Weekly update 2006-05-19

This week: web site redesign consultant, regional network proposal, Board meeting, increased funding for CATalyst, (re)integration of CATalyst and campus staff

Given the sporadic schedule on which I get these out, I should label them “occasional update” rather than “weekly update”!
Early in the week, I participated in a couple of meetings with the Web redesign consultant, Michael Stoner ( http://www.mstoner.com ): the first with the President and other senior leaders, the second with the Web team. Stoner is engaged in the first phase of the redesign, the discovery phase, and will make recommendations about appearance, navigation, etc., to be tied to the vision and strategy (the second version of which is being developed currently). Stoner will be coordinating with the consultant who has been engaged to work on logo and marketing aspects of the University — they’ve worked together before. was impressed by Stoner. I think his approach and temperament plus his extensive experience with other higher ed clients will serve us well. The plan is for him to begin interviewing focus groups on campus in June and to report back his analysis and recommendations about 6 weeks after he finishes that work.
We continued to work on the regional network proposal and funding requirements, largely in preparation for the Board meeting. Working with Greg Kelly from TelJet, we developed a fairly comprehensive plan and some attractive funding approaches. As I noted in last week’s summary, it had been previously decided that we would not request funding for new projects at this meeting. But I wanted to be prepared should discussions arise.
A good deal of the week was spent preparing for and participating in the Board meeting. At the Friday morning meeting of the Facilities and Technology subcommittee, I presented outlines of the Banner Student System reimplementation and the Regional Network. No budget requests, just alerts that we’ve been discussing these on campus and expected to come forward with proposals in the future.
As you know from the Free Press and from campus discussions, some of the remaining discussion was more difficult. While we did not request additional funding for CATalyst, we did report that the cost would ultimately be closer to $30M than $26M. The Board, first in the Facilities & Technology subcommittee, then in the Finance subcommittee on Friday afternoon, then (reportedly) in the full meeting on Saturday expressed concern that there hadn’t been prior discussion about the overruns and that by the time they next met, the expenses would have already been incurred. In those successive venues, the Board passed authorization for $4.5M in additional expenses for CATalyst.
As a result of this rapidly evolving development, I couldn’t join the “Welcome Back Roger” celebration at lunch. Roger: welcome back! And I hope you understand, in retrospect, why I was unable to join the celebration. We haven’t had a chance to work together yet, but I hope you realize from the warm feelings around campus and within CIT in particular how happy the community is to have you home safely and preparing to return to work. I look forward to meeting you again!
During the week, I also participated in a number of discussions in which I recommended that we integrate the CATalyst staff back into their University homes as soon as possible — July 1, if feasible. While we will continue to have much work to do to finish incomplete development or to roll out modules that have been developed but not implemented, I think both the University and members of the CATalyst team are better served if they’re working in their ongoing functional environments. It’s important that the individual business functions begin taking direct responsibility for the PS implementation for their units. At the end of the week, the Divisional senior leaders responsible for those business functions supported by PS met with VP Gower, and we agreed to proceed with the reintegration of CATalyst staff on 1 July. Initially, that will be a formal migration of reporting structure, as over the following few months, as critical implementation projects are completed, the staff will integrate with campus staff.

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