AVP & CTO Update December 23, 2019
This is my last AVP and CTO Update for 2019. As a rule, my preference is to look ahead to the future, and my next set of goals or activities, rather looking back. However, looking back is about celebrating success, learning some lessons, and reminding oneself that a lot can happen in a year – even if it feels like it passed by in a minute!
My two goals for this 2019, as identified in my first January 2019 blog, were: 1) “focusing on Learning new skills” and 2) “practicing Creativity”. Those are pretty broad goals and I definitely need to be much more specific when setting my goals for this coming year. However, I can say confidently that between all of the projects, vendors, presentations and activities we have taken on this year, and all of the new experiences, discussions and people that have crossed my path, there has been ample opportunity for creativity and learning new skills and capabilities, minute by minute. This is precisely why I love my job!
Looking back on what we have accomplished in 2019 affirms the value of setting specific goals. This is precisely how we have collectively accomplished so much for the institution in 2019. The McMaster IT Strategic Plan and IT Governance have provided the plan and processes for ensuring our goals are specific. We have a plan! And with each new initiative we started or finished this year, it was easy to remain positive, despite challenges or set backs, because we had a plan and leadership support that could help us find our way. At the same time, there is no plan than can succeed without the amazing effort and support of people, people, people. Your determination, dedication and strengths shone through, resulting in many lovely successes to celebrate as we think about all we have done in 2019. It was an amazing, full and satisfying year, and I have all of you in the McMaster community to thank. So thank you!
When I look back on 2019, there are many projects and services that I could highlight to demonstrate all of those successes. What floats to the top and gives me the most pride are the activities that brought the McMaster community and you, the McMaster IT community together to share, learn, grow and celebrate. These are just a few activities that show we are making an impact and providing IT leadership, together:
- The UTS Equity Diversity and Inclusion Film Festival which created space for conversations that are typically uncommon amongst colleagues – courage was abundant!
- The LongView Activate Digital event where I had the opportunity to share the stage with Rola Dagher, President of Cisco Canada, to talk about Digital Transformation in Higher Ed and the importance of people being at the centre of our strategy
- UTS Camp Day this past summer where UTS discussed the value of strong IT service and support for the campus, and then engaged in fun summer camp activities on a very hot day when everyone was looking decidedly ‘summer campy’.
- Lunch time TechTalks where I had rewarding conversations with so many people, including students and faculty, who I might not have met otherwise
- The McMaster TMG (The Management Group) Retreat. ”Leading Strategically Through Digital Transformation” with an amazing keynote by Arig
- Attending OHEIT with members from McMaster and across our Ontario IT community. It was great to be present to support my good friend and colleague, Bo Wandschneider, on his UofT IT Strategic Plan Launch just a few months after ours, and using the Digital Moments process that we initiated.
- The Sys Admin day activities, recognizing our system administrators in our IT community and demonstrating that other members of the community care about showing gratitude to each other by creating this event.
- Efforts to revise the Terms of Reference for the Tech Round Table, led by the TRT leadership this year, which will provide a much broader opportunity for engagement across our IT Community – great work, everyone!
- UTS and other IT partners on campus supporting the students in the SUSTAIN 3S03 – Implementing Sustainable Change class, who undertook a project to refurbish computers to donate to young high school students, having a real time impact on the community.
- A design thinking workshop with IBM that brought various constituent groups together to think about how we can provide better IT support to our faculty and students
- Attendance at EDUCAUSE where I was able to present with Bo Wandschneider on our Digital Moments process in Strategic Planning, and on our CanSSOC initiative
- Attendance at CanHEIT, where so many from McMaster presented their ideas. The active involvement in our Higher Ed community is an amazing way to share and learn, and is highly recommended.
- We had three notable IT community retirement gatherings where we celebrated the long term commitment and contribution of some of our own: Gerry Gysbers from UTS, Rocco Piro from CSU and FHS, John McKay from Advancement.
- The installation of our new Chancellor, Santee Smith, which was beautifully unconventional, and reminds us that we can do things our way with confidence and set the bar higher for others.
- The recent appointment and opportunity to explore new beginnings with our new President.
- The McMaster IT Strategy Plan launch and celebration with live stream, selfies, and donuts, and the shared creativity that went into creating the video and the event itself. It was a true community effort and has been a springboard for all of our amazing accomplishments throughout 2019
These are just a few of the amazing stories we created this past year. Your own stories of success and collaboration are just as important and I hope that you take time over the next two weeks to refresh your memory and consider the impact that you have made this year. Thank you all, very much, for your part in a memorable year.
Have a wonderful holiday break. Rest and enjoy this time with family and friends. I am very much looking forward to working with you again in 2020!
That is how I see IT this week… and until next year.gg's blog