In its strategic plan, Pivoting to a New Level of Excellence, Lenoir-Rhyne University makes a point of providing students with an exceptional experience and tremendous academic advantages, in part, through cutting edge technological opportunities.
That has become even more relevant in the current climate with an increased need to provide transformative academic instruction through multiple delivery modalities.
The responsibility for implementing that infrastructure has fallen upon Chèrie Whipple and Greg Jackson who've joined LR as the new chief information officer and technical director, respectively.
"I'm thrilled to be here," Whipple said. "We see a lot of opportunity. I hope we can provide a vision to digitally transform LR."
Whipple and Jackson join LR from the University of Tennessee Chattanooga (UTC). While at UTC, Whipple was the associate CIO and project manager for several enterprise software initiatives, including a website overhaul and software purchasing process. Jackson oversaw major infrastructure upgrades, including a new VOIP phone system.
They have close to 50 combined years of experience leading technology efforts in higher education.
"I'm very excited about it," Jackson said. "Chèrie and I have had conversations with President Whitt, and he's been very supportive of moving forward from a technology perspective. Having the support of the president is one of the key drivers of success. I certainly feel that we're going to do all we can to be good stewards of the university. We want to make sure the technology here at LR is second to none. There's great potential here, and we want to make sure students have a great experience."
They've already begun working on improving LR's bandwidth capabilities, as well as integration of a hybrid cloud environment and conversion to Microsoft 365. Whipple said they're also working to enhance the central help desk for submitting requests.
"Things get lost when you just email a problem to an individual," she said. "When you go through a central help desk, it helps the LR IT team tremendously. Often, the central help desk staff can help right away, where someone may not see an email. I want to let the campus community know that using the help desk really is our best way to address their needs quickly and efficiently."
Every decision IT leadership makes is made with the goal of improving the user experience for students, faculty, staff and visitors.
"We're going to overcommunicate what's going on," Jackson said. "I've been involved in higher ed since 2001, so I'm very aware of the academic schedule, and we're going to make sure we don't do anything that will disrupt the operations of campus. That's one of the underlying principals I live by."
To contact the help desk, call 828.328.7350 or email OIT.HelpDesk@lr.edu.