By Cliff Foster
The IT Strategic Planning Task Force has sent an email link to a survey to faculty, staff and students to gather information about their experiences with technology services and how they think systems and services can be improved to better serve the goals of the University.
The survey is a significant step by the task force in carrying out its mission: to develop a strategic plan to integrate technology services into the fabric of the institution, to make technology services a full partner with the University and not simply a support group, and to advance the goals of a Time of Transformation, the University’s 2012-2017 strategic plan.
Professor of Management Rajendra Khandekar, co-chair of the 20-member task force, said the survey will ask both the consumers of IT and those who deliver the services “what is good about IT and what the difficulties are in either using or providing technology services.” The results will help inform the IT strategic plan and help set the tone and agenda for a retreat of IT staff in March.
Besides the survey, the spring to-do list of the task force includes promoting a “positive dialogue” about the work being done by the IT staff amid significant personnel shortages.
In his spring update to faculty and staff last Wednesday, President Stephen Jordan noted that academic and administrative IT have more than 20 vacancies—nearly one third of the total staff of those units. A consultant has been hired to seek candidates and suggest best practices to streamline the hiring process, he said, urging patience while the University fixes “an infrastructure that is in dire need of repair.”
It is a message echoed by Khandekar.
“They’re really stretched thin,” he says. “We want to make sure there’s a positive dialogue around the University about IT…If everyone knew what the IT folks are doing to keep everything afloat, people will appreciate what they are doing.”
The task force has already hit several goals, including formation of a provisional IT shared governance committee, which helps IT personnel deal with operational issues that need immediate attention and brings long-term issues related to information technology to the task force.
“We can’t keep everything on the shelf until the strategic plan is done,” Khandekar says. “The Provisional IT Shared Governance Committee ensures attention to urgent and important issues.”
The task force expects to develop a draft IT strategic plan, including organizational structure options, by the end of April.
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