IT Management Flexibility
Request submitted to
University of North Carolina Board of Governors
May 8, 2003
North Carolina State University
NC State University
IT Management Flexibility Request
Table of Contents
I. Introduction................................................................................................. 2
II. Organization ............................................................................................. 11
III. Standards and Policies .......................................................................... 13
IV. Management Processes ........................................................................ 16
V. Assessment and Accountability ........................................................... 18
VI. Funding.................................................................................................... 22
VII. Conclusion ............................................................................................. 24
IT Management Flexibility Request
NC State University, the University of North Carolina’s flagship university for science, engineering and
technology, has the stated goal of “becoming the nation’s leading land-grant institution” (Commission
on the Future of NC State report, 2000). NC State’s academic mandate, its status as a Research
Extensive institution, and its ambitions require that its information technology (IT) resources exemplify
best-practices and offer state-of-the art capabilities. The university must be responsive in providing a
fast-adapting, sophisticated, diverse and secure infrastructure, while at the same time remaining
flexible in meeting the training, education, research, access and other support service needs of our
students, faculty, and staff. NC State is already a nationally recognized technology leader. IT
Management Flexibility is essential if the university is to achieve its highest aspirations and continue to
provide leading-edge education and research for UNC and North Carolina.
A. IT in support of the NC State strategic plan
NC State’s IT activities and achievements support each of the goals the university has set for itself in
its strategic planning documents. At all levels of the campus, IT plans are kept in alignment with the
mission and strategic goals through its Compact Plan process (see Mission, Vision, and Goals at
http://www.ncsu.edu/planning.html and an overview of the compact planning process at
http://www2.acs.ncsu.edu/UPA/compactplan/compact2002/overview.htm ). A list of these goals
follows, with examples of the ways NC State’s IT activities support and advance each of them.
1. Advancing the university’s areas of academic thrust and intellectual achievement
NC State is among the nation’s leaders at all levels of information technology research and
development—reaching from advanced networking infrastructure, to emerging computing
paradigms (such as grids), to state-of-the-art information security and award-winning digital
information initiatives. The distributed, collaborative model of IT management at NC State has
made it possible for the whole university to benefit from the advanced IT research being done on
our campus. Furthermore, NC State’s superb fiber optic, multi-gigabit network backbone, highly
reliable web systems based on a failure tolerant architecture, and its resource-rich multi-platform
academic computing environment support research and graduate as well as undergraduate
success across all curricula.
For example, with the number of nationally recognized faculty and IT staff in the field of computer
networking at NC State, the campus has the largest concentration of networking expertise in the
southeast US and one of the top degree programs in this field in the nation. As evidence of NC
State’s expertise at the level of information and systems security, the National Security Agency
recently designated NC State a Center of Academic Excellence in information assurance
education. NCSU Libraries have won numerous national and international awards for digital
initiatives. The IT infrastructure and access to high performance computational capacity are
integral to success of many programs, such as genomics, bioinformatics, bio-medical engineering,
NC STATE UNIVERSITY– IT MANAGEMENT FLEXIBILITY 2
networking, system performance, and simulation-based research in general— all of which are
identified as major areas of academic thrust for NC State.
2. Building a diverse and inclusive campus community, fostering demographic and
Specific IT activities and initiatives are aimed at furthering the university’s goal of diversity and
inclusiveness. For example:
• The campus Assistive and Information Technology Project aims to ensure that all NC
State students, regardless of disabilities, have access to technology resources and that
all students can benefit from assistive technologies.
• Student IT orientation activities help all students, regardless of economic or technology
background, gain the basic IT skills needed to use NC State IT resources.
• The IT fluency initiative is aimed at identifying the IT skills students need for academic
success and providing all students with the means of obtaining those skills.
• Distance education courses serve a broad demographic range of “non-traditional” and
off-campus students throughout the state and internationally.
• Increased use of IT for active learning in technical subjects fosters success for a diverse
population of students and various learning styles.
Furthermore, NC State’s IT infrastructure and resources facilitate communication and community
formation for both the educational and social activities of campus. For example, all NC State
faculty, staff and students automatically receive computing accounts with e-mail, web publishing
privileges, and an allocation of personal file space. Central e-mail servers deliver almost 14 million
messages each month. More than 200 student groups maintain web sites. High-speed Internet
access is available to students from more than 2500 workstations in computing labs, and all
students living in on-campus housing have access to high-speed Internet service (ResNet). The
campus-wide, resource-rich, multi-platform (Windows, Unix, Linux and Macintosh operating
systems), distributed academic computing environment fosters technical and intellectual diversity
and a general philosophy of inclusiveness, as does NC State’s commitment to furthering open
source and standards-based technologies.
3. Fostering new partnerships internally and externally
NC State’s decentralized yet functionally very powerful model of IT management is ideally suited
for the support of the community it serves. The management model depends upon formal and
informal partnerships across traditional unit identities and boundaries, including colleges and
central IT units. On campus, one especially innovative example is the partnership between
administrative and academic units that led to the formation of Communication Technologies
(ComTech). The new merged unit functionally combines data networking and telecommunications
activities. Since its formation, ComTech has improved technology infrastructure, maintained
aggressive adoption of leading-edge capabilities, business efficiencies and accountability
measures. Another example of internal collaboration is the combined disaster recovery/business
continuity effort between the administrative and academic areas to plan for the restoration of
critical IT services in the event of a disaster. The progress made in this area is recognized as a
model for other institutions as cited in the February edition of Disaster Recovery Journal
(http://www.drj.com/new2dr/samples.htm). Other formal partnerships are facilitated by the
University IT Committee, which is made up of representatives from central IT units as well as each
of the colleges.
NC STATE UNIVERSITY– IT MANAGEMENT FLEXIBILITY 3
External partnerships facilitated by central IT units at NC State include a long-standing leadership
role in North Carolina Networking Initiative (NCNI) and Internet2 networking Initiatives. Cross-
college and departmental open source partnerships include Wolfware, which is part of the national
Open Knowledge Initiative (OKI), and Red Hat Linux, which contributed to the relocation of Red
Hat corporate head quarters on Centennial Campus in spring 2002. Partnerships with Spirent
Communications and others led to the location of CENTAUR Lab, a multi-million dollar state-of-
the-art network testing/teaching facility on Centennial Campus in fall 2001. Most recently, a new
partnership with UNC-CH, Duke, IBM and the NC Supercomputing Center is developing the first-
of-its-kind bioinformatics grid, the NC BioGrid. This project is on track for bringing new funds and
economic opportunities to the region and the state.
4. Improving the efficiency and accountability of the campus business model
One of the results and contributions of NC State’s IT management practices is the ability, on
many levels, to make efficient use of resources. For example, the 2002 report from the State
Controller’s Office, “North Carolina IT Expenditures Report” indicates that NC State has
significantly fewer IT SPA professional and support staff than other universities of
comparable size (http://www.osc.state.nc.us/financial/ITReport_06302002.pdf, page 23).
Nevertheless, NC State has been ranked (for example in the 2000 Yahoo survey) as being
among the country’s best “wired” campuses, a ranking indicative of the wide range of IT
services and resources available to students. The National Science Foundation ranks NC
State as the number one land-grant institution (without a medical school) in research
expenditures (http://www.ncsu.edu/sparcs/reports/rankings_all.pdf ), which indicates that
basic IT requirements for research are also being served.
Innovative partnerships and shared functions among administrative and academic IT units
are improving cost effectiveness of operations while allowing development of robust,
leading-edge IT systems. Examples include a single computer operations staff supporting
both administrative and academic systems, closely coordinated help desk communications,
the issuance and maintenance of user ID functions by a single office, and the
aforementioned collaborative Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity planning.
