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Office of Information Technology (OIT)

UT Arlington
OIT: Office of Information Technology

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IT Governance Overview

Information Technology and its use permeates all aspects of research universities, from the desktop of students and faculty, to the systems that register and distribute grades to students, and to the research that faculty members conduct on campuses. It is therefore crucial that IT in higher education be aligned to the parent institutions' strategic goals. To that end, the goal of IT governance at UTA is to create a transparent governance framework that prioritizes the work that is done by the Office of Information Technology as well as other IT service-delivery units on campus in a manner that instills trust and commitment.

IT governance describes who makes which decisions, who provides inputs and analyzes the issues, who sets priorities, and who settles disputes when there is no clear consensus. Good governance processes are actively designed and well understood by participants, fostering timely decisions that are communicated effectively. Because UT Arlington is a large, complex research university, the variety of segments of the entire educational enterprise at UTA that are touched by IT is large. The diagram below depicts the variety of IT services that are addressed in IT Governance:

Core and Enabling IT Services

Carefully designed IT governance provides a clear, transparent IT decision-making process that leads to consistent behavior linked back to the university's vision. EDUCAUSE, the professional organization within higher education that addresses IT issues, describes five types of IT decisions that should be addressed in a governance model:

  1. IT Principles: high level statements about how IT is used in the business
  2. IT Architecture/Infrastructure: set of technical choices, policies, procedures, guidelines, and standards used to achieve a desired level of business/academic and technical integrations and standardization.
  3. IT Enterprise Solutions: core shared IT services that provide the foundation for the enterprise's IT capability, providing foundation for enterprise-wide capabilities. (MyMav, Email, etc)
  4. Departmental Application Needs: specifying the business need for purchased or internally developed IT applications
  5. IT Investment: large funding decisions on how much and where to invest in IT

Effective IT governance requires the participation of many constituent groups on campus:

  • Executive Leadership: groups of cabinet-level executives or an individual executive
  • IT Leadership: individuals or groups of IT executives
  • Business Units: administrative and academic leaders, communities of practice (small focus groups such as Web Standards) leaders, key process owners or their delegates)
  • IT Governance Committee: a cross-representation of campus leadership (executive and business unit level leaders of academic, administrative and IT areas)

The aforementioned principles and assumptions about the optimal structure of IT governance form the basis of UTA's IT governance model. The remainder of this Web site contains information about the "instantiation" (to use an IT term denoting actual implementation) of the governance model at UTA.