Published December 11, 2017
While looking to modernize IT structures and services at the University at Buffalo, I’ve found an invaluable resource in our successful and talented pool of alumni.
We formed an alumni advisory group a little over a year ago to consult on challenges in IT higher education, and the results so far have been phenomenal. Among the members are a university CIO, a couple CIOs in healthcare and related organizations, some independent tech professionals, a lawyer and more. It’s an impressive group that puts the talents and savvy of UB alumni on full display.
That these individuals were willing to help out isn’t much of a surprise. First of all, my ask was simple—all we want is a sounding board, people who know IT and are willing to hear our challenges and offer earnest advice about where we’re at and where we’re going.
But what makes this group unlike any other is their affinity for UB. They earned their degrees here, spent time getting to know the people and the culture. And, from an IT perspective, they’re still our customers, as we offer UB alumni many services, like UBmail, for life.
Their stake is personal and, as a result, their contributions are honest and independent without being dispassionate. One of our members just invited our leadership team on a tour of his facilities to learn about connecting a distributed workforce using collaboration technology.
With online and asynchronous learning becoming more common, these are challenges the university is facing as well. Access to unique perspectives from people engaged with these challenges is absolutely critical to our success.
I believe the benefits for our alumni are mutual. This gives them an opportunity to reconnect with their alma matter and meet fellow alumni from different years and academic backgrounds. It’s been a thrill to watch them bond over a shared interest in the university. I think this is just the beginning of their renewed engagement.
Our most recent meeting took place in November 2017 and, as it happened, the Bulls were playing a home game. Naturally we made a day of it—we watched the game together and they met the President, Provost and other university community leaders. UBIT is fortunate to have found this alumni group, and the whole university is richer for their involvement.
J. Brice Bible is the Vice President and Chief Information Officer (VPCIO) for UB. CIT is a service division at UB that provides enterprise technology leadership and guidance.