Spokane and Tacoma prepping for Nov 17 launch date

The FirstLink colleges (Spokane, Spokane Falls and Tacoma)  and the ctcLink project team have been involved in a flurry of activities as we march toward the rescheduled ctcLink go-live date of November 17.FLC SMEs-UAT Kickoff

Recently, more than 60 FirstLink College subject matter experts (SMEs) converged on the SBCTC Bellevue office to learn more about how the new system will work. Each SME group (Finance, Student Services, Financial Aid and HR/Payroll) had a chance to delve a little deeper into specific aspects and functionality of the PeopleSoft software. SMEs were also given the opportunity to reflect on the changes they see coming with ctcLink and how those changes may impact their day-to-day activities. Here are just a few of those comments:

Financial Aid:

  • I am much more comfortable with ctcLink than I was before these sessions.
  • I like that everything is combined into one system now!
  • Everything we do will change.


  • No more paper records!
  • One of the highlights was opening a virtual cashier office.
  • ctcLink is going to create accountability on all levels of the business processes and practices.
  • It’s more automated!


  • Building classes quarter-to-quarter looks much less cumbersome
  • There is still so much to learn and comprehend!
  • The whole PERC process is awesome! (Post Enrollment Requisite Checking)
  • I am as comfortable with ctcLink as can be expected for something that is changing our world as we know it.

HR/Payroll (HCM)

  • Huge change in procedures!
  • It seems very intuitive.
  • Love the Employee Self Service!
  • This will impact me in pretty much all ways, but it’s a good thing. We need a new system and have been waiting on getting one for a long time.

This week, Tacoma and Spokane jumped straight into User Acceptance Testing (UAT), which is scheduled through October 30. For the majority of UAT, testers will follow test scripts in a prescribed sequence by business process, with the goal of finding defects and problems that need to be fixed before we go live. The last couple weeks will be focused on “day in the life” testing, giving SMEs a chance to test their daily job activities and set up and run through their own test scenarios. Look for a UAT update and pictures of happy testers next week.

Meantime, check out these pictures from the recent FirstLink hands on sessions in Bellevue. Click on photo to enlarge.


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Features Friday (on Monday!): Student Services Center

With so many campuses closed on Fridays (only one more summer Friday left!), I decided to save this for Monday.

Many FirstLink college SMEs recently got a chance to better understand some of the self-service features coming our way with ctcLink. Topics included Student Center (what students will see/do online); Student Services Center (what staff will see/do to assist students); Faculty Center; Requisitions (online purchasing process) and Employee Self Service.

Today we’ll focus on the Student Services Center where staff can see an at-a-glance overview of student information, activate financial aid awards, calculate tuition, create refunds, and assign and release service indicators (those are flags noting if certain services are provided to a student, such as disability services, or if any services are currently withheld until the student takes a particular action, such as paying a bill).

The FirstLink SME sessions were interspersed with online demos and hands-on practice, which helped fill in the blanks for how everything works online. We can’t do that here, but the supporting presentation linked above and below will help those who work in any of the student services areas get a better understanding of the types of features that will be available in the Student Services Center. Hint: For presenter’s notes, look for a text bubble icon in the top corner of each slide. Hover over the icon to see the speaker’s notes for that page.

Be sure to visit the ctcLink Features section of the blog for any past posts you may have missed…

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Self-Service training for FirstLink Colleges

Community Colleges of Spokane had more than 100 participants in training sessions this week, which covered ctcLink self-service features as well as the online purchase requisition process (TCC’s sessions were held earlier this month).

“The sessions were well attended and very productive,” said Dick Hol, ctcLink project manager at CCS. “Spokane SMEs received a thorough review of the Student Services, Employee, Purchasing and Faculty Centers and had the opportunity to log into the training environment to explore their capabilities.  This created a lot of dialogue and generated new ideas about the colleges’ business processes that will need to be reviewed and modified in preparation for the ctcLink implementation.”

Kudos to the following ctcLink/SBCTC staff who presented and assisted with the training sessions (and, don’t forget to enjoy the photos below…)

Michael Sheehan, ctcLink Finance Trainer; Rebecca Meeder, ctcLink Campus Solutions Trainer; Reuth Kim, ctcLink OCM Lead; Adam Clements, Ciber OCM Lead; Mandy Mineard, SBCTC Campus Solutions Functional Analyst; Jan Means, SBCTC HCM Functional Analyst; and also Colleen Woods and Dick Hol of CCS for their great planning and coordination efforts.