NC State’s Division of Resource Management and Information Systems is continuously
developing systems and services to improve financial, human resources, and student
management information and decision making and the efficiency of campus business operations.
For example, Administrative Computing Services recently developed the Web Leave System, an
application designed to request, calculate and track all campus employees’ leave records. It is
accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week and serves as a single depository for all leave
information. It was developed to address problems inherent in the way leave was being processed
and reported to Human Resources in paper format. The new system significantly improves the
efficiency, accountability and convenience of an activity required of all employees. Work is in
progress to deliver both the Financials and Human Resources systems via the web to provide
increased accessibility as well as additional functional and reporting capabilities. Initiatives such as
enhanced Financial reports have enabled customers to quickly and easily retrieve financials data
directly into tools commonly used by campus. Position Control and the Principal Investigators’
Reporting web site are the first initiatives to provide campus with information from both the
Financials and HR systems in an integrated format to facilitate the budgeting process.
For many years, NC State has used the web to improve the efficiency of student services
from both student and administrative perspectives. For example, students can apply for
admission and financial aid, track their applications and accounts, register for courses and
NC STATE UNIVERSITY– IT MANAGEMENT FLEXIBILITY 4
track grades (see Enrollment Management and Services,
http://www2.ncsu.edu/ncsu/reg_records/enrlmgmt.htm); students can obtain in-depth
academic advising online (see Advising Central http://www.ncsu.edu/advising_central/ ); and
beginning as freshmen they can use online career counseling and job search services (see
university Career Center http://www.ncsu.edu/career/).
Online student services are improved continually, as new technologies and resources allow.
For example, to improve student web-enabled services, the university has enhanced its
Student Account Information (SAI) web page to provide student account information with a
greater degree of detail (including sponsorships and financial aid) and include all
transactions as of the previous day. From this web page, a student can view/print all charges
and payment information related to his or her account back to November 2000. In addition,
IRS Form 1098Ts is now available to students online. The university is also improving its
ability to receive and send Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) transcripts from high schools,
community colleges and other UNC universities. The University is currently receiving via
CFNC.org electronic undergraduate admission application forms. It is also receiving
graduate admissions forms electronically from the vendor ApplyYourself and College of
Veterinary Medicine’s admissions forms via VMCAS. Both are web-based systems. In
addition, the university receives GRE, SAT, PSAT, AP, and ACT test scores from respective
B. IT activities in support of the UNC IT strategy
NC State shares the UNC Office of the President’s “unwavering commitment to increasing UNC’s
ability to educate technologically sophisticated students” (“Information Technology Strategy Update,
2000-2001," Information Resources Division, UNC OP, page 2). For NC State students, technological
expertise is critical to success in all disciplines—from Agriculture and Engineering, through the
Humanities and Social Sciences, to Veterinary Medicine.
Beyond that, NC State’s role is to educate the next generation of technology leaders—graduates who
are not only innovative technology and engineering researchers and developers, but who also have an
understanding of the economic, cultural, ethical and social implications of advances in technology. As
a recent example, NC State’s ongoing participation in the open source technology movement—
including partnerships with Red Hat Linux— provides students in many disciplines with hands-on
experience with emerging technology developments. Because of this experience, graduates have a
significant advantage when they enter the technology work force. At the same time, the open source
philosophy encourages ways of thinking and acting that are consistent with NC State’s land grant
mission and traditional higher education values of collaboration, community and the free flow of ideas.
The UNC IT Strategy focuses on four areas for the development of IT initiatives: 1) administrative
systems, with an emphasis on services for students, 2) teaching and learning with technology, 3) e-
learning, and 4) logistical needs. The descriptions below provide some highlights of NC State’s
participation in opportunities to collaborate with the UNC IT strategy and of the university’s strong
ongoing efforts in each of these categories.
1. Administrative systems, with an emphasis on services for students
NC State’s Resource Management and Information Systems division leads many ongoing
activities that use IT to improve administrative services for students. Recent examples include:
NC STATE UNIVERSITY– IT MANAGEMENT FLEXIBILITY 5
• Developing enhanced student course scheduling through InnerAccess, a third-party software
tool to create a system that allows students and advisors more flexibility in updating course
inventory and academic advisement information via the web.
• Improving student billing and information via the web. Students may view their current
account balance via the web and pay their bills by calling an 800 number and using their
• Collaborating with other campus units on development of a campus portal via a state-of-the-
art commercial package. The portal, a web-enabled environment, will tailor university
services to students and others visiting the university’s website. Once implemented, the
portal will integrate various student applications currently in operation on campus.
• Collaborating with Registration and Records and Undergraduate Studies in designing a
system to allow students to track their progress in meeting their degree requirements.
• Enhancing the degree audit program for advisors who want to review students’ plan of study.
• As mentioned above, collaborating with Admissions and Registration and Records to
improve the university’s ability to receive and send Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)
transcripts from high schools, community colleges and other UNC universities. The
University is currently receiving via CFNC.org undergraduate electronic admission
application forms. The University is also receiving graduate admissions forms electronically
from the vendor ApplyYourself and College of Veterinary Medicine’s admissions forms via
VMCAS. Both are web-based systems. In addition, the University receives GRE, SAT,
PSAT, AP, and ACT test scores from respective testing services.
• Providing IT support to implement AdAstra, a classroom space utilization application.
• Providing analyst and programming support for the installation of the client/server version of
the Advance System, allowing the Alumni Association to receive donations from individuals
via the web.
2. Teaching and learning with technology
NC State has a long-standing commitment to advancing teaching and learning with technology.
The most obvious evidence of this is that as part of its SACS reaccredidation process, NC State
chose “Learning in a Technology-Rich Environment” as the focus of its 10-year Quality
Enhancement Plan. The ambitious goals of this project include developing technology-fluent
faculty and students “who understand and critically use technology effectively to improve teaching
and learning” (http://www2.acs.ncsu.edu/UPA/accreditation/topic.htm).
NC State's Distance Education and Learning Technology Applications (DELTA) division was
established in July 2000 as a unit within Academic Affairs. The formation of DELTA represents a
strong institutional commitment to technology-enhanced learning. DELTA's Learning Technology
Service (LTS) offers more than 30 workshops per semester on various topics related to teaching
and learning with technology for faculty and staff. LTS provides direct faculty support for
developing online courses. DELTA also supports the campus' course management environments.
These include WebCT and WolfWare. Wolfware is an in-house developed course management
system that ties together many campus IT resources for instruction such as the academic
distributed computing environment, Registration and Records, AFS course lockers, streaming
media services, and the widely used WebAssign quizzing and testing engine developed in the
Department of Physics. Through DELTA, NC State was invited to participate in the MIT/Stanford
Open Knowledge Initiative and has received external funding to support that participation.
In April, 2003, NCSU Libraries received the American Library Association’s “Library of the Future
Award” for its web-based “Libraries Online Basic Orientation” (LOBO) program. LOBO is
integrated in the freshman English program to help students advance their research and
information literacy skills. In 2000, NCSU Libraries won the first Association of College and
NC STATE UNIVERSITY– IT MANAGEMENT FLEXIBILITY 6
Research Libraries' Award for Excellence on the basis of its responsiveness to the new
possibilities for teaching and learning in the digital environment. As these awards indicate, the
NCSU Libraries offers a host of resources and services that use IT to advance teaching and
learning—from thousands of electronic books, journals and databases to an online “Ask a
Librarian” service, and a customizable MyLibrary Web portal.
