U of G IT Strategy: Summary Site

Please note: The official and complete IT Strategic Plan can be found at http://uoguelphca.sharepoint.com/sites/ITStrategicPlan/. Access to this site requires U of G credentials. We have created this summary page for those who cannot access the official site. Questions? Please email ITstrategy@uoguelph.ca.

The U of G Strategic Plan will reimagine how staff, faculty and students learn, teach, research and work. The strategy is centred around five key pillars: Student Experience, Teaching and Learning, Research Support, Information Systems, and Cyber Security. As a result of our extensive engagement process, we have created plans for each pillar that will enhance the user experience and drive technological innovation, creativity and efficiency for the next five years and beyond. 

IT Strategy at a Glance

While these videos can be found throughout the main IT Strategic Plan site, we've put them all together on this page to capture the vision in one place. These videos alone provide a great preview into the future user experience at U of G. 

Note: These videos are not intended to be interpreted verbatim. They provide a conceptual vision of what the future experience at U of G could look like as a result of this strategic plan. 

[Video Transcript]

IT Strategy Overview

An introduction to the U of G IT Strategic Plan, including our engagement process and our overall vision for the next five years and beyond.

[Video Transcript]

Student Experience Reimagined

A glimpse into the future student experience at  U of G. 

[Video Transcript]

Teaching and Learning Reimagined

See how we plan to evolve teaching and learning at U of G. 

[Video Transcript]

Research Support Reimagined

A preview of what a seamless experience for U of G researchers could look like. 

[Video Transcript]

Information Systems Reimagined

A visionary look at how our enterprise systems will shape the user experience at U of G. 

[Video Transcript]

Cyber Security Reimagined

See how we plan to empower our U of G community to be cyber safe. 

IT Strategy Pillars and Projects

Pillar 1: Student Experience

We imagine a student experience where all systems and processes are designed with the student in mind and an understanding that students are not a one-size-fits-all group but rather a diverse set of communities with a broad range of experience and abilities.

The U of G student experience will be comprised of:

  • Seamless, personalized and intuitive interactions with University systems.
  • Confidence in the reliability of University information.
  • 'Smart' systems that simplify and expedite everyday student tasks.
  • Simplifies and automated course enrolment and academic planning processes. 

  1. Create an intuitive online student portal and mobile app. This portal/app will be the foundation of an enhances and seamless digital experience for students and create user-centric pathways to University information. This will include integrating student academic information into students' Gryph Mail calendars, which was an ask we heard from many students. 
  2. Ensure student-centric web content is easy to find, reliable, current, regularly audited, and consistent across University websites. Establish a standard framework across colleges and departments to ensure web-based information and resources are presented in a consistent manner. Increase the frequency of web content audits to ensure consistency and accuracy. These actions will enable students to easily find required material and will ensure that U of G websites are a trusted source of information. 
  3. Simplify and automate the course enrolment process for students. This will result in an intuitive course enrolment experience that includes automated processes for degree planning, course registration, waitlisting and tracking of academic progress. 
  4. Creation of 'smart' University systems with AI-integration that simplify everyday tasks like appointment booking, study space availability, wayfinding and wait times. Students will no longer need to navigate many different systems when booking appointments and finding support. They will enjoy the convenience of just-in-time information when accessing various resources.
  5. Create a customized digital checklist for new students that shows overall individual student success. This will clearly indicate what new students need to know and do in the first few months at U of G and will link to the appropriate resources and supports. This will help to simplify a confusing and overwhelming time for new students. 

Pillar 2: Teaching and Learning

The University of Guelph will provide flexible and accessible teaching and learning experiences that adapt to the evolving needs of students and faculty. The University's leadership in extending the teaching and research expertise to non-traditional learners through micro-credential offerings will generate new revenues, innovative pedagogical approaches and attract diverse learners. 

Learning spaces will be designed to support collaboration and engagement and will be facilitated with educational technologies that support innovative pedagogical approaches. Educational technology support will be standardized and accessible regardless of the teaching space. It will include in-the-moment support and users will have a clarity about how to access the help they need.

The U of G teaching and learning experiences will be comprised of:

  • Flexible classrooms that support collaborative and active teaching and learning approaches.
  • A fleet of core educational technologies - both new and existing - that provide meaningful and engaging learning experiences.
  • Course information that is standardized, current, integrated, and easy to find and to navigate.
  • A support model that is designed to meet the needs of instructors and students.

  1. Empower faculty to adopt innovative and diverse pedagogical approaches to create meaningful learning experiences for diverse learners with a robust and agile educational technology ecosystem. This will meet the increasing expectations for more accessible and flexible learning opportunities to better support the learning needs of a diverse student population. Flexible learning opportunities will include expanding U of G's micro-credential offerings to support upskilling and reskilling and meet the evolving needs of employers. 
  2. Perform an environmental scan of current educational technologies in use across the University of Guelph. This will enable the University to establish a baseline for current technologies, and work toward standardization of all teaching spaces.
  3. Review existing processes, policies and technologies used to support student success. This will provide insight into data needs, risk and opportunities to better support students and faculty.
  4. Develop annual processes to engage stakeholders to better understand preferred educational technologies and pedagogies. Understanding the needs of faculty and students related to technology will ensure that we meet their needs as we plan for the future of educational technologies.
  5. Perform a scan of all course information platforms and delivery approaches in which students access data to inform their academic journey. This will provide insight into the needs and expectations of students and guide our course information technology development and selection
  6. Review existing educational technology training methodologies and resources with a view to create a more seamless and fulsome support model for academic information and educational technologies. This will result in a more standardized, user-centric support model and will make more effective use of institutional resources to meet the needs of students and faculty. 

