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Fast Forward

For ten years, the university technology directional focus and priorities have been guided by a succession of multi-year strategic plans. Since the creation of the last strategic plan in 2007, much has changed.

Executive summary

This is an IT plan substantially created by technology users, not providers. Six cross-university planning committees comprised of faculty and staff met in the fall of 2011 to identify strategies for using technology in more effective and innovative ways. The committees’ work explored the role of technology in all dimensions of the university’s strategy including research, student success, internationalization, community engagement, services, and assessment.

The resulting plan recommends the university implement five core IT strategies by 2015.

  • Deliver pre-positioned, scalable and integrated computing services to enable “big data” driven research, enhance research collaboration and encourage faculty to explore research and scholarship avenues.
  • Apply technology in an innovative manner to enhance student success in face-to-face, hybrid and online courses.
  • Use technology to expand the university boundaries, facilitate the discovery and usage of digital content, and engage the local and global communities.
  • Optimize the ability to deliver efficient, well-integrated services to students, faculty and staff anywhere and at any time.
  • Implement and expand platforms and tools for analysis to decentralize access to data, support effective, data-driven decision-making and promote assessment.

These five core strategies were developed to align with the four primary goals of the university strategic plan, Forward Thinking.

Each IT strategy is comprised of multiple initiatives discussed in detail in section III. Implementing the core IT strategies and related initiatives will achieve several important outcomes:

  • Faculty will have access to research computing capacity and services that are plentiful, cost-effective, secure, and easily discoverable.
    • New avenues of research and new research collaborations will be enabled and faculty will adopt research computing capabilities and services.
    • The time and effort required for new faculty to have their research “up and running” will be reduced.
  • Data and analysis tools will be widely distributed to management centers and administrative units.
    • Advanced analytical capabilities will be deployed to improve our understanding of strategic issues including retention, learning outcomes, and research activity.
  • Students and faculty will have the support needed to discover and adopt new learning technologies and the ability to utilize advanced learning spaces to improve student success.
    • While at Case Western Reserve, students will have access to the technologies required to prepare them for a successful career.
    • After leaving the university, students will be informed, ethical, lifelong learners.
  • The boundaries of the university will be extended locally and internationally.
    • Meaningful engagement with the local community will be supported through technology.
    • Faculty and students living and working around the world will have easy access to university content, services, and events.
  • Faculty and students will have access to logically organized and integrated services. Services will be more cost-effective, available online, and around the clock.
  • The Information Technology Services (ITS) department and the university’s distributed technology staff will provide optimally organized and integrated services.

IT staff members can increasingly focus on consultation and support for faculty, students and staff.

To support these strategies and objectives, ITS will concentrate its efforts on three supporting initiatives. Achieving the goals of each initiative will contribute to the success of the overall core IT strategy and therefore accelerate and magnify the benefits of the IT plan (Section IV).

  • To promote the research enterprise, commitment to service excellence, and decision-support, the first initiative is to create a “center of excellence” for university-wide data stewardship (collection, curation, analysis, and reporting). Rather than create a discrete data initiative for one of the university’s traditional silos, the concept is to build on the strength of existing data space partnerships to develop a core facility that will advance the three branches of research, service, and decision-support under senior leadership.
  • To promote student success, commitment to service excellence, and decision-support, the second initiative is to leverage existing cross-divisional and multi stakeholder interests to enhance the student experience. Viewed from a ‘life cycle’ perspective, the goal of this initiative will be to architect a comprehensive and integrated systems approach to sustaining student success at Case Western Reserve, offering students more direct control over their educational experience.
  • The ITS organization will build and support a nationally recognized model for university outreach efforts throughout Northeast Ohio and around the globe to facilitate broad dialogue, collaboration, advancing research, discovery, and human ingenuity.

The university IT governance structure will sponsor implementation of the IT strategic plan, oversee annual prioritization of individual initiatives and review measures of progress. An assessment strategy, a multi-year implementation budget and an initial set of implementation priorities will be developed in the early months after the plan is adopted.