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Hess: The University's purpose is our purpose

Information technology is key to the success of any organization – especially higher education. When an application or service is put online, it can be shared with anyone at any time. In an increasingly mobile environment, this is the powerful economic and social change agent of our time. It erases geographic boundaries and opens up access to information, services, communication, and competition. Those organizations that embrace it will win. Those that don’t will lose. 

Applications online provide information about the people served. In our case, that is students, staff, and faculty. This information helps an organization to tailor its services to the users’ needs. Applications online travel faster, reduce mistakes, are more transparent, and increase efficiency. The data they gather to provide the service can be used to improve the service. This formula can be applied to many applications in instruction, research, public service, and the overall business of the University. Universities that utilize information technology to provide improved, accessible services are able to meet the needs of students, who are then better engaged and more equipped to excel in their educational pursuits.

In order for this success to be achieved, the University needs quality information technology services aligned to the business and educational needs of the University. That is the service we provide. The University’s purpose is our purpose. Knowing that what we do is important to students and the others we serve is equally important to our success.

The University has set goals for the upcoming year when the University will go through an accreditation process. Those goals are as follows: 

  • Enhance student success to transform lives
  • Generate new knowledge and discovery
  • Improve health and quality of life
  • Ensure long-term viability of the University

Most of what we do will fall under these goals. 

I look forward to working with each of you and accomplishing these goals in the coming year. I appreciate the wonderful job Steve Corbató did as Interim CIO. He is a great person and good friend. He has worked hard to maintain services and bring about a smooth transition. Thank you, Steve, from all of us.

The first thing I’m attempting to accomplish is to meet with as many of you as I can. I have already met with many, and many good things have been accomplished. Thank you for the good work you do! You are a very talented group of IT professionals and I know we can accomplish many good projects for students, faculty and staff. 

I hear that some of the latest reorganizations have been good, but may have left a few people in positions that don’t totally fit with their talents. This quick process of change may have broken other processes, and in some cases this has brought frustration. I want to make sure, when possible, that you are all on the right bus and in the right seat with a boss who really cares about you and what we do for the University.

Reorganizations don’t always fix problems. There will not be a lot of reorganization in the future, but instead, a focus on good processes and getting projects accomplished. 

Here is a list of projects we hope to get accomplished in the months ahead. 

  1. A unified upgraded campus network (NextNet)
  2. A service management platform
  3. A joint business intelligence analytics initiative to support data driven decision-making and trend analysis
  4. Campus voice and collaboration service upgrades, and telephone and communication upgrades
  5. IT architecture
  6. IT governance tune-up
  7. Project management and internal process improvement
  8. Support for campus initiative around online learning, digital classrooms, and increasing computational research
  9. Improving our student information systems to aid our campus partners in helping students find jobs
  10. Assuring cybersecurity and individual data privacy in an increasingly hostile digital world 

Again, I appreciate all you do and look forward to working with you in the weeks ahead.


Last Updated: 5/5/21