The Digital Transformation Division Newsletter

The Digital Transformation Division Newsletter

WOLVERINE SIGHTINGS 

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! 

WOLVERINE SIGHTINGS 

CALENDAR & EVENTS

Pine tree and pinecones.

Classes End 
12/10/2020 

Classes end on Thursday, December 10. This is also the date of second block finals. 

 

Hanukkah 
12/10/2020 - 12/18/2020 

This year, Hanukkah begins at sundown on Thursday, December 10 and lasts until sundown on Friday, December 18. If you are interested in learning more, read about the unique origins of Hanukkah and the modern traditions of Hanukkah.  

 

Final Exam Preparation Day 
12/11/2020 

Friday, December 11 is final exam preparation day for all students.  

 

Final Exams Week 
12/14/2020 - 12/18/2020

From Monday, December 14 through Friday, December 18, final exams will be conducted across UVU. 

 

Fall Semester Ends 
12/19/2020 

Saturday, December 19 is officially the last day of UVU's fall semester.  

 

Winter Solstice 
12/21/2020 

Winter Solstice marks the beginning of winter and is the shortest day of the year. The sun is at its southernmost point, and now begins the long, six-month journey north. For those who are curious, read more about the science and history surrounding the winter solstice

 

Holiday Break  
12/24/2020 - 12/25/2020

The long-awaited holiday break will start on Thursday, December 24 and continue through Friday, December 25. If you are curious, read about the history of Christmas and common Christmas traditions

 

Kwanzaa
12/26/2020 - 1/1/2021 

Saturday, December 26 is the first day of Kwanzaa, an African American and Pan-African cultural holiday that celebrates family and community.  For those interested in learning more, read about the history and traditions of Kwanzaa

 

Campus Closure 
12/28/2020 - 12/31/2020 

Monday, December 28 through Thursday, December 31 is the holiday campus closure.  

 

New Year's Holiday 
1/1/2021 

January 1, 2021 is the New Year's holiday, which is celebrated all around the world. Be sure to read up on the international traditions surrounding the New Year!

 

Faculty Return  
1/4/2021

Monday, January 4 is the date that faculty return to UVU campus. 

DEPARTMENT HIGHLIGHTS  Confetti raining down from above.

"As many of you know, CARES funding awarded UVU close to $2 million to upgrade equipment and wireless. This project will upgrade 70% of the access points (APs) to be Wi-Fi 6 compatible and will upgrade all switches that support classroom/student environments to a 10G backbone with 1G available to edge devices. Buildings that are already upgraded to Wi-Fi 6 include BA, LA, PS, and SB. Buildings on the list but that are not finished yet include CB, CS, FL, GT, HP, ME, PE, SA, SC, SL, WB, and a few other smaller buildings."
 
Kurtis Olsen 
Director of Network and Telecom Services 

INTERVIEW WITH CHRISTINA BAUM  A microphone ready for use.

Tell us a little about your professional background. What would you like us to know about you? 

For three years, I worked as the CIO of Ensign College (which until recently was called LDS Business College). When I arrived, I was tasked with leading the college through a digital transformation, and we made significant changes during that time. We virtualized the environment, set up a CMDB and full inventory of IT assets, decommissioned about a third of the servers, migrated data centers (including a re-IP and network zone segmentation), upgraded critical systems, changed over the network technology, and migrated support to ICS (the main IT organization of the parent organization, The Church of Jesus Christ). We implemented a new HR and Finance system, then moved from PeopleSoft On-Premise to Workday, a SaaS solution. We completed a proof of concept on a data warehouse and selected Snowflake, a cloud-based solution. All of these changes reduced the IT operating budget and allowed us to implement more innovative technology into the classrooms, etc.

Before my work with Ensign College, I managed the Database Platform team for ICS, and prior to that, I had a few roles within ICS. I have been a product manager, project manager, and I have my PMP.

My passion for technology came when I was a project manager in R&D, working for a company that built computers and equipment for electrical substations, and more. I enjoy learning and have a natural curiosity. I love that technology is always changing, so it never gets boring. There is always something new to learn!

How would you describe your leadership style? 

I believe in servant leadership. The most important work that any leader does is create a culture of success, safety, and accountability on their team. I like to remove obstacles for my teams, empower them, and then enjoy watching their successes. I believe in collaboration and open communication. I have been blessed to witness some wonderful examples of outstanding leadership, as well as some examples of not-so-great leadership, throughout my career. I have consistently observed that when my leaders value and demonstrate vulnerability and a willingness to listen, it makes all the difference. None of us are perfect, but when we can check our egos and focus on the work that needs to be done, we can accomplish incredible projects! 

How do you see your role as Associate Vice President of Academic/Student Digital Services? What do you envision for the future of the ASDS division? 

