Franklin & Marshall College Franklin & Marshall College

ITS Strategic Priorities

Strategic Priorities 2014-16

What follows is a list of initiatives Information Technology Services commits to as ‘strategic priorities.’   While not meant as an exhaustive list, we believe this represents the solid core of large and/or tangible initiatives that serve to directly advance the goals presented.  We also recognize that no undertaking is entirely owned by us but must be completed with consultation, coordination and participation from others across campus. 

Capacity planning and standardization
Cultivate ourselves, bring discipline to our practices and assure our ongoing ability to deliver.


  1. Evolve our IT governance structure, in particular retiring one or more temporary governing bodies focused exclusively on Project Boost and charge, define and establish regular advisory bodies focused on enterprise systems and as well a primary user group for Banner to coordinate activities around our shared infrastructure. Such bodies should recommend and vet initiatives, bringing them forward to the CITC committee as recommendations.

  2. Define a formal PM strategy for F&M, to include processes for scorecarding, vetting, approving and tracking, assessing IT and functional area resource requirements, etc.  Determine how this function will be staffed.

  3. Evolve the staffing model and reorganize the Desktop Integration Services area within ITS, which focuses on client services.

  4. Implement disciplined, documented and automated procedures: patch management, system monitoring, server OS upgrades, back up procedures, disaster recovery procedures.

  5. Define expectation for and begin formal documentation of policies and procedures.

  6. Implement a much tighter control mechanism that assures individual departments or programs cannot purchase or license technology solutions without the advance involvement of IT.

  7. Review existing budget expenditures, prepare recommendations for normalizing operating budget and developing critical capital investment projections.

Next phase priorities:

  1. Implement 'industry leading' tools for helpdesk ticketing and project management, ideally integrated.  Undertake similar efforts around software license management, asset/inventory control and tracking.

  2. Implement regular campus communications.  Establish general feedback collection, annual reporting and more formal satisfaction data collection.

  3. Establish a more formal plan for professional development

  4. Implement a portfolio management methodology for College leadership to assist with strategic prioritization, particularly CITC.  

Care for what we have
Continuously evaluate and improve our information technology infrastructure to assure we are meeting or exceeding contemporary expectations for capability, security and automation.


  1. Move to CAS authentication for most campus services, creating a 'single sign on' environment for users.

  2. Complete core network and network edge upgrade project.

  3. Evaluate feasibility of creating a DR site partnership with a PA college/university to leverage KINBER infrastructure and save money.  More formally develop evaluation and recommendations for expanded secondary data center/DR site expansion.

  4. Implement a self-register guest wireless service to improve security and ease of use.

  5. Partner with KINBER to upgrade from an end node to access node for KINBER services in Lancaster.

  6. Evaluate identity management appliance systems as an alternative to our current, locally-developed custom programming solution that consumes considerable staff resources to manage/maintain.  Implement a contemporary user authentication and password management solution.

  7. Charge a working group to understand current uses of network file service eDisk, and recommend strategies for replacement.

  8. Complete phase-one CISO work, most notably the Information Security Policy. Complete planning for phase-two, to include creation of a security initiatives plan to include a timeline and associated expenses for all next phase initiatives.

  9. Partner with campus legal counsel to develop, garner necessary approvals for, and implement data retention policies for the campus.

  10. Complete review of and recommendations for the future of campus cable TV services.

  11. Engage a consulting partner to undertake a campus needs assessment and readiness appraisal for full campus conversion to VOIP for voice services.

  12. Evaluate cell phone amplification system vendors and recommend a solution that can begin to be rolled out with campus facilities renovations beginning in 2015.

  13. Develop replacement schedules for computing workstations and computer labs meeting contemporary standards.

Next phase priorities:

  1. Implement tracking and change management tools for infrastructure components to assure ongoing maintenance, timely replacement and better ability to quickly identify at-risk systems in the event of a vulnerability.

  2. Evaluate the feasibility of implementing print server capabilities, and as well, options for expanding options for student printing beyond limited location model.

  3. Select and license tools to push and manage computers, mobile devices and AV integration/remote management.

  4. Consider an external review of ITS as a follow up to the 2012 Grant Thornton review.  In advance, prepare a departmental response to those recommendations.

  5. Complete replacement of eDisk.

  6. With the eventual replacement of eDisk, plan for the shut down of OpenLDAP authentication services and move to AD as primary campus authentication mechanism.


