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August 30, 2005

To the Campus Community:

On Wednesday, August 24, I informed the campus community about an assessment that consultants had conducted of Cal State Northridge’s information technology (IT) resources and services. In follow up to that message, I am pleased to announce that the executive summary of the report, which includes its recommendations, is available. I know that many on campus may have questions about this process and I want to address many of these issues below.

It is important to note that, while some fundamental commitments have already been made, the senior campus officers and I are still carefully reviewing the report and evaluating its recommendations. After we have completed our review, information about the university’s next steps in response to the recommendations and a detailed timetable for their implementation will be developed. I am pleased that Provost Harry Hellenbrand, along with Vice President for Administration and Finance Mo Qayoumi and Vice President for Student Affairs Terry Piper, has agreed to assume leadership for shepherding and providing leadership to this effort, which will require the support and contributions of all members of the campus community.

As announced last week, Dr. Spero Bowman has decided to return full time to his role as associate vice president for academic resources. Therefore, we soon will launch two national searches for a chief information officer (CIO), one for an interim position and the other for the subsequent regular position.

We will begin the search for the interim CIO immediately, with the goal of filling it by the end of September. The Management Vacancy Announcement is now posted at the Human Resources Web site and the Chancellor’s Office career opportunities Web site. I will make the appointment after consultation with a small group of campus leaders.

The search for the regular CIO position will commence as soon as the interim CIO is in place. Because of the centrality of IT and the importance of the CIO position to the campus community, the search will be conducted using as guidelines the procedures for appointment of vice presidents in Section 600: Academic Policies and Procedures. In addition, we will engage an executive search firm to assist the search committee in recruiting a pool of highly qualified candidates.

During the interim, I also wish to note the following:

  • Decisions related to IT operations will continue to be made by Dr. Bowman until the interim CIO is appointed. Questions concerning IT operations during this time also should go to Dr. Bowman.
  • Inquiries and concerns related to the IT consultants’ report and the implementation of the recommendations should go to Mr. Randy Reynaldo, Executive Assistant to the President, at, who will then forward the messages to Provost Hellenbrand, Vice President Qayoumi, or Vice President Piper.

Vice President Mo Qayoumi will serve as executive sponsor for the CMS Project implementation of the three PeopleSoft suites on campus. Provost Hellenbrand and Vice President Terry Piper will serve as co-sponsors of the project.

As I mentioned above, the report and its recommendations are still being evaluated. Nevertheless, I already have made the following commitments based on the information contained in the report:

  • The new IT unit will be a separate university division headed by the CIO, who will be a full member of the President’s Cabinet.
  • A new strategic vision for IT will be developed that allows for long- and short-term planning and the setting of priorities.
  • A decision-making framework for IT will be developed that gives users access to the process.
  • There will be a single, consolidated campus computer network.
  • The technical applications staff will be consolidated into a single unit within the re-organized central IT division. No decision has been made regarding the timing of the establishment of the technical applications unit or its leadership.
  • A culture of service will be an essential component of the new division.

As I noted in my August 24 campus e-mail, we should take great pride in the quality and strength of our IT resources and capabilities on campus. The work we are about to embark on will further enhance our ability to serve students effectively, improve campus business and IT processes, and advance the university’s goals. For these reasons, I know that all of us will work together in a constructive and supportive manner as we transform IT at Cal State Northridge.

Jolene Koester

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August 2005