VISION FOR INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
Information technology increasingly affects every aspect of the work of the College, and the vocations of each of us who live, work and study here. We are, therefore, proposing a vision of the role of information technology in the mission of Holy Cross in response to that invitation to dialogue and shared responsibility:
Information technology has played an important role at Holy Cross for decades, but that role is changing rapidly. Traditional computations, such as calculating time clock punches or balancing department budgets, are still critical daily routines. People utilizing technology are also increasingly expected to organize, mobilize, and secure information in new ways; from a student's ability to access his or her records to the libraries' capacity to retrieve electronic books remotely. These familiar applications of information technology essentially automate or improve the efficiency of conventional activities.
Increased Access to Information
The explosive growth of interconnected networks on a global scale gives new prominence to sharing, retrieving and security of information worldwide. Our interactions with others are less restricted by separation in time and space. At Holy Cross and elsewhere, the environments where we create, store and organize information have become increasingly dynamic, making data instantaneously available.
In this setting, we need to evaluate our relations to every community involved with Holy Cross: faculty, staff, students, prospective students, alumni, communities in Worcester, the Society of Jesus, and many other local, national and worldwide communities.
Data Protection and Security
Networking improves the accessibility to remote sources of information, while also presenting some challenges. Information technology must bridge varied resources, such as mobile devices, while maintaining security. The College needs to take appropriate steps to secure and protect electronic data that often contains personal and sensitive information.
The College must also adhere to laws and regulations governing the retention and destruction of records. We need to stay informed about and be compliant with all applicable laws for data security. Information technology leads the way in setting high standards for data protection and educating the College community.
Impact of Technology
As technology changes the context and process of learning, the activities we ordinarily allot to classroom, library, laboratory, theater and residence hall are transformed. Information technology is an integral part of our planning and policy making at Holy Cross.
Equally important, we need to ask how do changes in information technology influence our conversation about the moral dimension of learning and teaching, the quest for human meaning and the demands of justice. Information technology is making things different. At Holy Cross, as elsewhere, the nature of that difference and its impact on the human family remain our responsibility.
Reconsidering the Mission Statement's Questions
The four basic questions of the College's Mission Statement are each affected by information technology:
• What is the moral character of learning and teaching?
• How do we find meaning in life and history?
• What are our obligations to one another?
• What is our special responsibility to the world's poor and powerless?
Challenges of This Vision
The College has demonstrated a high level of commitment to Information Technology Services; to apply information positively and effectively in response to basic questions of the mission statement requires continued dedication throughout the College. Technology costs will not be the greatest part, nor will they, apart from isolated cases, be offset by cost-savings. The real expense in our vision of information technology at Holy Cross is the investment in human resources that will be required as we rethink familiar habits and develop new skills. The benefits will not be measured primarily in new efficiency, but in new ways to fulfill our mission: to attract the students we want; to keep faculty and staff constantly reinvigorated and learning; to keep alumni and other friends of the College more closely involved; and to open up new possibilities for services to others.