Why are you here and not somewhere else?

Why are you here and not somewhere else?

http://ift.tt/eA8V8J

A really thoughtful reflection by one of my ITS colleagues. I have always believed that when multiple members of the organization write, it raises the collective intelligence of the whole group. We are team made up of people who have such a diversity of thoughts, experiences, and insights. When we share our work as a group it amplifies the messages we are trying to communicate to the campus.

Maybe many of us just feel like a cog in the wheel, feeling siloed, and disconnected from any larger purpose – well, yeah, that is kind of depressing. And it begs the question, why are you here and not somewhere else?

Source: Why are you here and not somewhere else? | A Collection of Notes and Thoughts

Vía Cole W. Camplese http://ift.tt/2bfpRy5

Suneetha Vaitheswaran Appointed Executive Director of Business Information Systems

Suneetha Vaitheswaran Appointed Executive Director of Business Information Systems

http://ift.tt/2bkhwec

suneethaAlthough in my March “Update on ITS” email, I wrote to you recognizing Suneetha Vaitheswaran’s talents and my decision to ask her to report to me and become part of the ITS senior leadership group (SLG), I’d like to take this opportunity to formally recognize her contributions. Suneetha has accepted the role of Executive Director of Business Information Systems within IT Services. While the role is fundamentally similar, this change in title and reporting to the SLG salute her strategic contributions and the institution-wide impact of her team’s work.

From the point of my arrival, Suneetha has impressed me with her consistently thoughtful engagement in key campus and business initiatives. Because I strongly believe that analytics are strategically important in making appropriate and effective decisions, the work of her team is of the utmost value to the institution’s senior leaders. Through her actions I have recognized how the professionalism and performance of her team serve us all through providing essential business data analytics and services.

I’ve observed Suneetha’s engagement with her team, noting especially the interest she shows in each individual. She was equally engaged as a member of the OLG. These important things I wish to recognize and reinforce by her migration to the SLG; the engagement and perspective she brings to the SLG have already moved us forward. Surely, my repetition of the phrase, her team, isn’t lost on you. I’m confident you natively recognize how, for ITS to do productive work, we must be engaged. Like Suneetha and her group, that means working well together within and across our units and fully acting as part of a whole.

You can review the responsibilities Suneetha holds with this role and the path she’s taken to this point in our ITS About Us pages, at http://ift.tt/2bT8gAn, where you will see such terms as “establish and deliver on a cohesive strategy” and “deliver self-service access to analytic applications and ad-hoc reporting functionality.”

These tie directly to what Suneetha brings to the job from other realms of her life. When Suneetha performed for us at the Holiday party (shout to Oren Sreebny), I was blown away by her versatility and mentioned it to Barry Johnson. Barry told me that Stan Kenton described jazz as a mindset. “A session in jazz is comparable to an open forum where theories and opinions are discussed openly and freely … Speeches with words of various inflections and insinuations are replaced with a flow of melodic, rhythmic music.” We agreed that Suneetha brings that mindset through the metaphor of jazz – that wonderfully expansive and inventive way of thinking about that which otherwise seems ordinary – to her work.

I’ll close with one final highlight which points to her focus on serving broader communities: Suneetha was a founding member of the Higher Education Data Warehousing group, a body of more than 1500 DW professionals from more than 500 institutions across the US and abroad.

Please take a bit of time to introduce yourself and riff with her on the various opportunities that lie within IT Services. You’ll be engaged.

Vía Cole W. Camplese http://ift.tt/2bkhyCB

Cubs Day

Cubs Day

Earlier this week I was lucky enough to attend a Cubs home game against the Brewers. What made it extra special was that it was an outing with a bunch of people from the UChicago ITS team. A colleague of mine had purchased a block of nose bleed seats that were to be used as part of a CIC meeting. Too bad for him that the original game got rained out so we were stuck with a group of tickets. We decided we would raffle them off to people in ITS.

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What I was struck by, other than the beauty of Wrigley and the Cubs outstanding play, was just how much fun we all had. It was nice getting to sit together as a group and laugh and talk for a few hours. In a lot of ways it was like an extended Coffee with Cole. I got to know some of our staff better than I would have otherwise and made some really meaningful connections. I honestly think those who could make it were extremely appreciative. It has me thinking that we should do this as an entire group next year if we can pull it off.

