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A Vision for Academic Technology at CUNY

Note:  As CUNY is in the process of creating a 3-year master plan for the university, what follows is a modest proposal concerning the technology component of that plan, specifically, a vision for academic technology at CUNY.  In my view, a compelling vision is a critical first step toward formulating a strategic plan, and hence, this contribution.

CUNY has a vision for academic technology.

It is a vision that teaches our students both information and technology literacy skills needed to make them productive in the 21st century.

It is a vision that recognizes the integral role that technology can play in enhancing teaching and learning at this institution to better engage, motivate and guide students in their learning process.

It is a vision that uses technology to foster the greater “community of learners” via such community-building tools as the CUNY Academic Commons.

It is a vision that recognizes, encourages and rewards faculty piloting various technologies in their classes and employs new methods of digital publication for the purposes of tenure and promotion.

It is a vision that recognizes both hybrid and online courses are fully consistent with CUNY’s mission of access to quality education for all our students and is fully accepted as a pedagogical mode equal to that of traditional instruction.

It is a vision that fully understands the idea of online programs as a strategic asset to this university, one that needs to be fostered, managed and properly resourced to become actualized.

It is a vision that at its heart understands that openness to change, openness to new tools, and openness of institutional structures and processes are essential elements in realizing technology’s potential at this or any institution.

It is a vision that incorporates the best aspects of Senge’s “Learning Organization” while using strategic planning tools like Kaplan-Norton’s Balanced Scorecard to implement that vision.

It is a vision that understands there are well over 40 different categories of instructional technologies (represented by hundreds of vendors) and commits the University to actively research, test, pilot and fund innovative technologies for teaching, learning and research (e.g. Skunkworks).

It is a vision that recognizes there are opportunities, challenges and threats in the higher educational realm, and consequently actively seeks strategic partnerships and collaborations concerning technology that may significantly advance CUNY’s mission.

And lastly, it is a vision born of countless hours of work by CUNY faculty, administrators and staff working for the good of the University and sustained by their belief in the efficacy of these tools for teaching, learning and research.

Followup Note: This vision statement was included in the draft by the CAT committee to CUNY in regards to the section on academic technology.  While the rest of that plan made it into the final draft of the CUNY Strategic Plan, this vision statement was deleted from that submission.

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