Table of Contents

4. Innovation in Information Technology at HMC

Monday, January 4th, 2010 by Joseph Vaughan

Comment Icon0 HMC’s strategic vision principles aspire to “unsurpassed excellence…at every level”. This requires innovation and continuous improvement at every level. What counts as innovation may vary from context to context so it is important not to conceive of it too narrowly. What is unremarkable in one context can be quite innovative in another. For example:

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  • A staff member begins using an electronic calendar to coordinate meetings where before numerous emails were required.
  • A computer scientist begins to use a wiki to encourage students to collaborate to write lecture notes1.
  • An art historian transitions to using digital images instead of slides in her classes.
  • A student develops and patents a piece of cryptology software.
  • A team of students writes software for an online voting system for student elections.

Comment Icon0 As is clear from these examples, one can innovate using information technology and one can develop innovative information technology. Harvey Mudd College should do both.

Comment Icon0 Innovation can thrive when the institution enjoys good IT governance, good infrastructure and an agile and proactive central IT organization. When the central IT organization is providing a solid infrastructure and efficient services, IT resources can be freed up to support innovation. We also need understanding that innovation requires experimentation, scouts who are paying attention to the broader IT landscape and time…for faculty, students and staff.

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  2. Develop policies, programs and practices that foster and stimulate IT innovation throughout the college.
  3. Recognize and reward innovation when and where ever it occurs.
  4. Promote a culture of experimentation.
  5. Engage with and contribute to the broader higher education IT community.

Comment Icon0 1This example was provided by Professor Melissa O’ Neill.

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