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IT bases goals on faculty, student, staff needs

by UofL Today last modified Jan 21, 2010 02:09 PM

University of Louisville students, faculty and staff will see more wireless coverage and a Microsoft Outlook campus e-mail system in the not-so-distant future.

IT bases goals on faculty, student, staff needs

Priscilla Hancock

Both are among Information Technology's goals for the next three years.

"You're being heard," said Priscilla Hancock, vice president and chief information officer. That's the message faculty, students and staff should take from the 17 goals she announced recently via video blog.

"Information Technology stays in touch with university technology needs through surveys, HelpDesk statistics, iTech Connect consulting services, client partners and constituency meetings," Hancock said.

Based on that feedback, the current reality of the university and the university's 2020 plan, IT is planning a mix of new and ongoing customer service, technological infrastructure upgrades, staff development and outreach initiatives.

Among other things, IT intends to

  • expand the university's central research infrastructure, which includes Cardinal Research Cluster that went online in February 2009  
  • upgrade the human resource and student administration system to make them user-friendly through increased self-service functionality  
  • support such university economic development initiatives as the downtown Haymarket property research park and ShelbyHurst Research and Office Park at Shelby Campus
  • develop a vision and plan for instructional technology working with the Delphi Center, faculty and students
  • develop an appropriate funding model to provide network services
  • enhance student technology services through workshops and training.

Some of the goals, such as migrating to a Microsoft e-mail system and providing more wireless coverage, Hancock said, have been in development almost since she arrived three years ago and first started talking to faculty, students and staff about their needs.

"I heard those from day one," she said. "But it takes a while to do the plan, to get resources or to carve resources out, or be to that point where you can do something about it.

"I'm not always just knocking on central administration's door with my hand out; I'm trying to figure out ways we can bring new resources to the table," she said.

Hancock plans to personally present the new goals to such constituent groups as the Faculty and Staff senates and Student Government Association.

"I want them to know this is what we're looking to do, so hold me accountable," she said.

And, with 17 goals on the table, Hancock said that she knows not everyone will see merit in all of them.

"There are people who say, 'Why put wireless everywhere? Why do you want students to use these computers, because they're only just on it for Facebook'."

Students are judging UofL and making decisions on whether or not to come here by wireless availability, she explained.

"That's their world," she said. "To them, Facebook is the Red Barn. Why did you have a Red Barn? It's not just the students. Faculty want to have that ease of use, too."

The goals, she said, excite her: "If I'm not passionate about it, it's not on this list."

Even as IT implements its new goals, Hancock said, the unit will begin to work on the next set of goals and she will continue to seek input about campus needs from faculty, students and staff.

"IT is a place where you can come and look for support in making your dreams come true-and that looks different in each and every one of you because your needs are unique to yourself," she said.

"You are listened to and you will get a response."

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