Information technology report offers recommendations for improvement

AMES, Iowa -- A proposal to combine four central information technology units is among a series of recommendations aimed at restructuring IT services at Iowa State University.

The recommendations are part of a recently released study of Iowa State's information technology services. They will help promote more efficient use of IT resources and improve services to the university community, said chief information officer James Davis.

"We intend to ensure that Iowa State's IT infrastructure is optimized to best support learning, research and creative endeavors, and organizational leadership, Davis said. "We also will provide new services to the university, forge partnerships among central information technology staff and IT staff in individual units and set a clear direction for IT at Iowa State."

The information technology study, conducted by Davis, ATS director Maury Hope and Telecommunications director John Kingland, included extensive discussions with university focus groups and open forum participants.

"Their input was extremely useful, helping us not only to assess the effectiveness of current information technology services, but forecast future needs," Kingland said.

ISU President Gregory Geoffroy thanked the study committee and all faculty and staff who offered comments and ideas on information technology over the past few months. "The result is a thorough report on the current state of information technology at Iowa State and an excellent set of recommendations that will help us strengthen and transform IT for the future."


The study includes 42 recommendations for improving IT services at Iowa State. Work on those recommendations will begin immediately, Davis said.

A key recommendation is to reorganize four central IT units -- Academic Information Technologies (AIT), Administrative Technology Services (ATS), Instructional Technology Center (ITC) and Telecommunications -- into one by July 1. Davis said staff in the four units have many similar roles and bringing them together will enable more coordinated planning and use of resources.

"We also want to make it easier for members of the university community to access information technology services," Hope added. "We believe a single, central IT unit will be more convenient and less confusing for our clients."

Several recommendations call for new information technology services. Among new services planned are an email/calendar system for interested faculty and staff, a single information technology help desk, expanded wireless access on campus, and web-based access to a variety of IT services.

Another area of focus in the recommendations is improving collaborations among central information technology staff and IT staff in departments and units. One goal, Davis said, is to better coordinate activities, so that unit staff can avoid duplicating efforts on core services and focus on meeting the needs of their local clients.

Other recommendations call for :

  • Strengthening collaborations between central IT and the Parks Library and University Extension.
  • Developing a portal for access to ISU resources.
  • Creating focused IT advisory committees that provide opportunities for faculty, staff, and students to have input on IT issues.
  • Developing a data warehouse that facilitates convenient access to university databases.
  • Continuing upgrades of the campus communications infrastructure, including access to high capacity national research networks.
  • Coordinating and advancing efforts to secure campus IT assets.
  • Assessing classroom IT needs and developing a plan to meet them.
  • Exploring the use of emerging technologies that enhance learning for resident students and students taking courses at a distance.
  • Identifying ways to strengthen the research computing infrastructure.