Establishment of a Change Control Process for Authorizing Customizations to the Common Management System (CMS) in Response to Changes in Policy and Practices

AS-2930-09/APEP (Rev)

RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate of the California State University (ASCSU) support the Chancellor’s efforts to require cost/benefit analyses for newly proposed projects and/or purchases; and be it further

RESOLVED: That in cases where proposed Executive Orders will require significant expenditures for implementation, the fiscal impact of such Executive Orders must be assessed and alternative implementations should be developed; and be it further

RESOLVED: That the ASCSU recommend that alternatives to CMS customization be considered in cases where the proposed implementation of an Executive Order will involve requests for customization to the Common Management System (CMS) and the cost for such customization is significant; and be it further

RESOLVED: That the ASCSU recommend to the Chancellor and campus presidents that the assessment and approval or disapproval of proposed customizations to CMS be the responsibility of a consultative body that includes non-CMS management representatives as well as representatives from the affected stakeholder groups; and be it further

RESOLVED: That the ASCSU express a strong concern that the limitations inherent in the software systems, both systemwide and on individual campuses, not dictate the type and form of implementation of policy and practices; and be it further

RESOLVED: That the ASCSU distribute this resolution to the Board of Trustees, the Chancellor, members of the Information Technology Advisory Committee (ITAC), members of the Academic Technology Advisory Committee (ATAC), Assistant Vice Chancellor of Information Technology, campus Chief Information Officers, campus Presidents, campus Provosts, and campus Senate Chairs.

RATIONALE: I:  In response to the issuance of EO 1037, the campus Registrars identified major difficulties in monitoring student compliance with policy changes affecting drops, withdrawals, incompletes, and repeats.  At the request of a representative group of Registrars who met several times to discuss the issues, CMS personnel have been working on customizations to CMS.  The work is expected to be completed in time for implementation in the 2010-11 academic year. 

Apparently, there was neither consideration of alternative, non-CMS options, nor was there involvement of the user community of faculty and students in the form and design of the agreed upon changes to CMS.  Best practices associated with the maintenance of large-scale software systems involve the use of a highly consultative change control system wherein prior to making decisions about proposed changes, both the problem and the proposed solution are analyzed and alternatives considered. 

In the case of EO 1037*, apparently the decisions on the form and content of the changes were negotiated between the Registrar’s group and CMS personnel and carried out in the absence of recognized best practices.  The intent of this resolution is to recommend that such best practices be used at both the system level and on individual campuses in assessing the efficacy of requests to customize CMS.

* EO 1037, August 1, 2009, Grading Symbols, Minimum Standards Governing the Assignment of Grades, Policies on the Repetition of Courses, Policies on Academic Renewal, and Grade Appeals (


Approved Without Dissent – January 21-22, 2010


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