While this fall semester is unique in U-M’s history, the energy of students returning to study, regardless of location, is unchanged. While many traditions may be skipped this year, the sense of our Michigan community is strong. Over the summer, I saw countless examples of how the Michigan IT community banded together with a single purpose across units and campuses to act with urgency. I encourage you to keep that inspiring momentum into the academic year.
With a hybrid semester and so many students, faculty, and staff connecting to the university’s mission from around the nation and world, the dynamics of how we work as IT professionals are changing. Meeting these new, challenging demands for technology requires quick action at an unprecedented level. Providing new tools such as Zoom to support remote teaching and learning is only one aspect of this work. IT colleagues across our campuses have collaborated on Ready to Go Blue (R2GB) workshops and other training programs to support faculty as they apply these tools to new modes of instruction.
Another dynamic is our responsibility to empower our community to make data-informed decisions. One important aspect of data-informed decision making is “data democratization” and making data access transparent and easy to consume, as the university has done with the U-M COVID-19 Data Dashboard.
I provide more examples of the many ways that the university prepared technology resources for students, faculty, and staff to utilize throughout the fall hybrid semester in this recent episode of Michigan Minds. If your time allows, please check it out and share your thoughts with me.
Know you are a valuable member of the Michigan IT family, and you have colleagues willing to help out if you need to step away. Please speak up if you need help, and offer help to those in need.
I want to acknowledge and thank you for your resilience and dedication to U-M. Many of us are faced with new challenges and demands for our time in our personal lives. It is tremendously important for you to take the time you need to take care of yourself and your family, and to create and respect boundaries. Know you are a valuable member of the Michigan IT family, and you have colleagues willing to help out if you need to step away. Please reach out if you need help, and offer help to those in need.
On a personal level, I am continuing to walk and take pictures when I can. I took this picture of the moon on a late-August evening at Gallup Park. I hope you will like it. I found it very peaceful, and for a moment, I forgot about the stress we all potentially feel related to COVID-19.
Ravi Pendse PhD
Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer
University of Michigan