Students, faculty and staff at the University of Georgia can expect continued improvements in the areas of research IT, academics and digital student life, and at the university system level, a new unified enterprise resource planning system is on the horizon, Timothy M. Chester said during his annual State of Technology address.
Chester, vice president for information technology at UGA, gave his address to about 250 people over Zoom on Nov. 15, speaking about progress toward the IT strategic goals and the University System of Georgia’s planning for a new unified ERP system. Chester also shared results of the 2023 TechQual survey, which measures satisfaction with central IT services on campus.
“The levels of customer satisfaction with core IT services across the university has never been higher, and that’s a result of the real premium we’ve placed on good customer service, and reflects key investments the university has made in IT,” Chester said during the address.
Of the core IT services, Zoom, the EITS Help Desk and ArchPass were consistently ranked highly by students, faculty and staff. Overall, student, faculty and staff opinions on campus technology have continued to improve since 2021, after the COVID-19 pandemic and a pivot to more hybrid work and teaching environments prompted an increased reliance on services such as Zoom and eLearning Commons (eLC).
Chester, who also serves as the vice chancellor and chief information officer of the University System of Georgia, said initial planning and project preparation is under way for the new unified ERP system, which will bring finance, human resources and payroll, and student information systems for all 26 USG institutions into a single, cloud-native environment.
A unified ERP system will allow for access to more timely data and trends in areas such as enrollment; with more accurate data, Chester said, campus and system leaders can make small corrections to help increase enrollment faster.
In 2023, progress was also made on IT strategic goals in several areas including:
- Research IT: In 2023, The Georgia Advanced Computing Resource Center’s Sapelo2 high performance computing cluster was refurbished with new equipment and now features more than 39,000 compute cores and 180TB RAM. Additionally, 48 VIDIA A100GPUs were deployed, representing a $1 million investment in the GACRC to support the Presidential AI and Data Science initiative. Work is also under way to increase campus bandwidth from 40gps to 200gps, providing researchers with greater data transfer speeds.
- Academics: New responsive dashboards launched in DegreeWorks earlier this year provide more data to students and advisors to show progress toward degree completion. The Course and Program of Study project, which is underway, will also improve workflows for designing and submitting undergraduate curriculum. Additionally, vLab, the university’s virtual computer lab, was migrated to Azure cloud in the summer, providing more powerful, faster compute sessions at a lower cost.
- Digital Student Life: A new virtual One Stop Shop, known as Dawg Source, in the UGA Mobile App provides improved, single-view access to critical student business processes and services.
- Collaboration: A pilot is currently underway for a next-generation converged telephony system featuring Microsoft Teams, with campus rollout beginning in 2024.