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Launching Mobile/Digital Now

Launching Mobile/Digital Now

The time has come. On Monday we will roll out our first systematic piece of the Mobile/Digital Now initiative at Stony Brook University. This is the first of two iPad planned rollouts we have in place for the start of the 2015 academic year, the next will be announced in a couple of weeks. Below is the text from the media briefing for Monday’s event …

On Monday, July 6, Stony Brook University’s Mobile/Digital Now initiative will equip 185 EOP/AIM (Educational Opportunity Program/Advancement on Individual Merit) freshmen with iPads as they begin their four-year journey at the University’s Summer Academy. These iPads reinforce the University’s commitment to providing access to academic excellence for these freshmen. The Mobile/Digital Now initiative, led by Stony Brook Chief Information Officer, Cole Camplese, will help transform and reinvent learning environments and enhance access to anytime, anywhere learning resources.

The Mobile/Digital Now initiative is also set to expand to support Stony Brook faculty in the appropriate utilization of technology to enhance teaching; will control costs of learning materials for students through eTexts; increase access of critical courses to enhance both retention and four-year graduation rates and equip the University community with the latest mobile devices that will aid in future academic success.

The EOP/AIM Program provides educationally-related supportive services and supplemental financial assistance to those students whose educational and economic circumstances have limited their post-secondary educational opportunities. These iPads are distributed for students to use throughout their four-year undergraduate careers.

There are so many reasons to be excited about this project. The first is getting to work with colleagues from EOP/AIM to help build an even stronger program. Another lies in getting to work closely with the students themselves. As part of the project I will be personally running a steering group made up of students in the program so I can maintain a finger on the pulse of the initiative and work with them to make it stronger. Finally, working with my DoIT colleagues to make this a reality has been inspiring! In a very short period of time we have worked to deliver the iPads under mobile device management tools, increased wireless density in key areas, and built new support modalities for our audiences. Really exciting stuff.

The students will get their iPads and cases still shrink wrapped in the boxes. They will get to open them, turn them on, and have a fully functional iPad with both Stony Brook and commercial apps auto installed as well as access to additional academic content. All of these will be pushed directly to the devices as they activate them — even their University email will be auto setup. I can’t wait to see it all unfold. Below are screenshots of what they will see as their devices activate. Great work everyone!

Keynote: AIKCU, Somerset, Kentucky on June 12, 2015

Keynote: AIKCU, Somerset, Kentucky on June 12, 2015

I was invited to keynote the annual Association of Independent Kentucky University Technology Conference. It was my first time visiting this part of the Commonwealth of Kentucky and was really excited to see so many eager participants all thinking about a very broad selection of topics. In addition to the keynote session, I held a separate break out that was really just an extended question and answer session. We talked quite a bit about preparing our campuses in a systematic way for the changes hitting us all — mobility, finding challenges, faculty development needs, student expectations and so much more. Truly a great time.

Thoughts on Teaching #CDT450

Thoughts on Teaching #CDT450

I promised myself I’d write. I did, but just not enough … at least not here. I wrote and posted a lot over at the course site for CDT450: Disruptive Technologies, but that isn’t the kind of writing I planned to do along side the course in a more reflective mode. I think I only did that twice.

I want to try and capture my thoughts on the experience before it becomes even harder to grasp — in short it was an exceptional semester, with an exceptional group of students, that taught me an exceptional amount about how to be a better human, teacher, colleague, and leader. I say that without hesitation. I told my wife last night that in many ways teaching this semester made me much better at my job (that is a self reflection based on only my own data). If I unpack that thought a bit I would say that having to juggle the rigor of my day job with preparing a three hour class each week for 15 weeks pushed me in so many different ways. I had to find ways to say no to some things more effectively so I could focus on the most critical things happening around me. I had to learn new approaches to learning content to teach to brilliant and very challenging students — I’ve not taught alone since maybe 2005, so carrying this load by myself was simply the biggest challenge of the semester. I had to figure out how to take on a presidential project with potentially huge implications to the campus under very tight time constraints while still managing to run DoIT, meet the expectations of my vice presidential role, and craft an engaging learning experience. To say that I grew by leaps and bounds along with my students this semester would be an utter understatement.

