Students at Clark College can expect changes to the myClark portal on the college’s website when it switches to a new software system on October 31st. The changes, which will simplify how students register for classes, allow students to view their academic progress and course history and select a degree or certificate, among other changes, is part of an initiative by the Washington Board of Technical and Community Colleges to consolidate academic and institutional information into a single comprehensive database used by all of the community and technical colleges in Washington. Once the new system is implemented, students will be able to use and access these new features at any of the two year junior and technical colleges in and around the state.
Individuals currently enrolled at Clark will also be required to obtain a new student identification number when they login to myClark ctcLink for the first time. On top of that myClark will be unavailable to students from October 18th until it is live on October 31st. It is recommended that you login to your myClark account before October 18th if you have any records that you need to access before the system undergoes changes.
“I’m really excited for this,” said Shanda Haluapo, associate vice president of planning and effectiveness at Clark. “I think this is going to be great for students and employees to learn, and that will cause a little bit of chaos, but I think for the most part — I mean, we’re going to leap years ahead in time that will make the student experience so much better.”
According to Washington State law all 34 community and technical colleges are required to have the same system; however, the majority use their own system and database.
“Because of the complexities of each college having to serve a unique community trying to get all the colleges onto the same platform took a lot of background work,” explained Shanda. “We have to have similar coding practices. We have to have similar business processes,” she added.
Clark is now the fourth college to implement the new system after three other community colleges: Tacoma Community College, Spokane Community College and Spokane Falls Community College all went live with it in 2015. The result, however, was a disaster and is something Clark hopes to avoid as it implements the new system according to Shanda.
“We have spent the last four years improving the process and we’re the only college to go live in this one in this wave. Clark is being greatly supported by the state board because they want us to be successful, they don’t want to repeat anything that happened to Tacoma Community College, Spokane Community College, and Spokane Falls Community College.” said Shanda.
The new system will not only consolidate the databases from separate institutions, but also the multiple systems operating within individual colleges, according to Paul Speer.
“My understanding is that this is a statewide process,” Paul Speer said. “Right now if you go to all the colleges everybody has their own systems for everything so even within a college there are a lot of different systems. There’s a system for payroll one for hr and one for student registration one for setting up classes so what ctcLink does is two things; one is it brings together all those into one peoplesoft based application. It puts the entire state system on one system so it allows the transfer of information back and forth between the community colleges more easily. It’s a very very complicated transition because it’s literally changing the heart system and the nervous system of the college all at once.”
For more information, students are encouraged to visit the myClark new and improved students page on the colleges website. www.clark.edu/faculty-staff/ctclink/student.php or email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.