UIC’s IT Leadership Looks Forward to an Innovative 2022
Looking Back on 2021 Heading link
Associate Vice Chancellor for Innovation and Chief Information Officer, Matt Riley reflects on how the UIC community dealt with Covid-related challenges in 2021 and how Technology Solutions – the university’s central provider of IT services and support – is contributing to ongoing efforts, also discussing what we expect to see in terms of technology innovation at UIC in 2022.
“The number one thing is that we met every Covid-related challenge in the last year,” Riley says. “Not every university in the country did this well…UIC is one of the best examples of being as flexible as we could have been.”
The current pandemic presents different challenges and changes in processes for everyone in the UIC community. Technology Solutions wants to ensure students, faculty, and staff have access to the technology services and support necessary to excel.
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We set lofty goals and communicated well, and it took everyone on our team working across campus…It was a great outcome and we definitely increased our coordination with other departments to get things done.Associate Vice Chancellor for Innovation and Chief Information Officer|
2021 Heading link
Another achievement in 2021 is Technology Solutions’ impact across campus, Riley says. “It’s a great accomplishment to grow that trust in IT, and puts us in a position where campus leadership is really ready to invest in us…we are one of the few campuses in the country that got investments during this time.”
In 2021, UIC Technology Solutions introduced several new efforts, while continuing successful efforts of the year prior, including:
- Launching the UIC Forward Initiative to upgrade, expand, optimize, and modernize three areas of campus infrastructure and technology: Data Network and Voice Systems, Data Centers and Research Cyberinfrastructure.
- Increasing online safety through the expansion of DUO 2-Factor Authentication
- Expanding live classroom streaming capabilities.
- Continuing the COVID-19 Long-term laptop loan program to support students in need.
- Providing audience-focused web pages dedicated to helping UIC students, faculty and staff learn, teach and work remotely:
- Enhancing UIC Wi-Fi, completing wireless network upgrades in SCE, the library and other places students gather.
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The Technology Solutions team has been a leader in the UI System. Given all the challenges, for us to be able to improve the technology on campus and increase services to students and staff…we are in a great spot to do more, and better.Associate Vice Chancellor for Innovation and Chief Information Officer|
Looking Forward to 2022 Heading link
At a March 22nd IT Town Hall meeting with the IT@UIC Community, Riley spoke about the future of IT at UIC, highlighting several initiatives in moving forward. Goals for the IT department moving forward include becoming less utilitarian and more strategic, efficient, accountable, coordinated and creative; providing the UIC community with a rich, individualized digital experience; and enabling new revenue streams.
UIC’s New IT Strategic Direction
- Focus on students and transform the digital experience at UIC
- Impact institutional priorities with our technology and tell those stories
- Deliver a secure, modern technology infrastructure for all that UIC can and will do
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Our Focus guides how we prioritize and apply our resources while fulfilling our purpose. Our Purpose makes us distinct from other campus organizations. Our Core Values are the principles that we adhere to in all that we do.Associate Vice Chancellor for Innovation and Chief Information Officer|
Q&A with Matt Riley Heading link
What would you say is a recipe for success in the world of IT for education?
Leading conversations about technology, listening and learning from our clients and partners across campus, planning ahead, freely sharing information and project status, and knowing our business both inside the campus and out, as well as being responsive to our clients.
What can we look forward to in 2022 in terms of new or upgraded IT services at UIC?
As our infrastructure is modernized and our processes for operating and supporting technology at UIC matures, we can look forward to more meaningful partnerships with college and administrative units to solve business problems, create better digital experiences for students, and enhance the landscape of opportunities with technology for research.
How will the UIC Community benefit from the Forward Initiative?
In 2022, the Forward Initiative will provide a research high-performance computing refresh including new opportunities for growth and a place for students to learn High Performance Computing (HPC). New data storage opportunities will be provided for research (we never had this), research facilitation for HPC will increase, and UIC will begin to utilize AWS and Azure cloud for research.
A large chunk of network modernization will take place in 2022 with increased performance and resiliency as examples of outcomes, and UIC will begin to utilize cloud-based voice infrastructure with softphones (PC or app-based). UIC will also begin a focus on RRB as an expanded data center for the campus and its future while also utilizing the cloud and Urbana’s NCSA facility.
What is IT leadership’s main goal for IT @ UIC in 2022?
The best university IT outcomes, given the IT spend in the country, best place to work in IT in all of higher education… I always have those in mind, and as we get to a “new normal” of how we work, I think leadership’s goal will be to create inspiring opportunities for achievements in IT that bring people together, help students succeed, and advance our projects and goals.
What, if anything, would you say is unique about the Technology Solutions family of staff?
I love this team for their positive attitude and approach to our work. Our team members always show the highest level of integrity and commitment to UIC – and I see staff genuinely caring about students (especially), faculty, and other staff across the campus and within the system. This team takes on the biggest challenges and rolls with any punches or changes.
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We know at UIC we are working with less resources, so we need to be creative with all the things we do. We need to provide a rich, individualized digital experience for our students especially, and we need to support ideas for new revenue streams that enable technology advancements.Associate Vice Chancellor for Innovation and Chief Information Officer|