For the past seven years, Illinois State University IT professionals have gathered in the State Farm Hall of Business to learn from and connect with their peers across campus during CIT events. Even though the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic put the Spring CITx event in doubt, organizers felt it was critical to find a way to bring everyone together.
“The focus of CIT has always been on connecting our campus IT staff and empowering them to engage, teach, and learn from each other,” said Paul Unsbee, director of Milner Library information technology services and CIT planning committee member. “Continuing that effort has never been more important to the stability and success of the university.”
This year’s event, held virtually on June 11, was headlined by retiring Associate Vice President for Academic Technologies Mark Walbert. Walbert’s talk reflected on the vast technological changes Illinois State University has experienced during his nearly 36 years of service and how the campus has had to adapt to new tech realities. After his speech, several members of the IT community took a minute to express their appreciation for Walbert’s work and leadership.
“I will always appreciate Mark for his kindness and encouragement,” Associate Vice President and Chief Technology Officer Charles Edamala said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better mentor.”
Walbert was also honored with the first-ever CIT Lifetime Achievement award to recognize his outstanding service to Illinois State.
“We couldn’t have a more deserving first recipient,” CIT Planning Committee Chair Carla Birckelbaw said.
Following Walbert’s talk, IT staff from across campus shared updates from their units. Here are some of the highlights:
- Edamala announced the newly formed Office of Technology Solutions. Tech Solutions includes all of the teams that were part of Administrative Technologies, Learning Spaces and Audio/Visual Technologies, and TechZone. A new office, The Office of Advanced Technology Solutions, is also part of Tech Solutions. The office will be led by Rosie Hauck, associate professor in business information systems, and is designed to help further support Illinois State faculty with their technology needs.
- Charles Bristow, instructional developer at the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Technology (CTLT), announced an upgrade to ReggieNet scheduled to launch on July 23. Features include an all-new grading interface, enhanced features for the editing interface, and a new date editor, among many others. Bristow also welcomed Jen Friberg as the interim director of CTLT after Claire Lamonica retired from the University in the spring.
- Craig Jackson, director of Infrastructure, Operations, and Networking (ION), discussed how his unit has supported Zoom and remote access to campus software as most members of the Illinois State community tackled their work, studies, or teaching from home during the COVID-19 crisis.
- Unsbee announced a new library information system. The new system boasts a plethora of quality of life improvements and helps campus researchers find information quicker and easier.
- Rachel Hart, director of enterprise data analytics, spoke about a recent partnership with the Office of Financial Aid to help recruit more students.
- Todd Smoak, executive director of technology solutions, announced the launch of a new Redbird Card in the fall. The new card is smart chip enabled.
- Arturo Ramirez, director of Web and Interactive Communications, announced the launch of a digital course catalog.
- Dan Taube, interim chief information security officer, discussed some of the findings from the FY19 IT audit.
- Derek Story, director of human resource systems, announced a new and improved ISU job opportunities website.
The event ended by honoring this year’s CIT Outstanding Student MVP, Bronwyn Herndon. CITx organizers were happy with the way the virtual event was conducted and are looking into safe methods of gathering when planning this fall’s CIT Annual Conference.
“The CIT Planning Committee is considering various options for holding the CIT Annual Conference,” Birckelbaw said. “Just like our course delivery this fall, we are looking at a mix of face to face and online options to ensure everyone’s safety.”
CITx is sponsored by Administrative Technologies, the Office of Academic Technologies, TechZone, Student Affairs IT, and the College of Business.