It is hard to believe that the start of the fall semester for both the newly organized Vermont State University (VTSU) and the Community College of Vermont (CCV) is almost here. It is always an exciting time of year – students make our communities in both the physical and virtual an exciting place to be and we are so thankful for the chance to serve and advance the mission of our institutions that so thoughtfully serve our students. The Vermont State Colleges (VSC) Information Technology (IT) team has been working hard over the late spring and summer to prepare and I am excited to share a brief update about our work. First and foremost, we wanted to share our new website, inclusive of our mission statement:
VSC’s IT Shared Services partners with and supports the VSC communities to achieve their missions by planning and implementing creative and innovative technology solutions. Our team focuses on personal engagement, equitable access to tools and services, and strategic partnerships to improve opportunities for all users.
We are committed to this mission, working to instill this theme into all the work we do – how we organize our teams, how we manage our resources, and how we design our services. The team is deeply committed to the student experience and the opportunity to do this work is something we all take very seriously.
You may or may not know that in January of 2023, the IT teams across the VSC came together in a newly developed IT Shared Services organization. Since our re-organization, we have been working hard to come together in community, restructuring into six new service areas that seek to best serve the entire VSC. IT is unique in that we support almost every part of how the VSC serves our students. We have had a unique opportunity to partner and lead many projects that align with the transformation of the VSC, and I wanted to take a moment to highlight a few efforts that we are most proud of:
- First, I personally am so proud of the IT team and partnered colleagues across the VSC that have been working to transform the design and experience of a variety of our systems. Launching VTSU has been no small – yet forever exciting – task, and we have been able to transform our business processes that prioritize the best student experience possible. The team has managed over 20 system projects – unpacking, redesigning, and delivering services in a new way.
- High-quality customer service is a critical priority of ours. The Technical Support Services team has worked hard to redesign processes that ensure we can better support our users in a more-timely fashion. With commitment to making us more accessible, we have focused on launching an expanded self-service site, with many resources (more being added every day!) to help you get on your way as fast as possible: https://support.vsc.edu.
- Students -> a concise guide of Student Resources to get you started!
- In relation to IT infrastructure (all the things behind the scenes you may not be aware of yet make things work!), we have been working hard to consolidate, standardize, and secure our core technology. While there is always more work ahead, we have been focused on projects that prioritize those design principles. We have rolled out a large security initiative, providing expansive security measures to VSC systems in addition to making immediate service improvements that impact our users, including upgrading and expanding wireless coverage at several of our centers, sites, and campuses.
- We have also been working hard to upgrade over 50 learning spaces across the state, including many of our nursing sites. Supporting students both in-person and online requires thoughtful technology investment that must be delivered on quality technology, and the team is working hard to upgrade and standardize on technology that best serves that student experience.
Last, but certainly not least, the IT team came together for two days of strategic planning and professional development work. It was a wonderful time to come together in community and share who we are, but it was also a chance for us to think forward. You will be able to find a draft of our IT strategic plan in the coming weeks on our website and it is being thoughtfully drafted to be in direct alignment with the VSC transformation objectives, in addition to the unique needs to best serve Vermont State University and the Community College of Vermont. We are truly excited to share a roadmap of where we are going and look forward to gathering your feedback throughout the process.
A few months ago, someone asked me what I like about being in an IT leadership position. I do this work because of the opportunity we have to thoughtfully, ethically, and strategically use technology to do things differently and better, expanding access and opportunity to many. Born and raised in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, I am very aware of the barriers and challenges to accessing an education. I believe so deeply in the mission of the VSC and all that we are doing. What I appreciate most about this job, though, is the opportunity to support the hard-working people that wake up and do this important work every single day. When we can bring people, processes, and technology together in a thoughtful way, we can do really exciting things to better serve students both in our state and beyond. Thanks for letting us serve you and please reach out if you have any questions.