Information and communication technologies are integral to success in most fields of study at NC
State. In addition to the digital resources of the NCSU Libraries, students have free access to
hundreds of productivity and discipline-specific software applications delivered within the
academic computing environment. Beyond that, NC State faculty have long been innovators in
using technology to explore new approaches to teaching and learning, including student-centered,
inquiry-based learning. For a small sample of recent TLT developments, see information about the
more than 70 exhibits and presentations at the 2002 NC State Educational Technology Exposition
Furthermore, NC State has a lively and engaged TLT Roundtable group, which offers faculty and
IT staff an informal forum for discussion and planning. Issues discussed range from intellectual
property in online courses to IT fluency standards for students and faculty to how to obtain the
optimum benefits from technology for teaching and learning within existing resource constraints.
Last, but not least, is the extensive support that NC State’s Information Technology Division offers
NC State researchers and their students. One of the fundamental missions of NC State is the
education of new researchers (at MS and PhD levels). This involves not only course-work, but
also education and training in highly sophisticated state-of-the-art research techniques in a variety
of fields on a huge diversity of very advanced, often locally developed and invented, research
equipment. Today, any competitive research education involves the active use of very
sophisticated information technology tools—from networking infrastructure to network-based
storage to advanced communication and high performance computing paradigms. ITD provides
tools and services that actively support these endeavors.
NC State has long been the state’s leader in distance education in terms of the numbers of
courses and students served (over 500 distance education courses, approximately 2280
locations, for more than 5600 registrants). Over the past three years, the proportion of NC State’s
distance education courses that are based on e-learning has gone from 2 percent to more than 40
percent. Working in collaboration with sister UNC institutions and community colleges across the
state, NC State has technology-mediated programs that are successful and growing because they
are responsive to real needs and resources. NC State has invested significantly in Internet,
Internet2, and other technologies to advance these capabilities. The reorganization that led to the
formation of DELTA (described above) created a more effective and nimble business model for
future programs. In short, NC State has demonstrated its commitment and effectiveness in
providing e-learning programs that expand and enhance opportunities for students on campus,
across North Carolina and internationally.
4. Logistical needs
NC State has a tradition of contributing to UNC IT logistical needs across the state. For example,
NC State networking experts participated in developing the UNC campus baseline networking
standards for the UNC IT Strategy in 1998. NC State also participates with UNC in statewide
networking initiatives, including NCREN3 and NC NET. NC State is a leader in the NCNI (North
Carolina Networking Initiative), a consortium of North Carolina Research I institutions (Duke,
NC STATE UNIVERSITY– IT MANAGEMENT FLEXIBILITY 7
UNC-Chapel Hill, and NC State), MCNC and Research Triangle industries. NCNI has created and
maintains a nationally recognized networking infrastructure in the Triangle region (dual 2.4 Gbs
links). NC State is now home of the North Carolina Internet2 Technology Evaluation Center (NC-
ITEC), which operates as part of the NCNI. One of two national ITECs, the NC-ITEC provides
testing and evaluation services in support of the I2 Abilene backbone; it supports research into
new advanced networking technologies and provides testing and research services that benefit
UNC. Similarly, the NCNI participation in the new national fiber-optic network, the National Light
Rail project, promises to benefit UNC and the region. NC State is also contributing to UNC efforts
to formulate system-wide security paradigms that accommodate the needs and missions of UNC
On campus, IT capacities also advance the logistical goals of UNC. NC State, with its very fast,
high-capacity fiber optic, multi-gigabit network, leads UNC and the region in the development and
implementation of advanced networking infrastructure. The NC State main campus, the College of
Veterinary Medicine campus, the new Centennial Campus, all 34 residential halls and 95 percent
(170) of campus buildings have fiber optic connections to the network backbone. Network
availability (backbone uptime) averages 0.9986 percent, and the average peak monthly Internet
load is 331 Mbps.
Resource Management and Information Systems advances administrative logistical needs in its
continuous efforts to implement, upgrade and maintain state-of-the art infrastructures and
technologies to maximize faculty and staff productivity and provide more cost-effective
administrative services to its customers. On the academic side, the Information Technology
Division provides a unique resource-rich multi-platform computing environment that promotes
success for students and researchers in all curricula and enriches the intellectual and economic
resources of North Carolina.
On behalf of UNC, NC State personnel work with UNC OP on negotiations for advantageous joint
license agreements for all of the system’s universities. Recent examples include Symantec's
Norton Anti-Virus and Ghost software, Novell network products and LDRPS business continuity
and disaster recovery planning software. NC State’s participation in these efforts benefits smaller
UNC universities in particular.
Finding and keeping highly skilled IT technical staff remains a challenge at NC State, as
elsewhere in UNC. To improve Human Resources’ structures for hiring and advancing IT
professionals, NC State was among the first UNC campuses to participate in the Office of State
Personnel’s Career Banding of Information Technology Project.
C. IT activities in support of the Board of Governors’ strategic directions
for the University
Below is a list of the UNC Board of Governors’ strategic priorities
(http://www.northcarolina.edu/content.php/aa/planning/reports/longplan/LRP2002-07.pdf) and a brief
overview of how NC State’s IT activities support these objectives.
1. Access: Ensure affordability and access to higher education for all who qualify and
embrace a vision of lifelong learning.
IT activities in support of NC State’s goal of creating a more diverse and inclusive community
(described in A. 2, above) advance this strategic direction of the UNC Board of Governors. NC
NC STATE UNIVERSITY– IT MANAGEMENT FLEXIBILITY 8
State’s distance education activities (described in B. 2, above) extend access to NC State courses
beyond traditional on-campus students to professionals seeking to advance their careers and
others engaged in life-long learning. On campus, distributed and online learning options give
students more flexibility when scheduling courses, which both leverages the university’s physical
assets and makes it easier for students to obtain courses required for graduation.
2. Intellectual Capital Formation: Through high quality and relevant graduate professional,
and undergraduate programs, develop an educated citizenry that will enable North
Carolina to flourish.
NC State is North Carolina’s largest university, and almost 87 percent of NC State students are
from North Carolina. Proud of its land grant tradition as “the people’s university,” NC State
continues to fulfill its early mandate to provide educational opportunities to North Carolinians and
encourage economic development. As evidence of the relevance of NC State IT degrees, our
graduates are highly sought by industry. For example, IBM hires more graduates from NC State
than any other institution in the world. The university’s ranking among the top 30 universities in the
nation for patents held provides another measure of relevance. An independent study in 2002
estimated that additional net income earned by graduates as a result of receiving degrees at NC
State generates about $801 million annually in North Carolina
3. K-16 Education: Continue to propose and support initiatives to serve the needs of the
State’s public schools.
This is of course a primary role of NC State’s College of Education, which has vigorous programs
in technology and learning with technology for public schools. In addition, many colleges and
departments at NC State work in partnership with the College of Education, North Carolina school
districts, and funding agencies such as the National Science Foundation, SAS in School, IBM
Corporation, and the Kenan Institute for Engineering, Technology and Science to create many
sophisticated “Online Tools for Schools.” Central IT divisions also support these efforts. For
example, Resource Management and Information Systems provides IT support to comply with
UNC OP requirements to receive and send transcripts via Electronic Data Interfaces (EDI) with
high schools, community colleges and other UNC universities.
4. Creation and Transfer of Knowledge: Expand the frontiers of knowledge through
scholarship and research and stimulate economic development in North Carolina through
basic applied research, technology transfer, and public service.
