Technology is increasingly at the heart of all that we do at the university. The more efficiently we harness its capacity, the better able we are to do our jobs.
Last spring, I convened a cross-section of faculty, staff and students from both campuses to evaluate our approach to information technology (IT) and how it meets our various needs. The Technology Review Committee (TRC) was charged with assessing our current IT practices and developing recommendations for an IT organizational structure, governance structure and strategic priorities to serve as the starting point for a technology strategic planning process. The committee submitted its recommendations to leadership in the fall. Based on these recommendations, we are implementing a number of changes to university IT organization and governance.
To ensure that technology activities are aligned in support of our overall mission, we are establishing a new Office of Information Technology (OIT). This office will oversee Academic Technology and Extended Learning, Educational Support Services, and Information Technology Services. This is an opportunity to better align services and increase effectiveness for faculty, staff and students.
Leading the new office as Chief Information Technology Officer will be Russell Poole. Russ has a track record of moving organizations to be more efficient and service-oriented while implementing major strategic initiatives. I have tasked him to work with the three OIT units—ATEL, ESS and ITS—over the next several months to determine how all the pieces will best fit together to create a more effective and service-oriented office. We expect some services within these units may be reassigned to other university offices.
Next, we are establishing an IT governance structure that will allow for wider input from IT users across the university. I have asked Russ and Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Resources and Services Regina Kilkenny to work with campus leadership, faculty, staff and other governance groups to submit nominations for membership to five IT governance committees: Teaching/Learning, Clinical, Research/Creative Endeavors, Administrative/Communication, and Infrastructure.
These IT governance committees will recommend to leadership priorities for the allocation of IT resources and will complete a full technology strategic planning process, of which the work of the TRC was the first phase. Priorities already identified include improving student-serving technologies and increasing services available through technology (for example, the student portal); making technology accessible, reliable and easy to use; engaging our research community with an immediate focus on data sharing, storage and preservation, collaboration and high-performance computing; making technology in the classroom an equal priority to courses on the web; and investing in training and in tech support.
I am grateful for the excellent work of the TRC and hopeful that these changes will result in improvements in the university’s technology infrastructure and how we deliver and use IT services.