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News Items from UNC Greensboro

Students do school work on their laptops in a cafe.
Students do school work on their laptops in a cafe.

The accelerated development and adoption of new technologies in recent decades has helped fuel innovation and create opportunities to improve how we live, learn, work, and connect. And at UNCG, enterprise-level IT has become critical infrastructure for delivering education.

But just like our personal laptops and cell phones, UNCG’s enterprise IT infrastructure has to be refreshed every 4-8 years. How these upgrades have historically been funded is the issue. 

Unfunded IT Upgrades

When new state buildings are constructed, the capital project only pays for the initial technology installation. All subsequent technology refreshes revert to Information Technology Services’ (ITS) budget, with no additional funds provided to offset costs.  

When ITS developed our campus wired network budget in 2005, we served 45 buildings. In 2022, we are serving 110 buildings. As technology refresh needs grew, our budget did not.

To support these unfunded upgrades, ITS has optimized its operations over the past five years, implementing a significant reduction in our workforce and making tough decisions to reduce and reshape the technology services we provide. We have intentionally prioritized the funding of our academic enterprise and utilized one-time funding to help fill the gaps, but this is not a sustainable practice.

Even after implementing these actions, ITS still faces a $13 million five-year budget shortfall. 

Re-engineering for a Sustainable Future 

ITS is working closely with the Chancellor, the Provost, and the CFO to conceive and implement a funding model that recognizes IT costs as part of ongoing building management costs. But this effort alone will not alleviate the escalating ITS budget deficit.

We are once again faced with the difficult decision to further evaluate the IT services we provide, and consolidate duplicative technologies, platforms, and services to reduce redundancy and maximize return on the University’s investments. 

Additionally, the State Auditor recently conducted a comprehensive IT Controls Audit for our campus, and to comply with audit recommendations and UNC System policy, UNCG is required to establish a central authority and structure to provide campus-wide, comprehensive IT governance for distributed IT that ensures centrally-managed cybersecurity, asset management, critical, software patching, and the monitoring, protection, and disposal of sensitive data. 

These decisions are not being made lightly, but they must be made. Every measure is being taken to minimize the impact on our community, ensure work continuity and functionality, and ultimately, enhance our ability to fulfill the mission of this University. We are particularly focused on the needs of our students and the support they will need throughout the transition, and 

we will certainly need your assistance with student engagement. 

It is our goal to proactively communicate these changes well in advance of implementation, and we want and need your feedback. We will be developing a needs assessment in the near future and look forward to your insights and collaboration to shape and implement our plans moving forward. At this point, please do not take any action. We will be providing frequent updates on timelines and actionable next steps. Please wait for further guidance. 

To learn more about our technology initiatives, please visit here, and be on the lookout for more communications from ITS.

Thank you for your partnership and as always, Go Spartans.

Donna Heath
Information Technology Services
Vice Chancellor and Chief Information Officer

 
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