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VC Lutz Addresses USAC

Posted by on Wednesday, May 29, 2019 in Archive, News.

John Lutz, Vice Chancellor for Information Technology, came to Vanderbilt in 2013 when the IT department was divided into several different groups. Since then, he has set about bringing them together in a way that makes the department more efficient and more responsive to students, faculty and staff.

Reorganizing Infrastructure

Lutz began his presentation by discussing the challenges his department faced during the split with VUMC and how systems that had intergrown over the years had to be unwound and separated. According to Lutz, one of the key strategic decisions during the split was to transfer ownership of several systems to VUMC. Even though that took away many systems that people had grown used to, it also gave the university a clean slate to launch new, and more robust, systems such as SkyVU.

Focus on Customer Service

Lutz also demonstrated that he has worked hard to break down the stereotypes associated with IT service and focus on an approach that treats the university community as customers, with an emphasis on equal regard and mutual respect. He has encouraged his employees to be good representatives of VUIT and “add value” by taking the time to understand and identify problems so that they can be solved at the root. Lutz also spoke about “service recovery” and the importance of communication when incidents affect large portions of the university community. Lutz pointed out that some incidents are unavoidable but that “people notice how you handle things when they’re not perfect” and appreciate transparency.

Focus on Professional Development and Career Advancement

During his presentation, Lutz alluded to a time when VUIT employees did not move around very much and could get stuck in a position due to the lack of a defined career path or the lack of specific skills. Recognizing that many employees have the capacity to learn new skills and that those skills can help them move forward and into new positions is important to Lutz. As a result, VUIT now runs internal education programs for its employees.

VC Lutz went on to address other topics such as diversity and inclusion at VUIT, governance and digital security. His full presentation can be viewed on the USAC website using your VUNet ID.

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