March 2018 All-Staff Meeting
The student co-executive directors for HackPSU —Mayank Makwana, Kelsie McElroy, and Smith Sopp— began the meeting by introducing the twenty-four hour hackathon that more than 700 students, across forty-six majors, from Universities across the region will attend on April 7-8. The students outlined HackPSU’s main objectives of supporting student collaboration, helping students learn more about the technology community, and networking with IT professionals internal and external to Penn State. The students invited all members of IT to attend HackPSU and to learn more about the event on the HackPSU website
HackPSU has grown over the past few years and the students hope to continue growth by expanding event attendance from Penn Staters and from outside universities. The students said additional improvements to the event will include mentoring attendees during the event and promoting the hackathon throughout the State College community. Smith said increased mentoring from Penn State IT professionals could help to encourage University graduates to consider working for University IT.
During his presentation, Michael, vice president for IT and chief information officer, outlined some of the financial and demographic challenges facing higher education. He discussed the many ways Penn State IT is working to better utilize the University’s financial and material resources while reaching goals for the 2017/18 fiscal year, including migrating the University community to Office 365. He centered the future of IT on our mission of being a service organization.
According to Michael, the future of Penn State IT will be achieved through promoting a “OneIT” vision that optimizes organizational design and provides for improved communications from his office to include a new website, monthly newsletter, and Zoom Conferencing sessions that enable IT staff members to ask questions and explore new IT strategies. In this same realm, Michael further encouraged IT staff members to think in ecosystems that put emphasis on dependencies and collaborative work across IT rather than individual silos. Michael also informed attendees that the recent cultural and organization assessment results, including the AMP Assessment and Gartner Study, will be available soon as well as discussions about how the results can help IT grow.
During a panel discussion with IT senior leadership, Michael introduced three new members that have joined the senior leadership team since January. More information about the new Human Resources Strategic Partner Erika Shoffner, Senior Director of Infrastructure Bill Wrobleski, and Senior Director of Business Intelligence Jon Crutchfield can be found on the OVPIT website homepage
The senior leadership team agreed they are excited to work together and finish projects that engage multiple parts of the organization. Newer members of the team said the problems they see Penn State IT facing are not uncommon across other institutions and are solvable through increased teamwork across units and the University.
During the question and answer session with the senior leadership team, the group discussed managing change and made a commitment to communicating about any further changes and providing support resources throughout the process. Intentionality and providing ways for IT staff members across all campuses to build relationships and contribute were proposed as ways to break down silos that may exist due to physical distance between campuses or departments.