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One thing I am thinking about a lot these days is how to communicate more regularly here at this site. One easy way to do that is to share my thoughts on some of the recent initiatives happening around ITS. I doubt I will do this every month, but lots of things have been happening over the last six weeks, so I thought a round-up was in order.

As hopefully everyone knows, we’ve been conducting searches for new leadership positions, which we announced as part of a significant reorganization last month. I’m thrilled to have now hired two of those new leaders, both of which are new positions for ITS: Dr. Spencer R. Pruitt as the associate vice president for research computing and Marcus P. Robinson as the associate vice president for engagement and experience. Both Spencer and Marcus will bring a ton of energy, passion, and fresh ideas to ITS. I am excited for them to arrive over the course of the next few weeks and start working with our staff on our strategic vision for the organization. Our search for the CTO position continues, and I’m confident we will be able to hire an accomplished leader for this position as well. 

In my last Office Hours I held for ITS staff using Microsoft Teams, innovation was a theme that threaded through our conversation. Those staff members who dropped in to chat had some outstanding ideas, and one of the key takeaways from them was that we need to develop some mechanisms to better enable them to take action on their ideas. I encourage exploration, even if it’s outside of our daily tasks. For this reason, we’ve added a new innovation task code so that our staff can track it on their time sheets. The conversation reminded me of the “Hot Team” concept that I’ve written about before and implemented at other institutions. I’m thinking that it may be a good idea to bring it back to ITS.

Speaking of innovation, there’s a ton of it happening on the student level as well. I’d like to help harness that and get ITS involved. I love hearing pitches from students about really smart ideas. Some of these ideas I can imagine filling real needs at ITS, the University, and beyond. We’ll be exploring more ways to tap into the student body and to build new networks for developing great technology, and even better solutions, for our customers. We’ve been exploring ways to help our students with technology, mentorship, and advice … stay tuned on this front!

Keep up the great work.