1999 was the first full year for the implementation of IU's extensive and far-reaching Information Technology Strategic Plan. During the year major progress was made in implementing nearly all of the Recommendations and Actions in the Plan. This work built on the University's already rich and robust IT environment for research, teaching, and learning, adding further to IU's profile as a leader in the use and application of IT. In fact, the rapid and successful progress that has been made in implementing the Plan makes it clear that nearly all of the major problems in IT that Indiana University has wrestled with for so many years are all on the verge of finally being solved.
The implementation of the Plan serves to provide the computing community on IU's eight campuses with the tools that are essential in today's environments for teaching, learning, research, outreach, and lifelong learning. All enable Indiana University to contribute in new and important ways to the development of the IT infrastructure in the State of Indiana, and to the development of the State information economy. The extensive accomplishments in IT over the past year put Indiana firmly on the global map as a creative force in shaping the IT environment of the 21st century.
Some key accomplishments in implementing the Plan during 1999 include:
Paralleling the growth of the IT infrastructure is the development of numerous programs that provide training and support to ensure the most effective and efficient use of IU's rich IT environment. Competitive programs like the Ameritech Fellows Program and the High Performance Network Applications Program (HPNAP) encourage the IU community to innovate in the sciences and in the arts, and in teaching and learning. The formalizing of IU's commitment to distributed education through the appointment of Erv Boschmann as Associate Vice President for this area, reporting jointly to the Vice President for Academic Affairs and the Vice President for Information Technology and CIO, along with the deployment of Oncourse, provide IU faculty with the resources and the support to creatively broaden their definition and methods of teaching.
Two other major developments in 1999, not strictly part of the Plan but closely aligned to it, were the approval by the Lilly Endowment of a $30M proposal to establish a major new research program at IU the Indiana Pervasive Computing Research Initiative (IPCRES) and the approval of the School of Informatics. These developments are planned to have a significant impact on economic development in the State: IPCRES, through its role in the establishment of new IT businesses, and the School of Informatics through its role in significantly increasing the number of trained IT professional in the State to feed the voracious demands of the IT economy.
The effectiveness of a University focus on IT is demonstrated by many of the accomplishments achieved under the Plan. In other areas of IT this focus is also bringing great value to the University, in such forms as IU's new three-year contract with McLeodUSA for long-distance and international telephone services, which is expected to result in an average savings throughout the University of 30%.
This University focus has also been enhanced through the decision taken in 1998 to establish on each of the regional campuses the position of CIO; these report jointly to the VPIT and the regional chancellors. 1999 saw the appointment of the final two regional CIOs, giving additional momentum to the implementation of the Plan on the regional campuses.
The accomplishments described in this document have gained IU wide media recognition during the year. The educational media (Chronicle of Higher Education), the business media (CIO Magazine) the popular media (USA Today), the industry media (PC World, MultiVersity, Yahoo! Internet Life) have all given prominence to IU's vigorous IT activities. This in itself is an achievement. It logs IU's progression to the first tier of the nation's universities in the use and application of IT.
A critical development during the year was the approval by the State Legislature for the biennium 1999-01 of some of the funds required, in addition to the resources committed by the University, to begin implementation of the Plan. The State Legislature clearly recognizes the vital importance of IT to a leading research university. Continuing support from the Legislature is vital if the Plan is to be completely implemented. Other critical funding provided by the State includes funding for the new Communications Technology Complex building at IUPUI that will house UITS on that campus and will become the center of IU's telecommunications infrastructure, and funding to support the establishment of the Abilene NOC, the Indiana GigaPoP, and the Optical Fiber Infrastructure linking IUB, IUPUI, and Purdue University. The University is grateful to the Legislature for this essential support.
Michael A. McRobbie
Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer
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