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Updated 10:00 AM July 27, 2009

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Town hall meetings collect input on future IT structure

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More than 200 campus information technology professionals attended three Stakeholder Town Hall Meetings on June 26 and 29. The participants learned about and discussed the future of IT at U-M.

Feedback will be combined with that of two additional stakeholder town halls, one that was held July 22 and another planned for Aug. 5. U-M staff and faculty who have not attended previous sessions are welcome. Online registration is required.

The departments formerly known as Information Technology Central Services (ITCS), Information Technology Security Services (ITSS), and Michigan Administrative Information Services (MAIS) comprise the new IT organization.

Attendees at the first two sessions stressed a range of wants and needs, shortfalls, and successes. From calls for single e-mail systems to worries regarding continuing services, participants shared much information. The data will be useful in the planning and development of the new organization.

Laura Patterson, associate vice president, hosted the meetings. Topics included the case for change and future vision of IT. Her opening address outlined the plan and purpose.

"The impact of technology on teaching and learning is forcing us to make major changes on campus," she said. "We now have a chance to cut out redundancies, contain costs, and reinvest in new services on campus. We have an opportunity to catch up in some areas where we have fallen behind."

In addition to reinvestment and collaboration, Patterson noted the importance of innovation and adaptation to new IT and its services. She stressed the "building block" creation of an adaptable organization that responds quickly to campus needs. It must also allow for learning and discovery.

The current trends impacting higher education — such as the economic crisis — demand a flexible new IT organization. Such plans require frequent stakeholder input, experience, and expertise.

Patterson's request: "We're looking for direction from you, the stakeholders of university IT. We want your input on how we can better use technology, and what our faculty, researchers, and students need in five years to become a stronger university."

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