Recommendation 9: IT Governance

The University of Maryland should develop advisory and communication structures to ensure the continued involvement of the university community in the implementation of strategic recommendations and actions presented in this plan, to support the ongoing operation of information technology resources delivered to the university community, and to improve the flow of information between the central IT organization and the university community in all its forms (faculty members, students, IT providers, staff, and administrators).

Action Item 9.1 - University Senate Recommendation for Enhanced IT Governance (9.1a) and New Structures Will Be Created to Serve as a Decision Making and Guidance Body (9.1b)

The university community must be involved as a full-fledged partner with both authority and responsibility in the development and implementation of IT strategies and service directions taken at UMD. A long-term role for the task forces that developed this plan should evolve into a formal governance structure for IT grounded in faculty, staff, and student involvement and integrated with other forms of shared governance at UMD.

IT governance is an ongoing critical success factor for the university. Past governance structures, while effective in some ways, failed to broadly engage the campus community in determining long-term directions for IT enablement and facilitating open and productive communications between central IT, distributed IT support, and the users of IT. The model employed for the development of this strategic plan should serve as a new beginning and starting point for the development of a new model of engagement. The Division of IT, due to the unique role that information technology plays in enabling nearly every function of the university, must have a broad-based and multi-tiered governance structure in order to be effective. Likewise, the diverse aspects of the university community must be engaged in charting IT directions and not simply expect the Division of IT to perform in an isolated manner. The Vice President of IT should work with the community, bringing examples of successful IT governance structures from around the nation and globe, and construct a model that includes faculty governance engagement, student governance engagement, administrative function engagement, and executive leadership.

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Implementation Strategy

The University Senate will be engaged to provide a recommendation for enhanced IT governance at UMD. From this recommendation, new structures will be put in place with Division of IT as the moderator for the groups' ongoing activities. These new structures will serve to be more of a decision making and guidance body than any centralized body has done in the past, so that continual campus input, which began with the development of the IT strategic plan, can drive IT at UMD in a direction aligned with the user community.

Update March 2014

In Fall 2013, a new IT governance structure for the university began meeting. It is made up of four working groups who will help focus IT initiatives related to learning technology, research, infrastructure and enterprise systems. The working groups were formed by mandate of the University Senate with the help of the Division of IT and are made up of a cross-section of students, faculty, and staff.

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Action Item 9.2 - Activity Based Costing

In conjunction with Action Item 2.4, the Division of IT should initiate and manage by a program of Activity Based Costing related to its service catalog. This effort should be coupled with a user satisfaction survey so that cost and quality of services can be illustrated and management decisions regarding funding and program enhancements can be informed by detailed tactical metrics.

To the university community, the costs for services and infrastructure provided by Division of IT for the benefit of the entire institution have been, to date, veiled and mysterious. Members of the IT strategic planning task forces found the process of engagement enlightening in terms of their understanding of the broader roles and function of the Division of IT. However, this process limited that exposure to only a handful of members of the campus community and did not provide sufficient detail. A unit the size of the Division of IT will certainly benefit from a more detailed analysis of its underlying cost structure (for services) and the sharing of that information broadly throughout its own organization and across the community of its users/customers. The community will benefit by having a better and richer understanding of both the cost and broadly perceived value of Division of IT services, and this will help better inform the advice and direction the community provides to the central IT organization. Such a program should feature not only significant detail of costs and quality assessments, but open access to that information by the community at large. This effort will be an adjunct to AI 2.4.

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Implementation Strategy

Concurrent with development of its service catalog (Action Item 2.4), an organizational taxonomy of all services/operational activities provided by the division will be created and comprehensively catalogued. In conjunction with Action Item 7.6, we will first determine if these activities are in alignment with the current strategic roadmap and will therefore continue. If not, decommissioning those services/systems will be evaluated. Those that will continue will be catalogued and broken down to their most fundamental components for incorporation into the division's Activity Based Costing (ABC) analysis framework. Concurrent with this work to determine current service/system alignment and disaggregation to lowest level component activities, the framework for the division's ABC will be developed, which will determine the most efficient and effective means to capture resource costs for each activity, how to rate satisfaction for each, and put in place the structure for evaluating the data in the context of budget development.

