Office of Information Technology June 2020 Newsletter

Office of Information Technology June 2020 Newsletter


Charles Dickens started his novel A Tale of Two Cities with the following sentiment: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." This phrase comes to mind when I think about living and working through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

For most of us, this time has been full of great accomplishments, increased productivity, learning and mastering new skills, and feeling part of something bigger than ourselves. At the same time, many of us have also experienced concerns, frustrations, and isolation. There has been some good mixed with the bad, not necessarily in equal proportion.

Recent announcements from UVU have discussed how we can return to work on campus while maintaining a healthy and safe environment for ourselves and others. Many of us look forward to getting out of the house and seeing coworkers and friends. But for others, concerns are amplified as we think about venturing into the larger world that could hold unseen dangers to ourselves and our families. 

By now, you should have had a good discussion with your supervisor about what your return to work on campus will look like, and when that may happen for you and your team. Rest assured that your welfare is of primary concern. We will do all we can to provide you the flexibility to handle the challenges that may be present in your lives. If you have concerns about the difficulties presented by returning to work, please bring them up with your supervisor. One thing is for sure: being on campus won't be the same as it was before we left campus to work at home. It may never be the same. Still, some elements will be familiar. In many cases, you will be able to do a few tasks that you haven't been able to do as well from home. 

As most of us are invited to return (some have been working on campus for a while now), it will be important to follow the guidelines provided by HR and others to keep everyone safe. Those guidelines may require us to remain quite flexible when it comes to working arrangements. We may not be able to sit in the same office or at the same desk that we used to. Situations may arise where some of us may have to resume working from home to ensure social distancing measures can be properly implemented. 

We don't know how this virus will affect our future. Our jobs have changed, as well as the face of higher education, and will likely continue to change for a while. I hope that each of you will embrace those changes, and focus on all the good that has come as a result of this "out of office" experience. I encourage you to read the article below titled The New Normal for a hopeful message about the future of UVU IT. 

Brett McKeachnie
Interim AVP of OIT 



Employees are anticipated to return to campus in waves. If you have any questions 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! 



A calendar and pen on a desk.

Group A Return to Work 

Category I employees are scheduled to arrive on campus in the first wave on June 8, 2020. 

Group B Return to Work 

Category II employees are scheduled to arrive on campus in the second wave on June 22, 2020. 

Father's Day 

This year, Father's Day falls on Sunday, June 21. Remember to show appreciation for fathers, and be sure to read about the interesting history of Father's Day.

First Block Classes End/Finals 

Friday, June 26 is the last day of first block classes. This means that all first block finals will be held on this date. 

Second Block Classes Begin  

Monday, June 29 is the first day of second block classes.  

End of the Fiscal Year

The end of the fiscal year is scheduled for June 30, 2020. Be sure you are following the appropriate purchasing guidelines!  

Group C Return to Work

Category III employees are scheduled to arrive on campus in the third wave on July 6, 2020. 


  1. Brett Tolman, Senior Product Owner, has received a Wolverine Sighting Award. The writer of the nomination said this about Brett: "Brett has been a huge lifesaver for the Office of Admissions. Even though he's transitioned into a new role at UVU in the IT department, he still finds time to assist us with technical questions we have regarding our CRMs and other systems. He is skilled and creative and has helped us solve any issues we ask his help on. Many thanks Brett!"
  2. Congratulations to everyone who received a Spot Award! At least forty people in IT were given Spot Awards in the month of May. Great job, everyone! 


A chessboard with white pieces.

Automation and Integration Services 

We are looking to expand the AIS office area into the BA-005 conference room. Then, we need to do some remodeling. Two offices would have to move from the front of the conference room to the back of the conference room. Doing this will help us maintain the social distancing and office spacing requirements to bring more employees back on campus. This is an important safety matter for my employees. We are hoping to get this project fast tracked and have the construction done while the AIS team members are still working from home. 

Mike Duffin
Director of Automation and Integration Services


IT Operations 

Operations has been tasked by IT Leadership with creating a Monitoring Task Force which includes representation from all of the areas of IT. In light of our outage history, and sometimes a lack of troubleshooting data or lack of access to that data, we are working to make sure all systems have adequate monitoring and appropriate alerting enabled. We are also working to centralize access to some of this data so it can be distributed across IT to those who need it in case of outages. Dashboards and tools to assist in this effort can be found at 

This is a huge process that involves all areas of IT. Currently, we are looking for help or feedback on: 

  • systems that may not be monitored but should be 
  • identifying dashboards that are needed by areas but which don't currently exist
  • prioritizing all of our systems/services so we can focus initially on the most critical ones

Please reach out to Jim in Operations if you have any feedback on these efforts, monitoring or dashboard requests, or anything else. 

