President Fenves’ Vision and How ITS Contributes to the Journey Ahead

Posted on: September 16, 2016

In his State of the University Address this week, President Fenves shared the diverse and outstanding accomplishments of faculty, researchers, students, and staff over the past year and cited examples of how the University of Texas at Austin is the flagship of higher education in Texas. He discussed the importance of diversity on our campus, of providing opportunity and support for all students, of realizing innovations in classroom instruction, and of collaborating among interdisciplinary teams of researchers. He also shared his vision – quoting Governor Greg Abbott’s observation that “Great is not good enough” – providing inspiration for the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.

From the Dell Medical School to the Texas Advanced Computer Center to the world-changing discoveries of UT Austin researchers, President Fenves charted the path for UT Austin to set the standard in education and research among public universities. To achieve this goal he outlined how we “must prepare students to be successful leaders, conduct research with unprecedented global impact and influence, transform the health-care system, and nurture a campus culture where every voice is heard and valued.” View his entire speech here.

It is important to recognize and reflect on how Information Technology Services (ITS) supports the campus “on this journey to elevate The University of Texas at Austin’s role as a world leader in research and education.” There are so many ways the work ITS Staff does every day contributes to the bold path and shared purpose presented in his speech. Here is one example, though there are many. Recently, the Information Security Office (ISO) sent out a message about UT Box which is a cloud-based service provided by ITS for file sharing for academic and business purposes. UT Box is available to faculty, researchers, staff, and students. Since early 2012 when the service launched, Box has proved to be a tremendous resource for more than 37,000 people on campus and storing over 350 Terabytes of content. The ISO approved UT Box for Confidential University Data, including Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) data, making the service available to researchers in a wide variety of disciplines. Learn more on the UT Box wiki pages.

UT Box supports and facilitates UT Austin researchers in their work of scholarship and discovery and in their collaboration with others on campus and throughout the world.  When using UT Box to share and store research data, simple measures like following the principle of “least privilege” and protecting data by only allowing invites approved by the UT Box folder owner increases information security and protection for important and valuable research data.

To reach new heights, to solve great challenges, to educate the leaders of tomorrow, requires vision, determination, and the right tools for the job. ITS provides many of those tools–like Box, UTmail, Qualtrics, the Canvas Learning Management System, the network–and can take pride in contributions to make UT Austin a university of “the first class.”