The PPCIT has approved the following versions of a vision for information technology at UNI. The first is a one sentence summary approved for use in the "Technology Strategies" document. The second is the full statement, adopted as a working draft.
[from the STRATEGIES document]
We will be a stronger, more accessible, more diverse, and higher quality institution through the careful and considered application of technology.
W O R K I N G D R A F T
VISION FOR INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AT UNI
UNI shall make innovative and creative use of digital technology to enhance the learning and day-to-day environment of our students, faculty, and staff. Our challenge is to continually reexamine and be willing to transform ourselves in order to make appropriate use of constantly changing digital technology. "Appropriate" technology is that which will optimally advance our institutional goals and priorities to help us achieve the purposes and qualities we value and the qualities we would like our students to possess.
To achieve this vision, we must constantly focus on our students and constituents, taking full advantage of the strengths of our outstanding teaching faculty and dedicated staff. We must creatively find new sources of revenue to augment the funding we currently can expect from tuition and appropriations which will never be sufficient in themselves to allow us to move ahead as far and as rapidly as necessary. We must also encourage our research and development efforts to fully exploit the opportunities provided by digital technology for enhancing the learning experience and ensure we allocate appropriate support and resources to those in the university community crafting innovative learning techniques, improved business processes, and effective decision support tools.
Our most important strategic resource is the energy, knowledge, creativity and dedication of our University community. We can be among the leaders in the use of digital technology to infuse our students with excitement for active, experiential, and perpetual learning. Similarly, we can be among the leaders in using digital technology to make the most effective use of our staff supporting the university business processes as well as in providing reliable and easily accessible information to promote improved decision making and timely management.
ITS will play a major support and leadership role in these efforts, but cannot transform the university community alone. The entire university needs to play a seminal role in redefining the Information Age roles of students, faculty, staff, and administrators. Challenging as this role may be, our alternative is to achieve a false sense of security through inaction or marginal change which will only postpone the inevitable and allow others to define these roles for us, while gaining strategic and financial advantages at our expense.
UNI has the potential to be a major player in the growing national and global education market. Through technology we can bring the world to Iowa, adding a greater richness and diversity to the educational experience of our traditional students while they remain in the geographical confines of our campus. We can use distance education technologies to bring our expertise to students, businesses, and government entities throughout the State.
For little marginal cost, we can also deliver this same high quality credit and noncredit distance education to consumers as far removed as New York City, Los Angles, or even abroad. We can bring Iowa to the world, generating revenues enabling us to more effectively educate Iowa students, as well as demonstrate to the State how Iowa can become a successful exporter of knowledge and skills. Due to UNI’s size, we have greater flexibility than our sister universities in adapting quickly to change and taking advantage of opportunities. UNI can lead the way for Iowa to develop a new economy in the Information Age where geographic location will not be as important as cost effective, timely, quality education, training, and information whenever and wherever it’s needed.
Undertaking this challenge will require hard work, sacrifice, and some discomfort on the part of all of the UNI community: faculty, staff, administrators, and students. To succeed, we must all be willing to accept change as commonplace and positive, rather than something to fear and avoid. We must have the courage to continually transform our institution, not just marginally change it. We must be willing to take risks and, at times, admit failure. And we must be willing to collaborate and share, not only within UNI but with new partners outside the university. We must be willing to put aside petty and sometimes real concerns over turf, past history, tradition, and, occasionally, personal aspirations for the overall benefit and progress of UNI which will be well worth the individual investment required. The creative use of technology to transform the university will permit an intellectual exchange on a level just as different from the present as our present level is different from a learning environment devoid of modern learning tools such as classrooms, textbooks, blackboards, libraries, laboratories, writing materials, and telephones.
Our success will be measured first and foremost by the success of our students, who will excel because of their engagement as active learners in a technological environment guided in their efforts by an outstanding faculty with state of the art tools. Our students must not only find meaningful employment, but be fully prepared to continually adapt to and provide visionary leadership in an ever changing technological, information-based and increasingly global society. Not only will we be known as a high quality regional university, but also as a leader among Information Age institutions of higher education with significant national and international clientele. UNI will be a model for other enterprises within Iowa for exporting learning, training, and information as well as a source of pride for the Board of Regents and the State of Iowa.
Likewise, the university community -- students, faculty, staff, and administrators -- will take pride in the reputation of UNI as a place known for its creative and innovative use of technology to enhance its offerings at all levels and with all its constituents. Faculty, staff, and administrators will find UNI an exciting, dynamic place to work where innovative thinking about learning, administrative processes, and decision making will be the norm. Not only can each member of the UNI community make a difference, but there can be no substantial change if we don't each resolve to make a difference by taking personal part in this endeavor. To survive and continue to excel UNI will have to transform; if we do it now we can be leaders, if we wait we may find it difficult to even be followers.