University faculty leaders support IT Strategic Plan

By Johnathan Hettinger

One month after hearing a presentation from the University’s chief information officer, the Urbana-Champaign Senate Executive Committee voted in favor of a resolution in support of the 2013 IT Strategic Plan.

The resolution was written by the Committee on Information Technology, and John Hart, committee chair and SEC member, presented the resolution at the SEC meeting Monday.

Paul Hixson, Chief Information Officer, presented the IT Strategic Plan for 2014 through 2016 in November, highlighting the strides the University has made in information technology but also showing that this is a “critical time” for the University when it comes to investing in technology.

“We are currently underinvesting,” Hixson said at the November meeting.

According to Hixson’s presentation, the University is underinvesting by $7 million in IT and has been the victim of many cyber attacks that disrupt the University’s workflow and harm its reputation.

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The number of average daily wireless users has skyrocketed in the past two years, while infrastructure has only increased slightly, according to the presentation. If the current pace keeps up, the University soon won’t be able to support the number of mobile devices wishing to connect to Wi-Fi, Hixson said.

The resolution said “the strategic plan will make Illinois a leader in online education.” The resolution will be voted on by the full senate at its meeting next Monday.

In addition to the IT resolution, SEC chair Roy Campbell said the senate should pass a resolution regarding pensions after it was announced that state lawmakers reached a deal on pension reform, and the committee decided to have the senate vote on the University Senates Conference’s resolution.

John Kindt, chairman of the Faculty and Academic Staff Benefits Committee, said it is not too late for people to give input regarding pensions to state legislators.

In addition to the pension discussion, Campbell also presented many other ideas he has for the SEC in the upcoming months, mostly housekeeping items, such as not mailing out hard copies of senate materials and increasing technology use by the senate.

Johnathan can be reached at [email protected] and @jhett93.