Promoting Academic Excellence at UNL

Results of UNL's Campus Information Technology Services Survey

University of Nebraska - Lincoln

June 30, 2009

Executive Summary

Details of IT Survey

As part of a comprehensive review of campus information technology services, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln administration distributed open-ended surveys to campus stakeholder groups to assess opinions about information technology services. The survey was based on recommendations from The Advisory Board Company, a Washington, D.C. based firm providing research and consulting services to a number of research universities, including UNL, and a position paper prepared by the Faculty Senate's Computational Facilities and Services Committee.

Some 31 stakeholder groups and eight individuals responded to the survey in Fall 2008. Those queried were asked to list and rank up to 10 responses for each question:

  1. Identify information technology needs that UNL will require in the next five years to support the university's undergraduate and research priorities. This query can best be described by the word Need.
  2. Identify information technology services that might best be offered centrally. This query is described by the word Centralize.
  3. Suggest information technology services that might best be outsourced. This query is described by the word Outsource.
  4. Suggest information technology services that are currently handled centrally, eliminated or handled at the unit level. This query is described by the words Decentralize or Eliminate.

Groups were asked to provide consensus responses; however, individual members of each group could offer additional comments if they believed the group response did not adequately express their views.

The responses to the survey were collected into a database reviewed by Gary Aerts, Interim Associate Vice Chancellor and Director of Information Services; Bill Nunez, Director of Institutional Research and Planning; and Ron Roeber, Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. This team also received consultancy assistance from The Gartner Group.

Data were analyzed and placed into three overarching themes:
  1. User access to and experience with campus information technology services;
  2. Organization of campus information technology services and infrastructure;
  3. Information technology services in direct support of the campus missions.

Some items and observations were frequently mentioned by a significant number of the responding groups. Generally speaking, on the UNL campus the following sentiments prevail:

  • There is support for central coordination of data storage, distribution, and security.
  • There is a preference for decentralized end-user support with local technicians getting higher-level support from a central group of experts.
  • There is a concern that on-line services are not coordinated and some are poorly designed. Users would benefit from more consistency in the user interface of these services with a focus on user experience.
  • The future of research includes a greater role for simulations and modeling. The campus should invest and organize technologies in support of research computing on campus.
  • There is support for a central role in coordinating, testing and applying innovative applications in teaching and learning.
  • Many people on campus are confused about what information technology services are available and where to find them.

The following constituency groups participated in the survey:

  • ASUN
  • Faculty Senate
  • Executive Committee
  • Computational Services and Facilities Committee
Vice Chancellors
  • Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
  • Vice Chancellor for Business & Finance
  • IANR Vice Chancellor's Council
  • Arts & Sciences
  • Education & Human Sciences
  • Law
  • University Libraries
  • Graduate Studies
  • Undergraduate Studies
  • Veterinary & Biomedical Sciences
  • Computer Science & Engineering
Standing Committees
  • IS Executive Committee
  • General Purpose Classroom Committee
  • Research Council
  • Academic Planning Committee (APC)
  • Instructional Technology Advisory Committee
  • Web Advisory Committee
  • IANR Deans & Directors
  • PEARL Advisory Committee
Campus Units
  • Information Services
  • Extended Education & Outreach
  • Undergraduate Admissions
  • Campus Recreation
  • Public Policy Center
  • International Affairs
  • University of Nebraska Press
  • Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture

The findings from the survey will be useful to the newly appointed Chief Information Officer (CIO) and help the campus make decisions regarding Information Technology in the short and long term.

See details about this IT survey.