Strategic Directions

Drop Shadow

Information Technology: Strategic Directions Workshop, February 8, 2005

[pdf file for printing]

Theme: Develop a blueprint for using information technology to advance USD’s goals.

General Questions:

  1. How should USD use information technology to distinguish itself as a university?
  2. What do we need to do in the next five years to make this happen?

Discussants: Thomas Herrinton (discussion leader), Bernadette Maldonado (recorder), Harriet Baber, Thor Brickman, Jim Julius, Roger Manion, Adam Peterson, Rich Pickett, Bart Thurber, David Todd, Mona Yousry.

Summary of Major Ideas

1. USD should be distinguished by the use of IT for teaching, research, and professional collaboration—we must do this easier, better, and as transparently as possible.
  • Apply IT to pedagogy—develop USD as an institution in the forefront of this area. Develop innovative uses of technology to add value to courses. This would be distinctive for USD and supportive of our dual mission of teaching and research.
  • Use IT to support research and increase faculty visibility. Increasing our commitment to research is not turning away from our primary focus of teaching—they can be mutually supportive and supported.
  • USD should strive to “surprise” people with IT.
  • We must make IT tools available to those clients who want to pursue more research.
  • If support for research and accessibility is not in place, it pulls us back from doing what we need to do to distinguish ourselves.
  • We need IT tools to pursue things in addition to traditional teaching/learning methods.
  • We need to establish some experimental classrooms.
2. USD should be the premier collaborative institution. Therefore, we must set a goal of allowing all clients—students, faculty, and staff—to do all of their business at the University electronically.
  • Make what we traditionally do faster and easier—streamline processes and services. Also, look for ways to collaborate in areas that may not traditionally do so.
  • Increase use of the Web for interdisciplinary collaboration, and publish what we do in terms of collaborative research with faculty, students, and others.
  • Increase use of the Web to disseminate information both on and off campus.
3. USD must have ubiquitous connectivity, portability, and mobility.
  • Setting up a connective environment is the key factor; we can always refine the infrastructure after it is set up appropriately.
  • We must have wireless capabilities to connect anywhere in the world with any device.
  • The “return” on this investment should translate into client services and expectations being met. If expectations are not in place, then clients will have a negative perception of IT.
4. We must bridge the gap between ITS, departments, faculty, and libraries by demonstrating to faculty that what we traditionally do can be done easier and faster. Information needs to be shared, and user-friendly technology must be available so that people will take advantage of it. Faculty may know what they want but not how to get it. To close this gap, there needs to be an additional “body” in the middle, less of an IT person, more of an educational person. Possible models include:
  • Missionaries to departments—assign a librarian and IT support person to partner with each academic department to facilitate faculty’s use of technology and educate faculty on its innovative pedagogic. Some faculty are not interested in IT and don’t know what it can do for them; therefore, someone needs to go into departments demonstrate its benefits.
  • Evangelists in departments—new faculty we hire should have experience in innovative pedagogical uses of technology in the discipline and/or do research in this field. Those new hires can help their colleagues appropriately incorporate use of technology—and help them determine when technology is not an appropriate solution. We’ll be hiring faculty instead of support staff, and they will put USD at the forefront of scholarship on the pedagogy of applying technology in courses to improve student learning. Caveat: Will faculty consider research into pedagogy appropriate scholarship at USD?
5. We need interdisciplinary consortia for teaching, research, and professional collaboration.
  • The Center for Learning and Teaching (CLT) can serve as a conduit for interaction between ITS and faculty. The CLT can serve as a collaboration area for faculty between campuses and departments.
  • Create a Center for Humanities and Technology (CHAT) to explore the pedagogy of using technology in classrooms; use faculty doing research in this field. Connection between the humanities, IT, and the libraries. Develop a strategic initiative to start such connection.
  • Host a Technology Conference and open it to the public, making USD the “premier” technology place. Showcase the technology currently done by faculty with CLT. Advertise to the community to attract them to USD and publicize CHAT. Publish the conference proceedings.
  • IT should be infused in the curriculum and be part of general education to develop information literacy in our students. Consider defining measurable student outcomes and tie to the preceptorial program—a “T” requirement like the “W” requirement.

Priorities for Action Planning:

  • Record and communicate the progress that IT has made so far to direct energy in a positive direction regarding improvements in services and infrastructure.
  • Focus on the big picture:
    • Classroom technology
    • Administrative technology
    • Support for faculty to teach with technology (CHAT, CLT)
    • Information literacy (“T” requirement?)
    • Administrative self-service and coordination
    • Infrastructure, especially security (publicize advances, containments, etc.)