Information Technology 2022 Strategy and Initiatives

Information Technology Strategies Graphic

The mission of Information Technology is to partner with our community to provide exceptional services, innovative solutions, and resources to advance and facilitate learning, teaching, and research in support of the university’s educational mission and strategic priorities. Following are accomplishments and highlights of 2022 that have contributed to the university's Reach Higher 2025 strategic plan as well as the division's Digital (DX) Transformation Strategy

The three strategies included as part of the Digital (DX) Transformation Strategy are: 

Service Excellence & Greater University Support

Through the folllowing wide range of initiatives and projects, IT strives to provide exceptional service and support to the community. 


Academic Research Computing

The first Director of Academic Research Computing was hired. This team will be working across the colleges and departments to address the needs for labs, research, and high-performance computing with an eye on future growth for these and other areas of academic research computing. 

Digital media developers within our three Digital Studios worked in collaboration with faulty on a variety of faculty projects.   Additionally, they created Blackboard Ultra video tutorials and trainings.  Information about all three of our Digital Studios can be found on our Digital Studio website.

IT, in partnership with HR, held a week-long Kaizen event, “Transforming the IT Services Process at GVSU event.” During this event, the team identified problems, analyzed processes, developed optimal solutions, and planned for implementation and sustainability using Lean improvement methodologies. The continuous improvement plan developed will enhance the operational performance of IT services (e.g., ticketing workflow and issue resolution process) as well as customer satisfaction. 

New Employees: Assisted with adding 12 NEW positions to the division. Onboarded and welcomed 25 employees.

Technology Acquisitions: Processed and ordered over 4300 technology requests of Dell/Apple desktops & laptops, monitors, printers, software, cables/adapters, iPads, technology peripherals, and servers..

Mass Communications: Created and delivered 213 mass emails to the university community.

Budgets: Maintained and renewed over 100 contracts for the division and added 15 new contracts.

First Net: Transferred all the university-provided cell phone users for GVPD, Senior Leadership, and some members of the Incident Management Team from Verizon to FirstNet powered by AT&T, a nationwide network for First Responders and Public Safety

The Project Management Office successfully launched the IT Project Intake Process in February 2022. This process formalizes IT project requests that align with the university’s strategic initiatives and allows the university to move forward with the projects that are most beneficial. 

The Project Management Office and IT Project Team successfully completed Phases 2 and 3 of the TeamDynamix implementation.  In February,  Phase 2 was completed with the launch of the Project Portfolio Management solution for IT staff.  

In Phase 3, University Communications and Housing and Residence Life implemented TeamDynamix. Housing launched a library of Knowledge Base articles to provide important information to the GVSU community. University Communications went live with photography and video services. 

An enhanced Technology Acquisition Policy was developed in partnership with Business and Finance and the Provost Office. Technology Acquisition's website has been updated with helpful information and current hardware and software supported by GVSU.

Modernization of Enterprise Solutions

GVSU's applications must be modern, enhance the university experience, and meet the functional needs and requirements of the community.  These initiatives aided in the advancement of these outcomes. 


In February, GVSU finished selecting a new learning management system (LMS) and chose Blackboard's Learn Ultra product. To keep the campus community informed of the migration timeline, training opportunities, and frequently asked questions the  LMS migration website was created and is continually updated and referenced in mass communication and university presentations.

The first two phases of our LMS migration efforts were completed in May when GVSU moved Blackboard to Saas and Ultra Base Navigation (UBN) was enabled.  By moving to Saas, Blackboard now receives continuous monthly updates. Each monthly release contains new features, enhancements, and maintenance items.  
In May, UBN replaced the design of the original Bb portal which now includes the ability for users to update personal preferences and provides a modern navigation menu that gives users the ability to access courses quickly and engage with key information such as upcoming assignments, grades, feedback, and alerts.  
Throughout the summer and fall, early adopter faculty (Pioneers) of Bb Ultra participated in training in preparation for the first wave of faculty teaching in Blackboard Ultra courses.  During the fall semester, 119 faculty taught 203 courses using Blackboard Ultra and 4,094 students were enrolled in Blackboard Ultra courses.  A Blackboard Ultra  Champion website was created to highlight faculty experiences and best practices.  Video testimonials from our Bb Champions were also featured in eLearning Technologies newsletters and shared at multiple university presentations. eLearning  Technologies liaisons actively engaged with faculty during the fall semester attending department and college-wide meetings to answer Bb Ultra questions and raise awareness about our Ultra training efforts.

IT and University Development are implementing Blackbaud’s Raiser’s Edge NXT (RE NXT)  to replace the current donor advancement solution, Millennium.  Blackbaud is the leader in the nonprofit software industry and their deep knowledge and experience in fundraising in higher education will be an enormous asset as we look to strengthen our tools to support our fundraising efforts.    

In collaboration with the General Counsel, the AVP for Academic Affairs, the VP for Research and Administration, the AVP and University Registrar, and the Office of Research Compliance and Integrity, the first Institutional Data Management Policy for the university was reviewed and created. The policy defines what data means for the university, data stewardship roles and responsibilities, and how data is identified and managed as an asset. 


Private cloud investment and upgrades increase storage and compute resources with improved management and serviceability. 

Platform automation simplifies redundant processes and improves the time to patch for security-related issues. 

Enhanced backup process, systems, and storage improving Recovery Time Objectives for applications, systems, and databases. 

Micro-Segmentation is currently being implemented to segment systems and applications. 

DocuSign is being implemented across the university. A pilot group of key business users from each division has been identified as part of the initial phase. This group has initiated training, has access to the DocuSign demo site, and will be developing use cases for their area in the upcoming work sessions.  

