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UCISA responding to the economic climate

November 11, 2011

UCISA’s mission is to support the use of IT in its member institutions. This is of particular benefit in the current economic climate when pressures on resources will be greater.

Funds

We identify funding opportunities for members. For example, every Friday UCISA compiles a bulletin of JISC news from various sources. Each institution has up to five named UCISA representatives who receive this email, which includes funding calls and grant news. UCISA also publicises ad hoc funding news.

UCISA Awards are primarily intended to promote best practice, but winning a national award also enables a department to champion their achievements in their own institution. This year Canterbury Christ Church University won the UCISA Award for Excellence for their innovative iBorrow project, and in doing so won a £5,000 prize for the University.

Similarly, the Staff Development Group’s Best Practice Award submissions provide a useful resource for the HEIT community. The theme this year is Doing more with less, and the first prize is a presentation slot and a free place at the User Support Conference.

Guidance

Attendance at UCISA events enables IT staff to learn from the experience of others in the HE IT community and the programme delivered this year has addressed the funding crisis directly through events such as Help reduce your infrastructure costs and the User Support Conference, which has Delivering excellent services in hard times as its theme.

Additionally, the UCISA Executive Committee has approved an early bird rate for the UCISA2011 Annual Management Conference, which means delegates that book early will be able to attend at the same rate as in 2009.

The JISC Identity Management Toolkit is a free resource which helps institutions to improve their business processes. It was developed with input from UCISA.

UCISA also has commissioned a report which outlines a set of IT failure scenarios. This will enable IT managers to put a price on downtime and demonstrate why further resources are necessary.

Representation

UCISA’s promotion of IT in the HE sector includes: submission of formal responses to Government consultations, such as the Digital Economy Bill; working with the Leadership Foundation to ensure that the IT function is woven into their training; and advising Universities UK (who represent Vice-Chancellors), about IT issues.

Lastly, it is perhaps the outputs from UCISA Groups that provide the best example of efficiencies that can be achieved for HEIT departments. Please view http://www.ucisa.ac.uk/groups.aspx for recent successes.

(written for May 2010 UCISA Update newletter)

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