Groundbreaking CHESS Partnership Reaches Historic Milestone for Higher Ed in NM

CHESS and its five member colleges have selected Workday, Inc., to help build the technology solution that will bring the bold vision of CHESS to reality.
August 18, 2021

The Collaborative for Higher Education Shared Services (CHESS), which includes CNM and our four partner colleges across the state, has reached another breakthrough in its journey to transform the student experience and modernize operations through shared resources and decision-making. CHESS and its five member colleges have selected Workday, Inc., to help build the technology solution that will bring the bold vision of CHESS to reality.

Workday’s suite of cloud-based applications designed to improve student information and student process management, financial management, human capital management, and more will ensure CHESS colleges can quickly evolve in a fast-changing environment while critical business operations continue to run smoothly and securely. Implementation begins this fall.

This is a historic effort nationally -- it’s the first time that independent colleges have voluntarily joined together to share an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Student Information System (SIS).

The enterprise technology solution is strategically designed so that students can use an intuitive system that restructures and simplifies outdated administrative functions. And CHESS is structured so that additional colleges in New Mexico and across the country have the ability to join and take advantage of increased opportunities for students, shared resources, and improved administrative efficiencies.

“This is another major milestone for our partnering colleges as we prepare for the next steps on this groundbreaking journey,” said CNM President Tracy Hartzler. “Together with Workday, we’re ready to get to work on creating a consistent and exceptional higher education experience for students across all of our colleges. We will provide students outstanding support every step of the way. Respecting our distinct colleges and cultures, this new system will help us align our systems and business processes, share expertise, and be more collaborative – all to better serve our students. We hope that this unique higher education collaboration will help other colleges in our state and across the country realize what’s possible when institutions – our boards, our presidents, our faculty and staff – commit to working together to achieve historic progress on behalf of students.”

Although collaboration in higher education is not uncommon, what distinguishes the CHESS colleges – CNM, Clovis Community College, Northern New Mexico College, San Juan College, and Santa Fe Community College – is that they came together voluntarily, before the pandemic, to create a seamless and more personalized experience for students. Each college will retain its independence, cultural identity, and unique connection to its community.  

“For CHESS, streamlining processes with Workday helps provide the agility needed to keep pace – we are honored to work with them on their digital transformation journey,” said Robert Steele, vice president of Higher Education and Non-Profit Sales at Workday. “Institutions are better able to adapt to new business processes; support new policies and delivery models; and securely conduct important HR, payroll, finance, and student transactions in one single view in Workday.”

The project’s outcomes will:

  • Help close achievement gaps in New Mexico, a majority-minority state.
  • Save costs for students, taxpayers, and member colleges.
  • Improve the student experience through better, easier access (one application for all member colleges, one set of student records); greater options with class offerings from any of the member colleges leading to faster degree completion; and a consistent experience across member colleges with students using the same platform regardless of their college of choice.
  • Enhance services by sharing personnel resources and expertise.
  • Adapt and standardize best practices among member institutions.
  • Create shared, standardized reporting to state and national entities.
  • Improve security and safe, protected access to data and student information.
  • Provide state-of-the-art solutions for institutions who otherwise would not be able to afford it.  

“Clovis Community College and the CHESS colleges are devoted to the primary mission of providing student success and completion and equitable outcomes to all of our students,” said Charles Nwankwo, president of Clovis Community College. “Workday has a solid reputation for delivering systems that serve students holistically, resulting in increased student success. I believe the CHESS colleges have found a committed and worthy partner in Workday. We at CHESS look forward to this partnership and the opportunity to move services to our New Mexico students to the next level.” 

In addition, CHESS has partnered with CampusWorks to provide an independent perspective and creative solutions to improve operations, reduce costs, and position students for success as part of the Workday implementation team. “The CHESS colleges are leading the way in creating satisfying and impactful experiences for students while remaining vigilant in the management of financial and human resources,” said Liz Murphy, CEO, CampusWorks. “The efficiencies gained with the new administrative system can be harnessed to enhance student services and reduce barriers.”

“Colleges are all about defining one’s future,” said Toni Hopper Pendergrass, Ph.D., president of San Juan College. “CHESS has selected an ERP/information technology partner that member colleges will use to pave the path for the future of New Mexico’s higher education.”

In the coming months, CHESS colleges, Workday, and CampusWorks will implement the multi-institution human resources and financial services modules followed by a student service platform that will revolutionize the student journey, from recruitment and registration to completion and career.