UAB IT 100-day letter from Dr. Curt Carver

October 26, 2015

Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased to report to the UAB leadership and community on my first 100 days as your vice president for information technology and chief information officer. This initial phase has been productive, exciting and challenging. As we work together toward the future, I want to take this opportunity to share some of the things I have had the privilege to be a part of and provide some insight into what lies ahead.

Listening intently

In my first 100 days, I have tried to learn as much as I can about UAB by listening to you and our customers. The crowdsourcing site SPARK is thriving, with 82 ideas and 500 comments submitted, and more than 2,500 votes cast.

More than 800 meetings in the first 100 days created additional opportunities to listen intently and try to understand the UAB environment. Three town hall meetings have proven invaluable to understanding the depth and complexity of our operations. My interactions with the staff have confirmed that we have superb employees dedicated to providing outstanding services to our customers.

I’ve challenged UAB IT to be an agent of innovation and change. You’ve challenged IT with suggestions as to how we can improve our operations. The community and its leaders have been eager to assist as we have addressed difficult issues and made a difference at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. We still have so much to innovate during a time of great change, but I am confident that our people — our greatest strength — are up to the challenge.

In addition to listening internally, I have reached out to the technology community of Birmingham. I have shared our vision of a thriving technology ecosystem between UAB and the Birmingham and greater Alabama area in which we can educate and inspire the next generation of leaders for our community, our state and our nation.

We need an ecosystem where we attract and retain IT talent by intentionally partnering to build deep and enduring relationships among the different constituent groups in the Birmingham area. I have given presentations at InfraGard, TechBirmingham, TechJunction, and Innovation Depot, and I have joined the advisory boards of TechBridge and TechJunction to promote this vision. I have met with the technology leaders of the State of Alabama, the University of Alabama, the University of Alabama at Huntsville, Auburn University, Maxwell Air Force Base, and the private sector to seek opportunities for the benefit of our communities and our state. These engagements have provided additional insight into areas of mutual interest and the demonstrated impact we are having across Alabama and beyond.

One of the important aspects of my role as vice president is to share our story with numerous groups and individuals to communicate the many ways UAB enriches the lives or our various constituencies and to strengthen strategic partnerships, while at the same time listening to their valuable feedback.

Acting intentionally

While we have been listening intently, we have been acting intentionally during these first 100 days, and we have accomplished much. The introduction of two-factor authentication, stronger passwords with a one-year renewal, deployment of a much stronger identity management system, and a community of practice around asset management and patch management have significantly strengthened our security posture.

We have quadrupled the processing power of our research computing infrastructure; won a National Science Foundation grant to build a separate research network and associated science “demilitarized zone” that will run 10 times faster than the current network; and won an Alabama Innovation Fund grant for three petabytes of high-speed research storage.

We are introducing unlimited storage for faculty and staff through both Office 365 and Box so that they can focus on changing the world — not how to manage their storage of data. We have doubled the size of the UAB Dropbox for everyone, worked to accelerate contract review, deployed a digital signage solution, strengthened our support for the Campaign for UAB, and increased our engagement with distributed IT professionals to help design our new financial and service systems.

Behind the scenes, we have enhanced the UAB network through equipment upgrades and core network redundancy. I have undoubtedly missed several accomplishments, and for that I apologize. I am very proud of what we have accomplished, and I look forward to the exciting tasks we have at hand.

Moving at the speed of trust
In the short term, we have a number of planned enhancements that will continue to transform student success, research and education at UAB. Our university has world-class staff, faculty and researchers, and they deserve world-class IT. Our goal is to enhance the productivity of staff, faculty and researchers in more than 100 ways during the first year of my tenure. Unlimited email is coming soon. There is excitement in the air as we work together to explore the projects we can implement during this first year to make your lives better. By partnering with our customers to build solutions, we can be greater than the sum of our parts.

Eileen and I would like to thank the entire UAB community for your warm welcome and the many ways you have helped us to get to know you, your work, and this fine educational institution and community. It is an honor and a humbling experience for me to serve UAB as the vice president for information technology and chief information officer, and I am looking forward to working with all of you in the months and years to come.

Curtis A. Carver Jr., Ph.D.
Vice President and Chief Information Officer

ideas in SPARK
meetings in three months
"UAB IT partnered with the Faculty Senate to enable us to crowdsource ideas from faculty about what they would like us to focus on in the coming year. Their responsiveness and 'can do' approach to addressing the needs of faculty has been a breath of fresh air."
Dr. Alecia K. Gross, chairwoman of the UAB Faculty Senate, on a SPARK campaign created by UAB IT
in grants and institutional pledges for research computing
"This has been a monumental change to our operations, which has allowed us to provide superior donor relations and transparency."
Randy Kinder, director of Annual Giving, on a telephone technology tweak that helped boost donations to the Campaign for UAB
Last modified on November 01, 2015