Georgia Highlands College

Planning Overview

The Information Technology Department strives to utilize planning to facilitate the optimum use of their resources. Several sources of planning are used throughout the year. The overriding force for planning is an annual update to the unit's mission, purpose, and goals. This document serves as an overview for where the department will direct its efforts during the next year. There are then many other planning efforts that are utilized during the year. At the end of the year, an assessment is conducted that demonstrates outcomes from the previous planning directives. These are then incorporated into the following year's plan.

During the year there are many opportunities to incorporate information and ideas into the planning effort. The following list is an overview of some of those opportunities and a description and information follow in subsequent sections: Information Technology Administrators Retreat, Assessment Planning Day, Department / Division Meetings, Proposals on various projects, Committees, Budget Hearings, Information Technology Managers Meetings, and Administrative Council. This is certainly not an exhaustive list. There are many other opportunities presented year-to-year depending on a variety of factors. All of this information is pooled together to make the best decisions possible for utilization of technology in Administrative and Instructional areas.

The Information Technology Department continually uses planning internally to direct the staff's efforts towards institutional needs. The Chief Information Officer meets with unit directors at least a couple of times monthly to review projects, problems, and have a consolidated understanding across units of Information Technology. Departmental meetings are also scheduled each Semester for the entire Information Technology staff to keep everyone abreast of issues and derive feedback from the ranks. Finally, at least once a year the management staff of Information Technology gets away for a day retreat to conduct a thorough analysis of technology needs within the institution. All of these efforts are utilized to adjust planning efforts within the department and best match resources with the needs of the college user community.

External planning is utilized to direct the efforts of Information Technology at Georgia Highlands as well. In addition to the direction the department receives from upper college administration, there are several opportunities for the Information Technology Department to receive input to its direction. Several Information Technology staff members serve on various committees. Some of these are ad-hoc in nature, but others function as permanent advisory groups to different phases of Information Technology. In particular, two members of Information Technology serve on the college Administrative Council. This group meets bi-monthly and consists of directors and division chairs from all units of the college. The President and Vice Presidents also serve on this council. This group operates to assist in the steering of the college and to promote information exchange throughout all units of the college. Many phases of technology are discussed and planned for through this process.

Other planning efforts also affect the mission of technology at Georgia Highlands College. The college strives to provide the latest technology that will offer the most efficient impact for faculty, staff, and students. One of the biggest challenges in delivery of a robust technology is budgeting. The college has to work within a limited budgetary framework and balance all areas of the institution as it plans for technology expenditures. Several sources of information are used to reach this difficult decision. In addition to input from the Administrative Council members, empirical data is collected as well. This information can come from several sources. One of the main sources is a report generated from the Information Technology Department. This inventory analysis report will be produced annually detailing equipment that has reached at least the age of four years. This report follows the Technology Replacement Plan that details how technology related equipment is categorized and to be processed for replacement in the technology life cycle. From this analysis, administration can make better procurement decisions for the entire institution during each budgeting cycle. This information is submitted annually with other budgeting requests brought forth to the appropriate Vice President by each unit within the college.

From all the information garnered through these processes, committees, and reports, Georgia Highlands College makes every effort to efficiently provide the best technology for all areas of the institution. Technology must be carefully balanced between infrastructure, instruction to students, and support for faculty and staff.

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