to the lack of staff, the office will essentially be “closed” on those dates.

Staff with urgent issues during the closure should contact either Payroll at extension 2220 or Nolan Wheeler at extension 2201.

Please make a note of the closure dates above and plan accordingly. Thank you!

Data Freeze Begins October 7

On September 30, we were notified that effective October 7 we will enter a “data freeze” until we Go Live with our new system in January. The “freeze” primarily refers to information that makes up something in PeopleSoft called the “course catalog.” This is not a reference to the LCC catalog, but rather to a complex set of databases that will house information about LCC courses, including course information and associated items like student fees and pre-requisites.

We received unofficial word of the freeze earlier in the week. In response, members of the LCC Executive Leadership Team signed a memorandum to help the campus community better understand this phase of the project. A copy of the memorandum is available here

While campus groups will be able to continue to meet and conduct business, the freeze will impact when certain types of changes can be implemented. It may seem inconvenient, but we are at a critical stage of this massive project—the first major system transition at LCC in over three decades. Exceptions to the freeze have to be reviewed by our functional leads and approved by the Executive Leadership Team before they can be made in the pre-Go Live environment.


Other Wave 1 colleges—including Clark and Peninsula—also implemented similar data change moratoriums this week.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Thank You ctcLink Ninjas and Other ctcLink News

In case you missed the announcement in July, LCC will not be transitioning to ctcLink (PeopleSoft) in October. We are currently scheduled to Go Live on January 30, 2017. Exceptions include the Financial Aid pillar (2016-17 data will not be converted to the new system, but 2017-18 data will be entered there) and Continuing Education. Continuing Ed may continue to use their existing third party system to handle enrollments, but a final decision has not yet been made,

There are a few things happening right now that have the potential to affect our Go Live date. First, there is a third-party assessment underway that's looking at project readiness. The evaluation is being conducted by the Gartner Group and is due by October. Second, there have been some formal concerns expressed to the Washington State Attorney General by the Spokane Community College District about the effectiveness of the ctcLink product (the Spokane District went live in August 2015). 


Right now we don't know what impact either of these things will have, if any, so we will forge ahead with project preparation as planned.

Speaking of project preparation, there are 31 individuals on campus who have been working diligently to prepare us for the upcoming transition. They have been leading our configuration and conversion activities, participating in meetings and training activities, and many will be leading testing and training activities at LCC as well when the time comes.

The word "ninjas" was chosen to describe them because ninjas are both stealthy and highly capable. The following "ninjas" were recognized at our All Staff meeting on September 9th:
  1. Human Capital Management (HCM): Shani Dennick, Kat Everman, Desiree Gamble, Sam Orth, and Kendra Sprague.
  2. Finance (FIN): Mary Beth Beck, Sherry Gohn, Rita Lawless, Molly Moncrief, Claudia Slabu and Kelley West.
  3. Campus Solutions (CS):Justin Ford, Marisa Geier, Kelly Hall, Wendy Hall, Mary Harris, Betty Hayes, Brian Isbell, Yun LaPray, Kara McElroy, Micah McKee, Chad Meadors, Fran Nelson, Karla Rivers, Angie Rogers, Carmilla Rollins, Angel Ruvalcaba, Leah Sanchez, Nichole Seroshek and Julie Smith.
  4. ctcLink Project Manager (aka "Super Ninja"): Eli Hayes.
Many thanks to our ctcLink Ninjas!

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.


Announcing ctcLink Reference Center

The ctcLink Reference Center is a handy, quick-reference tool you will want to be familiar with. There is something for everyone on this site!

The site contains instructions, for example, about how to use ctcLink's Self Service functions. From the main ctcLink Reference Center page, scroll down to see the Self Service options. Under "Employee Self Service," for example, you can manage your personal information and voluntary deductions, and request an absence or overtime (among other things).

Under "Faculty Self Service" you will find faculty-specific information including how to manage your advisees, look up your schedule, enter grades, use early alert, etc. Be sure to check out the "Faculty Center Video" for a quick but thorough overview of what you will be able to do in PeopleSoft.

There is also information about how to perform specific functions such as looking up student email addresses. In PeopleSoft, student information lives in Campus Solutions, or CS for short. To find out how to locate student biographical information, select "CS Fundamentals" from the main ctcLink Reference Center page. From there, select "Campus Solutions - Basic Navigation." You will find step-by-step instructions on how to access student email addresses along with other information such as phone numbers, addresses, etc.

If you are a content expert responsible for inputting data into PeopleSoft, you will also find specific instructions on this site.

Be sure to bookmark the ctcLink Reference Center page for future use. You can also find the link on our ctcLink page, located at lowercolumbia.edu/ctcLink under "ctcLink Reference Center."

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Enroll in New PeopleSoft Fundamentals Course



Are you curious about ctcLink? Perhaps a bit nervous about what to expect? If you answered yes to either question, then we have an opportunity for you!

The ctcLink training team has published a new training course on PeopleSoft Fundamentals intended to help people become familiar with the ctcLink project, and more generally with PeopleSoft software.

In the course, you will get an introduction to the project, learn about the different pillars and modules inside PeopleSoft, get to know the terms and concepts used, and learn about navigation, favorites and main menu functions. You will also learn how to activate your ctcLink account. Please note that it is not yet time for us to activate accounts at LCC!

The course is available to all interested employees, but is geared toward staff who will be working within the three ctcLink pillars (Campus Solutions, Finance, Human Capital Management). The course can be accessed at https://sbctc.instructure.com/enroll/PGCB3B. Please note that the course is in Canvas, so use your lcc email address (jdoe@lcc.ctc.edu) and 900 number to log in.

Many thanks to the ctcLink training team at the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) for providing the course.

Monday, May 23, 2016

ctcLink Conversion in Full Swing at LCC

LCC is scheduled to "go live" with the state's new computer system in fall 2016. There are several different phases of preparation needed in order to prepare for the big day, and activity is well underway.

Data conversion is the focus of much of our current activity. Data conversion has several different components, including: analysis of existing data, creation of new data structures, and cross-walking of old to new data fields. Subject matter experts in each of the pillars are working earnestly to meet deadlines set by the project team.

LCC's pillars include Campus Solutions (basically everything in SMS, and then some, including Financial Aid), Human Resources, and Finance.

The conversion process includes face-to-face meetings at LCC as well as on other campuses, lots of web-ex meetings and phone conferences, and a considerable amount of "homework" doled out by the project team.

The next phase of the project will be to test our converted data, following by user acceptance testing. The testing phase will continue into October.

During the summer, train-the-trainers will be identified for the different pillars. End user training will come last, with training likely to start toward the end of August and continue into October.

Training will be delivered both electronically and in-person. The project team has adopted a "flipped classroom" model, meaning that much of the content will be delivered online, with face-to-face time dedicated to hands-on activity and questions. At least a portion of the training will be delivered via Canvas.

A new set of web pages about ctcLink is under development and will be launched soon. The web pages will cover background information about the project, frequently asked questions, and will include links to a number of training resources already developed by the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges.