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Oregon College Moves to Replace Problematic ERP Software

The Clatsop Community College board voted unanimously on Tuesday during an emergency meeting to authorize the college to obtain $3 million in financing for new enterprise resource planning software.

(TNS) — Clatsop Community College will spend up to $3 million to replace a software system that caused problems and frustration for students and staff.

Chris Breitmeyer, the college president, along with several others involved in the process, selected Ellucian Colleague to replace Anthology, formerly known as CampusNexus. The college hosted two firms last month to present options.

The college board voted unanimously on Tuesday during an emergency meeting to authorize the college to obtain $3 million in financing for new enterprise resource planning software.

"Congratulations everyone," Rosemary Baker-Monaghan, the board chair, said at the meeting. "A lot of hard work and thoughtfulness went into this, and you've heard from the board that we're very excited that we're going to move forward with something positive ... and get all these barriers that this other system put in the way out of the way for (students) and for everyone who works at the college."

The old system presented numerous challenges, including in critical areas such as student registration and financial aid. Students were not always able to get accurate information and staff had to put in a lot of extra work, Breitmeyer said.

Unions representing college staff and faculty submitted votes of no confidence in Anthology's software.

Breitmeyer said Anthology was never fully implemented because of the issues and the college will look for some reimbursement. "Frankly, it hasn't functioned like it was supposed to," he said.

Breitmeyer said the selection process for the new software was much more rigorous and interactive with staff compared to when Anthology was chosen. Several staff members involved in the decision spoke at the meeting, all expressing strong support for going with Ellucian Colleague.

"We're really looking for functionality, for students especially, so they can do a lot of self-service — register themselves, pay their bills and just know what is going on with their accounts," Breitmeyer said.

As issues with Anthology mounted, replacing the old system became a priority for college staff and the college board. The software was also a topic during campaigns for college board seats in 2021.

Tim Lyman, a board member who was a vocal critic of Anthology, recruited candidates to run against incumbents based on concerns that the college was not addressing several issues, including problems with the software.

"I just want to say how incredibly happy and relieved that I am to find out that the selection was not only, sounds like, unanimous, but enthusiastically unanimous. I am just overjoyed," Lyman said Tuesday. "Getting rid of that old system was my No. 1 priority since pretty much the day I got on this board ... I really look forward to getting (staff) the tools that you need, finally."

Breitmeyer thanked the board for their support throughout the process and looked forward to negotiations and constructing a timeline for implementation.

"I have never been more happy in my life to spend $3 million, I'll say that," he said. "I am very, very excited."

©2022 The Daily Astorian, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.