IT Planning and Financial Challenges - University of Houston
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IT Planning and Financial Challenges

During the first two years covered by these IT Strategic Priorities, higher education endured its greatest disruption in decades: the coronavirus and COVID-19.

Colleges and universities were forced to change the delivery model for learning in just days. Many operational processes were also affected. Abruptly, network operations, learning management systems, Teams, Zoom and personal computers became indispensable for all students and faculty. Thanks to years of careful, strategic IT planning, our infrastructure had been designed and maintained to be flexible, adaptable and scalable, and the University of Houston was better prepared than most of our peers. Our annual desktop emergency response exercise routinely includes a pandemic scenario. We had the resilience and tenacity to meet the crisis head-on.

Thanks to years of careful, strategic IT planning, our infrastructure had been designed and maintained to be flexible, adaptable and scalable, and the University of Houston was better prepared than most of our peers.

Strategy alone is insufficient to weather a crisis of this magnitude. Financial resources are also essential. Thanks to 12% additional funding over the last two years, we had the necessary support of the University to take quick, transformative action to enable fully remote education while maintaining a service level similar to that of our aspirational peer group, which includes Texas’ largest public universities. When educational operations returned to campus, we were able to provide the technology needed to offer students the option to attend classes either fully online, face-to-face or online in a HyFlex model. The UH Go mobile app became indispensable for keeping faculty, staff and students connected and informed during both transitions.

However, the enhancements brought by this one-time funding boost must have ongoing financial support to be sustainable, which they must if we are to achieve our goal to be a Top 50 Public University.

Peer Benchmarks: Percentage of IT Budget Spent

Source: Core Data Survey 2018 and 2020, Educause
  2018 2020 2018 2020 2018 2020
UH 90% 87% 5% 9% 5% 4%
TAMU 77% 78% 11% 12% 12% 10%
UT-DALLAS 85% 92% 13% 7% 2% 1%