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Washington State University

Office of the PResident

Elson S. Floyd, Ph.D. - 8/17/10

Examining IT Services

 

First, I would like to thank everyone who participated in the meetings yesterday regarding the university reorganization plan. These are indeed difficult times, requiring tough decisions. However, our ability to continue to move the university forward depends on the ability of every one of us to adapt, to grow, to embrace change.

The spirit I have seen and the comments I have received since the reorganization plan was announced make me more confident of what lies ahead.

At Monday’s open forum, I mentioned another aspect of reorganization, this one regarding information technology. I would like to take this opportunity to provide more details about this initiative.

Sunday, I sent an email to the WSU administrative team regarding the delivery of IT services. Over time, our approach—similar to that of most universities—has moved toward decentralization, with departments and units developing IT expertise to meet their own needs.

In many cases, this approach is warranted, especially in units where the IT challenges are highly specialized. However, as we seek economies of scale across the university, we must not overlook any such opportunities in the IT area.

Pooling resources and sharing personnel across units may allow us to continue to provide effective, timely IT support and to protect jobs despite a difficult economic environment.

I have asked Provost and Executive Vice President Warwick Bayly and Vice President for Business and Finance Roger Patterson to co-chair a committee to review IT services around the university and to present a plan for the integration of services, as appropriate, by October 15, 2010.

I expect that they will look broadly at the possibilities of service integration; I have included web services and other creative media in their charge. Because of the unique and special mission of the College of Veterinary Medicine and its hospital, I am excluding these units from the analysis at this time.

Also, at this point, we are focusing this effort on the Pullman campus, with the very real possibility that lessons we learn here might be applicable more broadly across the university. 

On this, as with so many issues facing WSU, we must re-examine how we do things and be ready to adopt more cost-effective ways to maintain existing services.

As the committee is assembled and embarks upon its work, I hope everyone in the university community who has insights regarding IT service delivery will share them with Warwick, Roger, and other committee members.

Thank you in advance for the help that I am certain this committee will receive and for your continued efforts on behalf of our university.