DocuSign streamlines the customer experience, strengthens compliance, increases efficiency, and eliminates paper-based costs. It automates workflows with electronic signatures for signing documents and provides safety and security. 

Converted code base to GitHub Enterprise. This transition provides an increased efficiency by keeping all code on a sole source control management system and allows automation of code review along with deployment procedures. 

Organized and moderated weekly events for Cybersecurity Awareness Month.

Enhanced and expanded our cyber security operations with Managed Detection Response (MDR) partner and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) protections using CloudFlare. 

Completed 90% of the architecture certification for Phase 0 for the implementation of Okta.

Enhanced security for Microsoft Office 365, which includes Multifactor Authentication (MFA). 

Enhanced the security of emails to minimize the number of phishing emails.

Initiated a process to certify compliance with regulatory requirements within the following councils: Payment Card Industry (PCI), Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA), Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Faculty and staff email services were moved to the cloud and Microsoft 365 enterprise applications were modernized to provide productive and secure collaboration tools.  

Migration Highlights:
Project was completed in seven months. 
Over 7,500 email accounts were migrated, and 3,500 applications were updated. 

Available resources related to Microsoft 365

Evaluated and selected MuleSoft as our vendor for an Enterprise Integration Platform. 

Upgraded OnBase document management to the latest version. 

In June, the Slate Project Team successfully launched the graduate application and nine applications to complete the implementation of the Slate Admissions and Enrollment management solution. This solution helps manage relationships with prospective students and applicants. It automates and personalizes communications, organizes events, and facilitates application management and review. 

The modernization of the Windows Labs included a simplified image and driver deployment which provided remote capabilities and centralized management.  

Installed and configured Juniper MIST which allows for an enhanced  wireless and wired experiences with unprecedented scale, agility, resiliency and performance in various housing and academic locations.

The Workday Platform project is successfully progressing to become the foundation for GVSU finance, human resources, and payroll operations. In collaboration with these areas, team members were heavily involved in business process analysis, data conversion work, leaders on integration and participating in functional architecture sessions.  

The project is driven by 20+ teams with nearly 200 individuals engaged in the project across the campus.  Teams conducted a review of current GVSU business processes, and have been underway designing GVSU’s future state based on the outcomes of that review. The goal is for Workday configuration to be 85% complete by March 2023 prior to beginning extensive testing.  Change management efforts included the project website, campus-wide announcements, change readiness assessments, and the creation of the Change Agent Network that will serve as a connection between the project and the wider community.    

Zoom and Five9 Call Center were fully implemented as a single platform for Unified Communications.  

Migration Highlights:
Successfully moved the university to Zoom Phone to consolidate three phone systems down to a single communication platform for phone, meetings and messaging.  

7,961 phone lines were migrated over 9-months, covering 125 buildings across all campuses and regional centers.

Moved six departments to the new Automatic Call Distributor (ACD) software Five9

Learn more about the Zoom implementation and resources

Accelerating Transformation through Innovation

Technology shifts and rapid change are driving GVSU to discover and explore emerging technologies and innovative solutions for digital transformation (DX) across Information Technology.  Below are developments implemented in 2022 to move the university further in this direction. 


Six classrooms were upgraded to Active Learning. Classrooms were were established with flexible furniture and advanced technologies supporting remote learning. 

Redesign has been completed to accommodate Zoom in select academic spaces on Grand Rapids and Traverse City campuses. 

The AV has been designed and specified for the Fieldhouse addition for the new Men’s and Women’s Wrestling Program.

AV advancements were made in the Perry Dining Room in the Alumni House.

Robert B. Annis Water Resources Institute (AWRI) Multipurpose Room AV installation has been completed. 

Installation of upgraded medical technology to the Cook-DeVos Center for Health Sciences (CHS) Simulation Center has been completed. The hospital suite was equipped with one ICU room, nine medical-surgical hospital rooms, and a maternity suite. Faculty were provided with a designated observation room that is equipped with streaming equipment to observe and evaluate simulation encounters. 

Select conference rooms were upgraded to Zoom Conference Rooms. 

The Recreation Center classroom AV technology was upgraded. 

I+R aims to be a catalyst for digital transformation (DX) by leading, coordinating, and exploring new technologies and innovative solutions. Research, outreach, X>STUDIO, and the Technology Showcase facilitated our successes as I+R saw an increase in engagement and usage of advancing/technology across campus and beyond.

Additional I+R highlights

The Showcase engaged with nearly 10,000+ visitors. 

New technologies were acquired and put on exhibit in the Showcase. 

The Showcase facilitated 3D printing throughout the year with over 640 student prints.

Configured 12 Meta Quest 2 virtual reality headsets for REP4 T4 Scholars.

Additional Technology Showcase highlights

The X>STUDIO researched and reviewed a variety of technologies this year, including: Neat Bar, Neat Frame, Neat Bar Pro (3 screen Zoom Room), Owl Pro, Owl Whiteboard Camera, Logitech Rally Bar, Logitech Scribe, Bose VB1 Videoconference Bar, Poly X50, ScreenBeam, Huddly IQ, and Huddly Canvas.

Visits, conversations and connections were made with local business and industry experts.

Conversations were held for investigative review, opportunity, potential partnership, and analysis with the following vendors: Zoom, Microsoft, Neat, Logitech, Apple, Ludenso, campusM, Cisco WebEx Hologram, Invoke Learning, smartLINK, CLIPr, Class, Meadowfi, Newline, AVer, CDWG, PeopleGrove, Podium Education, Scalable, Pathify, Symplicity, inspace and FirstIgnite.

Additional X>Studio highlights

Page last modified January 26, 2023