We've known for a long time that our state budget is going to make this a difficult year. This is (unfortunately) the norm across the nation. Back in January, the Chronicle of Higher Education wrote about Colleges to Confront Deep Cutbacks.
The article talks a bit about politics (the trend: Republicans tend to not fund higher ed so well) and comments: "Of the 28 new governors elected in November, 18 are Republicans. Over all, the party will control 20 state governments, up from nine."
Additionally: "The next fiscal year will also be difficult because the $54-billion in federal stimulus funds meant to shore up education spending will be gone."
So what does that mean for IT? Our mission hasn't changed: we need to find ways to do more with less.
At Morris, I've been consistent with my vision: "Buy rather than build, partner rather than buy." The concept of "buy" may seem opposite to "doing more with less", but when you consider the long tail of support, the costs are actually lower over the long term.
We have also moved much of our IT infrastructure (hardware, etc.) to the Twin Cities. The Office of Information Technology provides a central server hosting service, which we now use for web servers, Housing, and other applications. OIT supports the servers and does all the patching, backup, etc. - while we focus our efforts on the application and services to campus. It is more efficient for us to leverage the economies of scale at OIT to run our systems, rather than run them ourselves for greater cost. Instead, we save our budget to apply to other things of greater value on campus.
In the coming year, it will be very important to continue this strategy, and look for more ways to leverage the "umbrella" of the central campus to support our projects. I ask for everyone's support (not just in Computing Services, but across the campus) in moving us toward that goal. My vision is to preserve our Morris budget, so we may invest in the right projects and local technologies that will bring extra value to our students, faculty, and staff.