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Information Technology

Strategies for Using Technology to Advance the University Strategic Plan

Posted on Thursday, June 17th, 2010

Information technology has become an integral part of academic and administrative life at the University of Northern Iowa. The purpose of these strategies is to establish a framework for each division of the University to plan for themselves how technology can best be used to advance the University’s Strategic Plan. Information Technology Services (ITS) shall provide a central role in coordination, consulting, and support in this effort. The Planning and Policy Committee for Information Technology (PPCIT) is ultimately responsible for maintaining and updating these strategies, recommending special funding requests, and annually monitoring progress in the achievement of the stated goals. The challenge is to integrate and coordinate the efforts of all units to use technology effectively and efficiently to achieve the strategic goals already adopted by and for the benefit of the university community.

The successful implementation of this approach requires the meaningful participation of each unit of the institution. Therefore, it is essential that each division, as well as ITS, develop a technology plan. The plans should model this one (in brevity and format) and be placed on the web for each unit to learn from the plans of each other. Once in place, priorities can be established for deciding on the key technology agenda for each unit which will enable the University to "link the acquisition and utilization of resources to the University budgeting process" (University Strategic Plan Subgoal 3.2.1). Together these documents will constitute the University’s strategy for using technology to advance the goals established in the University’s Strategic Plan. These documents (including this one) shall be visited at least annually by each division and the PPCIT to ensure they do not become out of date.


In the scope of its technology environment, the University values:

  1. which supports the University core values of learning, scholarship, creativity, and service.
  2.  ...a balanced consideration of the importance, impact, and cost (including ongoing) of each potential new application.
  3. ...a preference for standard hardware and software in order to more easily and cost effectively provide support, except when discipline-specific unique applications are deemed essential.  
  4. ...acceptance of change as a necessary part of taking advantage of opportunities afforded by new technology.
  5. ...a web-oriented interface to applications.
  6. ...taking a creative approach whenever possible to technology solutions to see if an alternative could enhance services and offerings above and beyond the expectations of faculty, staff, and students for little or no additional cost.
  7. ...employees learning appropriate technology to maintain and enhance effective job performance.
  8. ...interoperability between campus networks to the greatest, reasonably possible extent to enhance resource sharing as well as improve access and convenience for students.
  9. ...input from the university community, including students, faculty and staff.
  10. ...maintaining the integrity and compatibility of institutional data.


We will be a stronger, more accessible, more diverse, and higher quality institution through the careful and considered application of technology.


The common mission for technology at UNI is to support and advance the academic and administrative programs in each unit, and for the University community as a whole.


Goal Area 1: Maintain and promote an intellectually demanding and stimulating environment for all members of the University community.

  1. The Planning and Policy Committee for Information Technology shall encourage, support, and monitor development of technology planning at the University.
  2. Divisions, as well as ITS, shall develop technology plans for enhancing the effective use of technologies appropriate to their missions and strategic initiatives.
  3. It is the responsibility of each division to decide how best to provide for the faculty and staff development necessary to make appropriate uses of technology.
  4. PPCIT shall rely on ITS as its principal agent in assuring that development of technologies at the divisional level is mutually supportive and focused on the greatest good of the University as a whole.
  5. ITS shall develop and maintain the UNI network backbone while taking into account that functionality of the network be focused on the requirements of the various divisions and university constituencies.
  6. As appropriate and cost-effective, ITS shall explore and implement the multimedia and video capabilities of the campus network.
  7. In collaboration as appropriate with the Controllers Office, ITS shall coordinate the maintenance of an inventory of faculty, staff, and student PCs campus wide (including those owned by individual students).
  8. Divisional units shall work with ITS to regularly evaluate the number of computers and their functionality to develop and maintain an ongoing plan to replace equipment as necessary.
  9. Colleges, working with ITS, shall explore means for making optimal use of student-owned computers (Subgoal 1.1.1).
  10. Rod Library shall continue to enhance its electronic holdings, offerings, infrastructure, and delivery systems as appropriate to the academic needs of students and faculty, on and off campus (Subgoal 1.2).
  11. Continuing Education, collaborating as appropriate with the Colleges and ITS, shall explore technology as one means to "expand educational opportunity and accessibility which complement existing programs" (Subgoal 1.3.6). Rod Library and ITS shall also collaborate as appropriate with Continuing Education to support the delivery of library and computing resources for distance education students.
  12. ITS shall increase computer training opportunities for both on and off campus constituencies.

 Goal Area 2: Promote a sense of community within the University

  1. ITS shall assist Academic Affairs and Educational and Student Services as they develop and maintain a Program of Study system (Subgoal 2.1).
  2. ITS shall assist International Programs in identifying opportunities for using technology to bring international experiences to campus bound students and for UNI educators to deliver instruction abroad (Subgoal 2.2).
  3. ITS shall assist Information Management and Analysis (IMA) in developing a decision support system for the University (Subgoal 2.3.2).
  4. ITS shall assist Human Resource Services and Wellness and Recreation Services, in identifying possibilities for using the University web space to provide employees with information, links, and discussion groups to enhance individual well-being (Subgoal 2.4)
  5. Units providing technology equipment shall work to increase the level and quality of support for students, faculty, and staff with disabilities by improving access to information technologies and resources consistent with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  6. ITS, with input from the campus community, shall explore electronic productivity and communications tools.

Goal Area 3: Manage effectively internal resources and pursue aggressively external resources to support University programs and aspirations

  1. Each division of the University shall explore Business Process Reengineering (BPR) opportunities for using technology to improve management of its business processes, especially as new software is identified and implemented.
  2. ITS and the divisions, in consultation with Administration and Finance, shall develop a financial plan to provide for the continuous replacement and upgrading of technology essential to the University.
  3. The Administrative and Finance Division shall work collaboratively with ITS to identify, acquire, and implement a new Financial / Human Resources System.
  4. In collaboration with the university community, PPCIT shall establish a set of guidelines for providing computing support throughout the university.
  5. ITS shall implement a common interface and information delivery environment for and interface to the various university administrative systems, ensuring they work together in a seamless manner and accommodate anticipated increasing numbers of users.
  6. In collaboration with the university community, ITS shall establish and publish campus hardware and software support standards which include advance notice of the discontinuation of support for former standards.
  7. Complimenting division support efforts, ITS shall provide students, faculty, and staff with appropriate help-line support and training for standard hardware and software.
  8. IMA, collaborating as appropriate with ITS and administrative units shall "establish processes to ensure the timeliness and reliability of all information".
  9. To position the University to benefit from technology, ITS shall explore new technologies and lead a dialogue with other interested campus units.

Goal Area 4: Develop appreciation and support for the values, programs, and services of the University

  1. The Center for Enhancement of Teaching, collaborating as appropriate with divisions, ITS, and Rod Library shall explore how technology can assist in integrating the Qualities of an Educated Person into curricular and co-curricular activities.
  2. Public Relations, collaborating as appropriate with ITS and IMA, shall "examine communication program systems and technology to determine their effectiveness in providing information in a timely manner to both internal and external constituencies" (Subgoal 4.1.2).
  3. Public Relations, collaborating as appropriate with the Office of the Director of External Relations and ITS, shall "examine technologies and other resources to determine their effectiveness in enhancing public awareness of the University of Northern Iowa" (Subgoal 4.1.6).
  4. Public Relations and ITS shall lead in establishing the UNI web as a primary medium for internal and external communications.
Approved by PPCIT as a working document - November 6, 1998