Jim Condie
Director of IT Operations


2,500 years ago, the Greek philosopher Heraclitus of Ephesus said, "The only constant in life is change.” How right he was! COVID-19 has introduced a lot of change into our lives, and with change comes uncertainty about the unknown. How the virus will affect us and our families, how similar it is to other viruses (such as SARS), how it will continue to affect the economy, and how we will recover are all important questions with uncertain answers. Since our lives are changing constantly, how does uncertainty factor into the "new normal" life we are expected to undertake? 

To embrace the new normal, we need the flexibility to respond to change without being overwhelmed by it. We have what it takes to adapt! 

For proof, just look to the not-so-distant past when the students, faculty, and staff of UVU were "asked" to study and work from home. It seemed impossible, but we proved that the gargantuan task of running the university online could be done in a matter of weeks. Although this task was thrust upon us, we rose to the occasion. Can we continue to be that flexible in the future? 

IT now reports to the Vice President of Digital Transformation. Transformation is the process of changing in a specific direction toward a specific goal. In other words, a transformation is a change by choice. The past couple of months have been a little chaotic, but despite that, we've undergone an amazing digital transformation! In the future, we may be asked to further transform ourselves and our organization. That's the new normal!  


IT Leadership is pursuing an exploration of Jira Service Desk (JSD) as a short-term "bridge" solution to meet the basic needs of those currently using POB. We are working to determine the feasibility of replacing POB with JSD. To aid us in this venture, we have chosen Isos as a consultant to help us set JSD up correctly and follow the best practices. 

Thank you to all who participated in the listening tour. The comments and concerns brought up during the listening tour were discussed in our feasibility team and with the consultant. They have been instrumental in helping us see more clearly and we sincerely value that feedback. In our efforts to evaluate the feasibility, we have completed the listening tour, spoken to other institutions with JSD experience, and designated individuals to own and operate the product. 

Listed below are some recent decisions related to this effort that we would like to make you aware of.

  • Bobby Lott will be the Jira Service Desk product owner and will work under the direction of the Project Management Office. 
  • Aaron Barrett will be the Jira Service Desk Application Manager, backed up by Isos Technologies.
  • An ITSM Governance committee has been formed to provide direction and prioritization. The members of this committee include:
    • Ken Dahl
    • Reed Warner
    • Nathan Gerber
    • Kim Leseberg
    • John Berry 
    • Mike Duffin

Our next steps are to:

  • Contract with Isos as our consultant
  • Determine the number of licenses we will need
  • Design workflow between different parts of the Jira system (Jira software, Jira Core, JSD)
  • Give everyone an opportunity to test our proof of concept system 

As we continue, we want to keep you informed. The POB to JSD Feasibility and Implementation channel in the OIT Public Team will have regular updates on our progress. Updates are also given to IT Leadership. We continue to seek your input and look forward to our ongoing collaboration. 


Benevolence vs. Selfishness

Benevolence means giving generously to fulfill another person's needs without being motivated by personal rewards. In today's competitive world, we too often approach others with a “WIIIFM” (What is in it for me?) filter. This attitude limits personal growth and blinds us to opportunities, leading to a less rich life. 

Eddie Sorensen 
Senior Director of Infrastructure Services


People Are People

There are basically two ways of being in the world: we can be in the world seeing others as people or we can be in the world seeing others as objects. Most wars between individuals are of the “cold” rather than the “hot” variety – lingering resentment, … grudges long held, resources being clutched to rather than shared, help not offered. These are the acts of war that most threaten our … workplaces. … If you see people as objects … your view of them is [prejudiced]. When you begin to see others as people, issues begin to look and feel different.  You end up seeing people who have hopes, dreams, fears, and even justifications that resemble your own.

- Quoted from The Anatomy of Peace by The Arbinger Institute 

Joe Belnap
Senior Director of Special Projects for IT 


A beautiful blue beach to relax on.

Open Job Positions

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

No individuals have been transferred to a new department or given a promotion at this time. 

Kelly Flanagan has hired Susie Nicol as his new administrative assistant. She comes from the College of Health and Public Services, where she has worked for the dean for some time. We are so excited to have her as part of our team! Make sure to give her a warm welcome!