Office of Information Technology August 2020 Newsletter

Office of Information Technology August 2020 Newsletter


Welcome to August at UVU! Every year, we look forward to the start of the Fall Semester, when tens of thousands of students return to our doors and we feel the excitement of a fresh start. This year, in addition to the freshness of a new school year, we have several other exciting (and, dare I say, a little disconcerting) events that also coincide in August.

As of August 3, the campus is officially open again, meaning that many employees who have been working from home are returning to work on campus. To those who are returning with feelings of concern, please rest assured that UVU and your colleagues are doing everything in their power to make sure our campus is safe. I'm encouraged by the recent decline in COVID-19 infections. This indicates that more people are following the guidance of our leaders in protecting those around us, and it's working!

As school begins on August 23, one of the largest technology projects ever undertaken at UVU will ensure that students can participate in their classes safely, whether in the classroom or remotely. This has been a monumental effort across the university, but specifically in IT, and especially by the folks in AVSE and AIS. We won't forget the many individuals who have helped--and will help--to get the work done. Thank you to everyone for your participation in ensuring UVU's mission can be accomplished this Fall.

Last, but certainly not least, this August we welcome a new Associate Vice President of IT and Chief Technology Officer, Troy Martin, to UVU. We are looking forward to his leadership and vision as we support the digital transformation of UVU. With both Kelly Flanagan and Troy Martin on board, UVU will begin to make the transformative strides necessary to develop the technologies and the culture that will keep UVU at the forefront of higher education institutions in the world. We will all be witnesses and active participants in effecting the changes that we've been wanting for such a long time.

Brett McKeachnie
Interim AVP of OIT 



Class D employees are scheduled to work remotely until August 3. Since employee and student safety is the priority of the university, this deadline is flexible and allows room for individual adaptation. Work with your supervisor to come back at the appropriate time for you and the university. To find the most updated information regarding the return to campus, check


Have you seen a UVU staff member offering exceptional service or giving an exemplary performance? Remember to nominate them for the Wolverine Sighting Employee Recognition Award! 



An open road crossing a desert.

Campus Services Open, New CTO Arrives 

As of Monday, August 3, all of UVU's services will be open for business. Additionally, the new AVP of IT/CTO, Troy Martin, will assume leadership of IT and our digital transformation efforts. 


Summer Semester Ends

On Friday, August 14, UVU's summer semester ends and block finals will be conducted. 


UVU 2020 Commencement and Convocation

Graduates, their families, and friends are invited to a “drive-thru” convocation on August 19, 2020 between 5:00 PM – 7:30 PM.  For more details, check

Additionally, a “drive-in” commencement celebration will immediately follow convocations. This special event will include pre-show entertainment between 7:30 PM – 8:15 PM. The commencement celebrations from 8:15 PM – 9:00 PM will include an inspiring keynote address, an induction into the Alumni Association, an impressive fireworks show, and other entertainment. For more details, check


Students Return to Campus

Fall semester classes are scheduled to begin on August 24, 2020. 


As of July 30, these are the Top Ten priorities for all of IT:

  1. 2020 Classroom Technology
  2. Identity Management and Student Email
  3. IT Process Maturity
  4. Student Progress Dashboard
  5. Network Switch Upgrades & 10 Gb Backbone
  6. FYE  Budgeting
  7. Monitoring
  8. POB to JSD Feasibility Investigation
  9. COVID-19 Response/Support
  10.  Develop Business Case for Modern Telephony 


  1. If you are working from home, even for just one day a week, be sure to submit your Temporary Remote Work Agreement Form


A lighthouse at dusk on a blue beach.

Network and Telecom Services

UVU has received CARES Act funding to replace equipment in 85 terminal rooms and 555 wireless access points. This consists of half of all production equipment.  CARES funding had to go directly to supporting classroom teaching. With this funding, we will actually get ahead in our equipment life cycle for switches and APs.  This is the first time we have actually been in this position and it is wonderful news for the university. The down side is that all the work needs to be done by the end of December. Networking is going to be busy this Fall semester! 

Kurtis Olsen 
Director of Network and Telecom Services


With so many changes occurring at UVU and within IT, some of us may be feeling overwhelmed. For those of us struggling with this uncertainty, I recommend reading 5 Ways to Embrace Change at Work and in Life. Consider what kinds of changes are affecting you and the people you work with; then, using the guidelines in the article, develop steps to adapt within your particular circumstances.  In addition to the five suggestions in the article, if you are feeling uncomfortable with change, be sure to speak with your supervisor, who can assist you in the best way possible. We are all in this together! 


As we look forward to the digital transformation initiatives coming to UVU, we've been advised to embrace a DevOps Culture and Domain-Driven Design. While these concepts are directly relevant to software development, they can also be implemented in other areas. Here's how I look at these concepts and try to apply them at work.

A DevOps culture is one in which we share what we know with everyone involved and we work closely together, in an iterative way, to develop a final product. Working in this way, we create better outcomes since we have broad input, and we promote incremental changes that help us improve along the way. If we apply this process to individual products or projects, there are certainly benefits. In addition, if we apply this process consistently with everything we do, we will all improve together over time. I think the aphorism "a rising tide lifts all ships" fits here.

With Domain-Driven Design, we effectively balance our IT perspectives with those of business area experts in equal partnership to address the strategies the business puts forth. Strategic design doesn't replace tactical design, but it is emphasized first, before we offer our technical solutions. One of the first steps is to have the team, with both technical and non-technical members, develop a shared set of terms so that we are all on the same page when we discuss issues.

In this way, we can solve complex problems by putting together all the little pieces each of us knows how to do well, often in creative ways. Also, we recognize that by combining all of our small efforts, the outcome is far greater than the sum of its parts. This is especially true when, as individuals, we focus on improving our performance for each task we do, no matter how small. The combining of both technical and business-oriented knowledge helps us to achieve effective and efficient outcomes by layering the right pieces together to meet strategic business needs.

By sharing knowledge liberally, working closely together in iterative ways, constantly improving our specializations, and combining all our efforts to meet business goals, we can provide the best service to our customers.


Mind-Full Means You Can’t Be Mindful!  

When you are so busy that you lose track of what is most important to you, it is time to rest. Too many distractions will divide your attention, and your performance will suffer. Take time to clear your mind, recenter, and focus. 
Eddie Sorensen
Senior Director of Infrastructure Services

Never Say No – Except “No Problem”

Focus on what you can do for the customer. Saying "no" should be the very last resort. Don't say it until you have exhausted every reasonable way to satisfy the customer. It's almost always better to try to come up with a solution rather than to say "no" right off the bat. In my book, "no" is one of the more unpleasant words in the English language. "No problem," on the other hand, is music to my ears, just as it is to the ears of your customers. 

From The Customer Rules by Lee Cockerell

 Joe Belnap
Senior Director of Special Projects for IT


An employee desk with a blue cup of coffee.

Open Job Positions

The following positions in IT are available. If you know someone who might be an appropriate candidate, be sure to recommend them:

In addition, at least two new positions will be open soon, so be sure to watch for more opportunities in IT. 

Is there an opening in your division or department that needs to be filled? Be sure to get it approved according to the Temporary Human Resources Guidelines. Once the position is open, get the word out by submitting it to Caitlin Tobler for next month’s newsletter. 

New Employees

The following individuals have been recently hired by OIT, transferred to a new department, or given a promotion at this time. Be sure to congratulate them! 

  • Troy Martin, AVP of IT/CTO