IT Strategic Goals

For the Office of Information Technology at Mid-Atlantic Christian University to achieve levels of excellence, as a key enabler of the Vision 2020 requires an effective overall strategy that guides IT at MACU.

Strategic goals are overarching goals that address the University’s technology needs.

Each goal has a brief title, goal statement (when needed), and action items that will, when possible provide measurable objectives and benchmarks.

Goals are listed logically, not by priority.

Action Item 1.01: The University must provide its employees with the modern information technology needed to be productive, including computer equipment appropriate to the discipline needs of the individual. A mechanism for maintaining up-to-date equipment will be established and tied to the annual review required by Institutional Effectiveness. While the level of sophistication in hardware may vary depending on the individual, all MACU employees who conduct work on a computer will have the basic technology to be productive. At minimum, this technology will be able to run the most-up-to-date software and have a currently acceptable operating system in place to ensure the machine is secure and functions well. Old operating systems and software hurt the security and integrity of MACU’s network and resources.

Action Item 1.02: Classrooms and labs will have standardized, basic multimedia functions that are upgraded regularly and well maintained. Providing faculty with the classroom resources they need to teach successfully must remain a priority for the University. Efforts to increase the number of upgraded classrooms or provide mobile multimedia services will continue. A faculty member must be assured that any classroom to which he or she is assigned will have a basic set of functioning tools that are ready for use and easy to understand. Standardized tools will facilitate easy transitions from room-to-room. Instructors should not have to worry that their lesson may be delayed by technical difficulties or that what they have prepared to use is not compatible with the equipment available.

Action Item 1.03: Even as services migrate to the cloud, significant resources will be directed to the modernization and maintenance of a sufficient central data center in order to ensure the University continues to advance and support its core services. The University will ensure that the OIT data center has adequate cooling and power to function at an appropriate level.

Action Item 1.04: The IT infrastructure needs of future buildings on the MACU campus—especially computing-intensive facilities—must be addressed prior to construction. As buildings are renovated and new facilities are constructed, the designs must take into account not only the wiring and network needs of the facility, but the cooling, ventilation, and power demands of increasingly technical building functions. The University must be forward thinking in its facility construction planning and must include information technology impacts in that thinking.

Action Item 1.05: The campus network, and its connections to external networks, must continue to be able to handle large volumes of traffic and be nearly flawless in its reliability and availability. OIT must continue to increase the network’s bandwidth, versatility, and reliability as the University continues to move to the cloud for services and additional devices that utilize network resources arrive on campus. Therefore, the University needs to ensure that the network features several, diverse, and redundant connections off campus so that downtime is virtually nonexistent.

Action Item 1.06: The IT infrastructure at MACU will be flexible enough in its architecture to respond to innovation and changing needs/priorities, and take advantage of a wide variety of opportunities presented by the marketplace. Decisions on vendors must continue to be made with an eye toward maintaining this flexibility. It does not seem wise for MACU to “single source” itself with one IT vendor, but instead, to rely upon a multiple architectures and a strategic suite of diverse technology vendors.

Action Item 1.07: The University’s wireless infrastructure will continue to be advanced so that access remains pervasive and ubiquitous. MACU currently provides an adequate wireless environment for its campus community. Access points will remain plentiful. The network as a whole needs to continue to be able to handle the increasing volume of Wi-Fi enabled devices that are arriving on campus. OIT will continue to invest in expanding its current wireless network and ensuring that the wireless network is user-friendly, secure, and ubiquitous.

Action Item 1.08: The University’s voice infrastructure must be evaluated. OIT will develop a plan to address issues with the current voice infrastructure and develop a solutions plan.

Action Item 2.01: All members of the MACU community will continue to have ready access to the IT software and resources they need to succeed.The University will provide the broadest possible offering of software tools to the community, seeking to leverage even more campus-wide site licenses, freeware and open source tools, and special institutional (and individual) pricing.

Action Item 2.02: Availability of and access to technology should not be limited to the campus. Faculty, students, and staff should have access to information and resources while traveling or at home just as they would on campus.

Students, faculty, and staff work outside of standard office hours. The community expects to be able to access University resources from abroad and outside of regular office hours. In addition, MACU should provide robust and secure remote access like remote desktop and VPN resources.

Action Item 2.03: New faculty and staff will continue to have telephone services, e-mail, Internet access, and a suitable desktop computer in place upon hire. The University will continue to expedite all functional and support processes ensuring that new hires have the complete array of IT necessities (telephone, network access, online identities, e-mail, etc.) and other administrative capabilities they need to conduct their business in place on their first day at work.

Action Item 2.04: The University will continue to ensure that emerging technologies interface well with MACU applications.

Action Item 2.07: The University will develop and deploy multiple means of IT skills training – through online classes, traditional classes, and tutorials – to ensure that adequate training regimes are available to every member of the MACU community.

Action Item 2.08: The University should move towards supporting the use of multiple and diverse computing platforms (applications, hardware systems and operating systems), and ensure that access to as broad an array as possible of University information systems is available to diverse technology environments. Users should not be limited in their capabilities and abilities to access MACU resources by the platform they are using. However, the University must approach this goal with caution. More systems equals more support and current staffing is insufficient to meet this objective.

Action Item 2.09: The University will implement an elastic storage environment capable of meeting the increasing needs of University data--especially sound and video data. The University will continue to investigate storage and hosting deployments and scenarios to provide an optimal availability of resources. Reliable storage is becoming increasingly vital to the work of the University. As faculty increasingly IT enable their courses, resource storage is currently an unfunded mandate.

