Updated: Jan 21, 2020
“ITS about technology… ITS about innovation… ITS about you!”
The University of Kentucky’s Information Technology Services (ITS) slogan defines the direction of the department and the initiative to be one of the most innovative campuses when it comes to the usage of technology.
With nearly 300 staff members, including full-time, temporary and student employees, ITS develops and supports student systems, enterprise payroll, enterprise networking and infrastructure, research computing resources, staffing and maintaining computing labs, including the Student Media Depot, and provides in-person and virtual customer support.
Through engagement with the University community, ITS actively responds to the ever-evolving technical needs and challenges higher education.
UK launched the first-year iPad initiative, a component of a broader “Smart Campus” initiative and UK's strategic plan, with a focus on student success; teaching and learning objectives; and career preparedness, said Associate Chief Information Officer Heath Price.
"I'm excited when I think of UK’s new motto "Wildly Possible" and hope students will see the first steps in this iPad initiative as a sincere effort to fuel these dreams," said Price.
Price hopes the iPads will help students in the future by offering a tool that empowers them from the first weeks of their college experience. At a micro level, the iPad ensures that all incoming students have technology that they can use to accomplish the "classroom basics." At a macro level, the iPad can be a tool for students who are dreaming about what is possible for their life to use-- both on campus as a student and when they consider career and personal aspirations.
In addition to supporting the iPad initiative, ITS has launched several cybersecurity initiatives over the past year and a half. Including the eduroam WiFi network that debuted on campus in spring 2018, replacing the open network, uky.edu, in August 2018. Colin Baker, team lead for Network Engineering, explained that eduroam is a network that provides more cybersecurity to our students, faculty, and staff.
"It is a much better approach," Baker said. Three groups within ITS make the secure network function, Baker said: 1) Design Engineering, 2) Operations Engineering (where ITS deals with the wired and wireless aspects of the networks), and 3) Collaboration Engineering (where ITS deals with the phone networks).
Exposing students to a secure network that protects their private information, such as passwords and accounts, and with some of the other cybersecurity tools ITS has implemented, like two-factor log-in, will help them tremendously down the road, said Baker.
ITS lead developer Joshua Wilson and his team recently created a new Student Financial Aid Portal. The project focused on improving the student experience and the project team made every effort to study the issues students were facing to really understand what they needed in a new portal. The team gathered students’ feedback throughout the creation process, via interviews and studies of how students were utilizing the portal. Students were also included in the prototype testing. The result is a Student Financial Aid Portal carefully developed utilizing student feedback with a built-in ability for students to provide ongoing feedback within the portal.
ITS is filled with incredibly talented individuals who are dedicated to making our university a technology-friendly and innovative place to learn and work, while encouraging students to be involved and strive for students to graduate with skills to launch their future. Interested in getting involved? There are many ways students can get involved with ITS. ITS offers internships for college credit and student employment opportunities where you can gain real-world experience. In addition, ITS is always looking for student feedback on new/upcoming products. Email ITSaboutYou@uky.edu to let them know what they can do for you.