Faustian Rants

How Big Will IT Get in Higher Education

Posted in Uncategorized by Jim on February 3, 2015

I’ve been at IT in higher education for 35 years now. In that time, on my own campus anyway, IT staff has grown from 12 to 42 people.  A full 30 new full timers in 35 years. I’ve been thinking about this.

I recently ran into this post by Scott Coughlin in his ITTHOUGHTOFTHEDAY blog.  Scott asks a good question.  How is it that an IT Department can be too large and too small at the same time?  He points out that part of the problem is how people define their IT departments.  True enough.  How does higher education define their IT departments?

As individuals, faculty, staff, and students at a college or university don’t often think about the forest.  They are concerned about their tree.  If their computer doesn’t work, if their course in an LMS is broken, if a large color print they need isn’t done they ask (often in indirect ways) why IT isn’t bigger?  They leave looking at the forest to their deans, VPs, and President.   At the same time they often grouse about the every growing size of the administration.   Which do they want?

With the daunting task of keeping up with consumerization, higher education IT departments are expected to provide infrastructure and support for any and all technologies that faculty ,staff, students and others bring to to campus.  How are IT staffs to continue to meet this growing demand?  More people? More money? More outsourcing?

On my campus IT is in a struggle (a battle really) to redefine itself.  To realign itself with the vision and mission of the college.  The problem is all the trees.


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