AVP of Academic Technology

Questioner: Gordon Rakita

Posted to: John Delaney, UNF President

“At a recent Faculty Association meeting you were asked about the growth of administrators at UNF over time. You indicated that the university’s overall jump in administrative numbers was due to the use of director titles. Why then are we filling the position of Director of Academic Technology in ITS when Kathy Hughes retires when we already have an AVP of Academic Technology in Academic Affairs?  Would you consider revisiting this decision since it appears somewhat redundant and presents us with an opportunity to save some money as well as eliminate one director position from our numbers?”

Response from Shari Shuman, Vice-President of Administration and Finance:

“I just wanted to give a little bit of background on the position and why we established it to begin with and put Kathy Hughes in it.  So it’s not a new position.  We did a re-organization – I had three or four directors that retired out of Information Technology – and if that’s not an opportunity to do a re-organization, what is?  And so, we did a task force that had faculty members that participated on that task force as well as administrators, that was led by Scott Bennett.  And, one of the things that was loud and clear was that there was a thought, especially by faculty and some others, that IT did not spend enough time on academic technology; that they were focused on the Enterprise systems, the student system, Blackboard, and those sorts of things, and that we needed someone who would focus and advocate on behalf of faculty within IT.

And so, what we’re looking at… and that’s what Kathy has done for thirty years, for those that know Kathy.  And she unfortunately did decide to retire; that was her right.  And so, we put out a search, which failed.  And then we put out a second search, and decided, who better to advocate for faculty than a faculty member?  And so, we did a search, and, as you know, it did get announced that Gordon accepted that position, starting June 9.  He’ll stay in a faculty line, and he’ll still be a faculty member.  What we look at this position doing is also helping in regard to coordination, identifying research projects that we can help leverage with our Florida Lambda Rail, LLC (FLR).  Also, there’s a Sunshine State Education and Research Computing Alliance that we work with – CCEC in particular – that’s also research and has other aspects.  So, not only will they be looking at and working with CIRT, with classroom technology, and coming up with innovative and ‘what’s the next thing?’ along with CIRT.  But they’ll also be working with the faculty on research… ‘Do you have a database that you need for a classroom?’  That’s some of the stuff that Kathy’s done.  There are just different things, and we want to put an emphasis on what you need.  And I seriously mean that.  We do understand that there’s more than just running the numbers and running the administrative systems, which faculty matter and faculty care, and we want to help you.  So, that’s the reason for the position.”

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