My role is to help set a vision and strategy for ASDS and to lead the digital transformation of technology used by students and faculty. ASDS will focus on the student and faculty experience, whether it be with a mobile app, classroom technology, good data and analytics, an easy-to-use website and intranet, etc. The future of ASDS is to provide technologies that meet our students where they are at. If they are on the move, we need to have great mobile functionality. If they are in a physical classroom, we want easy to use technology that engages them. Ultimately, we are creating two campuses. One physical, one virtual (thank you, COVID-19), and we need to connect the two together in a way that enhances learning. 

How do you see digital transformation augmenting and improving UVU's academic experience? How do you see it positively impacting the lives of students, faculty, and staff? 

Kelly is the VP of Digital Transformation, but Troy and I are here to support him and to accomplish great things for UVU. Digital Transformation is critical for the future of UVU. We are in an age where students (especially traditional 18-24 year-olds) EXPECT technology to be simple and accessible to them. There are so many opportunities for us to serve the students better and improve their academic experience. One major project is the mobile app. Many people had already put in hours of hard work to develop user stories, flows, etc. We are now bringing that together, and in the near future, we will have wireframes and designs to review. Giving students greater access to UVU resources on their phones, creating an engaging "digital assistant" experience, and connecting them to academic content on their phones will help us deliver the "delightful" experiences that Kelly has challenged us to develop. 

How do you intend to navigate the unique challenges that COVID-19 presents to UVU and ASDS specifically? 

COVID-19 has definitely changed the way that we do business. While some things may revert back in the future, I believe that the pandemic will forever change the nature of our work. I am not sure what the culture has been at UVU, but where I have worked, "working from home" has had a negative connotation. Occasionally it was allowed, but too many days spent working from home led managers to question an employee's commitment to the organization's mission. I believe that will change in the future. I like to manage based on deliverables, not based on punching a timecard. Often, we expect folks to be available "after hours" to see a problem through to completion, and with that comes flexibility and understanding. I think that COVID-19 and the changes we have seen in the workplace have shown us that this can be a successful model.

That said, on-boarding during COVID-19 has been challenging. I still have not met my directors or other team members in person, and I look forward to the day that we can do that. There is value in interacting with one another, more than just via Teams.

What are you looking forward to while working at UVU?

I am so excited to be here at UVU. I am thrilled by the level of energy, focus, sense of urgency, and executive commitment that I feel as we re-organize and become a Digital Transformation team. There are a lot of eyes on us and a lot of expectations for us to step on the gas and deliver "delightful" experiences to the UVU community (students, staff, faculty, etc.). I am excited about the future and opportunities that we have to improve the experiences of our users. UVU IT has done great work in the past, and it feels like this is an inflection point for us to build upon that.   

 

WORKING AS ONE TEAM

A link of chains.

There have been a lot of recent conversations about promoting unity in the Digital Transformation division. We've expressed the sentiment that we are all one team, but not much discussion has revolved around how to act like it. I'm far from an expert on team building, but I'm willing to share a few thoughts here that I hope will get you thinking about where we've been, how we got here, and the direction we need to go to become more unified. 

Where We've Been and How We Got Here

I don't want to spend too much time on this subject because it's more important to talk about the path forward. However, I think it's important to acknowledge our past to plan for the future appropriately. 

Let's face it: we work in a bunch of "silos" (some prefer the phrase "cylinders of excellence"). We were neatly packaged in this way due to best practices from the Industrial Revolution, where specialization caused significant efficiency gains. In building cars, it didn't make a lot of sense to have the same guy who was putting the engine together also work on the upholstery. The same logic follows for technical jobs. Why would the individuals who put together the PC components work closely with the programmers designing software? It made more sense to simply throw a working general-purpose computer over the proverbial wall and let the programmers make it do what was needed. Our departments were organized to make that "throw it over the wall" system work well. It's simpler to only think about our little piece of the overall puzzle, right? But what we've arrived at is an environment where the silos we're currently in don't allow us to see the full purpose of the work we're doing.

Unifying: Our Future Direction

Well, we're no longer in the Industrial Revolution, but our organizational structure still may be. That said, we can change our mindsets to look beyond our organizational structure and work (yes, it requires work) to come together in support of the overall vision of Digital Transformation. We can expect and should seek more and better information from leaders at every level to help us unify our vision with theirs. As we unify our direction, the borders that have existed between different groups will begin to perforate, and we'll become more effective in working together toward our collective goals.

Team dynamics principles tell us that when we come together as a team, there are four stages we can expect to go through. Let's talk about them! 

Here's what MindTools has to say about it:

Where Does Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing Come From?

Psychologist Bruce Tuckman came up with the memorable phrase "forming, storming, norming, and performing" in his 1965 paper, "Developmental Sequence in Small Groups." It describes the path that teams follow on their way to high performance. …

What Happens at Tuckman's Forming Stage?

In the beginning, when a new team forms, individuals will be unsure of the team's purpose, how they fit in, and whether they'll work well with one another. They may be anxious, curious, or excited to get going. However they feel, they'll be looking to the team leader for direction.

This may take some time, as people get to know their new colleagues and one another's ways of working.

What Did Tuckman Mean by Storming?

In the storming stage, people start to push against the established boundaries. Conflict or friction can also arise between team members as their true characters – and their preferred ways of working – surface and clash with other people's.

