By Mark Cianca and Yvonne Tevis.
- Well, COVID—and Remote Work and Learning
The most-viewed blog article for 2020 is an open letter in February by UC’s CIOs endorsing alternative and flexible work arrangements to recruit/retain talent. They didn’t know they were foreseeing the future. Shortly after, COVID hit, and remote work, teaching, and learning became urgent necessities. UC IT teams rose to the occasion – provisioning equipment, implementing systems, and helping faculty and staff. They provided work-from-home suggestions, shared management best practices, and honed guidelines for handling digital records when working remotely.
- Remote Work Presents Personal Challenges
Shifting overnight to remote work, social distancing, and often isolation, hasn’t been easy. UC IT folks, like everyone around the world, are juggling work and home lives, with their personal structures and physical spaces totally changed. They have reached out to each other over Slack and Zoom, and have bravely shared their experiences in the blog about when “work from home” means being alone, or the challenges of parenting in a pandemic. UC IT helps each other.
- Diversity and Black Lives Matter
The need for greater diversity in IT is a continuing and critical theme for the industry. And it’s no different at UC. With the killing of George Floyd and the worldwide shock, outrage, and protests that followed, UC IT heard a powerful “I Can’t Breathe” message from one of its own. These events further intensify the need for initiatives that increase diversity in IT and foster a welcoming work environment. This story continues. UC IT must be active in making a real difference.
- UC Works Together Systemwide
It’s often said that UC is a federation, with the campuses operating somewhat independently. But they also recognize the value of collaboration, and there were great examples this year. The systemwide Outside Activities Tracking System took home a Golden Sautter Award. Procurement negotiated systemwide deals for Zoom and Microsoft Azure. And after nine years, the UCPath payroll and HR system was fully implemented at all UC locations, serving 235,000 employees. An amazing achievement that paves the way to collaboratively use UCPath for future administrative efficiency.
- UC IT Fights COVID-19
And the final top story? Well, COVID—and the thousands of UC IT employees working to support UC’s healthcare response, from patient care to daily COVID screening for employees. UC San Diego Health led an initiative to expand use of a phone-based, free and anonymous COVID-19 notification system, first to UCSD students and staff, and then to other UC campuses. The technology notifies users if they have had a high-risk COVID-19 exposure that may result in infection. On December 10, the system was made available to anyone in California. Further, the state has contracted with UC San Diego Health to support the system through technology infrastructure and education. Just another fantastic example of UC IT serving California!