RedLantern-the Miami University-owned company formerly called the Degree Audit Reporting System, or DARS-is in the process of being sold.
DARS, the system that helps students track their progress toward graduating, was first pioneered at Miami in 1983 and licensed out to other universities in 1985.
Despite the fact that Miami is currently in a budget crunch, Chris Wilson, Miami’s associate general counsel and the attorney handling the transaction, said the sale is not related to the university’s financial difficulties.
“Long term, it’s going to be best for our customers to free up this business and allow it to go into the private sector,” Wilson said. “But of course the additional revenue isn’t going to hurt anything either. (Miami is) selling this company to another company in exchange for a lump sum, a purchase product.”
Claire Wagner, associate director of university communications, said that plans to sell RedLantern have been underway for some time.
“This has been in the works for a while,” Wagner said.
According to Wilson, an online college library resource called CollegeSource, Inc. has put in a “very good” proposal to purchase RedLantern.
“They’ve submitted a proposal,” Wilson said. “There’s no contract yet, but we’re negotiating.”
Wilson explained that an RFP (request for proposal) has been put in, so that RedLantern employees may keep their jobs.
“The company that will purchase the assets will be assuming most, if not all, employees,” Wilson said. “(If the employees are) not to take employment with the new company, their employment is terminated with Miami.”
Because the negotiation is still in process, the employees will not know whether they will be staying in the same building, which is located on Brown Road in Oxford, or relocating with the new company.
In the best-case scenario, Wilson expects the contract to be signed by the week of Feb. 9, but this does not mean closing the deal.
“There’s a two-step process on this,” Wilson said. “If the parties agree on all the terms … we’ll take care of final administrative steps and close.”
RedLantern, which was renamed last June, is based off of the features of DARS and sells three main products, according to a June 2008 news release regarding the new business name.
RedLantern’s products include Darwin, a degree audit and transfer credit product, u.select, a system that helps transfer students track their courses, and u.direct, which allows students to plan up to 10 years of their college careers.
Elwood explained that although Miami sells the products, the university is not using the latest upgrades of each.
“Miami hasn’t implemented u.direct yet,” said Elwood. “(We’re) waiting to upgrade the Darwin and the Banner 8 Project.”
Banner 8, an upgrade of the BannerWeb system used by all staff and students, is currently in an 18-month long process to upgrade for the university, according to Elwood.
Elwood added that an upgrade of the Darwin product called u.achieve will be available this spring.
“(U.achieve has) the same principles, but will be written in a new language,” Elwood said.