Creation of a Campus Culture of Stewardship for Administrative Information
Administrative Information Environment Group and Information & Technology Services, Pacific Lutheran University
Administrative Information Environment (AIE) Group: Steven Starkovich, Provost; Sheri Tonn, VP/Finance; Karl Stumo, VP/Admissions; Laura Majovski, VP/Student Life; Steven Olson, VP/Development; Kristin Plaehn, Registrar; Greg Brewis, Executive Director/University Communications; Deirdre McGoldrick, Systems & Data Analyst/Institutional Planning
I&TS Leadership Council: David Allen, Director/Systems & Communications; Susan Jennings, Director/Information Systems; Fran Lane Rasmus, Director/Library Services; Layne Nordgren, Director/User Services & Instructional Technologies; Chris Ferguson, Associate Provost/I&TS
Creating a dynamic, well-maintained, and effective administrative information environment (AIE) requires that many individuals and groups across the institution understand their key roles in providing stewardship for institutional data. Development and maintenance of an effective AIE is not solely the responsibility of the administrative computing group or the IT department; a commitment to stewardship is required from multiple institutional levels and partners, starting with executive leadership, flowing through systems managers and data custodians, and extending to nearly all members of the community.
Over the decade following initial deployment of the Banner administrative information system in 1997, ownership of data and participation of personnel in the functional areas (e.g., Admissions, Office of the Registrar, Financial Aid) waned even as expectations of executive leadership increased for I&TS management of projects, deployment of new enterprise systems, and support for functional area data managers.
A high-level group, including campus executive leadership, was formed in 2008 to foster a campus-wide commitment to an excellent AIE. The group established ownership of & leadership for the existing AIE by setting project priorities and considering new technologies and functions that it wanted to deploy, but came to understand the limitations of the institution’s stewardship model. Through a thoughtful and sustained effort guided by consultants G. Spencer and B. Hoyt, this high-level group developed its planning and leadership role more fully, acquired greater understanding of the stewardship required for the AIE at all levels, and formed a multi-year strategic plan. Under the plan, PLU has to date accomplished considerable foundational work in cultivating a campus-wide culture of stewardship, restructured the academic computing unit, completed a series of business process analyses, and is currently building a series of data marts while beginning the acquisition process for a constituent relationship management system (CRMS). As I&TS restructured in partial response to this initiative, it engaged in extensive organization development with one of the consultants.
- Formation of the AIE Group with a detailed charge
- A vision and multi-year plan for the PLU AIE
- An extensive restructuring of I&TS in order to better support the AIE Plan and additional needs
- An I&TS planning process rooted in project definition
Relevance for Other Institutions
Every higher education institution needs to find the right balance in providing stewardship for its AIE. Campus leadership, individual departments, staff within those departments, and members of the IT staff all play critical roles. If these roles and responsibilities are or become misaligned, or commitments are not kept, the information environment will decrease in benefit to the institution. A sustained effort by all parties to maintain a high-quality administrative information environment is in the best interest of the institution and is essential for institutional effectiveness and competitiveness.