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IT Strategic Plan 2012-2020

Appendix F: Academic Affairs, Student Affairs priorities


Academic Affairs

UM 2020: Dynamic Learning Environment

In order for UM to sustain a world-class, student-centered environment in the 21st century, the Academic Officers propose a fresh focus and set of priorities for technology as it relates to this strategic issue:

Our priorities:

Campus-wide wireless. UM offers students, faculty, staff and visitors a spectacular physical environment here. And, today, people also expect we’ll have an accessible, up-to-date technology environment. The rapid expansion of types and uses of mobile devices is seen in every aspect of our lives and is recognized as a critical technology for education in studies of the New Media Consortium (Horizon 2011) and The Chronicle of Higher Education  (Digital Campus, May 2011).

Wireless access to the internet should be a key component of our campus technology infrastructure. It opens the door for endless applications and uses in and outside of the classroom, creating a campus that is a dynamic learning environment. With this infrastructure in place, colleges, departments and programs may then move toward specialized development of applications for convenient access and delivery of services and information, and use of new media technology in the classroom by students and faculty alike.

Our first priority is for the campus to institute a robust, comprehensive wireless upgrade with the expectation that this will be a high growth area. This is important for current and prospective students, faculty and staff.

We’d like to see this accomplished within the next 18 months, by June 30, 2013.  Estimated cost is $500,000.

Centralized/distributed coherence, and more flexibility in how we spend existing funds. We support the efforts that Dean Bonnie Allen and Interim Chief Information Officer Loey Knapp are taking to examine the current structure, justification and funding support for technology. We welcome a vigorous discussion of how to appropriately allocate technology funds that already are available for academic units (student computer fee money, instructional computing funds from the provost’s office).

A coherent internal digital environment for students, staff and faculty. Over time, programs, offices, schools and colleges have independently developed an array of digital tools ranging from the online application process with Hobson and then with the availability of  “one stop,” Cyberbear, UMOnline, UMConnect with access to SkyDrive where a student must use NetID and learn to set up WP2 wireless connections. Bringing these pieces together into a cohesive process would provide improved customer service by reducing confusion and giving students more effective uses of the technology they have at their disposal. We need to coordinate and simplify the number of tools and the interfaces among them.

Fundraising priorities. We believe that prospective donors would be interested in supporting technology as it relates to people, especially to students. We propose a fund dedicated to the development of technology literacy.

The effective use of technology is a skill needed not only for the academic careers of students but also for preparation for their work life as they pursue careers based on global connections and interests. Components of technology literacy would include the establishment of Innovation Centers to capture and nurture the talents of students who already have strong technology skills to work with staff and faculty on campus projects. Using the model of internships, The Innovation Center could provide an experiential learning experience for the student as well as a source of technological creativity for the campus.   

One feature of the Innovation Center would be a learning and support center where students could apply existing uses of familiar social network media to educational applications. The fund also could:

  • Offer technology scholarships, (internships?)
  • Offer support for undergraduate research/creative work projects that are strongly tech-related
  • Develop a cadre of tech-savvy students across campus to work for various academic units.



Student Affairs


Connectivity

To ensure the most dynamic learning environment possible, campus should have ubiquitous connectivity to the internet and campus resources.  All campus locations should have a reliable network infrastructure with ample bandwidth available for all users.  It should enable campus staff to do their jobs and provide services to the campus community.  It should allow faculty to access resources and teach in an efficient manner.  This infrastructure should also provide adequate speed and throughput to students residing in campus housing or using campus labs or wireless.  This connectivity must include reliable campus-wide wireless with a functional and easy to use guest access.

IT Responsibilities/Obligations

The current IT situation on campus has grown organically over a number of years and can leave students, staff and faculty at a loss concerning where to turn for support, depending on the nature of their IT related issue.

Student Affairs supports and encourages the current IT mapping project with a focus on complete identification of all IT resources on campus.  With this information campus should be able to develop an efficient IT support system for the entire campus community.  Such a system should be service oriented, responding to customer or client needs, using well documented policies and procedures that define where IT related responsibilities lie.  Such documentation may be in the form of service level agreements or memorandums of understanding between various campus entities.

Enterprise Support

In order for UM to sustain a world-class learning environment it must streamline and optimize the efficiency of its business practices.  Many paper-driven practices should be migrated to online services utilizing technology to automate processes whenever appropriate.  As hardware evolves and our clients become more connected and tech savvy, many of these practices should be made mobile accessible with cross-device compatibility and a focus on task-oriented student needs.  Planning for such optimized business solutions should be done considering industry best practices and ROI through conversations including stakeholders from all sectors of campus.  Below is a list of some areas Student Affairs believes such systems could benefit the campus community:

  • A single centralized campus wide timecard and payroll solution for all student and staff employees.
  • Shared workspace and resources crossing division or departmental boundaries enabling efficient collaboration.

Communication

Effective communication is essential for UM to optimally use existing IT resources as well as to move into the future intelligently and intentionally.  Such communication should involve all units of campus in making IT decisions which often have broad-reaching implications such as maintenance downtimes.  Student Affairs supports the enterprise level system outage notification efforts and encourages further improvements.  Student Affairs also would like to see campus move towards a single email address book integrated with the Exchange system, containing all students, faculty and staff.  Clear policies should be established on mass-communications to students and the broader campus community as well as a system provided to do such mailings.  There should also be a standardized system for campus units to send personalized messages to target audiences, for things such as deadlines, outstanding fees or scheduled appointments.

IT Funding

Funding for various IT endeavors on campus currently comes from a multitude of budgets.  Making some changes to the current funding model to increase transparency and standardize purchasing and spending practices should minimize the need for IT to be entrepreneurial with projects.  Such changes should also decrease some costs by allowing campus entities to take advantage of bulk or contracted savings through centralized purchasing of hardware and licensing.


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