As we settle into this hybrid semester and continue to find new ways of collaborating with each other to serve our hardworking community, two important technology topics have remained at the top of my mind: security and accessibility. While deeply important in an average semester, security and accessibility are even more critical to delivering user-centric tools and technology to our community in our increasingly virtual world.
Fostering an inclusive environment, and supporting accessible and inclusive technology along with that, is one of our core values. Cloud applications help us teach, learn, conduct research, and connect with each other remotely — but they change frequently, and despite our testing and close relationships, we are not always aware of issues before they occur. As IT professionals, we are committed to providing our campus community with technology and tools that everyone can use. We do this by working with our technology vendors, and our colleagues across our campuses, to provide technology services and resources that not only support, but enhance a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment at U-M.
Information and Technology Services (ITS) has many digital accessibility resources on its website, and ITS and the Office for Institutional Equity have partnered to create additional, university-wide resources for IT accessibility. Please share with your colleagues whenever you can. Please also make time to actively participate in this month’s DEI Summit, and contribute your perspectives to the university-wide conversation on Building an Anti-Racist World through the Arts.
October is also National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, which presents an annual opportunity to appreciate the importance of security and privacy in technology. There are new IT security tools, including Virtru enhanced email security, and outstanding activities planned throughout the month on security and privacy topics. In that context, if you have not watched it, please check out the movie The Social Dilemma. I watched it a few weeks ago with my son, and I would love to hear your thoughts on the issue of our privacy in our hyperconnected and social world.
I am ever grateful for the work you are doing to support our community during this time. Covid-19 is a serious pandemic and we all need to work together to stay safe. Please wear your mask, use ResponsiBLUE, and follow all the recommended guidelines from our public health officials. Please take care of yourself and take breaks when you need them. If you have time, reach out to your colleagues and ask how they are doing. Let us take care of each other. We will get through this together.
I love to hear from you so text me at (316) 619-2167 or send an email to email@example.com and share your questions, advice, or ideas. Please reach out any time I can be of assistance.
Ravi Pendse PhD
Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer
University of Michigan