At this stage, team members may challenge [… leadership] authority or management style, or even the team's mission. Left unchecked, this can lead to face-to-face confrontations or simmering online tensions.

If roles and responsibilities aren't yet clear, individuals might begin to feel overwhelmed by their workload or frustrated at a lack of progress.

How Do I Recognize the Norming Stage?

Gradually, the team moves into the norming stage. People start to resolve their differences, appreciate one another's strengths, and respect [… leadership] authority.

Now that they know one another better, your team members will feel more comfortable asking for help and offering constructive feedback. They'll share a stronger commitment to the team's goals, and they should make good progress toward it.

What Does the Performing Stage Look Like?

Now your team is in flow and performing to its full potential. With hard work and structured processes, the team is likely to achieve its goals efficiently.

Judith Stein, from MIT's HR department, says of this stage, "Roles on the team may have become more fluid, with members taking on various roles and responsibilities as needed. Differences among members are appreciated and used to enhance the team's performance."

(https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newLDR_86.htm

Conclusion

Each of us may be in a different place along this path, and that's OK. Of course, our goal is to come together at the Performing stage as soon as possible. Where are you on the path?

Some things that all of us can do to move further down the path are:

  • Recognize that everyone shares a commitment to the university and to the goal of digital transformation.
  • Don't talk about divisions, departments, and so forth in us vs. them ways.
  • Get to know people from other parts of the organization who you don't know or who have skills you don't have.
  • Seek dialog and understanding rather than holding fast to "the old way" or "the way we've always done it" when collaborating with others.

As each of us does our part, we'll transform into a unified, productive, fine-tuned machine, where all of us work together for the good of the students and employees of UVU. 

  

A NEW INTERNAL SERVICE CATALOG

The Internal Service Catalog is a comprehensive list of all services and systems within UVU. The intended purpose is to aid in escalating technical issues and to work with the responsible parties to resolve problems or incidents. This resource is open to all of IT. The Catalog provides a detailed list of primary contacts who are responsible for each system, as well as the secondary contacts and the department over the system as a suggested escalation path. If you drill down on a service, there is additional information about the service intended to clarify who uses it, who is affected by an outage, etc.

Please review any systems or services that you are responsible for and update the information by drilling down and editing the page. When editing, please make sure to add services that might be missing from the list, and please provide us with feedback for any corrections or additions that need to be made.

There is a link on the AIS Tools page for the Service Catalog: https://uvu-it.atlassian.net/wiki/spaces/ITDOC/pages/754385076/Internal+Service+Catalog

There is also a link in Confluence in the menu to the top left called "Add a Business Service Document," which can be used to submit a new service or system: https://uvu-it.atlassian.net/wiki/spaces/ITDOC/pages/892731393/Drafts

We hope this helps us get to faster incident resolutions, improves coordination across Dx, and leads to more delightful experiences for those within IT and for those we serve.

Devin Raine
Spencer Holt
Jess Houston
Cynthia Wilson
Jim Condie

 

CHARACTER THOUGHT 

Weekly Deliberation

One of my mentors passed on something he does each and every week that has helped him immensely. He calls it his Weekly Deliberation:

  • What is the most important thing I need to do as an employee this week? 
  • What is the most important thing I need to do as a boss this week? 

– Gary Crittenden – CFO, American Express

Of course, the key to the success is to accomplish each of those things within the week.  Not always done, but as it became a habit, it became more and more achievable.

Joe Belnap 
Senior Director of Special Projects for IT

EMPLOYEE NEWS

Generic computer components.

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:

Be sure to watch UVU.jobs 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 Dx, transferred to a new department, or given a promotion. 

  • Whitney Lemone, ERP Product Manager and SME/Product Owner 
  • Chris Allman, IT Automation/Integration Services
  • Toria Edwards van Muijen, AVSE 

  • Caden Seiter, AVSE

  • Carrie Kwong, AVSE

  • Josie Brown, AVSE

  • Jessda Say, AVSE

  • Joseph Terry, AVSE

  • Austin Price, AVSE 

We are so excited to have these new hires on our team! Make sure to give them a warm welcome! 

Retiring and Departing Employees

This month, a few of our longstanding UVU employees will be leaving us.

  • Vadra Rowley will be leaving UVU to begin her retirement on December 31, 2020. She has served as an ERP Product Manager and SME/Product Owner for the parts of Banner that are part of the UVU Enrollment Management division. 
  • Gerald Bunker will be retiring, and his last day with UVU is Friday, December 4. He has been with us at UVU for 14 years in the role of System Administrator, primarily supporting our service request systems, live chat, and other Service Desk related applications. Follow this link to Gerald's retirement farewell: https://www.kudoboard.com/boards/mkkEgZv0
  • Andrew Bowns has accepted another position and will be leaving UVU. His last day is December 11. We appreciate Andrew's contributions to UVU and wish him well as he continues his career. 

Don't forget to send Vadra, Gerald, and Andrew your congratulations and farewells!