As described in brief above, NC State is a leader in creating IT research and development, and
the university is cited as one of the Southeast's leading universities for technology transfer. It is
among the top 10 universities nationally in industrial support, ranks 30th nationally among all
universities for patents held and among the top 15 in royalty income. Centennial Campus,
founded as an innovative approach to technology development and transfer, is an example of the
university’s commitment to create a successful model for fostering research, industry and
government collaboration that can further social, environmental and economic goals. Centennial’s
advanced IT infrastructure is an essential part of that vision, attracting industry and government
partners. IT capabilities empower the work done in many of NC State’s advanced technology
research centers and labs, such as the Bioinformatics Research Center, Center for Advanced
Computing and Communication (CACC), Facility for Ocean/Atmospheric Modeling and
Visualization, and the Genome Research Laboratory.
NC STATE UNIVERSITY– IT MANAGEMENT FLEXIBILITY 9
5. Transformation and Change: Use the power of information technology guided by IT
strategy and more effective educational, administrative, and business practices to enable
the University to respond to the competitive global environments of the 21st century.
Sections A, B, and C, above, provide an overview of how NC State is using IT as an agent of
beneficial change for the university, UNC and North Carolina. As the best preparation for citizens
of the 21st century, we seek to provide students a technology environment that is more advanced
than that they will enter upon graduation. IT is an integral part of the NC State campus culture as
well as classroom learning. By using sophisticated IT resources in their daily lives, students learn
not only technological expertise that will serve them in their academic and professional careers,
they learn also about the social and ethical implications of technological change and
6. Internationalization: Promote an international perspective throughout the University
community to prepare citizens to become leaders in a multi-ethnic and global society.
NC State’s contributions to regional and national participation in Internet, Internet2 and other
networking and IT initiatives enhance the capacity of the University community and North Carolina
citizens to become more aware and involved in a global and multi-ethnic society.
D. IT strategic planning: Highlights and summary
Strategic planning is the mechanism that connects IT opportunity and IT challenge. NC State’s
opportunity is in the wealth of IT intellectual capital it possesses. The challenge is synthesizing the
extraordinary insight and innovative thinking of its researchers and professionals into cohesive and
executable strategies that successfully advance institutional mission goals and objectives.
There are compelling reasons for NC State to have flexibility in its IT strategic planning. As a
Doctoral/Research-Extensive university with a focus on science and technology, NC State is by its nature
a knowledge-based organization. One can say that the university is in the business of knowledge creation
and knowledge transfer, which means it is significantly different from a utility or manufacturing firm. The
preponderance of the university’s most important asset, its intellectual capital, resides with its knowledge
workers—with faculty and students aligned with professional staff and administrators. NC State has a
significant number of faculty who are internationally recognized experts in technology and/or the
application of technology, and highly competent professional IT staff, most of whom have at least a
masters degree in a technical discipline; many have noteworthy publications, classroom teaching
experience, and are nationally acknowledged contributors in their area of expertise. As a result, there is a
depth of IT knowledge and understanding of issues, strategies, and possibilities.
The model and philosophy for IT strategic planning at NC State is collaborative engagement. We believe
this is the only approach which will effectively enable NC State to optimize both business value and
institutional success. The approach is in keeping with the growing recognition that knowledge-based
organizations do not thrive under the slow-to-change hierarchical management models of the Industrial
Age. Collaborative engagement enables NC State to fully benefit from its wealth of IT intellectual capital.
Coupled with the institution’s Compact Planning process, it enables the IT agility and accountability NC
State requires for maximum effectiveness, efficiency and value.
NC State’s Compact Planning process, implemented in 1999, is “designed to align unit and university
goals and strategies, and—through the use of specific performance and outcomes measures—to improve
accountability and the ability to demonstrate publicly the quality of programs and services”
NC STATE UNIVERSITY– IT MANAGEMENT FLEXIBILITY 10
(http://www2.acs.ncsu.edu/UPA/compactplan/compact99/implementing.htm). The Compact Planning
process includes annual reviews and opportunities for update. It applies to IT planning among colleges as
well as the central administrative and academic IT units. This process integrates strategies and outcomes
within a federated management model, and it makes it possible to balance two different but
• The administrative imperative to hold NC State to the highest standards of business practices, fiscal
responsibility, and efficiency and responsiveness of student services. This imperative must be
accomplished within the context of the institutional mission.
• The academic imperative for a leading-edge robust, diverse, accessible and flexible computing and
data communications environment to advance achievement in teaching, learning and research in all
fields of study. Preparing a competitive 21st century knowledge workforce requires the empowerment
of innovation, experimentation, and the process of discovery. This imperative must be accomplished
within the context of business realities.
Efficiency is only one part of the planning equation. The other is effectiveness in meeting mission goals
and objectives. In the context of rapid change and unpredictability that characterizes advanced technology
development, NC State is committed to maintaining its vision of an information technology rich
environment and IT practices that are both exemplary and major enablers of student, faculty and
institutional success. It should come as no surprise that learning and research requirements at NC State
continuously push the envelope of IT capability and achievability. This is to the benefit of NC State, UNC,
and the state of North Carolina. The challenge is in providing tomorrow’s innovations and capabilities
today, and doing so within an interoperable framework that both empowers and protects strategic assets.
A. IT Organization
(See IT Organization Chart at end of this document)
The NC State IT organizational structure does not conform to conventional hierarchical, top-down
management models. Overall, the organization follows a more decentralized, collaborative model that is
like a hub or web of interrelationships among colleges and central IT units. The structure fosters flexibility
and adaptability and empowers innovation among individual colleges. At the same time, however, certain
critical IT functions, such as network and data security, are rigorously supervised and centrally managed.
Each NC State college has an IT planning and support organization adapted to the unique needs of its
curricula. Two major central IT organizations, working in cooperation and coordination, provide base-line
administrative and academic IT services to all colleges and units at NC State. Each central IT unit has
significantly different roles, responsibilities and user groups:
• Resource Management and Information Systems (RMIS), a division of Finance and Business,
provides the information, systems, applications and services that supply data and information for the
administrative functioning of the university. RMIS also provides desktop support and training for
administrative units and approximately 4000 staff. RMIS is charged with assuring accountability for
university resources and administrative data and assuring secure distribution of business information
in compliance with governing legislation, regulations, policies, and procedures.
• The Information Technology Division (ITD), under the Office of the Provost and Vice
Chancellor for Academic Affairs, has responsibilities in three broad categories: 1) Large-scale,
NC STATE UNIVERSITY– IT MANAGEMENT FLEXIBILITY 11
commodity production IT services—including network infrastructure, campus-wide web services
and the campus academic computing environment with over 37,000 active computing accounts.
2) Academic computing support services—including technology user support, consulting,
training, helpdesk, technology coordination and leadership in support of college technical staff.
3) Applied research and development and high-end production services—to rapidly implement IT
solutions required to advance NC State’s teaching, research and outreach missions.
Two additional central support units make invaluable contributions to NC State’s IT activities:
• NCSU Libraries: Under the Office of the Provost, the NCSU Libraries “plays a central role in
educating faculty, students, and staff in all aspects of new information technologies as they relate to
knowledge of and training in the digital environment of the information age. The Learning and
Research Center for the Digital Age (LRCDA) provides the services, staff, equipment, and space to
fulfill this role. The skills developed by NC State faculty and students will be of long-term benefit in
helping them to learn new forms of technology and to access a growing information base”
• Distance Education and Learning Technology Applications (DELTA): Also under the Office of the
Provost, DELTA provides central support and leadership for distance education and teaching and
learning with technology at NC State. “DELTA's mission is to build a tradition of excellence in
technology-mediated teaching and learning for the NC State academic community, whether at a
distance or on the campus” (http://delta.ncsu.edu/).
