IT Spotlight: Nick Dugan – from UC Student to UCM CISO

Posted by Lexi Rivetti, UCB Student Intern, UCOP. With more than fourteen years’ experience at three different UC campuses, few people have a more unique perspective on IT at UC than UC Merced CISO Nick Dugan. He jokes he’ll make the full tour one day and work at all the campuses (though he’s currently very happy at Merced).

Dugan first got hooked on IT as a residential computing consultant in the UC Santa Cruz dorms. After graduating with a degree in Computer Science, he moved to UC Davis, where he worked for five years, and finally landed at UC Merced, just a few miles away from where he grew up near the Sierra Foothills. He said he’s been following UCM’s progress since high school, and when the opportunity to work there came along, he jumped on it.

When not exploring nature, or eating at Sam Café – one of the best Thai restaurants in the valley, he says – he organizes game-changing projects for UCM. Over the past year, Dugan has been working on a next-generation network project, developing new network security measures as part of a larger effort to replace all wired and wireless campus network equipment. Alongside CIO Ann Kovalchick, he’s developing an information security program that is ready for a “cloud-first” strategy, and communicating with IT staff at UCB’s data centers to develop innovative methods for data storage and security.

Working in IT at UC has been very rewarding for him. The ever-evolving IT landscape has allowed him to discover countless new technologies alongside amazing co-workers, all while making a positive impact. Dugan says, “I like to feel I’m working for an organization or for a cause that’s doing some good in the world, so I’ve been happy at UC for many years. For anyone looking to jump into technology fields or things like that, I think higher ed is a great place to do it.”

Comments (2)

  1. Tom A

    Nick – great piece. Questions
    1) what’s the most amazing thing you’ve seen in the UC system?
    2) what’s your most frustrating thing abou the UC system?


  2. Nick D

    Hey Tom,

    From an IT perspective, it’s very cool to have a front-row seat for the research life cycle – where the innovations our current environment supports become the production technology we deploy to support the next generation of research and innovation. Our faculty are inventing the products that enable us to do business!

    As for frustrations, I often express to people that UC Merced is a “very small big university”. That can cut both ways – an advantage being we have the ability to leverage the history, expertise, and economies of scale of our sister campuses to great effect. On the other hand, the institutional wheels can turn very slowly – which can limit the ability of our small campus to react quickly and be nimble.



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