Marywood’s IT Department gets rebooted

Marywood+and+Dynamic+Campus+began+their+partnership+in+May.

Photo credit/ Elizabeth Berwind

Marywood and Dynamic Campus began their partnership in May.

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Marywood University’s Information Technology (IT) department took on a big challenge, by implementing and maintaining the HyBridge model of learning to help keep students, faculty and staff safe in the virtual world. About six months ago, Marywood followed that implementation by significantly altering its IT structure , entering into a partnership with Dynamic Campus, an information technology corporation that specializes in higher education.

According to its website, Dynamic Campus was founded in 2002 and works with smaller, private institutions for a variety of technological needs. Wendy Yankelitis, vice president of operations for the maintenance department, oversaw the transition with Dynamic Campus.

“We were looking at how we were going to meet the needs of the students from an infrastructure perspective as well as from a programming perspective, even prior to COVID,” said Yankelitis.

Another reason for the partnership was Dynamic Campus’ shared services, which includes a large group of subject matter experts. This way, Yankelitis explained, Marywood can now utilize knowledge from the 11 other universities that Dynamic Campus works with, as well as experts on subjects like cybersecurity. According to Yankelitis, Marywood’s IT department did not previously have internal expertise on such matters.

Yankelitis also explained that the IT department staff had at least a week to decide whether to stay on or to leave. Several notable names have since left the IT department, including Katherine Fisne, the former associate director of Education Technology. Attempts to reach Fisne for comment were unsuccessful.

“I actually think it would not be fair for me to say I know or [am] privy to why an individual would make a change,” said Yankelitis.

Dr. David Hunter is Marywood’s interim Chief Information Officer, and serves as the Executive Director of Transition Services for Dynamic Campus. One long term project to be taken on during Hunter’s tenure is the installation of an IT governance on campus.

Under IT governance, two committees will be formed to focus on technological needs on campus. One will be focused on academic technology and student needs from a learning and resource perspective, and the other will be centered on enterprise technology or the entirety of the campus’ needs.

“Grievances or suggestions would come up through student government and that representative would have access to governance meetings,” said Hunter.

Hunter also has three main goals for the partnership between Dynamic Campus and Marywood, which he refers to as “insourcing.” His first goal is to provide the IT department with the skills and training they need to implement the best practices on campus. Second, he seeks to ensure Marywood’s IT resources are completely secure, which includes protecting students, staff and alumni virtually. Finally, Hunter wants to get the most value for money spent on IT, achieving this through moves such as removing duplicate technologies.

The top priority for both Dynamic Campus and Marywood University is the student experience. Despite being a small campus, students expect top tier IT services. That is where Hunter comes in.

“The overarching aspect that drives me and our strategy is the student experience,” said Hunter.

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