B. Standing IT Committees
University Information Technology Committee: Serves as a primary communication liaison
between the colleges and the central IT service providers. The Committee reviews current
implementation of computing technology, and recommends appropriate university-wide computing
standards and practices to maintain IT currency on campus. University academic departments,
schools, and colleges are free to choose the computing hardware and software that best meet their
needs as long as they are consistent with the approved baseline standards. Voting members include
representatives from each college, the Graduate School, NCSU Libraries; DELTA, Student Affairs,
Undergraduate Affairs, Staff Senate, Faculty Senate and Student Government. The committee is co-
chaired by the Associate Vice Chancellor of Resource Management and Information Systems and the
Vice Provost for Information Technology.
University Educational Technology Fee Advisory Team: Made up of representatives from
individual colleges, student government, Disability Services for Students, the Information Technology
Division and members of the provost’s staff. This committee advises the provost on the appropriate
guidelines for expenditures from Educational Technology Fee funds
Disaster Recovery Oversight Committee: Oversees the development and implementation of the
combined academic and administrative IT Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) to ensure that the risk of
major disruptions to critical university processes has been mitigated
RMIS Steering Team: The primary purpose of the Steering Team is to establish development
priorities for the continuing operation and efficient use of the major Human Resources and Financials
administrative systems (http://www.fis.ncsu.edu/eis/Steering%20Information/index.html).
NC STATE UNIVERSITY– IT MANAGEMENT FLEXIBILITY 12
RMIS Management Team: The Management Team reviews the recommendations sent forward by
the Steering Team and recommends action
RMIS Integrated Student Information System Committee: This committee oversees the
development priorities for the continuing operation and efficient use of the student administration
Provost’s Task Force on Information Technology: Convened to address specific IT issues.
Chancellor's Liaison Committee: A committee of students that periodically addresses IT issues and
Teaching and Learning with Technology Roundtable: Open to all faculty, staff and students;
funded in part by Undergraduate Affairs. The TLTR provides an informal meeting ground for technical
staff, faculty and students engaged in providing or using online learning technologies. It acts as
advisory body for the provost on special technology issues or initiatives, and it is used by the Faculty
Senate as an IT liaison. Although not a formal university Standing Committee, the TLTR has grown to
be an important part of the IT planning process and a vital forum for frank discussions and fruitful
collaboration among technology users and technology providers.
C. Overview of the IT decision-making process
NC State’s 10 colleges have considerable autonomy in making IT decisions in support of college goals
and curricula. The University IT Committee, which has technical and academic representation from
each college, has a strong voice in decisions about centrally provided systems and services.
Collaboration with colleges and other university units is encouraged and practiced to keep centrally
provided services and resources responsive to changing needs and changing technologies. For the
administrative RMIS division, priorities are often determined by external forces such as the needs of
senior university management, rules and regulations of the government and the University of North
Carolina or directions set forth in external reviews and audits. The determination of initiatives
undertaken by central IT divisions in response to these issues is based on the availability of resources
and interaction with university executives and campus community. However, for all NC State units and
colleges, these decisions are kept in alignment with university goals and strategies through the annual
Compact Planning and budget review process (http://www.ncsu.edu/planning.html).
III. Standards, Policies, Regulations
See also http://www.ncsu.edu/prr
• The Board of Trustee Policy - Computer Use
• Administrative Regulations-Computer Use
NC STATE UNIVERSITY– IT MANAGEMENT FLEXIBILITY 13
• Administrative Regulation - Data Management Procedures
• Computer and Network Security
Note: A revision of this document and an evaluation of campus computer and network security is
being prepared by a campus security team for review by the University IT Committee. Publication of
the final report by June 2003 is anticipated.
• Administrative Regulations-Computer Use
• Software requirements for users of administrative systems
• For students and colleges, computer recommendations are updated each semester; these are
guidelines, but not requirements.
• The Policy Statement on Web Accessibility, to be issued by the Chancellor, is in its final draft
stage. NC State’s coordinator of Assistive and Information Technology has collaborated with
UNC OP on accessibility policies and guidelines for the UNC system.
Additional rules and procedures for users of academic computing resources
In addition to the relevant policies and regulations mentioned above, the use of academic computing
resources is governed by rules and procedures published at http://www.ncsu.edu/it/rulesregs/. They
• Procedures for computing account creation and deactivation
• Rules for use of student computing facilities on campus
• E-mail services use and restrictions
• Rules for use of remote access services
• Rules for personal (unofficial) Web pages published by NC State students, faculty, staff
• ResNet terms and conditions.
B. Technical standards
Administrative Computing Standards
The Division of Resource Management and Information Systems supports a wide range of
information technology standards. All of these standards are integrated components of the Division’s
Compact Plan. The Division’s mission is to assist the university's colleges, schools, divisions, and
departments in achieving their goals and objectives by developing and maintaining effective and
durable administrative information and telecommunications systems, solutions, and services;
creating a partnership environment which empowers, guides, and strongly encourages customers to
create their own information solutions; and providing accountability for university resources and
appropriate dissemination of administrative information to maximize the use of university resources
in compliance with legislation, regulations, policies, and procedures of the state, Board of Governors,
NC State University, and external funding sources. The Compact Plan can be found at
NC STATE UNIVERSITY– IT MANAGEMENT FLEXIBILITY 14
Acquisition of information technology consulting and contract services
• NC State’s Purchasing Department implements IT purchasing flexibility standards:
Software standards and hardware standards
• Capacity Planning Study: (Administrative Computing Services) This document contains an
annual review and analysis of the current Distributed Computing (Unix) Server Environment
and current utilization of the mainframe-processing environment maintained by
Administrative Computing Services. It provides a comprehensive overview of all components
of the hardware and software configuration. This document is located on a private web page
• Client/Server Standards: These standards provide client/server application development
guidelines that promote uniform appearance, reliability and predictable response for ACS
client/server applications; and enhance the productivity of ACS application designers and
• Software Licensing Requirements: Describes the licensing requirements for software
offered by Network and Client Services (NCS) and the processes for requesting licenses.
Academic computing standards
Given the diversity of academic endeavors at NC State, mandating a single desktop environment for
all colleges would be counter-productive to the advance of research, teaching and learning. The
computing platform that is ideal for one college would constrain students, faculty and research in
another college. For example, the College of Engineering has long relied on Unix systems and
workstations and is now moving toward Linux-based platforms to provide students with the
advantages of working with contemporary open source technologies. This environment is not
appropriate for most of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, however, where most discipline-
specific applications are Windows-based. At the same time, the College of Design has traditionally
used Macintosh computing platforms. One of the unique characteristics of NC State’s centrally-
provided, distributed computing environment is that it supports all these computing platforms—giving
students and faculty platform-independent access to centrally provided back-end services and
distributed file space.
Telecommunications and networking: (Communication Technologies)
• Wiring Standard: The campus wiring standard pertains to all campus buildings and campus
departments located on Centennial Campus. The wiring standard was approved by the
University IT Committee, which has representatives from all colleges within the university.
• Wiring Schedule: Buildings on campus are being rewired to the latest wiring standard
based on the age and condition of the existing wiring. The wiring schedule is approved on a
semi-annual basis by a subcommittee of the University Standards Committee.
