updated: 5/20/2008 10:49:46 AM

IU Looks to New Future of Information Technology

InsideINdianaBusiness.com Report

Indiana University is commemorating the university's 10-year information technology plan today and announcing that work is beginning on a new IT Strategic Plan. The 1998 plan led to IU investment in advanced research networks, re-engineered common information systems and pioneered development in the digital library and cyber security. The new planning effort will involve four task forces that will focus on empowering faculty excellence, student success, community effectiveness of working together and engagement beyond the physical boundaries of IU with the state, nation, and world.


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Press Release

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - In 1998, IU set out with a bold plan to make IU a "leader in absolute terms in the use and application of IT." On May 20, hundreds will gather as the university commemorates its rise in national and international areas of IT, and formally announces progress on its next 2008 IT Strategic Plan.

In 1997, then-IU president Myles Brand charged Michael McRobbie, the university's first vice president for information technology, with developing a plan for IT that could make IU a leader in "absolute terms." McRobbie chartered a university-wide planning effort that yielded 10 General Recommendations and 68 specific Action Items. The 1998 IT Strategic Plan steered Indiana University's investment in advanced research networks, including the State of Indiana's I-Light, research computing systems like Big Red, re-engineered common information systems across the university to enable better integration, and pioneering development in the digital library and new areas like cybersecurity. It was a far-reaching, ambitious plan for all IU campuses.

Now president of Indiana University, Michael McRobbie credits the strategic plan with enabling IU to compete in this century. "IT is essential to the teaching, learning, and research activities of a 21st-century university, providing faculty and students the tools necessary to achieve their highest intellectual aspirations. The 1998 IT Strategic Plan has advanced IU's fundamental missions by marshalling IU's scale in the interest of its educational, research, and technology needs in cost-saving and far-sighted ways that greatly benefit IU faculty, students, and staff."

Brad Wheeler, IU vice president for information technology and chief information officer said, "The 1998 IT Strategic Plan and its relentless execution were profoundly transformative for IU. IU's plan remains a template for other universities that seek to develop a university plan for IT, rather than an IT plan for the university."

According to IUPUI Chancellor Emeritus Gerald L. Bepko, "IU showed the larger world, beyond the academy, that large scale, concrete change can take place in large universities. IU showed that it could develop an ambitious plan with scores of goals and execute on the plan just as well as any business organization."

The plan rationalized lifecycle funding to modernize and renew PCs, servers, and other equipment on a regular basis. It led to university-wide licensing agreements for commonly used software from Microsoft and others. These approaches saved millions of dollars and greatly increased the availability of IT to faculty, staff, and students.

The plan upgraded IU's classrooms and research computing facilities. It provided the basis for many of IU's wins of competitive funding from the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and gifts from the Lilly Endowment.

"This plan, that we celebrate today, has had an enormous impact on Indiana University. I think it's fair to say, as others have commented, that it has achieved the vision of making Indiana University a leader in absolute terms in the field of Information Technology. In my judgment it has also facilitated the growth and development of those small cultures of learning, research, discovery, and imagination that are located all through the University. In my experience, the entire effort has been one of enabling through the tangible benefits of more complete and powerful information technology applications, and ennobling through the stature it has brought to IU as a leader in yet another important field," said Bepko.

President McRobbie has called for a new IT plan that will "build excellence in education and research in all disciplines, in administration, in IU's engagement in the life of the State, across all campuses, and in collaboration with IU's key partners such as Clarian Health and institutions of higher education in the State."

Vice President for IT Brad Wheeler has launched a new planning effort that includes 140 faculty, staff, and students, who are charged with developing a plan that is "visionary, realistic, and relevant to the missions of IU campuses." The University Information Technology Strategic Planning Committee, chaired by Dr. Frank Acito, associate dean of the Kelley School of Business, will develop the new plan through the work of four role-based taskforces.

Speaking of the next IT strategic plan, Wheeler says: "It should enable revolutionary outcomes via evolutionary steps and building on the architecture set down by the original plan it will focus on accelerating the human-centered use and application of IT. The four taskforces are focusing on empowering faculty excellence, student success, community effectiveness of working together, and engagement beyond the physical boundaries of IU with the state, nation, and world."

Source: Indiana University

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