AVP & CTO Update September 4, 2018
Good morning Colleagues
Welcome back from the long weekend, and for some of you, summer vacation. It is HERE! The new semester begins. My weekend highlight: a ride in a good friend’s Model 3 Tesla! Sadly I was so excited I didn’t get a picture. The car is very cool. Salim Ismail’s book, Exponential Organizations calls it a computer on wheels and I get it now. The inside is sleek and minimalist, just a steering wheel and a very large iPad-like monitor that tells you everything you need to know. So lovely. My friend waited 2 years for this car and it has exceeded his expectations. So, if you were thinking about it…!
What I learned this past week:
- We held a digital moments activity with the Student Affairs team and were able to gather more interesting ideas for future technologies, most with a student focus
- A new HR Digitization initiative was endorsed by the IT Executive and will seek funding through the budget process. You can check out the details on collborate.mcmaster.ca. UTS’s Mosaic HR team, and others, will be quite involved as it unfolds over the next couple of years.
- I held a number of meetings with stakeholders last week to start socializing the draft IT Strategic Plan – we are getting very close to a final version that will be shared more broadly. Tanya has been working with MPS on a design for the web and hard copy materials and it is looking good and feeling very real!
- I attended the Provost Council Retreat on Wednesday afternoon. It was more of a long meeting than an actual retreat and was a good way of kicking off the regular meetings again which have been on hiatus for the summer months. Our first one is tomorrow!
- I attended the UTS monthly staff meeting – thanks for letting me talk and provide an update on the IT Strategic Plan.
- budget budget budget… and more to come!
- Did you know that ‘stress’ and its impact on health is a Canadian born idea?
- I just learned this from an article on stress in my Brainpickings newsletter which talks about stress, its triggers and impacts, and then attributes Dr. Hans Selye with the concept. He is a member of the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame and the site has a video of him and others speaking about the research on this.
- Speaking of stress… it is something we all experience although our triggers and the impact may be very different. As we start a new semester on campus, we and others may experience moments of stress. Let’s lean into that wonderful character strength of KINDNESS and be good to ourselves and others as much as possible to help avoid adding to the challenges that stressful situations or experiences can create!
What I read this week:
- Yann Martel’s The High Mountains of Portugal – The Canadian author of The Life of Pi. I saw him speak in Guelph a couple of years ago. He has a fascination with allegory and spiritual connections – and animals. The book didn’t engage me immediately but quickly became a sought after distraction. It winds three stories together that have linking threads, beyond the fact that they all take place in Portugal, and you might be intrigued to know that chimpanzees play a role.
- The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie – Alan Bradley. This may be young adult literature. It is a mystery and really entertaining with an 11 year old British girl as the main character and sleuth. One of those books that has something for everyone. There is a full series…I might read the other ones, too!
What I am up to this week:
- More budget budget budget…
- I present the draft IT Strategic Plan to Provost Council on Wednesday morning! This is another opportunity for socializing the ideas and is one of the key opportunities to gauge the Deans’ perspective on how it has developed.
- I meet with Craig MacDonald from Facilities and Kevin Beatty from Student Housing and Conference Services to discuss big data collections and decision making…
- I have my regular ORION advisory committee meeting
- Richard and I are meeting with Ivan Brinjak from Longview
- I am visiting UofG at the end of week to check out what they are doing around data governance
- There are a number of regular meetings and updates dotting my schedule – things are filling in a bit more now that we are in September once again!
I hope you all have a great first week of the semester. Enjoy full access to all the food and coffee services and a much more vibrant and active campus as well!