SJSU IT Budget Update 05/15/24

Dear Colleagues, 

A few weeks ago, I shared SJSU IT’s approach to helping reduce the university’s budget deficit, focusing on our team and expanding growth opportunities. There are many skills needed in our division where you might be able to contribute and expand your role.  

As I mentioned in that previous budget email, we’re expanding professional development opportunities to empower you with the skills you want to build and the skills our university needs. One of those opportunities is the SJSU IT Cross-Pollination Program, created in 2020 to foster collaboration and skill development across different departments within our division. Since then, we’ve had many success stories from colleagues participating in this program. Today, I want to highlight one colleague’s journey. 

Jane Wang’s interest in data science was sparked after engaging in several in-house training sessions. She enrolled in data science classes and dove into related topics and courses. However, she needed hands-on experience to make data science part of her career. With her supervisor’s guidance, support, and encouragement, Jane enrolled in the Cross-Pollination Program. In just a couple of months, she was already actively working and collaborating with the Data Warehouse team. She has now seamlessly transitioned to a full-time role within the Data Warehouse team, fulfilling a crucial need for our campus.

The Cross-Pollination Program remains one of the most effective ways for you to grow your skills with onsite job experience during your regular working hours. While SJSU IT reduced 25 vacant positions for this fiscal year, we remain committed to implementing new solutions and technology in support of our students, faculty, staff and university community. We can’t do this without the support from everyone in IT. We encourage everyone that is interested in learning and doing more to leverage the Cross-Pollination Program. Your professional development not only provides you with tools for your success, but also helps our division meet the university’s IT needs within our constraints.

You can contact Willie Simon for more information about the program and how it works. If you think the Cross-Pollination Program is a good fit for you, talk to your manager and senior manager to get started. 

I want to congratulate Jane Wang on taking her career with us to the next level. Thank you, Kara Li and James Anderson, for supporting Jane’s professional development and our upskilling strategy. I also want to acknowledge Willie Simon for her contributions in coordinating the Cross-Pollination Program.

Of course, you can always come speak with me about the program or about our budget situation during my weekly open office hours, every Thursday from 2pm–4pm. Please feel free to reach out to Lin Ru to schedule a time.  

Lastly, and maybe most importantly, we have to continue to support one another with human kindness and empathy as our division navigates these uncertain times. I know many of you are chipping in, collaborating, and helping colleagues every day – thank you.   


SJSU IT Tips – Updating Operating System and Software Applications


Updating your operating system and applications is a critical practice in maintaining the security and functionality of your computers and devices. Today’s tip is just four words: “Don’t wait to update!” Here are the two main reason why:

  • Security Vulnerability: By fixing vulnerabilities, updates prevent cybercriminals from taking advantage of weaknesses in your software. These vulnerabilities can be exploited by attackers to gain unauthorized access, steal data, or disrupt services. With timely updating, your systems become less susceptible to attacks like ransomware, phishing, and malware infections.
  • Performance and Stability: Updates not only enhance security but also improve performance and stability. They fix bugs, optimize code, and ensure that your software runs smoothly. Outdated software can lead to crashes, slow performance, and unexpected behavior.

If you’re using an SJSU-owned laptop or desktop, it’s likely that most of your updates are being managed automatically while you’re connected to SJSU’s network, but remember to keep an eye out for reminders to reboot your computer so that pending updates can be fully completed. Many of us also use personal devices and computers to do work and access SJSU systems. Keeping those personal devices up-to-date also helps keep university and student data secure.

Thank you to Noel McCormick from our Information Security Team for providing this tip and helping protect our university. As always, the SJSU IT Service Desk is here to help by phone at (408) 924-1530 or online.

Bob Lim
Vice President for Information Technology
and CIO at San Jose State University

GenAI at SJSU: Explore & Experiment

Fellow Spartans,

Recently, I gave a presentation to the University Leadership Council on Generative AI (GenAI). I’d like to share some of the insights from that presentation with you, our community of faculty and staff, to encourage everyone to experiment with GenAI. 

GenAI represents a massive opportunity for our campus and for our students. SJSU IT is partnering with Student Affairs and University Marketing and Communications on a smart search feature for our website to help students get answers to their questions using natural language. We’re also working with Google to pilot their Gemini AI platform at our university. I’ll talk more about those projects in a followup message, but for now, I want to give you a little AI background and share resources to learn more about GenAI to apply to your day-to-day work.

Traditional AI started in the 1950’s, eventually evolving into the predictive AI systems that are the foundation of advanced analytics. GenAI uses a similar concept, predicting desired output, to “create” new content: text, images, and even music. 

In higher education, GenAI has huge potential benefits for almost every department across SJSU. 

  • Virtual TAs can help create exam questions, assist with grading, and identify areas where students need additional support. 
  • Students can have a personalized study partner that adapts to their individual needs and learning styles, tracks academic progress, and translates course content into other languages. 
  • As a virtual office assistant, GenAI can help write PDs, evaluate incoming resumes, generate first drafts of emails, summarize long-form content, give at-a-glance breakdowns of complex spreadsheets, and more. 
  • At SJSU IT, we already use GenAI to assist with 24/7 cybersecurity monitoring. 

How can GenAI help you today? The only way to find out is to try it. 

