New CIO takes charge of IT reorganization

Transform IT, the reorganization and renovation of IT at University of Oregon, is pushing forward into its next phase with the start of the new Chief Information Officer Jessie Minton.

Transform IT began in August 2016, with the release of the Harvey Blustain report. The report stated some of the issues with IT at UO, such as decentralization of IT and an efficient use of IT resources, as well the goals and plans for improving IT like making Information Services  the central unit for IT and making the library the leader on campus for academic technology.

Since August, a lot has been done for Transform IT while Chris Krabiel served as interim CIO, but now that Minton, the new permanent CIO and head of IS, started working in May, Transform IT can enter into its next steps.

“I am really thrilled and honored to have the chance to make a difference for IT here in such a transformative moment,” Minton said.

The overall goal of Transform IT is to make better use of IT resources, Minton said. The project is expected to take around two years, but Minton does not know the exact timeline, as she is still in the process of figuring out the next steps.

“I very much think about this as an ongoing process to improve and continue to iterate after that, so while we will eventually declare Transform IT complete, it incumbent upon all of us to continue to look at how we can make the very best decisions with our limited resources,” she said.

Minton is working in partnership with the Dean of Libraries Adriene Lim to lead the reorganization. Lim is thrilled that the CIO is already beginning to take steps to move Transform IT forward.

“One of the great partners of the library is Central IT, like Jessie,” Lim said. “Usually libraries and Central IT are great partners and it’s been that way at almost every university I have worked and so I am so happy she is here.”

Now that a charter, a document between the Library and IS has been created, Lim said that they can now move together in a partnership. The library plays an important role in IT, like digital scholarship, Canvas and other academic technologies, and platforms for uploading journal articles and books online. If the library does not have a strong infrastructure it hurts students and faculty, Lim said.

Higher education is in a cost constraint time, which is why Minton said they are trying to make better use of the IT resources they do have; however, this does not mean that they are cutting costs, she said.

“We’re doing it because we really want to do our best to use resources and staff and all that we have to do the best jobs that we can do,” Lim said.

In January, there was concern from IT workers about this reorganization effort. In her first two weeks on campus, Minton had three meetings – one with IS, one with IT Directors, and another with all IT staff in order to introduce herself and make sure she is having an open dialogue with everyone involved.

“I can’t overstate the importance of communicating really clearly […] throughout the process of a project like this, to be able to have a way to engage and have a two-way dialogue with campus,” Minton said. “That is absolutely my intent moving forward.”

Follow Emma Henderson on Twitter @HenderEmma 

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Emma Henderson

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