Friday, December 4, 2015

New horizons

It is with mixed emotion that I announce I am leaving the University of Minnesota system.

I have been part of the University of Minnesota for a long time. I joined the University in 1998, managing the web production team in the Office of Information's recently formed "Web Team." In Web, we created the University's first web registration for the new PeopleSoft Student system. We also created an electronic portfolio system that allowed students to share their work with companies that might want to hire them (the system was named simply "Portfolio," then "e-Portfolio," then later "Open Source Portfolio Initiative" as it was released under a collaborative open source license). And we unified the web "front door" for students to access their account information; the "OneStop" concept provided a single view for course information, class schedule, web registration, update personal information, fees, and graduation plans.

Over time, I took on larger responsibilities at the University of Minnesota. As a manager in OIT's Central Computing Operations, I unified several enterprise systems administrations teams. Under this initiative, I worked with my Windows team to simplify our customer support, providing a sort of "menu" of hosting services that later grew into the Virtual Hosting service many colleges and system campuses continue to rely on. Later, as Senior Manager for Enterprise Operations and Infrastructure, I consolidated all of OIT's enterprise systems administrations teams under a single organization. And I created new initiatives such as enterprise Web Hosting and enterprise Database Hosting and enterprise Server Hosting that lowered costs and enhanced services across the University.

In 2010, I stepped into a new role as Campus IT Director at the University of Minnesota Morris. This was a major change for me; rather than supporting all of the University's 65,000+ systemwide students, I focused on just the Morris campus. The trade-off was I got to work more closely with the campus. Every day, I engage with faculty and students, something I was unable to do while working in the enterprise IT unit.

Morris didn't have someone in my role for the three years prior to my arrival. My first challenge was clearing an IT audit delivered in 2007, resolving most issues in the first three months, and demonstrating resolution (and closing) all issues within six months. Together, we transitioned the campus from a legacy email and calendaring system to Google Apps for Education, and migrated our desktops to a new Active Directory implementation. And I led a team to create our first long-range IT strategy, which we continue to maintain and use as a guide for technology projects.

Technology at Morris isn't unified under a single director; I work in partnership with two of my peers as Technology Partners. Our accomplishments are too numerous to list here. Together we have lowered costs and simplified technology maintenance at Morris. We also leverage more technology services available via Cloud providers and through the Twin Cities Office of Information Technology, again lowering our costs. It has been an interesting experience as customer to the same services I directed the creation when I was in my previous role.

I am now moving to a new leadership role, as the Chief Information Officer at Ramsey County. I start on Monday, December 28. My last effective day at Morris will be Friday, December 18, although I will technically remain until December 23 as I wrap up an online computer science class I am teaching this semester.

It will be difficult to leave my friends and colleagues across the University of Minnesota. Over five years at Morris and seventeen years with the University of Minnesota system is a long time to make friends, build relationships, and set down roots. I feel a deep connection with everyone; I have been fortunate to work alongside all of you.

I am working over the next few weeks to transition my responsibilities to the new interim Campus IT Director. I am proud to see Matt grow into this new role; I know he will do well. Everyone in our campus technology units is well placed and supportive of IT, and I trust in everyone's ability to take on new challenges as responsibilities and duties shift during this transition.

Thank you for the wonderful opportunity to serve the University of Minnesota Morris, and the University of Minnesota system. As a colleague of mine relates in a personal story, "it is my pleasure to serve." And it truly has been my pleasure to serve at the University of Minnesota.

I plan to continue writing in this Coaching Buttons blog. Expect to see new posts, although there may be a drop in productivity as I settle into my new role at Ramsey County. I plan to (eventually) go back to a once-a-week schedule.
image: Ramsey County website

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.