The course, as I’ve shared before, is framed around three primary themes — community, identity, and design. This was based on the experiences I had co-teaching this course with my long time friend and colleague, Dr. Scott McDonald at Penn State. Going it alone made me rethink a lot of it as we were always able to lean on each others strengths, so this was a very different course in many ways. I won’t go into details, as it would be easy to track our week by week progression by again visiting the course site. I will say this, there were so many unexpected surprises along the way that I thought I would list the ones that stood out the most.

Week One

The first day of a college class is usually a very basic thing — hand out the syllabus, review the course outline, get to know the professor, and do some basic introductions. Not in this week one! Sure we did the basics, but after listening to an episode of the podcast, Reply All the day before class I redesigned what we would do the night before. The episode called, “The Writing on the Wall” is described by the show’s creators the following way, “Yik Yak is an app that allows users to communicate anonymously with anyone within a 10-mile radius. At Colgate University in upstate New York, the anonymity brought out a particularly vicious strain of racism that shook the school.” What that episode so magically (and tragically) did was mash all three of our themes into a very relevant and difficult story. While it effectively brought community, identity, and design into focus — all while introducing the concept of disruptive technologies — it also created the surprising undertone of “race” as an ongoing theme to be continually revisited. Class was over at 6 … we all headed out after 6:40.

Oh, and they got iPads that they had to write about.

Week Five

This was the first Synthesis week, where they got to take over the class and lead the discussion. I purposefully gave them very little instruction so they could be as creative in their overview of our first theme, community. There were only two teams, but the way they crafted their respective synthesis was truly quite amazing. The two teams unintentionally played off each other during their time creating a whole that was most certainly greater than its parts. We noted a theme emerge — we never end at 6.

I asked at the end of class if we had turned into a community … the quick first response from a student, “we did today.”

Week 6

This is the week we moved onto our second theme identity. I asked them to create videos with their iPads and post them to the course blog … some of them were quite amazing. This was a week that we ourselves were disrupted by a snow day as classes were cancelled. That didn’t stop us. Google Hangout to the rescue — can you believe all of the students showed up for this voluntary snow day virtual class. There is a lesson in this for campus — if the network is running, classes (in some shape or form) can go on.

Week 9

As we worked our way through the identity theme another spike in our conversations about race emerged. This time brought on by the Martese Johnson beating at UVA. During that week I posted a link to an interesting site designed and published by students at UVA that one of my students reacted to in their own blog post that I shared with my community on Facebook. Things got crazy from there …

Two Penn State colleagues joined class that day. One, Sam Richards, via Hangout as his 750 student Race Relations class filed into Thomas 100 on the PSU campus to talk about race in America. The other, Curt Marshall who drove from State College, PA to Stony Brook, NY to join class face to face. What an experience for the students. Sam is known to be one of America’s 101 most dangerous academics and a great instigator and communicator. Curt is the Multicultural Affairs and Recruitment Director for the Penn State College of Arts and Architecture and is one of the brightest and most articulate people I know. It was a humbling day and one that I don’t think any of us will forget.

Week 12

By this time we were fully engaged with our final theme, design. The students were working through their Design Challenge creations via the Human Centered Design approach we utilized. They were envisioning an app for the iPad that didn’t exist that was focused on improving the student experience. An evening or two before class I noticed that Stony Brook Alumni Association had highlighted a recent alum who was now an app developer, so I took the chance and sent him a direct message introducing him to our class. He got back to me a little bit later after reading the class blog and decided he would come to class and talk to the students about app design first hand. It was a killer experience for us all … I think Eric really enjoyed it. I wonder if he realizes how much he inspired the students that day?

Weeks 13-15

The last three weeks of class were so brilliant I can’t single any one out. We did paper prototyping to bring app ideas to life, shared so many incredibly insightful ideas, wrote some amazing reflections, read some killer articles, and I got to watch as the two teams put a bow on the entire semester with two unbelievable final synthesis presentations. They brought the three themes together through the lenses of technology, the iPad as a positive disruptive force in higher education, and emerged on the other side as a group that is much more critically tuned to the potential affordances of the technologies we typically take for granted every single day. Their final reflections were amazing and I can’t tell you what a profound experience teaching at Stony Brook was for me in the Spring of 2015. Two pull quotes from final student reflections touched me deeply …

I can say that this has been one of the most remarkable class experiences I’ve had and I am very sad to see it coming to an end.

I’m actually a lot sadder to be writing this post than I expected to be. This class is hands down the most memorable and stimulating class that I have ever taken.

I felt the same way.