President's Office

Information Technology at Cal State Northridge

August 24, 2005

To the Campus Community:

As part of Cal State Northridge’s commitment to ensure that its information technology (IT) services and systems are meeting the needs of the campus and the expectations of users, the university recently commissioned consultants with expertise in higher education institutions to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the campus’ IT enterprise system. The IT consultants, who conducted their work during the past two months, have now completed their review and submitted their recommendations to the President, the Provost, and the President’s Cabinet. Because of the breadth of the report’s recommendations and findings, I wish to share with you the key portions of the report that will likely impact many people on campus.

A key conclusion of the report is the university's need to invest in and develop our IT enterprise so that it becomes an even more robust, responsive, and coordinated organization. The campus needs an IT unit that not only uses technology to meet the needs of an institution as large and complex as Cal State Northridge, but also helps its clients and users rethink the work processes that complicate too many lives. The Cabinet and I concur with this recommendation and have committed ourselves to reorganizing and remaking the campus’ IT enterprise.

The executive summary of the report, including its recommendations, will be made available as soon as it is finalized, and the scope and details of the new IT unit will be announced and described in more detail as the campus moves forward with this process. The transition undoubtedly will affect many and require the dedicated effort of everyone to make the transformation a success. Similarly, as Cal State Northridge moves ahead with these initiatives, the demands on the leadership both of the university and of the newly structured IT organization will be substantial.

Since 1999, Dr. Spero Bowman has ably served as the university’s chief information officer (CIO) while also serving as our associate vice president for academic resources. His scope and responsibilities under normal circumstances are extremely broad and demanding, and each job constitutes a full-time position. Thus, given the significant challenges that lie ahead for the campus’ IT enterprise, Dr. Bowman has asked to return full time to his role as associate vice president for academic resources and shed his responsibilities as CIO.

In light of Dr. Bowman’s decision, we soon will launch two national searches for a chief information officer, one for an interim position and the other for the subsequent regular position. Dr. Bowman will continue to lead our current Information Technology Resources (ITR) unit until the interim CIO is selected.
I personally want to thank Spero for his dedication to the university and leadership as CIO during these past years when technology has become such an essential component of our lives and work. He assumed these responsibilities at a time when IT on campus needed stability and focused leadership, and he and the entire ITR organization deserve credit for helping the university achieve a virtual technological transformation. They have brought to the campus a truly amazing technological capacity that would have been almost unimaginable just a decade ago. I know, too, that Provost Harry Hellenbrand is grateful to have the benefit of Dr. Bowman’s full focus back in Academic Affairs. The division faces many significant challenges of its own that will require Dr. Bowman’s full attention and leadership, particularly within the areas of enrollment management and academic technology issues.

I also wish to thank Chicago-based Moran Technology Consulting and that firm’s principal, Mr. Charlie Moran, for assisting the university with this important endeavor. Mr. Moran has two decades of experience in IT consulting for higher education, has previously also assisted the CSU Chancellor’s Office, and was highly recommended by Dr. Bowman and Vice President for Administration and Finance Mo Qayoumi.

Cal State Northridge has long been viewed, and rightly so, as a leader in higher education technology, both in our campus business systems and in using technology to enhance the university’s instructional programs for students. The changes we implement will enable us to move to the next level of effective IT resource management and performance, and raise the quality and security of our IT resources, which are paramount to successfully serve students, faculty, and staff, as well as to effectively support campus business and communication processes.

I look forward to working with all members of the campus community as we move forward in strengthening our IT enterprise system.

Jolene Koester
President

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