State of IT 2020 – Welcome

Thank you for visiting the University of Maine System 2020 State of IT Report.  The past year was focused on addressing the challenges of providing tools and services to the community to facilitate teaching, learning and work in the age of a global pandemic.  Recognizing the critical needs of students, faculty and staff and the heavy reliance on technology, the entire US:IT team has prioritized the deployment of accessible, reliable tools, including a new Learning Management System (Brightspace) and investment in classroom spaces across the University system to enhance video conferencing capabilities.

Earlier this year, as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in the U.S., the University shifted to a remote teaching, learning, and work environment.  A number of new tools and services were quickly launched to support this shift and to maintain continuity of instruction and business operation.  These services and tools are outlined in the ‘Spring 2020 Shift to Remote Teaching & Learning’ section of this report.

Through the completion of the Spring term, the utility of Zoom-based video conferencing as a preferred instructional modality was readily apparent. Understanding this demand, University Leadership advocated for a $2.56m investment to enhance video conferencing capabilities in a number of classrooms across the state.  This investment was approved by the Board of Trustees and work commenced over the summer.  This effort, along with a number of other critical technology initiatives, was a core component of the Fall 2020 Safe Return to Campus plan described in more detail in this report.

Other key project highlights from 2020 covered in this annual report include:

Despite the significant challenges encountered over the past year, the entire US:IT team remained focused on our core vision: to empower the University community with reliable and innovative technological solutions.  As we look forward to 2021 and beyond, this will remain our top priority.  The path to success will continue to be built upon a strong working partnership with our University colleagues, and together, we know we will be able to overcome challenges both known and unforeseen.

David M. Demers, Ph.D.
Chief Information Officer