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Mark Bookout, chief information officer at S&T, and Beth Chancellor, University of Missouri System vice president for information technology, sent the following message to the S&T community this morning (Monday, Feb. 1):
Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students of S&T,
Beth Chancellor, the UM System Vice President for Information Technology, and I recently participated in a discussion with faculty leaders, S&T administrators, and other S&T community members concerning a number of recent IT changes and the service levels that are being provided.
We appreciate the role each of you play in executing our University’s mission, and regret that the IT services you have known and depended on for so long have experienced interruptions and shortcomings in these very challenging times.
Many of you have expressed frustration with assistance provided from IT, and the challenges experienced in receiving adequate support. Several months ago the S&T call center (only the call center) was merged with the MU call center in an effort to consolidate services and reduce expenditures. In many areas, this consolidation has been successful but, with the recent email migration project, we underestimated the call volume and support complexities resulting in long call center wait times. To address your concerns:
It is important for us to highlight that S&T has retained on-campus chat support, second-tier user support and walk-in support. Those venues are still available to S&T faculty, staff and students on our campus. We are currently working to increase support through these local avenues as we have seen a drastic increase in the number of chats and walk-ins this semester.
S&T IT works hand in hand with UM IT to implement new system-wide projects such as Office 365 and email migration to protect your data, reduce costs and improve overall service levels. These are large and complex efforts which have proven to have a significantly larger impact on you, our user community, than we anticipated.
In 2020, S&T IT worked hard to quickly adjust and address many challenges. The technology needs of campus users changed, and properly meeting those needs while adapting to smaller IT teams has not been a small task. At S&T, one of our adjustments was to provide more information to campus with IT department emails, frequent blog posts (https://itcomms.mst.edu/ ) and a restructured IT website (https://it.mst.edu/). These communications methods will continue, along with a new means of receiving feedback from our customers starting today.
In 2020 S&T reduced the number of producer-staffed classrooms due to COVID-19-related budget reductions, technology obsolescence, and staff limitations imposed by significantly greater classroom IT support across the whole campus during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We hope this message helps to clarify our current situation and what we are doing to address the shortcomings. It is never good to be surprised by service or infrastructure changes, and recently they seem to be occurring at an ever-increasing pace. We pledge to do our best to keep you informed, better understand your concerns, and use your input on our path forward as technologies emerge and move to implementation.
We understand the importance of IT services to our collective missions here at S&T, and our continued goal is to provide them in partnership with you.
Mark & Beth
S&T Chief Information Officer
Beth Chancellor, MEd, CISSP
Vice President for Information Technology &
MU Chief Information Officer