Muskegon Community College steps up collaboration and strategic planning

Muskegon Community College steps up collaboration and strategic planningThe IT department at Muskegon Community College (MCC) plays a much more strategic role since Ellucian joined its team.

In addition to helping MCC optimize its Colleague® by Ellucian®  student information system, Ellucian provides 24/7 help desk support, web development services, and instructional designers who assist faculty in moving their courses and programs online. And the team is led by a CIO who is actually an employee of Ellucian.

“With Ellucian, the world is bigger now,” said Mike Alstrom, Ellucian’s CIO at Muskegon. Alstrom had been employed by MCC when Ellucian began its contract with the Michigan college. Then he transitioned to become an employee of Ellucian and now serves onsite as the college’s CIO. “When Ellucian was brought in to manage operations, there was a lot of anxiety of not knowing what to expect. Our strength now, however, is in our ability to collaborate with others in approaching problems and resolving issues.”

Ellucian helped Muskegon develop its first-ever IT strategic plan and has continued to help ensure that IT objectives are aligned with the college’s academic and campus wide master plans. In addition to serving on the president’s cabinet, Alstrom is actively involved in a number of IT governance committees, including his role as co-chair of an early intervention subcommittee that is part of the college’s student success initiative.

“Mike serving on my cabinet comes from me having confidence in him,” said MCC President Dale Nesbary. “But it also comes from the fact that he’s earned that role. That recognition isn’t true of every college, but I believe IT is that critical. Mike always makes sure that we understand the impact that a decision will have on the way our information technology is deployed.”

Alstrom said a major advantage of Ellucian is its ability to leverage the knowledge and experience of its employees globally. “Our strength is in our ability to collaborate with others in approaching problems and resolving issues. And that extends outside the technology area. I’ve been able to get information on student success, distance education, on strategic planning. I even brought in someone to do a presentation on advancement start-up. Where we were just an IT department before, we’re now more attuned with the overall business of education.”

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