Enterprise System Development in Higher Education

Enterprise System Development in Higher Education

Bongsug Chae (Kansas State University, USA) and Marshall Scott Poole (Texas A&M University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-1655-4.ch001
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This chapter reports a case in which a major university system in the US attempted to develop an in-house enterprise system. The system is currently used by over 4000 individual users in almost 20 universities and state agencies. This case offers a historical analysis of the design, implementation, and use of the system from its inception in the mid 1980s to the present. This case indicates that ES design and implementation in higher education is quite challenging and complex due to unique factors in the public sector—including state mandates/requirements, IT leadership/resources, value systems, and decentralized organizational structure, among other things—that must be taken into account in planning, designing, and implementing ES (Ernst, Katz, & Sack, 1994; Lerner, 1999; McCredie, 2000). This case highlights (1) the challenges and issues in the rationale behind “one system for everyone” and (2) some differences as well as similarities in IT management between the private and public sectors. It offers some unique opportunities to discuss issues, challenges, and potential solutions for the deployment of ES in the public arena, particularly in higher education.
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Organization Background

The Land Grant University System (LGUS) is one of the more complex systems of higher education in the nation. Currently LGUS consists of nine universities, eight State agencies and a medical science center that serves over 100,000 students and reaches more than 4 million people each year through its service outreach mission. Research projects under way today by system universities and research agencies total roughly $400 million. The system employs more than 23,000 faculty and staff members located throughout the State and serves all counties in the State. The annual budget for the LGU System is approximately $2.0 billion.

Table 1.
The land grant university system
The UniversitiesThe AgenciesHealth Science Center
• Big Campus (the largest campus)
• West Campus
• Southeast Campus
• South Campus
• Northwest Campus
• Four other campuses
• Agricultural Research Station (ARS)
• Agricultural Extension Service (AXS)
• Veterinary Extension Service (VXS)
• Engineering Research Station (ERS)
• Engineering Extension Service (EXS)
• Forest Service (FS)
• Transportation Research Station (TS)
• Wildlife Management Service (WMS)
• College of Dentistry (CD)
• College of Medicine

The State established its first college in 1876, and this marked the beginning of the LGU System. During the 1970s and 1980s LGUS experienced tremendous growth in terms of its major activities of teaching, research and public service. The system experienced a 27% growth in its student population, and more growth was expected. In 1986, the system achieved recognition as one of the top ten National Science Foundation (NSF) ranked research universities in the U.S. In addition to teaching and research, LGUS provided significant services to the citizens of the State through practical application of research-based knowledge.

At the outset of our case, in October 1988, LGUS consisted of 4 universities and 7 associated agencies:

  • 1.

    Central System Administrative Office (HQ) – the university system’s headquarters

  • 2.

    Big Campus

  • 3.

    West Campus

  • 4.

    Southeast Campus

  • 5.

    South Campus

  • 6.

    Agricultural Research Station (ARS)

  • 7.

    Agricultural Extension Service (AXS)

  • 8.

    Veterinary Extension Service (VXS)

  • 9.

    Engineering Research Station (ERS)

  • 10.

    Engineering Extension Service (EXS)

  • 11.

    Forest Service (FS)

  • 12.

    Transportation Research Station (TS)

In 1989, LGUS experienced another period of significant growth when three universities joined the system. In 1990, another university (Northwest Campus) joined the system. The growth continued, and in 1996, four additional institutions joined the system (two universities and two research agencies). In 1999, a medical center (MC) was established.

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