Before Self-Service Sessions

ctcLink Trainer Michael Sheehan, right, discusses ctcLink with Colleen Woods (left), Melody Matthews and Dick Hol of CCS.


After Self-Service Session
Click a pic  below to start slideshow:

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ctcLink Features Friday: Enrollment Requirements

The hands-on workshops for FirstLink college subject matter experts (SMEs) continued this week. On Wednesday, several SMEs from Spokane and Tacoma colleges got a detailed overview of the enrollment requirements process in PeopleSoft, along with a demonstration of the configuration process.

Using their college’s course data, they were able to practice creating course requisites and conditions for enrollment in the ctcLink Sandbox. After the rules were built, they learned how to assign them to individual courses. In the end, here’s an example of how a course would look in the online catalog, detailing the enrollment requirement:


Click here for more details on the Course Requisites process the SMEs walked through during their session.

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FLC SMEs attend ctcLink Academic Advisement workshop

Picture of TCC SME creating degree rules

Cielito Lane, TCC Transcript Evaluator, used the TCC course list in ctcLink to practice creating degree rules.

Some FirstLink college SMEs got a chance yesterday to practice using the Academic Advisement Report (AAR) in the ctcLink system, which will replace the current Degree Audit process. The workshop gave Spokane and Tacoma credentials evaluators and other student services SMEs a chance to get a detailed overview of AAR and how it’s structured before getting some hands-on practice of their own.

Using their college’s course list, SMEs were able to practice creating degree rules for Academic Advisement in the ctcLink Sandbox.  After the rules were built, they ran a student Academic Advisement report to see the output.

“It looks more intimidating than it is,” said TCC’s Robert Drake. “It is basically parallel to the existing Degree Audit process, we’ll just be using a different tool. We’ll still go through the same steps of building the rules, limits to those rules, then putting the rules into the certificates, then the certificates into the degrees.”

Catherine Kwong, ctcLink Student Functional Analyst, led the session. Here she is assisting SFCC Credential Evaluators Tamara Wittstruck and Lisa Baldwin.

Catherine Kwong, ctcLink Student Functional Analyst, led the session. Here she is assisting SFCC Credential Evaluators Tamara Wittstruck and Lisa Baldwin.

This was  the first of several hands-on workshops planned for FirstLink SMEs to start practicing in the ctcLink system using their own college data!


More pictures below…






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ctcLink Features Friday: Workflow Process

Here’s an overview of the online workflow process in ctcLink, which is an online routing and notification tool so approval-related processes can be handled seamlessly, from your desk. Basically, no more running across campus for a last-minute purchase request or wondering where your request is in the approval process.

Emmett Folk shared this presentation with Finance subject matter experts (SMEs) during their online meeting yesterday. Some of it gets into details perhaps only the SMEs will understand, but take a look (and notice the presenter notes bubble at top, left on the 4th and 5th pages for additional info).


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FirstLink Go-Live status update

Many of you have heard a decision was made recently to adjust the ctcLink launch (go-live) date for FirstLink colleges (Spokane and Tacoma). The exact go-live date has not been approved yet, but we wanted to give you a quick status report before everyone heads out for the 4th of July holiday.

ctcLink, Ciber and FirstLink leadership are busy planning out a revised schedule that will put the go-live date somewhere during the latter part of fall quarter 2014. Everyone involved agrees this is a good, sound decision to ensure ctcLink is functionally ready to serve students, faculty and staff and that all users are ready to use the new system.

“We appreciate the support of the SBCTC board in this decision, and I can’t say enough about the collaborative approach taken by Spokane and Tacoma leadership and Ciber leadership, along with the ctcLink project team to determine exactly where we are and where we need to be as a team to ensure a successful transition to ctcLink for all involved,” said project director Barbara Martin.

We will announce the new go-live date for Tacoma and Spokane colleges once a date has been confirmed and the FirstLink colleges have had time to alert their campuses.

Have a happy and safe 4th of July!

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