• Network Switch Upgrade Schedule: The network switch upgrade schedule is approved on
a semi-annual basis by a subcommittee of the University Information Technology
NC STATE UNIVERSITY– IT MANAGEMENT FLEXIBILITY 15
Committee. In already wired buildings, network switches are upgraded as part of ongoing
planned initiatives. A variety of factors (bandwidth needs, obsolescence of existing
equipment, feedback from campus, etc.) are used to prioritize and schedule these upgrade
projects to optimize use of available resources.
• Network Policies and Procedures: This document is located on a private web page that
can be accessed by all network personnel (http://www.ncstate.net/private).
• Video services:
• Wireless technologies: http://www.ncstate.net/wireless/
Additional relevant standards
• Development and Change Management standards (Enterprise Information Systems):
Configuration Management encompasses all components (hardware, software, network,
etc.) essential to the configuration of the university’s administrative environment.
• Notification Procedures: Documents the notification process so that system support staffs
have guidelines and references to use in communicating to the campus for most problems
that occur with the systems, databases, Local Area Network and web environments. These
procedures cover the communication required to inform and keep customers abreast of
various problems that have been encountered with the administrative systems, database,
LAN and web environments. http://www.fis.ncsu.edu/acs/Notification-procedures.pdf
• Sybase Data Access Procedures: Provides the necessary information for campus users to
access any information stored on the Sybase servers via extract files or developed
• Sybase Quality Assurance Standards:
IV. Management Processes
The management culture and processes differ among IT organizations at NC State depending on the role of the
unit for advancing the strategic goals of the university. The division of Resource Management and Information
Systems (RMIS) is funded under the Office of Finance and Business. It supports the central administrative offices in
conducting the university’s business, and its role requires a rigorous attention to the details of financial, human
resources, and student administrative information control and accountability. The role and management processes
of the Information Technology Division (ITD) are different. Funded under the Provost’s Office and Academic
Affairs, the primary mission of this organization is to further the academic goals of the university by providing a
leading-edge technology environment that empowers new research and new options for learning, teaching and
outreach. Management practices promote technological diversity, innovation and rapid change within the
boundaries of secure and robust systems.
A. IS/IT audit performance
NC STATE UNIVERSITY– IT MANAGEMENT FLEXIBILITY 16
NC State’s division of Resource Management and Information Systems must continue to support the
central administrative offices in conducting the university’s business in a professional and conscientious
manner that results in “clean” audits that are absent of major findings or recommendations. The division
performs self-audits to ensure that all RMIS-provided software is appropriately licensed to cover current
usage. In addition to routine in-house audits, it undergoes state audits of its information technology
system. Its Telecommunications unit had a successful audit report from Internal Audit in January 2000.
Administrative Computing Services and Enterprise Information Systems were audited in the Fall of 2001
as part of the Accounts Payables audit. There were 10 minor findings, all of which have been resolved.
The tenth finding of this audit dealt with disaster recovery/business continuity in which NC State
University is now considered one of the leaders in this area. The state recently conducted an
Information Systems (IS) General Controls Audit of Administrative Computing Services. During this
audit, disaster recovery/business continuity were deemed more than sufficient and were referred to as
being an exemplary model for other UNC institutions. The recent IS audit reported 2 public major
findings, 2 sensitive major findings and 5 minor findings of which all have been resolved or considered to
have met satisfactory progress.
B. Summary of process for major acquisitions for IT goods and services
The details of procedures for major acquisitions of IT goods and services differ among university
colleges and departments because of the differing nature of their functions. However, each department
complies with UNC IT Purchasing Flexibility and NC State’s Purchasing Department’s guidelines for
major IT acquisitions: http://www.fis.ncsu.edu/materialsmgmt/purchasing/index.html
C. Summary of process for major IT implementation projects
NC State’s implementation process is as varied as its information systems and the organizational units
that undertake major IT projects. For centrally provided services, collaboration with colleges and other
customers is similar to that described under II. C, “Overview of the IT decision-making process.” For
example, for Resource Management and Information Systems, all major purchases are first reviewed
and approved by the Associate Vice Chancellor for the division in consultation with the Vice Chancellor
for Finance and Business. Teams consisting of campus customers, management and programmers are
created to develop functional specifications, budget requirements, timeline estimations, testing
processes and schedules, training, anticipated benefits and alternatives for any major acquisition. The
flexibility to find solutions that fit our particular environment based on our unique technical infrastructure,
application mix, and customer expectations is extremely vital to providing efficient systems. Without it,
the division would not be able to acquire the specific type of expertise/products needed to maintain these
systems, slowing the evolution of these systems and making them less effective for campus users.
D. Summary of IT life cycle management efforts
IT life cycle management also varies according to unit and campus population served. For example, for
centrally supported open access computing labs managed by the Information Technology Division,
workstations are replaced on a three-year cycle; software is updated each semester. In colleges, life cycle
management depends on priorities and the availability of funding, which may vary from department to
department and program to program. Resource Management Information and Information Systems’ IT life
cycle management efforts are externally driven by the information technology industry and internally by the
schedules of other campus units. Departments set annual goals and constantly maintain a list of future
projects. IT life cycle management efforts involve planning sessions with senior management staff to determine
NC STATE UNIVERSITY– IT MANAGEMENT FLEXIBILITY 17
appropriate directions and best use of available funds.
E. Summary of IT professional development and training efforts
The Resource Management and Information Systems staff receives training as new technology evolves and as
new projects are initiated requiring additional knowledge. Personnel receive onsite training with industry
consultants as well as off-site individual and group training. Training is provided to staff as departments’
budgets permit. The division also provides 700 NetGs multimedia courses via the web to meet its staff training
needs for all division employees. Resource Management and Information Systems in conjunction with the
Office of Finance and Business also sponsors a biannual day-long technology exposition. The purpose of the
Expo is to demonstrate state-of-the-art administrative applications and systems to the NC State’s campus
community, constituent and surrounding universities, and members of the UNC General Administration.
Information Technology Division staff also receive industry training and are encouraged to participate in
national professional organizations as a part of professional development. ITD staff collaborate with industry
leaders (such as IBM), industry innovators (such as Red Hat Linux), as well as regional and national initiatives
to develop new technologies and applications for use in higher education. The ITD Education unit provides
technical training on production systems and software to technical staff across campus, as well as faculty,
students and ITD staff.
As part of the McKimmon Center for Extension and Continuing Education, the Computer Training Unit offers a
wide range of short hands-on computer and networking courses that are available to all NC State students,
faculty and staff.
In addition, the Learning Technology Service ( http://lts.ncsu.edu/ ) within the Distance Education and Learning
Technology Applications ( http://delta.ncsu.edu/ ) division has a vigorous professional development training
program for faculty using technology for teaching and learning. The Provost’s Office also sponsors an
Instructional Technology Expo (http://www.ncsu.edu/edtech/) each fall. The day-long event features display
booths, panel discussions and presentations where NC State and UNC researchers, faculty and technical staff
share their ideas and latest achievements in the use of technologies to advance research and student success.
All colleges and many central support units participate in this professional development opportunity.
V. Assessment and Accountability
A. How NC State measures success using IT
All NC State divisions and colleges participate in the Compact Planning process, which includes
assessment and performance measures and annual reviews of goals and achievements. Assessment
methods and performance measures vary according to the role and goals of the unit or department, and
each may apply additional measures of success.