Drive instructional innovation
Proactively engage with faculty and students as partners in innovation, in the advancement of teaching, learning and scholarship.  



  1. Complete Moodle and Canvas pilots as possible alternative learning management systems, select an appropriate alternative to Blackboard and implement.

  2. Undertake three prototype classroom upgrades as part of Task force on Instructional Technology efforts.

  3. Complete the work of the Task Force on Instructional Technology to guide priority-setting and resource prioritization for instructional technology initiatives on a 3-5 year planning horizon.

  4. With recently acquired 3D printer and scanner, begin some experimentation with interested faculty who have been asking for some time to trial this technology.  Makes these sort of modest experiments more routine.

  5. Seek funding for even modest formal incentives for innovation: small start up grants, course-redevelopment grants, funded student research support with a technology component, etc.

  6. Partner directly with new Faculty Center in new programming initiative.

  7. Working with the Committee on Academic Technology, revise their charge to bring a more strategic leadership focus to the work with less emphasis on routine operational matters.  

  8. Re-establish regular programs that offer opportunities for faculty, staff and students to learn about technologies and software applications that would be helpful in their work, research or studies.

  9. Provide the President and those working on the College's next campaign a set of ideas for initiatives that support faculty, teaching and innovation that would be appealing to donors.  Make the case for the essential role of technology in the College's future.

Next phase priorities:

  1. Seek support to hire a subject matter expert in an area of interest to faculty that takes our instructional technology program to the next level.


Continue to bring automation to the institution
As a strategic partner to campus offices, advance the College’s efforts to streamline operations, gain efficiencies and provide better services.



  1. Complete approximately 20 projects outlined in Project Boost Phase II.

  2. Evaluate alternative campus card service providers.

Make the libraries the foremost location for faculty and student access to innovation
Partner with the library in faculty outreach and planning for facilities (particularly within the library) that support student research, collaboration and innovation through the use of technology and information resources.


  1. Transfer ownership of media collection to the library.  

  2. Enable innovation by developing a robust loaner equipment pool, ideally based in the library or Harris.  

  3. Create a formal student advisory group in partnership with the library and facilities and operations.

Next phase priorities:

  1. Assist with the library’s eventual move to a new platform to facilitate discovery and streamline operations.  

  2. Press for a planning effort that might bring an information/media commons area to some primary space within the library.  As a joint venture, ideally jointly staffed and managed, set sights on understanding the feasibility of relocating key IT faculty/student services (Walk-Up Helpdesk, Instructional Technology, Equipment Loan, all academically oriented workshops/programs, etc.)

  3. Work closely with the library on a re-writing of the college's copyright policy.

Facilitate more sophisticated and dynamic online communication
Expand the College’s ability to deliver sophisticated services online.


  1. Fully remove the expectation that faculty, staff and students would need to use the VPN client to access online services available to them through the campus portal.  Promote a similar initiative within the library.

  2. As part of the College web redesign, implement a complete overhaul and redesign of Inside F&M.  

  3. Respond to faculty concerns about lack of functionality within Inside F&M that was not addressed during the first phase of Project Boost.  

  4. In partnership with Communications, complete College website redesign and redeployment.  

Bring innovation to campus spaces
Partner with facilities to continuously maintain and improve upon the availability of technology in campus venues, and intentionally bring innovation to classroom and other space design efforts.



  1. Partner with facilities to continuously maintain and improve upon the availability of technology in campus venues, and intentionally bring innovation to classroom and other space design efforts.

  2. Prepare a multi-year plan to get 100% of classrooms technology-enabled and an appropriate replacement cycle to keep the technology in those spaces current.  Incorporate event and meeting spaces into the plan.

  3. Prepare a 4-5 year plan to complete a campus-wide conversion from analog to digital for technology-enabled spaces on campus.  

  4. Reconsider the focus of the Harris Innovation Zone to bring regular programming and interaction to the space, as well as modest investments to return the space to one where at least some innovative technologies are showcased.

Next phase priorities:

  1. Develop an intentional and sustainable plan for undertaking innovative classroom redesigns in partnership with faculty and facilities, leveraging insights gained from planned for pilot renovations happening summer 2014.


Respond directly to the College's strategic plan with innovative possibilities that would both support and advance those aspirations.