In February of 2012, ITS senior leadership met with Harlow Cohen from the Weatherhead School of Management’s Positive Organizational Development program for a two-day retreat. The objective of the retreat was to consider the major IT strategic planning themes. In particular, the goal was to challenge ITS leadership to articulate two or three ‘strategic’ arcs of activity that would, if successful, provide the university with a distinctive and value-added set of accomplishments at the end of the three year strategic plan period.
On behalf of the research enterprise, commitment to service excellence, and decision-support; the first initiative is to create a “center of excellence” to promote university-wide data stewardship (collection, curation, analysis, and reporting). Rather than a discrete data initiative for one or more of the university’s traditional silos, the concept is to build on the strength of existing partnerships in the data space and develop a core facility that would sponsor research, service, and decision-support under senior leadership. Three years from now, the Case Western Reserve Data Coordination Center would be a national model of integrated data stewardship measured by number of research projects, number of open data sets, number of courses using the center facilities and customer satisfaction surveys.
To promote student success, the commitment to service excellence, and decision-support, ITS will leverage existing cross-divisional and multi-stakeholder interest in student success. Viewed from the perspective of a ‘life cycle’ approach, the goal of this initiative will be to architect a comprehensive and integrated systems approach to the student experience at Case Western Reserve. Together with key milestone activities associated with recruitment, on-boarding, first year experience (for undergraduates), advising, mentoring, residential life, internships, graduation and alumni status; the overall relationship management platform will take a specific and forward looking view of the learning environment of current and future students. In particular, development of a personal learning ecosystem (the Case Western Reserve way) will leverage traditional residential and premise based learning environments with just-in-time, online, and recommender systems to help students with learning objectives and demonstration of learning outcomes. This learning-centric system offers students more direct control over their educational experience. The resulting ecosystem for personal learning will position the university with a distinct and integrated approach to increasing student success and offering a differentiated position in the marketplace.
Campus boundaries are expanding and becoming more porous. Commitments to experiential learning and community-based research are only two of the many drivers behind the growing engagement efforts underway at great research universities, including Case Western Reserve. The long standing mote and culture of detachment from the physical neighborhoods around the university are giving way to community partnerships that join the work of great research universities and the priorities of the neighborhood residents. Case Western Reserve will build on the strength of its pioneering work in leveraging technology and telecommunications infrastructure to advance the education and research of its faculty and students and further the success of its surrounding neighborhoods. The university co-created the award winning community network known as OneCommunity in 2003, a model for collaborative engagement in building out avant-garde infrastructure and connections for people and institutions. The university was also a co- founder of Gig.U, the University Community Next Generation Innovation Project, in 2011. By 2015, ITS will support and build a nationally recognized model for university outreach efforts both in Northeast Ohio and around the globe promoting broad dialogue and collaboration while advancing research, discovery and human ingenuity.
Supporting the IT strategic plan, in all its dimensions, is a commitment to continuing the process of re-inventing the ITS division to support the university mission. In particular, ITS will look to align the organization to advance the research, teaching, and service missions of the university. Building on the preliminary work of re-orienting the organization towards a more agile, customer-centered, and project-based pool of talented professionals, ITS will continue its commitment to attracting and retaining great talent that embraces the mission of the organization, remains committed to its values, and is dedicated to the success of all of the faculty, student, staff, and friends of the university.