The GenAI market is evolving rapidly – Dr. Simon Rodan from the Lucas College and Graduate School of Business recently shared with me this article comparing five top GenAI offerings, underscoring how there is no single GenAI option that works best for every use case. Don’t wait for the perfect GenAI solution: explore what’s available now. Test out different options to evaluate how their output varies. Incorporate GenAI into your daily workflow and see how it can help. Here are some resources to get you started:

Lastly, I want to acknowledge that GenAI comes with concerns about ethical use, accuracy, privacy, bias, and compliance. As with most technologies, an intentional approach can help alleviate many concerns. SJSU’s AI Vision Statement provides clear direction on how our university can embrace this new opportunity responsibly and mindfully. 

I’m excited to enter this frontier with you together. 

Best regards,
Bob Lim
Vice President for Information Technology
and CIO at San José State University

SJSU IT Tips – Smart Home Security Tips

Campus colleagues,

Smart home devices like cameras, locks, and thermostats add convenience and automation to our homes. Unfortunately, they can also be a backdoor for attackers. As we have shifted to hybrid work and learning modalities, many of us have incorporated smart devices not only into our personal, but also our professional lives. While many smart devices have access to your accounts, passwords, and network, they often lack the robust security software and safeguards of larger, complex devices like phones and computers. Here are a few quick tips on how to protect yourself and the university by keeping your devices secure:

  • Use a secondary or guest network – Most newer routers have the ability to create a secondary or guest network. The FBI recommends putting all of your smart devices on a different network from your computers, phones, and tablets, which is a great way to keep your data safe. Even if an attacker gains access to the network through a smart device, they’ll be separated from your data. Connect to the guest or secondary network as little as possible, ideally only while configuring your smart home devices.  Likewise, make sure your WiFi networks are secured with complex, unique passwords.
  • Account Security – Many smart devices require you to have an account. Make sure those accounts use complex, unique passwords; avoid default user names; and equip those accounts with Multi-Factor Authentication whenever possible. Once your account is set up, take a few minutes to review all of the available security settings.
  • Firmware Updates – “Firmware” is the software encoded onto your devices. Often, companies will send out firmware updates to their devices if they discover a security flaw. Take a minute to see if your device needs a firmware update. Usually you can find this information on the company’s website, application, or in your account information. Updates are most often done via WiFi.
  • Maintain Privacy Mindfulness – Ensuring that your privacy is protected is a major concern whenever you install a new smart home device. Go through your device’s privacy features, disable extra features you don’t use. If the devices use cloud services, such as remotely viewable cameras, it’s important to know how the company may be using or sharing your data and how they keep that data secure. Factory reset any older devices before reselling or recycling them, and if they use cloud services, ensure the associated account is logged out and deleted from the device.

Thank you Cole Gunter, Information Security Analyst & Program Coordinator,  for providing this tip to campus. As always, the SJSU IT Service Desk is here to help by phone at (408) 924-1530 or online.

Bob Lim
Vice President for Information Technology
and CIO at San José State University

SJSU IT Budget Update: 04/15/24

Dear Colleagues,

At the Budget Town Hall last month, Vice President for Administration and Finance and CFO Charlie Faas shared a presentation which stated that every division needed to make a 6% budget cut for the 2024-2025 fiscal year to balance the university’s structural budget deficit.

Your IT leadership team and I take this situation very seriously. We acknowledge that this is a substantive cut, in addition to cuts every division has made over the past few years. President Teniente-Matson has emphasized that we are not just trying to balance our budget but build a financially sustainable budget model.

Despite these financial difficulties, everyone on the IT team continues to work hard and passionately to support the CSU, the university, our students, and the campus community. I thank you for your dedication to SJSU IT’s customers and your commitment to elevating the SJSU community through technology.

We have accomplished many great things together, and with some adjustments, we can do even more as a team to support this brilliant and innovative institution.  I am looking at this latest round of budget cuts as an exciting opportunity for us as a division.

Let me explain. Over the past few months, your leadership team and I have been examining SJSU IT’s cost structure to tighten our belts and enhance operational efficiency. In the process, we have prioritized a key component — our team.

After obtaining input from your leadership team and consulting with the SJSU IT Peer Consultation Group to ensure staff feedback remains represented in our decision-making process, we made the tough decision to eliminate another 15 vacant staff and MPP positions, a total of 25 positions this fiscal year. This effort will significantly help reduce the university’s budget deficit in FY 24-25, and, at the same time, it will open the door to growth opportunities for our existing employees. We are expanding our professional development initiatives, external training, and cross-pollination programs to help you grow and continue to succeed in SJSU IT. In the next few weeks, we will share the IT skills the university ultimately needs to achieve its strategy and vision, and we will work collaboratively with you to help you leverage or develop those needed skills.

Additionally, we are committed to implementing new technology solutions to improve productivity, communication, and collaboration, which will help students succeed while increasing employee experience.

As we navigate this period of uncertainty and transition to a new operating structure that enables SJSU’s growth and longevity, it is very important that you feel supported and appreciated. Please talk to your manager or me to share your thoughts, ask questions, and offer suggestions. I will continue to communicate with you as we learn more. I am also available during my weekly open office hours (Thursdays from 2–4 p.m.). Please feel free to reach out to Lin ( to schedule a time.

Thank you for your collaborative and constructive comments. I remain gratified by the immense loyalty and dedication of so many in our division. I am confident that we will emerge from this process a stronger and more efficient team.