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Greetings, Skidmore College Community

Hello everyone. I hope you enjoyed the holidays with your family and friends. I’m energized for the upcoming semester and anticipate you may be also. It’s hard to believe 2008 is now behind us.

We are obviously living in a different economic environment than existed a mere six months ago. President Glotzbach has outlined how this will affect our respective departmental budgets. I want to take a moment to talk about the impact on the technology resources. While everything within the IT operating and capital budgets is on the table for consideration, one of the highest profile areas being looked at is the annual computer deployment. The college has worked hard to build and maintain an annual process that keeps desktop and laptop computers up-to-date. Addressing computer replacement in a structured and predictable manner is necessary for efficient purchasing and installation, as well as to ensure compatibility. We will be looking at the deployment from every angle to see where we can responsibly reduce expenses. For those departments scheduled for the summer 2009 deployment, please bear with us as we work through these challenges, and be assured that we will coordinate with the respective department heads as this unfolds in the coming months.

In addition to the impact on the acquisition of technology equipment, the financial challenges will affect the services we provide across campus. Although the exact impact of these challenges is unclear at this point, we will struggle to offer the same exact services given fewer resources. We will work carefully to prioritize, improve efficiency, and make strategic decisions about how we accomplish traditional functions. Please be patient as we do our very best to meet the most critical technology needs from across the institution.

I also want to share an organizational change within IT.  Bill Duffy has been the Director of IT User Services (previously called Consulting Services) for the past 6 years.  He has done an excellent job in this capacity. However, I now am calling upon Bill to serve in a new role. We created a sixth functional unit within IT that is responsible for the communication, policy, and project coordination efforts that are becoming increasingly complex and strategically important for success.  Bill is now the Director of IT Strategic Planning and Communication, and joining Bill in this new unit are Alana Jaeck and Kathy Guay. I am confident this change will allow us to improve our overall effectiveness in serving the Skidmore community.  Replacing Bill as the Director of IT User Services is Tom Marcotte. Tom is on his second tour with IT here at Skidmore and has been a very able Assistant Director in User Services for the past year. I have full confidence in Tom and the rest of the User Services folks that they will continue on without missing a beat.

I hope you find the rest of the articles in this e-newsletter informative. As always, if there is something you would like to know more about, please do not hesitate to contact me. My very best to you for a prosperous 2009 and beyond.

- Justin Sipher, Chief Technology Officer