Administrative computing and information systems
Because of the diverse IT responsibilities of departments within the division of Resource
Management and Information Systems(RMIS), there are numerous ways to evaluate IT
performance. Administrative Computing Service uses its Capacity Plan to measure accountability
overall. The Capacity Plan measures and quantifies the remaining capacity available to the ACS
Distributed UNIX server, NT server and mainframe environments before an upgrade is required. The
study takes into account the current requirements of the existing workloads, additional workload
NC STATE UNIVERSITY– IT MANAGEMENT FLEXIBILITY 18
requirements due to the normal growth of existing systems, and demand requirements of new
systems as they are brought onboard. The study gives a comprehensive review of all relative facets
of the hardware and indicates where critical shortages exist and are likely to degrade throughput.
Suggestions for circumvention or techniques to increase the longevity of the existing hardware are
offered. These recommendations are made from knowledge of the past growth of administrative
computing resource requirements, knowledge of expected growth, and knowledge of the nature of
the new systems to be installed during this and subsequent calendar years. The Capacity Plan has
been expanded to include Network and Client Services (NCS) and Communication Technologies
(ComTech) which also evaluate their supported environments.
RMIS also employs a Solutions Center that assists all campus administrative systems’ customers with a
variety of questions and concerns. This Center is essentially a three-tier help desk providing telephone
assistance as well as personal assistance. It tracks calls via Remedy, a problem tracking software
package and utilizes the customer satisfaction survey tool to receive feedback on closed calls. Data
pertaining to the university’s administrative systems and environments are collected. The Administrative
Computing Services (ACS) Systems unit also collects data pertaining to the performance of the
administrative as well as the mainframe systems. ACS employs TruSecure Inc. to routinely scan its
administrative environments and those of Network Client Services (NCS) to test for security vulnerabilities.
NCS has a help desk to support the 2000 clients in desktop support and uses customer surveys to
evaluate effectiveness. In addition, NCS internally measures its effectiveness by tracking service outages.
Service level agreements (SLAs) are also used by various units within RMIS to specify expectations of
supported environments. The ACS Distributed Services and Support unit along with the Contract Services
unit develops SLAs for all of their clients in support of the hosted NT server environments and developed
applications, respectively. In support of the Human Resources and Financials enterprise applications, an
SLA has been established between RMIS departments and campus central offices
Academic computing and resources
As a support unit under the Office of the Provost, the Information Technology Division’s (ITD) primary
objective is to advance the academic missions of NC State. These include teaching, research and
outreach, and supporting achievements in the university’s areas of academic thrust in science, engineering
and technology. Decreasing state funding, increasing demands for IT resources and support from
academic departments, and the university’s commitment to improved “learning in a technology-rich
environment” converge to make ongoing assessment of the value of ITD-supported systems and services
an essential part of the unit’s practices.
ITD employs a wide variety of assessment methods to ensure the relevance and functionality of the
IT systems and services it supports.
• Ongoing customer feedback mechanisms – Students, faculty, general and technical staff provide
informal but continuous customer feed-back through the ITD Help Desk and problem tracking
systems. This information is used to address immediate problems and is compiled and reviewed
to inform ongoing system improvements and decisions about upgrades to academic computing
environment done each semester
• Customer satisfaction surveys – In addition to customer satisfaction surveys included in the
problem tracking system (above), student evaluations are included in all training sessions and
are done annually by ResNet. Student surveys done by University Planning and Analysis include
technology components that provide valuable, though general, information about students’
satisfaction or frustration with IT resources.
NC STATE UNIVERSITY– IT MANAGEMENT FLEXIBILITY 19
• Service-level agreements (SLAs) – Used by various units, including systems and networking.
These range from ResNet’s general service level agreement for all student clients to the very
specific SLAs customized for the varied Web hosting services offered by Web Services to NC
State and UNC clients.
• College IT committees and technical work groups – ITD’s staff participation in these committees
and workgroups provide informal but important assessment and feedback about ITD-supported
• University IT committees: (See list under section II, B.)These formal advisory groups have broad
representation from colleges and central IT support units. They serve as forums for collaboration
and communication, evaluate campus IT resources, and make recommendations for IT
improvement, guidelines and expenditures:
• State Audits and internal IT Audits – ITD’s business and security practices are scrutinized by the
North Carolina State Auditor for disaster recovery and business continuity planning, and data
and operational security. Under recommendation of the State Auditors, NC State’s Office of
Internal Audit has begun annual IT Audits of both academic and administrative systems.
• Federal mandates – For example, federal law mandates that all students, including those with
disabilities, have equitable access to IT resources. Initial assessment of these efforts is provided
by students using DSS services, the university’s Office of Legal Affairs and the Office of Civil
• Performance measures and national benchmarks – Each department within ITD keeps
quantitative performance measures of the systems and services they support. These measures
are used internally for continuous improvement and indicators of systems reliability. They are
summarized and submitted annually as part of the unit’s annual review.
(http://www.ncsu.edu/it/itd/measures06-02.html) These measures are also used for self-
evaluation and comparison with peer institutions and national norms, even though the specifics
of the norms change rapidly. For example, the norms of the National Science Foundation
(http://www.nsf.gov/od/lpa/news/03/pr0318.htm) indicate the IT capabilities required for leading-
edge research and for institutional credibility in IT for federal science, engineering and
technology grants. At the other end of the continuum, the norms of the EDUCAUSE Guide for
prospective students “Evaluating Information Technology on Campus”
(http://www.educause.edu/consumerguide/) provides a rough indicator of computing resources
that students expect of a technology-rich environment. The criteria of the Accreditation Board for
Engineering and Technology (http://www.abet.org/criteria.html) establish minimum norms for
accreditation of the College of Engineering.
Determining the best methods of assessing learning outcomes of technology-enhanced teaching
methods will be a major focus of NC State’s SACS Quality Enhancement Plan, Learning in a
Technology Rich Environment. ITD currently looks to faculty and central support units such as the
Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning and Distance Education and Learning Technology
Applications for guidance and expertise.
In addition to continuous monitoring and analysis of network performance, the Communications
Technology unit measures its success via customer satisfaction surveys on all work orders and repair
orders. These surveys are reviewed monthly, and areas of concern are identified and corrected. A
subcommittee of the University IT Committee approves all schedules for building wiring and network switch
upgrades. Any change to the wiring standard is brought before the University Information Technology
Committee for discussion and approval. Communications Technology is also accountable to campus
through its voice and data Service Level Agreements, mentioned above.
B. How NC State measures accountability for the use of IT
NC STATE UNIVERSITY– IT MANAGEMENT FLEXIBILITY 20
Performance measures, assessment and accountability are closely aligned, and all are incorporated
into the university-wide Compact Planning process. Annual Compact Plan reviews follow the
supervisory and administrative structure of the university and include budget reviews. For IT units,
close attention is paid to accountability for the efficient use of IT resources and the justification of
allocations based on institutional goals.
Administrative computing and information systems
As a specific example of the Compact Planning process, the Division of Resource Management and
Information System has created a unified Compact Plan, to address its goals and objectives for each
of its departments. As expressed within the plan, the Division’s mission is to assist the university's
colleges, schools, divisions, and departments in achieving their goals and objectives by developing
and maintaining effective and durable administrative information and telecommunications systems,
solutions, and services; creating a partnership environment which empowers, guides, and strongly
encourages customers to create their own information solutions; and providing accountability for
university resources and appropriate dissemination of administrative information to maximize the use
of university resources in compliance with legislation, regulations, policies, and procedures of the
State, Board of Governors, NC State University, and external funding sources.
The Compact Plan is developed by the division leadership in consultation with the university's Vice
Chancellor for Finance and Business. Goals and objectives of the Compact Plan are constantly
reviewed, and each goal or objective has a projected deadline and a detailed activity measurement.