The IT governance structure at MACU articulates how MACU collaboratively addresses strategic IT challenges and aligns resources--both physical and staff--with strategic priorities. University leadership acknowledges and understands the increasingly pervasive role that IT plays in enabling achievement of its mission, vision and goals. IT staff are supported for training and professional development that sustain and improve strategic IT services. Policies have been established that every IT solution (from software to hardware) is discussed within and approved within the IT governance structure prior to implementation.

Action Item 3.01: OIT will continue to self-evaluate and audit governance, procedures, decision-making, service portfolios, and strategic planning in relation to IT.

Action Item 3.02: OIT staff will adopt an environment of continuing education.

Action Item 3.03: OIT will evaluate solutions and implementations with the ultimate goal of interoperability.

The university will foster a culture in which the IT community works effectively across boundaries to address IT challenges, assisted by a strong IT governance structure.

Action Item 4.01: The campus community must continue to be involved—as a full-fledged partner—in the development and implementation of IT strategies and strategic direction. The Information Technology Advisory Council (ITAC) is designed to facilitate communication and collaboration between the Office of Information Technology and the University.

Action Item 4.02: All major IT projects will be planned and implemented with the end-user as the focus. Affected users will be consulted and have their feedback documented to potential changes. Ideally, these interactions will take place with ITAC and/or an appropriate task force.

Action Item 4.03: ITAC will investigate and implement strategies to improve student, faculty, and staff collaboration.

Action Item 5.01: The University will continue to budget a standard amount per year to cover costs for information technology infrastructure and service. These costs will include such components as life-cycle replacement of faculty and staff desktop computers, data and voice communication network provisioning, software licensing, and IT support.

Action Item 5.02: Cost-savings will continue to be found through the leveraging of resources, including the funding of campus wide agreements for equipment and software, as well as, for high performance computing resources.

Action Item 5.03: The University will evaluate and budget for IT solutions based on total cost of ownership (TCO). TCO includes looking at the alignment of the solution to the University mission, the benefits and risks associated with the solution, the maintenance of the solution, training related to the solution, time and effort to deploy the solution, training costs, additional hardware or software to accommodate the solution, licensing costs related to the solution, and any upfront or ongoing investment that the solution needs to be successful.

Action Item 5.04: Additional options for student-fee based funding—such as a new student software fees, infrastructure fees, and fees to support enterprise system modernization —should be explored.

Action Item 6.01: OIT will develop and maintain The Information Security Plan (ISP) to govern the safeguarding of MACU’s IT resources and information security. The ISP is required for compliance with the Gramm-Leach Bliley Act (GLBA Section 501 16 CRF Part 314) and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99).

Action Item 6.02: The University, under the auspices of OIT, will continue to maintain and develop comprehensible and cogent policies to assure the integrity and the security of IT resources and its users.

Action Item 6.03: Data backup services will be expanded to ensure the continuity and the future availability of data.

Action Item 6.04: OIT will develop and maintain an IT disaster recovery and business continuity plan.

Action Item 6.05: OIT will satisfy regulatory compliance goals related to IT and University data (e.g. GLBA, FERPA, and HIPAA.)

Action Item 7.01: The University will continue to maintain, expand, and explore ways to optimize the use of its learning management system (Moodle) to meet the needs of faculty and students.  

Action Item 7.02: The University will embrace student-centered technologies and be prepared to support emerging technologies.  The University will continue to embrace mobility and the prevalence of mobile devices in the learning environment and strive to have an environment that enables technology. 

Action Item 7.03:  OIT will continue to look for new technologies that enhance the learning experience and, when possible, implement and train faculty and students. 

Action Item 7.04: The University will establish and support robust mechanisms for developing distance education and mobile computing. 

Action Item 7.05: OIT will continue to interface with the office of Academic Affairs to identify ways in which OIT can research, implement, and support technologies related to the University’s online programs.

Action Item 8.01: The University will assess institutional software needs on a yearly basis and ensure that the current software offerings are appropriate and adequate. OIT will continue to identify new technologies and software solutions that could enhance user experience.

Action Item 8.02: The University will continue to investigate moving to an integrated and consolidated Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution.

Action Item 8.03: The University will continue to investigate solutions that simplify the user experience like Single Sign-on (SSO). SSO would dramatically simplify the front-end identity management (IDM) process for staff, faculty, and students while addressing areas of concern in information security.

Action Item 8.04: The University will continue to investigate the possibility of a web portal solution to enhance the student experience.

Action Item 9.01: The University will develop a program of incentives to increase student ownership of laptops, other mobile computing technologies, and software. The University will investigate ways to make acquisition of computer hardware and software easier and as inexpensive as possible, and to provide a variety of incentives and programs to facilitate that acquisition. Additionally, the University will investigate a laptop requirement for students and an associated initiative/program to place a standard device into students’ hands.

Action Item 9.02: The University will provide a technology environment that enhances the student experience--residence halls, common areas, and classrooms will have ubiquitous Wi-Fi and sufficient bandwidth.

Action Item 9.03: The University will continue to explore the possibility of mobility-friendly technologies (e.g. wireless printing) and classrooms (e.g. power infrastructure.)

Action Item 9.04: OIT will identify and provide an appropriate suite of support services that support the use of IT at MACU.