Pillar 3: Research Support

Researchers at U of G will experience automated, intuitive and simplified workflows to achieve their administrative needs, with the frustration and duplication of effort being a thing of the past. They will have access to IT services and infrastructure that meet their unique and complex needs, at a cost that is affordable and sustainable. Researchers will know exactly which IT services and supports are available to them, and how to access them. 

The IT experience for U of G researchers will be comprised of:

  • A research administrative system that is efficient, integrated and intuitive. 
  • Specialized IT services that meet the complex and unique needs of researchers. Improved awareness of all IT services and supports that are relevant to research.

  1. Implementation of a research information system to improve automation, workflows and efficiencies. Researchers will have access to an online portal with automated workflows for submission and management of forms, signatures approvals, research proposals, grant applications and compliance certifications (e.g., human, animal, etc.). It will be integrated with University financial systems such as the Financial Reporting System (FRS) and My Grants Tracker.
  2. Creation of trusted, reliable, research-based IT coordinators to guide researchers to appropriate resources. These coordinators will understand researcher needs and will be well informed of the various research-related IT services at U of G. These coordinators will serve as a liaison to ensure that researchers are connected to the appropriate resources. 
  3. Computing & Communications Services (CCS) to act as cloud host and external broker for research IT services, providing cloud compute and storage solutions for research data. When researchers need to procure a new application or solution, CCS can determine if such a solution exists in-house and if not, can be a broker for external services, as they will be familiar with recommended vendors, security, and can accept block funding that is more in line with researcher finances.
  4. Ensure storage solutions are optimized for research data. This will enable researcher to use University-provided storage solutions that meet the needs of research data and are affordable, sustainable and secure.
  5. Support the Research Computing Advisory Group (RCAG) by establishing a research computing operational group. This will ensure better oversight into researchers' IT needs, activities, solutions, resources, services, etc. Together, they can better advocate for research-related IT needs. 

Pillar 4: Information Systems

We envision a campus environment where University systems are intuitive and enable a high degree of productivity and improved user experience. We view the entire ecosystem of information systems as an integrated whole, oriented to the broad needs of the user community. Solutions will be acquired with the end user in mind to ensure a seamless and efficient experience.

The user experience with information systems will include:

  • Core administrative systems that are cloud-based, secure, modern, intuitive and integrated.
  • Automated, configurable workflows and paperless processes.
  • A modern intranet that allows different users to find relevant information.
  • Access to systems for authorized users from any location.
  • A robust support model to ensure use of systems to their full potential.
  • Technology that will support teaching of traditional and non-traditional learners (such as micro-credential offerings).

  1. Implement digital signatures, paperless processes and electronic workflows across the University. This change alone will provide a significant improvement for all users of all University systems. This need was heard across all engagement sessions. 
  2. Implement a centralized support tool that incorporates self-service, chat bots and assets management. Users require a standardized and consistent method of accessing support for all University systems and IT needs. This will allow users to help themselves where possible via a robust knowledgebase and AI-enhances technology.
  3. Create plans to migrate University enterprise systems to modern, cloud-based platforms delivering self-service capabilities, improved workflows and an enhanced digital experience for all users. This will ensure longevity of our systems, seamless integration across systems, access from anywhere for authorized users, delivery of self-service capabilities, improved workflows and an enhanced digital experience for all. 
  4. Creation of a University intranet to ensure a clear distinction between internally and externally appropriate web-based information. This will enable a more seamless and relevant web journey for prospective students and industry partners and an enhanced and more personalized experience for internal users.
  5. Ensure cohesive technology and support across all University locations (Guelph and Ridgetown campuses and the University of Guelph-Humber). Create a clear path forward that includes consistent collaboration to understand the unique needs of all University locations and find solutions that are mutually beneficial. 
  6. Create a hybrid work environment that enables flexible and seamless transitions between work and home for U of G employees with a robust security strategy for the remote workplace. We will develop a hybrid environment focused on flexibility, agility and productivity.

Pillar 5: Cyber Security

We envision an even stronger cyber security posture for the University of Guelph, which includes an improved user experience and a community that is confident in its ability to protect University information. 

The U of G cyber security experiences will be comprised of:

  • Stronger and simplified identity and access management systems and processes.
  • Improved user experience via self-service capabilities.
  • More seamless, efficient and secure business processes. A variety of touchpoints between the University community and the Information Security team.

  1. Create a security plan to compliment the University's emerging cloud migration strategy. This will ensure security for cloud-hosted applications and data stored in cloud-based solutions.
  2. Implementation of multi-factor authentication (MFA) for all University accounts. MFA provides a second authentication step, bolstering overall security and minimizing account compromise. 
  3. Implementation of an identity management roadmap. This will include a new IAM solution that will replace our current, complex application to ensure improved and more efficient support, self-service capabilities and simplified processes and workflows.
  4. Produce and deploy a single document-signing tool. This will ensure simplifies, agile and secure business processes. 
  5. Create a plan for the recruitment of departmental security champions. This will allow business units to have in-house subject matter experts that understand the nuances of each units and can provide more accessible support for security-related issues.
  6. Creation of a continuous internal phishing program.  This will empower the University community to better recognize phishing scams, significantly reducing the ability for malicious actors to gain access to University systems. 

Thank you to all who have been a part of this up until now, and those who will join us on the journey ahead. This is your plan, your vision, and your future experience.