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3. An effective organizer with skills in:
(a) Organizational development

3a1 Evolving organizational structure in ITS

Development Plan Portfolio Documentation
Document the processes followed in reorganizing AUCC (Andrews University Computing Center) into ITS (Information Technology Services) Document the processes followed in reorganizing AUCC into ITS, and reflect on responses from ITS staff and customers.

Organizational Development in IT

IT Department Structure, Naming, and Titles

When I started at Andrews University in August, 1996, the IT department was had some very traditional characteristics in the way it was structured, as well as some that were more progressive.  The department name itself was very traditional - Andrews University Computing Center (AUCC) and it had an Operations Department and a Programming department.  But it also included Telecommunications, and it had a department named Academic Computing (see the structure as at August 1996).

The Programming department was strong but battle weary after the migration from in-house developed software to the Banner package from SCT.  The Operations department had shrunk to taking care of backups, handling large print runs like statements and pay advice slips, and a little data entry.  I felt it might be time to join these two departments into one.

The Academic Computing department run a computer store, and with student help, supported several computer labs for student use.  Three of the members of this group maintained the networking infrastructure and administered a number of servers.  With vision and creativity, Andrews was blessed with an advanced and very solid infrastructure.  This group was also responsible for hardware and software support for an exploding number of personal computers on campus.  This was the situation most urgently demanding radical change.  There were only two staff members, with student help, attempting to support over 1,000 PCs.  In my first budget, I requested four new PC support positions, and I was granted three.  So even if I had not had any other reason for wanting to review the structure of the Andrews IT department, this made it necessary.  The Academic Computing group already had a total of 9 staff, and this would take it to 12.

On May 29, 1997, I sent a memo to all AUCC staff asking for preferences for a new name for the department.  Many felt that Andrews Information Systems (AIS) would have been a good name, but unfortunately, that was the name that the Computer Store was called.  The name was well known on campus, and it was strongly associated with just the Store, not the whole of IT.  The name that was chosen was Information Technology Services (ITS), but AIS came in second.  See the voting results.  At the same time as we changed the name, we also changed the structure, mostly to accommodate the three new PC support specialist.

I gave a brief update to the Administrative Computing Committee on June 30, 1997, announcing the new name and introducing the structural changes.  I merged Operations and Programming into a new department and called it Administrative Systems.  With three new staff members supporting PCs, Academic Computing had become too big, so I split that department into two groups.  Those support the network infrastructure and servers formed a new group called Servers and Networks, promoting one of that group to be its manager.  The Computer Store, PC Support and academic support formed another new group called Client Services.  At the October 22,1997 Administrative Computing Committee, I presented a more detailed report on the name change and restructuring, along with a rationale for the changes that we had made.

The primary intention with the name change from Andrews University Computing Center (AUCC) to Information Technology Services (ITS) was to acknowledge the shift from a data-centered operation to integrated information tools and technologies, and to reflect the service emphasis.  Increasing the number of PC support staff positions from 2 to 5 made it possible to divide the campus into 5 territories, and assign one staff member and student team to each territory. This proved to be very beneficial in terms of delivering quality service, and was well received by the campus.  The IT staff were mostly quite supportive of the name change and the new focus that it gave to IT, and as it became possible to deliver better quality service, job satisfaction improved.  Morale improved as compliments began to flow in from the campus instead of criticism.

When I was made Chief Information Officer (CIO) in mid-1998, we made further organizational changes.  A new department was created to focus solely on instructional technology, and Institutional Research was moved to ITS.  With the extra responsibilities I had in my new role, I needed to delegate more of the operational management duties to my Assistant Directors, as they were still called.  We set up some new cost centers so each manager could be responsible for their own budgets.  I also arranged for the titles to be changed from Assistant Director to Director, in most costs.  I put all this in an email to Human Resources on June 9, 2000 and a memo on July 7, 2000.  I attached an organization chart to the memo showing the new titles.

I have prepared a brief history of the structure of the IT department at Andrews University from 1996 to 2002, highlighting the organizational development that took place during that time period.  The IT staff were generally accepting of the changes that took place, but there were some negative reactions.  Sometimes it came about because of increased communication difficulties between groups that used to be part of a single group, exacerbated by personality styles.  Unfortunately there were cases where changes in technology meant that some positions had to be closed, and some staff handled that better than others.  I found that the new structures sometimes needed special nurturing before they matured and were accepted as having value.

Development of a Proposal for Developing Institutional Research

The Office of Institutional Research presented a special situation, which I will describe here in general terms.  There was some criticism of the work being done in the department, and I was put under considerable pressure to address some perceived shortcomings.  I could see that there was a disconnect between what senior administrators were looking for and what was being produced.  The department was meeting all statutory deadlines with high quality reporting, but was unable to find time for more ad hoc research and analysis.

I felt that in order to meet both the research and analysis needs as well as the statutory and other cyclic reporting needs, we needed additional resources, and through late 1999, I worked on the existing Job Description and created two positions out of one.  One was a rewritten job description for a Director of Institutional Research, and the other was for an Associate Director.  But I wanted to get a better feel for what was typical in other universities.  So I researched the topic of Institutional Research on the web, and summarized my findings in a report I called What does Andrews University want from Institutional Research? on December 12, 1999. 

I analyzed 26 selected job postings for the position and made three recommendations based on this analysis.  I prepared a compilation of all the statements from these job postings that were aligned with what we were looking for and presented them to the Cabinet on January 25, 2000.  Over the next several weeks, we removed duplicate statements, amalgamated similar statements, and reduced it to a compact statement of duties for the position of Director (see draft 1, draft 2, and AU Expectations for Institutional Research).  The final document was completed by January 25, 2000.  We all agreed that we had defined what we needed, but the view still persisted that one person could it all, possibly with student assistants and with better use of tools.

I kept the Director of Institutional Research informed about the discussions that were taking place and repeatedly urged him to find some way to automate the extraction and delivery of his routine reports.  I stressed many times that this could prove to be very important in assuring the security of his position at Andrews.  I believe there was some improvement, but it was still not meeting the needs of some of the administrators.

On May 12, 2000, a senior Vice President wrote a discussion paper entitled "Improving Institutional Research".  I made a proposal for the 2000/2001 budget year to create a new position in Institutional Research (see Hiring Proposal).  However, severe financial constraints prevented approval from being given to that plan.  As a result, we were not able to hire additional resources, so we had to look for ways of improving productivity in producing and distributing the standard reports.  Progress was almost imperceptible for a long time.  But by the time I left Andrews at the end of 2002, some reports were being delivered electronically as Excel spreadsheet email attachments.  I had repeatedly urged the use of the web, but this had not begun to be used by the time I left.  However, I was very encouraged when I was told shortly after leaving "how easy" it was to set up, and the last time I looked, there was a password-protected Institutional Research web site (http://www.andrews.edu/ITS/IR/).  We had a meeting early in 2002 (Developing a Knowledge Management Strategy for Andrews University) to set parameters for the future of Institutional Research, and item 1 on the agenda was Information access and availability (Intranet), which stressed the use of the web.

I found this to be a very difficult situation.  Although we did not actually implement any organizational change in this case, we probably would have if finances had not been so tight.  So we had to deal with it by restructuring the job for the person in the position.


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Created: Sunday, February 20, 2000 05:15 PM 
Last Modified: Monday, December 8, 2003 11:51 AM