EDUCAUSE President John O’Brien Visits McMaster University, Calls University Technology Assistance Group Inspirational
On July 13, 2022, following the appointment of McMaster University Associate Vice President (AVP) and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Gayleen Gray as a member of the board of directors for EDUCAUSE, John O’Brien, President, and CEO of EDUCAUSE visited McMaster University and met with Gayleen and others supporting our campus community. EDUCAUSE is an international association and community of IT leaders, tech practitioners and professionals advancing higher education. Dr. O’Brien’s visit was aimed at strengthening connections with McMaster University as a contributing member of EDUCAUSE and learning about the approaches and integration of students in the IT community.
The visit was opened with meeting Gayleen, University Technology Services (UTS) managers and the University Technology Assistance Group (UTAG) which brings together students with diverse perspectives and skillsets to support UTS as part of the Collaboration and Productivity team. UTAG’s overarching mission is to enable the McMaster community in using Microsoft 365 and Zoom technologies for enhancing collaboration and productivity. In this context, UTAG developed and launched the Discover and Learn Hub which is open to all McMaster users. UTAG members presented on their backgrounds, the support they provide to UTS and the influence this experience has on every one of them.
“Your approach is remarkable. You are bringing the expertise and energy and fun to important strategic work,” O’Brien addressed UTAG members.
Gayleen addressed how valuable the students’ input is to UTS and further enhancing the McMaster community IT experience; “I am very proud of the work of every member in the UTS team. The creation of UTAG as a step to incorporate students in the IT community, is one of the major milestones of the department. This not only brings in new perspectives but is also a way to make sure students’ voices are heard and the services are delivered in a way that benefits them most. UTAG has done a wonderful job”
UTS is keen at improving its services and taking different perspectives from members of the McMaster community, with students at the core of the UTS mission and work. Anthony Jones, Communications and Multimedia student and UTAG member said “UTS saw the potential in bringing students into the workflow and bringing students’ perspective into the McMaster IT community. This has shown to be valuable, tangible, and effective. Even though we’ve seen its success at McMaster in the IT Community only, we know that the UTAG model has potential outside of that across campus.”
Gray and O’Brien also toured the McMaster Museum of Art, Bertrand Russel Archives and Research Centre, Virtual Reality Anatomy Lab, and concluded the day with conversations over lunch with Provost Susan Tighe.
“I’ve been so impressed by everything I’ve seen at McMaster, through the thing that I will never forget is the meeting with the students. I think it’s amazing that the University creates a space for them to learn and grow and be part of a team working to advance important initiatives in the campus. This is inspirational,” said O’Brien.
This visit was a welcome opportunity to strengthen the connections between McMaster and the broader higher education IT community. Thank you, John and EDUCAUSE!News Category