Committee sets new strategic direction for campus information technology

Making it easier for students to connect with us using technology, personalizing approaches to learning and providing round-the-clock access to tools are among the top priorities set by the IT Steering Committee.

“We are in a competitive landscape and we believe that an IT strategy that is well-aligned with our University's strategy can give us the competitive advantage. We have reflected that sentiment in our new vision statement: Pursuing excellence in Information Technology in support of University's vision and mission,” says co-chair Allan Conway, dean of the Odette School of Business.

In developing its new strategic direction, the committee engaged in a consultative process that involved administration, student representatives, senior academics and other campus stakeholders. It heard from users that technology is an institutional resource that needs be centrally coordinated and build on our success.

Among the key principles are:

  • IT infrastructure must support the evolution to new and superior technologies;
  • Systems have to be able to talk with other vendors’ and institutions’ systems;
  • Decision-making must be done in the context of the larger IT strategy;
  • Systems and applications decisions must consider risks and identify mitigation strategies.

In its report, the committee acknowledges that there is significant work to be done to address some of the institutional risks—such as lack of redundancy in critical systems, over-reliance on specific individuals, and the need to replace major unsupported systems. In addition to strategic investment in IT, creating the governance structure and stakeholders’ engagement strategy are seen as important enablers in moving forward to address these institutional risks.

“We have a team of talented and dedicated Information Technology professionals on our campus who have created islands of excellence,” says Bala Kathiresan, co-chair of the IT Steering Committee. “By ensuring tighter alignment with our institutional vision, we plan to harness the potential of IT to become an institution of choice.”

Watch a presentation on the new strategic direction by steering committee member Gwendolyn Ebbett, dean of the library, at 1 p.m. Tuesday during Campus Technology Day.