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A Tale of Two Worlds: Academia and the Information Technology Unit Geoff Nathan Faculty Liaison, C&IT Associate Professor, Department of English (Linguistics.

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Presentation on theme: "A Tale of Two Worlds: Academia and the Information Technology Unit Geoff Nathan Faculty Liaison, C&IT Associate Professor, Department of English (Linguistics."— Presentation transcript:

1 A Tale of Two Worlds: Academia and the Information Technology Unit Geoff Nathan Faculty Liaison, C&IT Associate Professor, Department of English (Linguistics Program) Margaret E. Winters, (Chair, Romance Languages) Wayne State University "Copyright Geoffrey S. Nathan, This work is the intellectual property of the author. Permission is granted for this material to be shared for non-commercial, educational purposes, provided that this copyright statement appears on the reproduced materials and notice is given that the copying is by permission of the author. To disseminate otherwise or to republish requires written permission from the author."

2 Introduction I’m here to annoy you Faculty Liaison, Wayne State C&IT Computing Advisory Committee, Southern Illinois University

3 How the Faculty view the world The faculty are the University The staff exist to serve the faculty What faculty want the University to do should be done The University is not a business –Universities do not have ‘executives’ –Education is not a commodity

4 Opinions of real live faculty Universities do not have ‘executives’ –“University executives" sounds transparently like ploy to make deans and others look like ball-of-fire business executives slashing away at a wildly inflated bottom line while effectively directing the activities of the obviously lower-ranked and less talented faculty. That's how they think of themselves already. Why encourage them?” Professor X –“University Executive” is a puzzler, because, from the name, the person in question is not a professor, but an Executive. At all three of my universities, upper administrators are professors--provosts often teach one class a year, upper administrators retire from their positions and return to teaching/research, etc. (granted, some upper administrators move from their positions at one university to other, perhaps better, administrative positions at other universities, foundations, or the like.) Otherwise, this way of talking looks like a way of distinguishing the executives from the workers. I resist seeing myself as merely a worker.” Professor Y

5 More on the Faculty Viewpoint ‘They’ are a monolith standing in the way the proper running of a university The Faculty should be consulted on everything The Faculty have no notion of competing demands for resources Project Management Procedures are Mumbo-Jumbo

6 The Faculty Org. Chart

7 The IT View IT operates for its customers –But who are ‘the customers’? The students alone Campus units with IT needs IT has limited resources –New projects require a ‘business case’ –Decisions about new projects should be made by a responsible deliberative body or an ‘executive’

8 More on IT’s View Faculty Governance is broken All Units are equal under the law (or the President) –Many in IT can’t distinguish a College from a Department And therefore the level of importance of the decision and/or the decision-maker and the consequences of that decision –Many in IT call all units ‘units’, equating the Biology Department and the Registrar

9 IT Org. Chart

10 Solutions? IT Units need a ‘civilian’ inside Faculty Representative Bodies need a Geek Everybody needs to learn about and remain aware of these culture conflicts, and know that somewhere in the organization there’s a translation module

11 Questions? Rotten Tomatoes? Loud Cheers? Geoff Nathan


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