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Innovation in Research & Tech Discussed at 2023 IT Community Conference


Some 300 IT community members at every level and from across the university attended the 2023 UIC IT Community Conference (ITCC) to learn, collaborate, and network with colleagues.

The first ITCC held after a pause due to Covid-19 restrictions over the past two years, this year’s event was held on Tuesday, March 21, 2023 from 9:00 a.m. to 3 p.m, the ITCC’s theme was “Innovate.Advance.Discover.” and showcased tech-related innovation and collaboration at UIC.

To me the best thing about participating in ITCC is that we get to connect and reconnect with the folk that we support and collaborate with on a regular basis but don’t have the opportunity to just sit and talk with and get to know better.

Esteban Perez  |  Technology Solutions Director of Information Security,
Matt Riley gives speech at ITCC

The event commenced with breakfast and an introduction by UIC Associate Vice Chancellor for Innovation and Chief Information Officer Matt Riley.

“UIC’s IT Community Conference truly shows the interest that the UIC IT community has in teaming up learning from each other.  That interest from everyone in learning and sharing with each other is, in my opinion, the special and unique trait of IT at UIC,” Riley said.

Keynote speaker was Leo Zhadanovsky, Chief Technologist of Education in the Worldwide Public Sector at Amazon Web Services. He spoke about global trends around digital transformation, edge computing and adopting innovative cloud services to leverage technology.

“The new normal is really that there is no normal,” he said. “There is always going to be new things popping up and you have the infrastructure to adapt to whatever it us your users are trying to do,” Zhadanovsky said.



ITCC Presentation

Among topics discussed at Breakout Sessions throughout the day were next generation data analytics, achieving business outcomes through program management, understanding the life of a researcher, and women in IT.

“Women continue to make up only a quarter of the technology workforce, and a mere 24% of C-suite positions,” said Technology Solutions Project Manager Roni Rivera. “This must change. There should be more targeted outreach to women to see themselves as having a place in tech, and so I’ve started reaching out to UIC student organizations who might be interested in hearing this talk. The tech industry needs us.”

We wanted to be out there with a goal to set a new direction for software development at UIC, and we could not have asked for a better platform to do that. We received a very positive response to our presentation.

Vishaka Patangay  |  Technology Solutions Assistant Director for Software Development

State of the Network Heading link

Jelene Crehan, Director, Network Engineering and Infrastructure

The Network Engineering and Infrastructure team is responsible for the campus’ network engineering and infrastructure functions including data center, networking, wired and wireless connectivity, telephones, emergency communications, and many more services.

Jelene Crehan, Director, Network Engineering and Infrastructure, provided an update on the State of the Network and several projects including:

  • Network Connectivity Modernization Update
    Modernization of network connections at several facilities including Richard J. Daley Library, Incubator Lab facility, Library of Health Sciences, and Clinical Services Building
  • Startel Upgrade
    Completed full upgrade of the entire Startel system, the system used by university police.
  • Announcing Zoom Voice
    The campus is upgrading to Zoom Voice soon.
  • And more!

Understanding the Life of a Researcher Heading link

ITCC presentation

Chief Research Information Officer Andrew Boyd and Associate CIO for Research Technology and Innovation Himanshu Sharma gave a presentation on understanding the life of a researcher. Topics they discussed included:

  • Journey of a student to faculty
  • From assistant professor to full professor
  • Deadlines for a researcher
  • Promotion and tenure
  • Where does technology fit in here?
  • And more!

Women in IT Heading link

ITCC Women in IT Presentation

During this session, Technology Solutions Project Manager Roni Rivera moderated a panel of senior women leaders in technology at UIC, who shared their journeys and lessons learned as they navigated their careers to achieve their current levels within the organization. Topics discussed included:

  • Promote diversity and inclusion in the workspace
  • Advice for other women aspiring to join IT Leadership positions
  • Significant IT industry changes and how to adopt to them
  • Balancing work and personal life as an IT leader
  • Fostering innovation and creativity in your team
  • And more!

Other ITCC Breakout Sessions included: Heading link

ITCC attendees
  • So you have a mobile app idea?
  • Using OneNote to Get & Stay Organized
  • Maximizing Blackboard Storage Using Panopto
  • New Kid on The Block: UIC ICT Accessibility Policy and the Exception Review Process
  • Achieving Business Outcomes Though Program Management – Insights From Technology Solutions
  • Getting Started with Blackboard Ultra
  • Research Data: Striking a Balance between Sharing and Protecting
  • Exploring the Use of ChatGPT at University of Illinois Chicago: Practical Strategies for Teaching and Learning
  • Applying an Agile Mindset to Complex Projects

Access all ITCC Presentations

As we collectively continue to deploy and support more technology than ever at UIC, I look forward to future IT Community Conferences filled with amazing stories of IT across the institution, quality content, vendor interactions, and great food.  This is only going to get better!

Matt Riley  |  Associate Vice Chancellor for Innovation and Chief Information Officer