The Division of Resource Management and Information Systems strives to be a leader in providing
information technology and budget services and to be recognized as such by peers. The Compact
Plan can be assessed at http://www.fis.ncsu.edu/fis/CompactPlan2001_2002Final.pdf
Academic computing and resources
The Compact Planning process, committees and mechanisms for assessment of IT success
described above also describe the mechanisms for accountability for academic computing systems
The Information Technology Division is accountable for computing resources designed to serve a
continuum of academic needs, from those of incoming freshmen to advanced researchers requiring
access to the latest high performance computing technologies. To meet its objectives, ITD strives, at
a minimum, to implement IT “best practices” for the campus academic computing environment and to
provide “best available” or “latest” technologies as funding permits. However, in the field of
information technology these standards are not fixed. Most obviously, computing technologies
continue to change at the rate of Moore’s Law, which means that today’s leading-edge technologies
are likely to be insufficient or out-of-date within several years or even months, depending on the
objectives of the user. Also, the computing capacity or software that is essential in one academic
department campus may be irrelevant to another. Nevertheless, it is critical for the university to
maintain the reputation and reality of having leading-edge technology resources if it is to sustain its
research mission, attract excellent students and faculty and external funding, and fulfill its role as an
economic engine for North Carolina
The complexity of evaluating the cost and benefits of technology implementation are suggested by
the graph below.
TECHNOLOGY COST-BENEFIT ANALYSIS:
NC STATE UNIVERSITY– IT MANAGEMENT FLEXIBILITY 21
RETURN = learning, research,
funding, ranking, satisfaction
RISK = cost, outcome
• Best Practice
• Standard Practice
Technology Time Line
A. Funding elements available to support IT at NC State
The funding elements available to support IT at NC State include:
• Appropriated/university operating funds
• Receipts-generated funds
• Educational and Technology Fees (ETF)
• Corporate partnerships
• UNC-OP funding
• Capital funds
NC STATE UNIVERSITY– IT MANAGEMENT FLEXIBILITY 22
NC State Central IT Projected Funding Resources
Partners (value of in-kind
Academic (ITD)- grants)
1% University Operating
Admin (RMIS)-Receipts 27%
The Division of Resource Management and Information Systems has varying sources of funds to support
information technology on campus. The primary funding sources for the division are: (1) appropriated funds; (2)
overhead receipts in support of the university’s research and service mission; (3) receipts from the provision of
services and products to campus organizations. Budgeted funds are used for personnel, contractor costs, hardware
maintenance, software licensing, and general operating costs for the university’s administrative environment.
The Information Technology Division (central academic computing support) is funded primarily by university
general operating (appropriated) funds; this includes most salaries and benefits, the highest cost factor in
providing IT services. ResNet (under ITD) is now receipts–supported. Communication Technologies Network
Operations (under ITD) is funded in part from receipts for services. Some significant IT research and
development activities are funded in part by technology grants. Corporate partnerships provide in-kind grants
of equipment, facilities and software that advance the university’s infrastructure and teaching and learning
resources. Infrastructure expansion to support administrative services as well as research, teaching and
learning with technology, may be funded by capital funds.
NC State students currently pay $320/year in Educational Technology Fees. Allocations based on these fees
are made to colleges and the Information Technology Division through the Provost’s Office. These funds
may be used to support student learning labs and student IT resources of various sorts, including purchases
of computing and information technology hardware and software and some IT personnel to support student
computing labs and systems. Other college-specific IT activities are funded primarily by university general
operating (appropriated) funds, with the additional funds coming from research grants and partnerships.
Also under the Office of the Provost, Distance Education and Learning Technology Applications does not
NC STATE UNIVERSITY– IT MANAGEMENT FLEXIBILITY 23
receive ETF funds, and it is funded almost exclusively through appropriated/general operating funds.
B. Description of NC State’s use of centrally provided IT funds
NC State has received funds provided centrally from UNC as part of the UNC IT Strategy. These funds contributed
toward 1) network support 2) facilitating campus teaching and learning with technology—including funding for
Distance Education and Learning Technology Applications and 3) support for Web-enabling hardware, software
As noted above, NC State operates in a distributed and decentralized environment for both academic and
administrative IT services. As such, the central IT departments must manage their on-going continuing budgets in
a prudent manner to accommodate their daily and routine operations. Exceptional or unusual budgetary
requirements are forwarded to the Vice Chancellor of Finance and Business and/or the Provost for discussion,
approval, and to obtain any additional resources for a major IT initiative. For example, a request for funding for the
disaster recovery hardware, software, and space was submitted to the vice chancellor and provost who reviewed
and funded the initiative. Resource allocations for colleges are primarily managed by the Office of the Provost. For
an overview of these budget planning principals and procedures, see http://www.ncsu.edu/provost/budget/ .
The Case for NC State’s IT Management Flexibility:
A mission-focused and globally competitive strategy
IT requirements and expectations are arguably more complex and challenging in a research-extensive higher
education environment than in any other industry sector. From large enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems
increasingly burdened by compliance and tracking requirements, to groundbreaking research and innovation
increasingly demanding of advanced functionality and individual treatment—the scope and scale of the challenge is
daunting. With the arrival of leaner economic times, the federal government and research universities are once
again being looked to for leadership in powering the nation’s creative economic engine. Public universities also
face the challenge of defending their IT decisions to a skeptical legislature and citizenry. The prevailing
assessment criteria are more often than not based on legacy standards and on the premise that a simple and
highly structured model is better. This way of thinking does not foster adaptability and innovation. As a nationally
recognized technology leader, NC State has clearly demonstrated its competence in IT management. We are now
confronting a future more difficult and challenging than ever—a future in which IT management flexibility will be
ever more critical to institutional success, effectiveness and global competitiveness.
IT flexibility is critical to institutional success. A successful IT strategy must be mission-focused. NC State’s core
mission is teaching and learning, research, and engagement. The university shoulders a major responsibility for
preparing North Carolina’s knowledge workforce for the 21st century. The future of the state’s economy and the
quality of life enjoyed by its citizens depends on it. In doing this job, it is no longer sufficient to simply expose
learners to concepts and ideas; we must also immerse them in a technologically-rich environment—an environment
which builds the intellectual instincts and intuition necessary to successfully navigate a fiercely competitive and
culturally different future.
IT flexibility is critical to institutional effectiveness. Effectiveness means meeting institutional objectives in the most
cost effective manner. The foundation of an effective technology-rich learning environment is linkage and
execution. The challenge is accomplishing this in an environment where neither a wholly standardized/centralized
model nor a wholly individualized/distributed model will succeed. Efficiency generally improves with increasing
levels of standardization and centralization. Innovation and learning generally improves with increasing levels of
individualization and diversity. The connecting linkage between these two seemingly incongruent goals is simple in
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concept (act locally and think institutionally), but in practice it represents a fundamental culture shift that challenges
prevailing practices, behaviors, and sense of what is meant by success. The cost effective and successful
enterprise of the future will be one that executes this new model well.
IT flexibility is critical to institutional competitiveness. Competitiveness demands the flexibility to innovate, to
challenge the prevailing paradigm. Today this requires greater focus on outcomes and less on the transitory
technological means. It requires greater focus on accountability and less on ownership and control. The power and
the curse of IT is that it defies control. It exhibits organic-like behavior, and like the Uncertainty Principle, attempts to
more precisely quantify/constrain one facet will simply create greater uncertainty/variability in other facets. The
complexity of the Information Age will only be resolved by elevating our level of thinking, not by trying to force fit
solutions and strategies. As Albert Einstein is often quoted as saying. “The significant problems we face cannot be
solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.”
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