Consultant Harvey Blustain has delivered his report on the reorganization of IT at the University of Oregon to the provost. As the provost described in a letter to campus on August 26, 2016, the report suggests the best way to improve UO’s IT support and operations is to consolidate the university’s fragmented technology resources into a more centralized model, one that can put in place consistent policies, procedures, and practices to increase efficiency and decrease institutional risk.
While the report's recommendations have not yet been formally adopted, the provost indicated that he, interim CIO Chris Krabiel, and Dean Adriene Lim believe the changes Mr. Blustain recommends offer a promising path forward in terms of utilizing the skill of UO’s many talented IT professionals and leveraging our IT investments to increase effectiveness. This is an opportunity to improve services and increase service levels while providing additional career opportunities for the IT community.
This final version of the report reflects comments received by campus IT staff, primarily the IT Directors Committee, Information Services, and UO Libraries. These groups have provided many constructive comments, clarifications, and insights on the recommendations in the draft report, and have helped shape the process moving forward. Their concerns included the need to maintain high-quality IT support services for faculty and students during and after the transformative changes recommended in the report, as well as the importance of the university's IT staff and the need to retain them and create career development opportunities within the campus IT structure. In order to ensure that we are taking all perspectives into consideration when moving forward, we are asking for public comment on both Blustain’s report and the proposed next steps listed below.
Comments on the report and the planned implementation process may be submitted using this form until 5:00 p.m. on Friday, September 30, 2016.
Mr. Blustain received his B.A. from New York University and his M.Phil. and Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from Yale University. As part of his graduate education, he spent two years in Nepal studying Hindu-Muslim relations in a village in the central hills. He then had a post-doctoral appointment at the Center for International Studies at Cornell University, during which he spent almost three years working on a USAID rural development project in Jamaica. He also served as an assistant professor in anthropology at the University of Kentucky.
When his wife Malinda received an appointment at the Peabody Museum at Harvard University in 1984, Mr. Blustain left academia and moved to Boston, where he spent a decade as a management consultant to companies in the computer and high-tech industries. In 1995, he joined PricewaterhouseCoopers as a Director in the Higher Education Consulting Practice, where he was responsible for business development and delivery in the Northeast region.
After 4 years at PwC, Harvey started his own higher education consulting firm. For the next 13 years he worked with scores of clients on a range of projects related to planning, strategy, and process improvement. Among his public university clients were Connecticut State University, Indiana State University, Iowa State University, Kent State University, Temple University, and the Universities of California (Berkeley), Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, North Texas, and Vermont. He was also a Research Fellow at the EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research (ECAR) and led a year-long study on “IT Engagement in Research.”
After Mr. Blustain retired in 2012, he and Malinda moved to Nepal for two years, where they built a house and served as volunteer English teachers in the same village where he had done research 40 years earlier. When it came time to return to the United States, the thought of resuming life in inner-city Boston was not appealing so Malinda suggested that they move to Eugene. She had never lived in Eugene, but she had deep roots here: two of her great-grandfathers had been professors at UO (Straub Hall and Stafford Hall are named for them); both her parents were UO graduates; her father had been a field associate of Luther Cressman, the godfather of Oregon archaeology; and her parents are interred in the Pioneer Cemetery on campus.
Mr. Blustain had never been to Oregon before, but he liked the idea of Oregon, so they moved here in 2014. Since arriving, he has become the chair of the Eugene-Kathmandu Sister City Association, volunteered at the Museum of Natural and Cultural History, gained a courtesy research appointment at the Center for Asian and Pacific Studies, and served on the selection committee for the university’s new scholarship for a Nepalese student.