“… an effective way of cementing the link between IT and the institution’s leadership…”
     CIO Leadership Series -- Educause


Why the Establishment of an IT Governance Structure at Dominican University

Established in 2005 as technology changed, and as computing power moved out to the equipment of end users, decision-making regarding IT resource allocations and prioritization of IT initiatives became more complex.

Administrative and academic units outside of the IT organization had begun to make their own decisions and allocate significant resources for IT-related purchases or use, often without input from the IT organization.  The decentralized and uncoordinated decision-making process often led to situations where the IT organization was unable to adequately support or maintain the institutions' technology investment.  Too often decisions were made without regard to how the intended use of the technology supports the strategic initiatives of the university.

Of particular concern was whether or not the IT expenditure choices that were being made really represented decisions in the best interest of Dominican University as a whole, rather than the interests of individual units within the institution.

Many institutions have come to realize that a well-organized and well-communicated information technology governance structure is needed to address the issues of how initiatives are established and how decisions are made with regard to the acquisition, deployment and support of information technology.

What Is Information Technology Governance at Dominican University

Information technology governance is the framework for defining how information technology policies, systems, and resources are established, deployed, managed and enforced.  IT governance is designed to achieve a partnership between the individual units within the institution and the IT department.

The University IT Committee, chaired by the President, sets priorities, oversees policies and supports the use of information technologies within the university.  Providing input to the University IT Committee are three advisory committees representing the three major constituencies of the university; faculty, staff and students.

These committees will participate in a consistent project request, prioritization, approval and management process for technology initiatives that have significant impact or resource requirements.    

The board’s Technology Task Force will provide oversight and monitor progress against the technology plan.  Going forward, this group will review the annual operating and capital budgets for technology and recommend approval to the Finance Committee.

Definitions - Charges - Purposes of the IT Governance Committees

University IT Committee

Purpose: The University IT Committee will, with the input of the advisory committees, create and provide oversight for implementation of an IT Strategic Plan.  Additionally, the committee reviews the proposals and recommendations submitted by the advisory committees.  These proposals and recommendations may be approved, rejected, or returned to the submitting committee for modification.  This committee resolves any priority, resource allocation, standards, or policy conflict, which cannot be resolved by the advisory committees.  Through these efforts, the University IT Committee ensures that IT initiatives are consistent with University strategies, priorities, and resource levels. The goals of the University IT Committee should include (as a minimum):

1.   Creation, approval and review of an IT Strategic Plan for the use of information technologies within the university, closely coordinated with the university's strategic planning process.

2.   Review and approval of the tactical plans, implementation plans, timeframes and budgets developed by the Director of Information Technology to guide implementation of the goals defined in the IT Strategic Plan.

3.   Review appropriate administrative policies and procedures recommended by the IT advisory committees.

4.   Resolve recommended information technology issues referred to the committee by the IT advisory committees and communicate such decisions to the referring committee for dissemination to affected constituents.

5.   Set priorities for strategic information technology initiatives or endeavors.

6.   Annually evaluate the effectiveness of initiatives put into place during the previous 12 months and modify or adjust the IT Strategic Plan accordingly.

7.   Communicate to the university community the information technology directions agreed to by the committee.

General Charge to the Advisory Committees

The charge to each of the IT advisory committees is identical for their respective functional areas of concern.  It is envisioned that each of the committees will perform the bulk of the analysis concerning any issue brought before it and then, if so decided by the particular committee, prepare and present a recommendation to the University IT Committee for consideration.  It is expected that each committee will act for the good of all their functional units while considering at all times the strategic goals of the university.

The goals of the advisory IT committees should include (as a minimum):

1.  Analyze needs and identify incomplete services.

2.   Recommend priorities for information technology endeavors.

3.   Develop multiyear university-wide plans for intended uses of IT resources and services linked to the strategic plan of the university.

4.   Develop an Appropriate Use Policy for IT Resources for their respective areas of concern, then reviewing the appropriateness of this policy on a regular basis.

5.   Recommend information technology issues and policies to the University IT Committee.

6.   Communicate to all of their functional units, and/or constituencies, the information technology directions agreed to by the committee.

7.   Carry out an annual evaluation of effectiveness.

Academic IT Committee

The Academic IT Committee was ratified as a standing committee of the Academic Council in 2009.  Ongoing updates to the committee structure will be documented in the Faculty Handbook, as detailed below. 

I.D.4.7 Academic IT Committee

(1) Membership:

Thirteen (13) members: six (6) elected; six (6) ex officio; and the Associate CTLE Director for Teaching and Learning Technology as Chair. Six (6) members are elected by the faculty, with at least one faculty member representing each College/School. The six (6) ex officio members include: two (2) Academic Deans (appointed by the Office of the Provost); the Chief Information Officer; an additional IT staff member (appointed by the Director of IT); the University Librarian; and the Director of the CTLE.

(2) Duties

The Academic IT Committee shares responsibility for advocating for developing, implementing, and evaluating policies and practices for using technology to enhance the quality of teaching and learning across the University.

The Academic IT Committee exercises its responsibility by:

a. Helping to develop and implement relevant aspects of the Dominican University IT Strategic Plan;

b. Reviewing and recommending policies that relate to faculty usage and access of University information technologies in their teaching, scholarship, professional development, and participation in University life and governance;

c. Encouraging and stimulating faculty development in the area of information technologies, with special emphasis on pedagogical implications;

d. Serving as technology “thought leaders” among faculty across the University; stimulating innovation; and providing opportunities for discussion of emerging technologies and their potential pedagogical applications;

e. Setting goals and priorities related to pedagogical issues for technology at the University level, and recommending action steps toward these goals;

f. Overseeing the Online Instruction Committee (an ad hoc users group), which serves to support faculty involved in online teaching;

g. Serving as the faculty liaison to and a subcommittee of the University IT Committee.

Administrative IT Committee

Purpose:  The Administrative IT Committee reviews the proposals and recommendations to establish or modify administrative IT standards and policies submitted by the committee membership. These proposals and recommendations may be tentatively approved, rejected, or returned to the submitting individual or group for modification.

The decisions reached by this committee are submitted to the University IT Committee for review. Through these efforts, the Administrative IT Committee ensures that IT initiatives are prioritized appropriately and that the respective needs of the various units, and the administrative support departments in general, have been considered.

Student IT Committee

Purpose:  The Student IT Committee reviews information technology needs and activities that directly support the student's access to, and use of, information resources. This includes but is not limited to development of online student resources through the web, computer lab resources and residence hall computing access.

The decisions reached by this committee are submitted to the University IT Committee for review. Through these efforts, the Student IT Committee ensures that IT initiatives are prioritized appropriately and that the respective needs of the entire student body have been considered.