A message from Larry Conrad, AVC-IT & CIO
As I’m sure you all know, the University has a substantial structural budget deficit, and IST is a part of that problem. We have a fairly complex financial model; indeed, the Campus Budget Office has told us that IST has the most complex budget on campus. To address our structural deficit, over the past 9 months we have been systematically examining every service IST provides and the associated costs. Under the leadership of Liz Marsh, and through a lot of hard work by a lot of people, we have been able to reduce the IST structural deficit by well over half, bringing us to our current structural deficit of $2.3M. But we still have work to do to close our funding gap completely. Unfortunately, budget reduction is hardly a new topic at a public university. However, I’m adamant that we simply must stay strategic in our thinking and approach and not be forced into doing something that is expedient, but clearly the wrong thing to do for the University.
Because of the budget challenges we’re facing, it has become clear IST needs greater focus on financial management, planning, and strategy. Consequently, I’ve established a new financial leadership role: the IST Chief Financial Officer. This is a strategically important new role that will put us in a position to better manage the complexity of the IST financials and respond to the additional scrutiny related to our deficit. The new CFO position is intended to bring the needed focus to both of these as well as serve as a strategic partner to the rest of the IST management team.
I’m pleased to announce that Terence Phuong has agreed to return to IST as our Chief Financial Officer. Terence will be transitioning from his current role in the Campus Budget Office over the next few weeks, and will be officially on board effective May 1.
In addition to the budget, there is much more going on within IST. A key initiative we’ve launched in recent months is a new IT governance structure for the University. Another critical initiative is to better communicate/market our services and value to the campus community as well as to our leadership. Both these areas need considerable additional attention. We are looking at both to help prioritize our services, address funding issues, and communicate the value of IST – and of One IT - to the campus.
To better manage all of this important activity, I have decided to make some organizational changes in the CIO’s office. I have asked Liz Marsh, my Chief of Staff and Director of Strategic Initiatives, to provide the needed additional focus and leadership for IT governance and communications/marketing. To give her the bandwidth to do this, Terence and the IST financial staff will report directly to me. To make sure our new CFO has sufficient bandwidth to focus on financial management, planning, and strategy, other administrative functions, including HR, the Admin Support program, and Building and Equipment Management group will remain with Ann Walls, and continue to report to Liz.
I want to take this opportunity to thank Liz for the strong leadership she has provided over the last two years to the Finance function, and welcome Terence as he assumes responsibility for this important new role.
Larry Conrad, Associate Vice Chancellor – IT and Chief Information Officer