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Office of the Vice President and Chief Information Officer

Photo of Larry Gilbert, CIO

Sacramento State created the Chief Information Officer (CIO) position in March, 2007, and formally created the new Information Resources & Technology division under the CIO in August, 2007. Cabinet status and the title of Vice President were added to the position in July, 2007. These steps were taken due to the fact that the California State University system sees information technology as a critical resource for higher education, woven throughout the fabric of both system and campus priorities. The CSU study, IT Strategic Planning in the CSU: A Study of Best Practices reflects this view in the statement:

"IT planning should be an integral part of the institutional planning process. IT can and should be a transformative element that supports campus strategic priorities and initiatives."

The role of the Vice President and CIO is to work with the President, Cabinet members, faculty, staff, and students to ensure that information technology is used as an institutional resource focused on support of key strategic initiatives for the campus. Of major importance is the strategic shift away from a primary focus on IT infrastructure, CMS implementation, and technology for its own sake to a focus on processes that support:

"... academic transformation, i.e. using technology to create efficiencies in instructional delivery, improve student outcomes, while freeing faculty from more mundane administrative tasks to concentrate on scholarship."

This shift towards support of the primary academic mission of the campus is reflected in the creation of the Academic Computing Resources unit (ACR) within IRT in August, 2007 – the largest unit in the division. This unit focuses on support of faculty and student use of technology, giving this group a clear focus on customer service and client support. ACRprovides classroom support of all types to both faculty and students, manages the comprehensive campus-wide Help Desk, operates the enterprise WebCT system, operates email systems for all students and many staff members, and is in the process of developing both a student web portal and enhanced computer hardware/software services. ACR works closely with both students and faculty to ensure alignment of all services with key teaching and learning needs.

The campus has spent several years implementing a transition from legacy financial, student, and human resources information systems to the new PeopleSoft CMS system used throughout the CSU. It’s an understatement to say that this transition has not been without pain. However, the CMS transition is in fact nearly complete - and it's time to move on to use the far more capable information technology now available to improve our daily lives. Also in August, 2007, the formerCMSCCMS, and BIS services were joined together under the CIO to form Administrative Computing Services within the Information Resources & Technology division. ACS also has a strong client service focus, concentrating on support of essential campus budget, finance, student services, and human resources business processes. At the same time, ACSfocuses all its activities on ensuring that academic business processes flow smoothly (e.g. advising, financial aid, grading). In addition, ACS is in the process of forming a Data Warehouse and Database unit that promises to vastly improve reporting and business analytics for enrollment, finance and other strategic processes.

Information security and accessible technology are two critical areas of modern information technology that also represent mandates from both the state and federal levels. IRT has identified leaders for both functions in the form of an Information Security Officer (ISO) and a Coordinator of the Accessible Technology Initiative. The ISO is busy planning to protect the privacy of your information on campus, while the ATI Coordinator is beginning a large-scale implementation of accessibility improvements for websites, instructional materials, and IT procurement.

IT infrastructure issues have hardly been forgotten in the shift toward academic transformation. Rather, that infrastructure has turned into a utility that we simply assume will be available to us on a daily, and even hourly, basis. The Network & Telecommunications Services and Operations & System Services groups within IRT keep that IT infrastructure operating as reliably as our light switches at home. They operate the telephone, voice mail, network, server, and storage systems that we almost take for granted in our daily work lives. Two increasingly important strategic areas of IT are also handled by these two groups - identity management (i.e. assuring those using our networks are who they say they are) and emergency messaging.

Information Resources and Technology will be developing a comprehensive strategic plan for information technology at Sacramento State during the spring, 2008 semester. Although the primary work will be overseen by the IT Steering Committee and Academic/Administrative advisory committees, input and feedback will be sought from all quarters of the campus. We welcome your input and look forward to working with you to implement the new Sacramento State Strategic Plan.