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2. A dynamic change-agent with skills in: ¨
(a) Planning and implementing change

2a1.1 Andrews University Strategic Planning

It is now well recognized that information technology has an important role to play in the success of any organization or enterprise.  The opportunity to be involved in selecting and implementing new technology for the effective delivery of services is one of the major factors that attracted me to the position of Director of Computing Services at Andrews University.  These aspects of the job were identified in the email I received on November 14, 1995:

The director will:

I took up this position in August, 1996, and initially, I reported to the Vice President for Financial Administration.  It was not until mid-1998 that I began to have direct involvement with strategic planning for the university.  That happened when I was asked to be Chief Information Officer (CIO) for the University, and included serving on the Strategic Planning Committee.  I succeeded Mailen Kootsey in that position, who was the University's first CIO.  In the University Relations press release announcing Dr. Kootsey's appointment as CIO on October 31, 1996, the PR Officer stated:

"In his new role Kootsey will coordinate computing and communication activities on the campus. An administrative support position, the chief information officer will assist in university strategic planning and information management. The position also calls for strategies to improve service to Andrews students."

In the introduction to each competency in my IDP, I have placed excerpts from my job description as CIO, where relevant.  Under competency 2(a) A dynamic change-agent with skills in: Planning and implementing change, I have included the following statements that clearly spell out the strategic planning aspects of my job as CIO.

Job Description

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

1.   Directs information management budgeting, strategic and tactical planning, business process re-engineering, and database system strategy.

2.   Oversees planning and implementation of all administrative information systems.

3.   Explores new technologies for future planning and potential implementation.

4.   Directs the information strategy of the university by sponsoring collaborative planning processes.

7.   Sets overall directions for planning and administering the IT infrastructure and architecture, ensuring that ongoing investments are made. 

One of the highest priority tasks as seen by CIOs is the alignment of IT goals and objectives with those of the institution.  The following typical statement is taken from the job description of the CIO for Martinís Point Health Care:

Major Duties and Responsibilities (include % of time spent on each):

1.  (40%) Strategically plans and sets goals to meet the tactical business objectives of the organization. Aligns the business software and hardware to support the business goals, and ensures that the systems are leveraged to perform at the desirable business levels. An active member of senior management. Acts as an internal consultant to other senior managers who need infrastructure support.

I have participated in many planning activities and committees that have taken place at Andrews University since 1998, when I became CIO.  The Andrews University Strategic Planning Committee had been meeting for three years, with much of its emphasis being placed on the undergraduate experience.  Starting in September 1999, I was asked to be the secretary of the committee, through until the formulation of the 2001-2006 strategic plan.  I have placed the minutes for those meetings here in my portfolio.  In addition to the meetings of the Strategic Planning Committee, the President's Cabinet devoted a number of on-campus meetings and off-campus retreats to strategic issues.  These are all noted in my time log.

It was a frustration to me (and to some others on the committee) that although the committee members spent many hours together, we never seemed to progress beyond having background discussions about the problems.  Some of this was because required information was either not available or difficult to obtain.  Valiant attempts were made by the chair of the committee, who analyzed in detail the limited data he was able to obtain, some of the assumptions that had to be made limited the usefulness of some of these studies.  This meant that fact-based decision making and planning was not really possible.  But to a large degree, the process of determining strategic goals and planning in broad terms how to achieve them simply did not occur.  In late 2000, the President requested that summaries no longer than 5 pages each be written on each of 10 'planks' that had emerged from the discussions of the Strategic Planning Committee.  The fourth draft of the plan is in The Andrews Experience: Andrews University's Strategic Plan 2001-2006.

As of June 3, 2001, the University strategic plan is at draft number 5.  It has 12 planks, with over 200 goals and action steps.  In a one and a half day seminar/workshop held on campus on May 31, 2001, John Jasinski, recommended that we focus on just a handful of key goals.  Much work remains to be done to distill the essence of what is important to the future success of Andrews, but there is no plan to use the previous committee structure.

Nevertheless, even the plan that we have is a valuable document, and we will use it in ITS as a basis for developing our own strategic plan.  I have made notations (marked like this) throughout the document in places where I felt that IT would be necessary or helpful in achieving goals that were stated.  I book-marked these notations, and in IT Links to the AU Strategic Plan, I have assembled a table of cross-referenced links to these notations, organized by ITS department.

Using ideas generated from the many discussions with ITS managers, I wrote an IT Strategic Plan in an attempt to capture the broad thrust of those discussions, and presented it in the format adopted for the Andrews University Strategic Plan.  While I had consciously tried to make the plan student-centric, and to eliminate the focus on technology that had been evident in the our previous work, I still fell short of where we want to be.

I tried to incorporate the ideas share with me by the ITS managers in response to my first draft.  This revised IT plan is virtually a complete rewrite, but is an attempt to create an atmosphere of compelling excitement over what is possible through appropriate use of information technology.  This is still under development at this point, and we are committed to an annually recurring schedule of reviewing the plan as a guide to setting priorities and developing budgets.

The importance of measurement (before and after) for quality improvement, and the importance of information for fact-based decision making and planning are being recognized.  Key administrators of the University met together for a day and a half on May 31 and June 1 for brainstorming sessions to frame a set of Quality Improvement recommendations based on the Baldridge Criteria.  We were ably led in this process by Dr. John Jasinski.  Dr. Linda Wysong wrote up his summary of key ideas arising from the day and a half session.

Time Log


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Last Modified: Saturday, February 2, 2002 8:10 PM