I hope this message finds you and your family all safe and healthy! I never could have imagined the challenges and changes of the last two months. As I take a moment to reflect, I am astounded by all we have accomplished. I am also extremely proud of you and your dedication to SJSU and SJSU IT. It is my pleasure to be part of such an incredible division.
So, what exactly did we accomplish? Within four short days of President Papazian announcing the shift to online modality, we transitioned an institution of almost 40,000 individuals from a traditional campus-centric university to a completely mobile campus, where approximately 36,000 students are learning remotely, 2100 faculty are teaching remotely, and 1500 staff are working remotely! This is truly amazing.
Thinking back to the first week of shelter in place, I remember a conversation that I had with an SJSU IT employee. We were working on the campus’s transition to the remote work environment, and he said, “You know, three years ago we would not have been in a situation to be able to do this.” And he was right!
In 2017 our President, Mary Papazian, elevated SJSU IT to a division level and shared her vision that technology would play a critical role in the digital transformation of SJSU. She and her cabinet invested in emerging technologies and dramatically increased technology funding. With Mary’s direction and support, we also established strong industry partnerships with technology leaders like IBM and LinkedIn. Our campus’ digital transformation – over the last three years – has provided the building blocks for a solid IT foundation, one that is scalable and modern.
We upgraded our networks and VPN, creating a more mobile and secure campus with higher bandwidth; transitioned from desktops to laptops, so people could work where they need to work; added analytics capabilities to evaluate our service quality and build our online support model; and changed our service model to maximize support for students, faculty, staff, and researchers.
We also shifted key communication and collaboration platforms:
WebEx to Zoom for cutting-edge video conferencing
Jabber (chat capability) to a much more user-friendly Google Hangout Chat
Announce to Marketo for prompt emails and an enterprise solution with analytics capabilities
What this all means is we had the right infrastructure in place to transition to a mobile campus, right when we needed it.
When called to help, everyone in our division mobilized and swiftly worked together to support our transition to online teaching and telecommuting. Your dedication, flexibility, and professionalism were unprecedented as you planned, shifted hours and responsibilities, and reprioritized work to meet new demands. Specifically, with very limited human resource capital, we formed a rapid response team, created a rapid response triage model, and extended coverage. Back-end engineers now respond to emergency tickets within five minutes from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Front-end engineer customer service staff have a target closure time of 10 minutes for teaching-related issues. And this is the shortlist of the many critical steps you took to ensure our success!
Did I mention, all of this great work has been accomplished while transitioning yourselves to remote workspaces and taking care of your own families? Thank you for all you have done, and all you continue to do!
We may face more challenges in the next few weeks and months as we manage the issues surrounding COVID-19, but remember, we are a resourceful and resilient community. Together, we will come out stronger on the other side.
Tomorrow, Tuesday, March 31, is an SJSU holiday. Please take this opportunity to relax and spend some quality time with those you care about. Each of you deserves some downtime – please rest, stay healthy, and be safe!