The Independent College Enterprise (ICE) is a consortium of eight private colleges in West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee.
In the late 1990s, these small institutions faced growing challenges in the higher education marketplace. In order to remain competitive, the colleges needed to streamline administrative processes and deliver new services to meet student demands – while balancing the high costs involved in adopting leading edge technology with investments in academic programs.
The inspiration for ICE began when two schools discussed pooling resources to purchase and maintain an integrated information management system that would minimize administrative expenses on each campus. After enlisting the commitment and support from several institutions facing similar issues, the basis for ICE was formed.
To oversee the entire project, ICE established a global implementation team that included IT Directors and CFOs from the five founding schools (UC,WVWC,AB,D&E, and E&H). The team met every two weeks to ensure the project was moving forward according to schedule. Functional area teams were also formed to ensure that each school was capable of documenting its own unique administrative processes for Colleague.
All ICE data resides in a computer center on the campus of University of Charleston – a founding member of the consortium. ICE has eight full-time staff members dedicated to maintaining the ICE system for all eight colleges – as well as staffing the help-desk to support all of the eight institutions’ users. While the colleges share servers, software licenses and technical personnel, each school has exclusive access to its own financial and academic data.
By pooling resources to purchase and maintain its system, the eight small colleges of the ICE consortium have streamlined administrative processes and increased service levels to students.