Update March 2014

No progress to date.

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Action Item 9.3 - Formation of a Research Advisory Council (9.3a) and Create Strategic Plan for Research Computing (9.3b)

Specifically relating to scholarly enablement, an executive steering committee should be formed to be responsible for the implementation of strategic plan actions related to scholarly enablement. The committee should include the Dean of Undergraduate Studies, the Dean of the Graduate School, the Dean of Libraries, an appropriate rep from the Office of the Provost, and an appropriate representative from the Division of IT.

A similar structure should be developed to coordinate and steer activities related to the implementation of strategic plan elements relating to research enablement.

The structure of the new governance model must acknowledge the role of academic leadership - innovations in teaching come from teachers, innovations in research from researchers - and it must include not only the Division of IT and the Center for Teaching Excellence but also the University Libraries, the iSchool, the Instructional Television Network, the colleges, and other contributors. While these existing organizations will be included, we should also not be inhibited by structures that we have had before or that are in place now. Scholarly enablement in the 21st century requires that we develop new cross-institutional and multi-disciplinary structures to provide a strategic perspective as to how to effectively provide support for faculty development, classroom design, and student engagement in learning and technology. These new governance structures will include responsibility for the implementation of the recommendations and action items pertaining to scholarly and research enablement found in this plan.

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Implementation Strategy

A research advisory council should be formed for governance and the creation of a strategic plan to place the University Of Maryland at the forefront of research computing. This plan should be multi-disciplinary and provide support to faculty research engagement for researchers and students and enable scientific discovery. The plan should include a comprehensive support model for research computing, an organization to provide that support, and a multi-year plan to constantly improve the physical and human assets needed to move to the forefront of research computing.

Update March 2014

The Research Steering Committee related to the strategic plan has been formed and has had its first meeting. The Allocation Committee determines operational policy and time allocation for use on Deepthought and Deepthought2. See www.it.umd.edu/hpcc. The Campus Visualization Partnership is steering activities related to the use of visualization on campus. See viz.umd.edu.

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Action Item 9.4 - Faculty Liaison

The Vice President of IT should place within his senior staff the role of a faculty liaison designed to help the Division of IT leadership to more effectively communicate and interact with the faculty of the University of Maryland. Whether this liaison role is filled by a single individual or a small group of complimentary individuals is a matter for the vice president to determine.

Given that the current Vice President of IT is not a faculty member himself - and that future incumbents in the position may also be "professional CIOs" or faculty removed from active academic roles - and given that the organization itself is not usually populated by experienced members of "the academy," having an on-staff resource who does provide solid interface with the faculty on a daily basis will have value not only to the continued success of operational and tactical activities of the Division of IT, but also in its interface with a future IT governance structure more tightly integrated with the faculty. A part-time faculty liaison reporting to the Vice President of IT and interacting as a member of his leadership team (with Deputy CIOs and officers of the Office of the Vice President of IT) can do everything to improve communication with the faculty (i.e., an ombudsman-like role) and also ensure that as new services or elements of IT enablement are rolled out they have been vetted at the earliest stages with a representative of the faculty. This position is not IT governance in its intent - it is much more operational. And whether it is best filled by a single individual or a cadre of faculty providing a broader view of the diverse roles of faculty on campus (teachers, researchers, etc.) can be a decision left to the Vice President of IT based upon the skills and attributes of potential liaison candidates. The liaison should be respected broadly by the faculty, and finding the appropriate individual can be a process informed by leaders in the University Senate, as well as the deans, department chairs, and key IT-centric faculty members across campus. It is recommended that while the role is formal, the process to select the liaison should not be too formal. Also, the term of appointment should be flexible and should be left to the individual liaison and the Vice President of IT.

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Implementation Strategy

The Vice President of IT will continue to search out willing and able candidates to serve in this crucial role. When an appropriate candidate(s) has been identified and engaged, the mechanics of a semi-formal or formal appointment will be worked out. The Vice President of IT will develop a plan of action for this liaison(s), which will be complimentary and advisory to the other partnerships including new IT governance, to keep the needs of the campus community at the fore.

Update March 2014

No progress to date.

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