While the rise of educational technology had already been bringing academic leaders closer to their universities’ IT departments, the COVID-19 pandemic’s immediate and overwhelming impact on learning only deepened those relationships. With campuses emptied out and courses shifted to virtual settings, CIOs had to help professors and students adjust to the new reality.
At Arizona State University, which has more than 51,000 students at its Tempe campus, Mark Searle, the provost, said last year that his working relationship with the CIO, Lev Gonick, was crucial in setting up tech training for thousands of faculty members within 24 hours of coronavirus restrictions being put in place. Gonick’s team also outfitted more than 900 ASU classrooms with webcams, so professors could reach students sent home, Searle said at an Educause event last October.
And University of Florida Provost Joseph Glover said that UF’s tech office furnished university leaders with data on campus public health and student engagement.
“Without the work [IT staff] are doing, we would not be surviving today,” Searle said.