Yesterday was the first IT Services Town Hall meeting that I have attended here at UChicago. It was a very satisfying experience and it was outstanding to meet everyone. I particularly enjoyed the chance to talk with you both formally and informally. It was so great to be able to get everyone together like that and I hope we continue to do just that. I have felt a little on the outside looking in, but finally meeting many of you has me feeling much more comfortable. Thank you all for your attention, questions, and acceptance. It was greatly appreciated. The view and location didn’t disappoint either!
I wanted to take a few minutes and share a bit from what I had to say yesterday so there is a record of it and in hopes that I will get some initial reactions from you. You should keep in mind that my comments yesterday were based mainly on my observations and conversations that have occurred both through the many meetings I had during the recruiting process and in the past six days of conversations that I have had with my new colleagues at all levels of the University. I don’t have it all right, I don’t have the whole story, and I certainly don’t yet have all the answers. What I do have is a sense of excitement about where we can go together.
My comments about the great expectations and opportunities presented at UChicago come from discussions with people at all levels of the University, from the President and Provost, to our IT partners, members of the administration, the ITS SLG and staff, as well as various other constituents we serve. It is clear to me, even after a very short time on campus, that we are in the service of a great institution that deserves our full attention.
I am not going to do a deep dive into the things discussed yesterday, but I do want to share the six primary areas of organizational focus I am pursuing in my early days. These represent a framework that will guide me as I work to align to the goals that are being articulated to me.
- Create a world-class teaching and learning with technology organization that can inspire faculty to enhance their use of technology to engage and enrich our students’ experiences.
- Work to enhance our overall information security stance to ensure a safe computing environment.
- Become leaders in the delivery of services and work across UChicago to transform the customer experience and work to delight the campus community.
- Impact a diversity of research activities that supports UChicago’s commitment to free and open inquiry.
- Enhance and grow a culture of operational excellence through our leadership in the deployment of enterprise solutions.
- Expand our use of the web as an organizational communication tool, both inside and outside of IT Services to more fully engage our staff and our partners.
Underpinning all of this is a commitment to encourage an agile, flexible, and forward facing staff who are leaders in their fields.
I will be returning to this list in an ongoing way to expand on them and to provide more opportunities to engage in discussion. I am very open to comments and feedback, so don’t be afraid to leave them here on this post or to send them to me in email. I am truly humbled by the opportunity to be a member of this community and want to make sure I am doing all I can to support, promote, and protect the work we do here at UChicago.
By now I am guessing many of you have heard that I have started. I’ve been on campus since Monday, September 14th but I haven’t had the opportunity to meet all of you yet. For those of you in IT Services, it may not be until our Town Hall next week. For those who might be stopping by it may be a bit longer. At any rate I wanted to say hello, introduce myself, and share a bit about what I hope this space can become. I have been meeting with quite a few people already and have had the distinct pleasure to see some of the amazing sites our University has to offer. It is quite a stunning place.
I’ve been blogging for quite some time and have always found it to be a great outlet to work through ideas, share thoughts, communicate my thinking, and invite comments and feedback. I will use this space as much as I can and I imagine it will change over time. Early on it will mostly be about reflecting on what I am learning and to share initial thoughts on my interactions on campus. As time goes on I expect it to become more of an outlet to keep people posted on what I am working on, thinking about, and pointers to things that are of general interest to me, to the campus community, and to those from the outside looking in.
Please consider this first post as an invitation for you to be active participants in this space. I am a believer in the notion of the web as a platform to support “conversations” and this space will be one vehicle I will use to offer opportunities to engage in conversations. It won’t be the only venue for that and in the coming days and weeks I will be sharing other opportunities for us to get together.
We are all incredibly busy doing what we do to support the faculty, staff, and students of our institution and taking time to blog may seem like a waste of cycles to some. To me it is part of the larger process of communicating across the institution. I can’t meet with all of you on a regular basis, the reality of time and scale just will not permit it. If there are things that you want to know from me that you think others will benefit from hearing, send me a note and let me know, that could very well be the prompt I need to take some time and articulate some thinking.
For now you should know that I am very active on the social web, some for me personally and some for professional pursuits. I don’t maintain multiple accounts, as I try to think of my online identity as an aggregate meta identity, so you won’t need to follow me across various twitter accounts, there is just one. I try very hard to maintain my social presence in an intelligent way, Facebook for example, is reserved for family and non-work related friends. Twitter is the place where I am active on the social web in an open way, so that is the place to follow me.
This is as much an invitation as it is an introduction, an invitation to engage in new forms of conversations. I will work to do my part, but my hope and ultimately, my expectation, is that you will be a part of this. I am well aware this will not work for everyone, but if it opens another channel for those that it does work for then I have succeeded in one small way. I will close with a very humble thank you, thank you for allowing me to become a member and a leader of this team. I will do my very best every single day to make sure we are delighting the people that count on us the most at this great University.