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OIT Strategic Plan

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Letter from the Chief information Officer - Office of OIT

Dear Colleagues:
Since its creation, the University of Liberia has forged a distinct path to academic excellence.
And, as was intended and envisioned by its founders, the University has over the years been able to draw people from all parts of the country, especially young people, and educate them in the arts, sciences and politics.

Ostensibly, the 21st Century has brought a lot of changes, many, if not all, of which have been driven by Information and Communications Technologies or ICTs. ICTs have had significant impact of every sector of our society including government, business, academia and other areas.

Yet unfortunately, the University of Liberia, the nation’s largest institute of higher learning has struggled over the years to incorporate and integrate ICTs as robustly as other universities around the world. Put succinctly, the University has lagged behind in its efforts to align ICT with its mission and strategic goals, in leveraging ICT to create strategic advantage, and in leveraging ICT to create an environment that empowers administration and faculty to enhance students’ learning experience, improve business operations, and deliver quality services.

ICTs have become one of the most central tools in today’s higher education environment. From the first time prospective students and families access a university’s website to the many ways our faculty use technology to enhance their academic plans, ICTs now pervade every aspect of academia and the world at large. ICTs are also crucial in enabling the seamless operation of daily university functions, and its availability, adaptability and mobility can help to propel an
institution to the top of its class.

In view of the above, the University, through its leadership decided there is a need for an Office of Information Technology (OIT) that will align ICTs with its strategic plan and mission. This unit of the University is expected to play a crucial role in the University’s transformation in the coming years.

The Office of Information Technology (OIT) was established to provide the highest-quality support and services to its “constituents”- administration, faculty, staff, students, researchers, alumni, et al- and partner with the university’s stakeholders, to position the University as a model institution for the collaboration between higher education and technology.

For me, it is a privilege and opportunity to serve as the first Chief Information Officer (CIO) and head of the OIT, of the nation’s largest and oldest state-owned university. Serving in this capacity requires a lot of things including but not limited to, building a dynamic, innovative and vibrant team that will help drive the digital transformation that the University is about to experience, and developing a strategic ICT plan that will guide this digital transformation.

In this light, it is my pleasure to present the Information and Communications Technology Strategic Plan for 2019-2024 to the University community. This Plan provides a blueprint for achieving the vision of leveraging reliable and emerging technologies and information resources to support the mission of the University. The Plan draws upon the University’s Strategic Plan 2019-2014, ICT priorities across campus, key ICT trends in higher education and industry, and a
strategic analysis of current ICT operations. It is a product of University-wide discussions about the role of ICTs in the evolving landscape of higher education and in addressing institutional challenges and opportunities.

The ICT Strategic Plan 2019-2024 identifies seven (7) goals, their respective objectives, and key strategies. It focuses on strategies pivotal for creating a competitive advantage for the University through the effective use of existing and emerging technologies. The plan also strives to balance “commodity” ICT services that are vital for smooth day to-day operations and leveraging new, innovative technological solutions. Furthermore, the Plan provides strategic and tactical ideas based on a high-level framework. It does not address the resource needs; it is understood that new resources and the re-allocation of some existing resources will be required to execute strategies and accomplish projects identified in it.

This ICT strategic plan that my staff and I have created illustrates the direction we feel the OIT is going, and it highlights the crucial culture change that is expected to come within the unit. For the past several months, the OIT has engaged in a dramatic shift from a general perception which
viewed it as a mere “fix it” or ICT crisis response department, to one that resembles a fully functional university ICT unit, focused on innovation, creativity, customer care and the provision professional and quality services . This dramatic shift has also brought a new culture that is turning the OIT into a unit that is ready to support the University in accomplishing its mission.

The ICT Strategic Plan 2019-2024 is a living document, which will be regularly visited, assessed and adapted as IT trends and the university’s needs evolve and change. We feel that this plan embodies the OIT’s new culture and the direction which the University plans to take as is enshrined in its Strategic Plan 2019-2024.
Finally, I extend my gratitude to all stakeholders within the University community for guiding the process and providing valuable input about the needs of the University. Thanks to the faculty, students, staff, and administrators who provided ideas for the ICT Strategic Plan 2019-2024.

Together, I am confident that we will successfully achieve our “Top 20 in 7”goal.
Dr. Darren Wilkins Chief Information Officer-UL

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