A message about technology and its future at Wake Forest

A message from:
School of Business Vice Dean of Programs Gordon McCray
Former CIO, Information Systems and Professor of Physics Rick Matthews, and
Vice Provost and Dean of Z. Smith Reynolds Library Lynn Sutton

Dear Wake Forest Faculty, Staff and Students,

In May 2014, a committee of Wake Foresters representing various areas of the University completed a review of the technological landscape in higher education and began the important challenge of exploring what the future of collaborative work might look like in the next five years.

After site visits, interviews and research, the committee produced “Vision 2020: Charting A Course for Academic Computing at Wake Forest,” a white paper that envisions how technology changes already underway can support teaching and learning at Wake Forest.

From an environmental scan to recommendations regarding teaching and learning, the 27-page report offers informative and insightful details on IT-based technology and higher education. We would like to showcase several important points from the paper as people begin to delve more deeply into Vision 2020.

Vision 2020 captures the changes in teaching and learning already underway across campus. Our students, faculty and staff are exploring and imagining creative ways to use IT-based tools to improve learning, productivity and collaboration. They enjoy the freedom that a variety of devices, software and Web-based solutions can bring to the educational experience. In interviews, the Wake Forest community made it clear that technology choices should be driven by addressing individual goals and missions, rather than applying blanket solutions to solve problems that differ among departments and disciplines.

Personal computing is becoming increasingly personal. To continue to build a premier and innovative learning environment, students, faculty and staff are asking for choice in IT hardware, while expecting the University to provide the software solutions that best support the work at hand. Discussions are underway as to how and when this change can be facilitated. With cross-platform and cloud-based technologies, we can empower the Wake Forest community to engage with each other wherever they are and with whatever device they have on hand.

Technology choices must effectively aid teaching and learning. Faculty must lead us to the best technologies that enhance the University’s academic mission — those that will support, never detract from, the personal relationships between faculty, students and staff that are the hallmark of a Wake Forest education.

Vision 2020 anticipates the entire community will help lead Wake Forest into this exciting new future. Community support and input is our best opportunity to turn this vision into a reality.

As with any new endeavor, we expect the community will have questions and feedback. Two forums will be held for open discussion — the first on Tuesday, Oct. 14 at noon in the Z. Smith Reynolds Library Auditorium and the second on Wednesday, Oct. 22 at 3 p.m. in DeTamble Auditorium.

We look forward to sharing more about the future of technology in higher education and at Wake Forest.

This campus message and the report are available on the Provost’s Vision 2020 website.