Published May 12, 2020
While Governor Cuomo announced that UB and other SUNY schools would begin mandatory distance learning in order to stop the spread of the coronavirus, UBIT staff were already hard at work preparing to support students, faculty and staff for that eventuality.
When I last posted here a few weeks ago—though it seems like much longer—I praised UB’s faculty, staff and leadership for their proactiveness in the face of a growing crisis. That included our IT staff, who were preparing their own likely transition to remote work while, at the same time, working harder than ever to provide resources and information for others on campus doing the same.
What they’ve managed to do since that time is nothing short of remarkable: they’ve turned UB’s IT infrastructure inside out.
They’ve been building UB’s digital evolution for years, which means that today our infrastructure is always on and our community is empowered to collaborate anywhere. But our physical campus has always been the strategic hub, and our systems were configured first and foremost to support the people who work and learn there.
As the UB community made a dramatic pivot, our team did the same. Within a couple weeks we were providing new services like Zoom to support the transition, developing best practices for staying secure while working remotely, making it possible to access on-campus resources like public computers remotely and more.
Our IT staff worked tirelessly. Behind the scenes, they were making necessary changes to our back-end systems without disrupting service. They also worked with our faculty, staff and students to educate them about available resources, many of them brand new.
This quality and quantity of work simply could not be done without a team of passionate people willing to go the extra mile. It speaks to the level of trust our IT staff places in the faculty and staff who give so much to provide a quality education to our students, no matter the circumstances.
I’ve never seen a team hungry, the way this team has been, to identify and resolve all obstacles standing in the way of the people they support. This team has been remarkably individual-focused, unafraid to invest in solving problems even if they affect just one person’s experience.
That’s not just passion—it’s compassion.
No timely response in the face of a crisis of this magnitude could ever be perfect. While we don’t know what the future holds, I know that this team has demonstrated their true values in their agility and passion for their work—and compassion for the people they support—and that has seemingly made the impossible possible.
Before the crisis, I thought our team was world-class. Now, I think they might be the best in the world, period. I want to extend my heartful gratitude to them, and I hope you’ll do the same.
J. Brice Bible is the Vice President and Chief Information Officer (VPCIO) for UB. UBIT is a service division at UB that provides enterprise technology leadership and guidance.