Craig Fowler

In this semester’s CIO perspective, I’d like to update you on two items: 1) the establishment of the IT governance and prioritization process and 2) some organizational updates that have occurred in IT.

1. IT Governance and Prioritization Process
In recognition of the critical role that constituents play in the effective and efficient operation of IT services at Western Carolina University, in August the Executive Council approved a governance structure to ensure that information technology policies, standards and priorities mirror the needs of faculty, staff and students in supporting the mission of the university. The overall structure is shown in the following diagram:


NB: The IT Council and advisory committees have faculty representation; both the IT Council and the Academic Technology Advisory Committee have a student representative.

Through IT’s newly established Department of Academic Engagement and IT Governance, the governance process will function so that there is in essence an “on-going discussion” with key stakeholders with respect to input, topics, needs, priorities and analysis, which will occur not only within the governance meeting structure. The result will be greater dialogue and understanding regarding needs and priorities for university IT efforts to improve the student learning experience, enhance decision making and advance overall administration efficiency and effectiveness. All requests will be analyzed for their relationship to the mission and strategic directions of the university as well as for total cost of operations. IT seeks to create a transparent governance process with all governance meetings open to the campus community, meeting dates posted on the IT website (, and meeting minutes available for review.

We are currently in the process of receiving appointments to the advisory committees and IT Council. The expectation is for these groups to begin meeting in the October-to-November timeframe. As you can understand, this is a new process and a lot of effort is going into getting it started and operational. More information will be forthcoming via campus communications and in the IT Weekly Update.

2. IT Organization Update
There have been several changes within the IT organization over the past few months. The goal of each of these changes is to enhance our alignment with the university’s objectives and improve our IT processes:

  • Launch of the Department of Academic Engagement and IT Governance. This department is responsible for working with the colleges on their technology needs, instructional and student computing, service agreements, IT communications and the implementation and oversight of the IT governance and prioritization process. Two academic technology analyst roles have been established, via restructuring positions, to work with colleges on technology needs, plans and potential solutions.
  • Merging of systems and operations with campus computing. This establishes one department for non-network infrastructure operations and engineering.
  • Merging of the desktop and hardware services teams within campus computing with the goal of streamlining desktop support processes.
  • Merging of web services with the applications and data management department to enhance the linkages between the groups.
  • Moving of Blackboard administration to the applications and data management department. This recognizes the enterprise importance of Blackboard and its growth at WCU beyond learning management.
  • Establishment of a Quality Management role, via restructuring positions, within our systems and operations department to provide additional focus and priority on measuring the performance of services and analysis of incidents to root cause resolution, and
  • In support of the QEP, establishment of an eBriefcase support position for students in the Technology Commons.

I hope you enjoy this edition of DoIT News. You will find many interesting articles in this edition, including:

As always, we appreciate your feedback.

Craig A. Fowler, CIO

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