Information Technology Task Force Report
Executive Summary

In order to accomplish the significant changes necessary to ensure that The University of Vermont continues to grow as a dynamic learning environment, we must substantially reconfigure the ways in which we evaluate, deliver, organize, fund and support information technology across the institution. The Information Technology Task Force therefore recommends the Provost immediately appoint a Chief Learning Information Officer (CLIO), a senior executive reporting directly to the Provost and charged with leading university-wide efforts to coordinate the ongoing integration of information technology into all aspects of university life. The principle responsibilities of this newly created position will be not only the strategic management and budgeting of all University information technology resources, but also the tactical administration of the reallocations and reorganizations necessary to enhance the efficient and effective use of campus information technology. Once in office, the CLIO should be given clear instructions to make significant, measurable, progress during the next two years in accomplishing the following five goals:

In developing these recommendations, we have spent considerable time deliberating how to achieve them. We believe that previous recommendations did not become reality for two reasons: clear lines of responsibility were not identified, and necessary resources were not swiftly or appropriately allocated. We ask that the Provost accept overall responsibility for the University's information technology initiatives and assign the personnel and funding required to accomplish the above goals, reorganizing and/or reallocating existing University resources if necessary.

Despite the University's enormous commitment to information technologies, an estimated $18 million in FY 97, there are significant examples in which practice continues to fall short of promise. Although we have many sophisticated computing capabilities, we are missing important opportunities to enhance our educational environment because we fail to judiciously leverage available information technologies. Several campus committees have struggled with information technology issues; ours is the fifth in seven years. Many good ideas have been presented, but earlier reports have not led to substantial action. For instance, development of new teaching methods is often hampered by connectivity problems; document and data sharing frequently remains cumbersome within departments, and more so between them; professional development in many offices is an ongoing financial struggle; and resource allocations too often remain as departmental rather than campus computing prerogatives.

In charging this task force, Vice President Ray Lavigne asked that we develop tactical plans to realize our vision, a charge that was absent from previous efforts. In addition, President Judith Ramaley has encouraged us to "be bold" and to develop a plan that will be a springboard for better incorporating information technologies into the educational mission of the University. Toward this end, the committee believes that we must aggressively employ emerging technologies to enhance our ability to deliver a high-quality educational experience to our students. The technologies we adopt must provide a platform for innovative teaching, research and scholarship; promote better service and informed decision-making; and foster strong connections throughout our campus community.

Without a doubt, significant changes must be made in the ways we assess, purchase, support, and use information technology. The committee fervently believes that achieving these objectives will bring the University of Vermont closer to realizing its full potential as a land-grant institution committed equally to the excellence of its overall undergraduate experience, graduate education, and research.