UW Information Technology

UW-IT Strategy

Good technology, well-delivered, for a better University

UW-IT’s Strategy is founded on the belief that information technology, well-conceived, designed, and delivered, is a powerful force for good at the University. UW-IT is in a unique position to support the University from an enterprise perspective, and one of its key roles is to provide strong institutional IT leadership across the UW.

COVID-19 pandemic response

UW-IT’s support for the University’s mission has never been more critical than during the pandemic. See below for more details about how we met the remote needs of students, faculty and staff, and read these stories about our response.

That means aligning UW-IT’s work with the University’s mission and top priorities, as outlined by University leadership, and making these priorities the focus of UW-IT’s work.

This strategy is still a work in progress. This strategy will continue to evolve over time to reflect changes in the University’s environment and priorities.

UW-IT’s Strategy

Our strategy, illustrated in the graphic below, is comprised of four areas that focus on supporting the UW’s academic mission and three that center on building a strong, secure foundation. All are vital to our ability to effectively support the University.

Supporting the academic mission

Our support for the academic mission of the University focuses on four primary areas:

  • Enhance the student experience: Promote a positive student experience, including delivering technologies to support teaching and learning, student administrative systems, student life and student success.
  • Advance world-class research: Support UW researchers in their work with an integrated approach that includes research computing, research applications support, research data management and consulting.
  • Enable academic administration: Efforts that support administrative work carried out by faculty, staff and others who do not have a primary role as a professional administrator. These include faculty hiring, faculty review, and other aspects of faculty affairs.
  • Modernize UW business administration: Enable the business of the University, including HR, finance, research administration, and facilities.

Building a strong foundation

UW-IT will continue to invest in building a strong, secure foundation to serve the broader UW community. This foundation focuses on three areas:

  • Support the workforce: Efforts to support and develop staff, build community and collaboration, promote transparency and communication, and provide a strong set of processes, operations, and opportunities needed for success.
  • Manage enterprise risk: Our approach and efforts to manage enterprise risk associated with information technology, including cybersecurity, accessibility, vendor risk, and input on legislation.
  • Build technology foundations: Includes UW-IT’s technology and service delivery strategy, as well as support for robust, reliable and secure IT infrastructure. Shapes priorities for how technology services are designed, implemented, and deployed at the UW.

Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic caused unprecedented changes to the University’s academic and business operations, and the sudden pivot to respond to the University’s needs shaped UW-IT’s strategy in 2020.

UW-IT collaborated with partners across the University to support faculty and students in their transition to online teaching and learning, to respond to staff needs in working remotely and to ensure the continued operations of the University. Teams from different departments and units quickly came together to provide support to students, faculty and staff, including researchers and medical professionals. Many of the strategic decisions made during the pandemic in 2020 will remain in place into 2021, and have been focused in these areas:

  • Ensure academic continuity by maintaining and supporting core technologies:
    • Offer students as many of the planned courses as possible.
    • Leverage proven technologies that support a wide range of courses delivered online and that faculty and students are familiar with, including the Canvas learning management system, Panopto lecture capture, Zoom video conferencing, and collaboration tools like UW Office 365 and UW Google Suite.
    • Support integration of these tools as feasible and as appropriate to simplify access and use.
  • Enable online instruction and remote work:
    • Support online classes and remote work with an enterprise Zoom license for remote teaching and learning, and for UW operations.
    • Redeploy resources to meet increased demand at both the Technology Service Center and Teaching and Learning Technology Help Desk.
  • Support students:
    • Develop and refine online guides and resources for students to be successful in using technology for online classes, including offering videos and Zoom sessions.
  • Support faculty:
    • Provide training and technical and pedagogical tools for online course development and delivery, including drop-in and real-time online training sessions for faculty.
    • Contribute to a website dedicated to resources for remote instruction.
  • Support staff:
    • Provide online training guides and resources for staff working remotely to ensure the continued operations of the University.
    • Leverage a wide array of proven technologies, such as UW Zoom, Microsoft Teams, productivity platforms like UW Office 365 and UW G Suite, and by adopting processes, services and systems to be effective for a remote workforce.
  • Ensure business continuity:
    • Activate the UW-IT Unit Response Center to prioritize and manage emerging health and safety needs for UW-IT staff, their needs for working remotely and to maintain the continuity of vital systems.
    • Leverage existing systems like UW Connect, our central help email and phone number, and UW-IT’s incident management process to quickly and adequately respond to and communicate about technology issues as they arise.
    • Refine services and offerings to better support a remote workforce and minimize the need for staff on site.
  • Support COVID-19 research:
    • Designate Hyak, the UW’s supercomputer, an essential service so researchers can advance our understanding of COVID-19 and how to fight the disease.