San Juan College announced that it has joined the Collaborative for Higher Education Shared Services, a nonprofit organization that includes four other community colleges and one four-year college in New Mexico. CHESS seeks to ensure student success through improved communication, cooperation and shared resources.
Along with Central New Mexico Community College, Clovis Community College, Northern New Mexico College, Santa Fe Community College and Luna Community College, San Juan College will collaborate and share technology and resources.
The CHESS website states that the program is the “first in the nation to collaborate across colleges on this unique undertaking.”
CHESS, a nonprofit 501(c) 3 organization, aligns student services and key business processes by using a more efficient, secure and fully integrated Enterprise Resource Planning and Student Information System.
Kathy Ulibarri, CHESS CEO, said in an introductory and welcome video conference among participating colleges, “So our mission and vision … is all about sharing tools and talent and best practices.”
Ulibarri owns Ulibarri Consulting LLC, based in Albuquerque, a coaching, strategic planning guidance and management consulting firm.
Member colleges’ unified effort strives to create increased student opportunities through increased administrative efficiency, as well as standardization of business operations and technology security.
Ulibarri said the presidents of member colleges, who serve as CHESS board members, developed value statements that explain CHESS’s purpose and also help to promote the collaboration.
CHESS values include:
- Collaboration: Purposeful partnerships strengthen our ability to better serve students so that together we create synergies that expand their opportunities.
- Honesty: Honesty makes partnerships strong.
- Equity: An equal voice for all member colleges strengthens our ability to equitably serve students from all backgrounds.
- Sustainability: Together we can better sustain access for diverse students and help strengthen local communities.
- Student Success: Success for all students is the overarching goal for every decision we make.
“This really is all about how we collaborate, work together for the benefit of our students,” Ullibari said. “Every single college has its warts … that is to be expected and understood.”
She said that being honest with one another and sharing challenges would help students succeed. The collaboration strives for equity, with each college having an equal voice.
Edward Martinez, president of Luna Community College, said CHESS member colleges use a central database that uses the same technologies to strategically share resources and information.
“This is a great benefit to our students, who are our No. 1 priority,” he said.
San Juan College President Toni Hopper Pendergrass said in the video that a more modern system will provide employees with more efficient operations and increased productivity.
“I know this three-year project can be extremely challenging … that will take perseverance, patience and dedication,” Pendergrass said.
She added that streamlining business efficiencies, while celebrating the uniqueness of communities with a sense of independence, will be key to their success and a brighter future.
This article was republished Thursday to correct the spelling of the name Toni Hopper Pendergrass.