OIT Strategic Plan

OIT’s ’22-’25 Strategic Plan Status Update

Preview of page 4 of the 2022 OIT Progress Report discussing the OIT Strategic Plan.2022 brought forth OIT’s new Strategic Plan for serving the SMU community through 2025 and beyond. This comprehensive plan provides a framework of goals and aspirations that will lead us toward future success and innovation in SMU’s journey to R1 status. We would like to update you on the progress already made in our primary areas of planning: Research, Teaching and Learning, Excellence, and Innovation.


Continuing our work developing and providing access to advanced computing resources and services, OIT has worked closely with researchers from all disciplines to create new knowledge and help society. ManeFrame III logoWork continues on our upgrade to the ManeFrame II (M2) high-performance computing (HPC) cluster to make ManeFrame III (M3). It will provide a significant improvement not only to SMU’s computational power but to the overall computing power of institutions and companies in the entire north Texas region.

With the incoming M3 cluster and our new NVIDIA DGX SuperPod, neither system is useful without people to harness their power. Our research teams are actively developing relationships with researchers and producing promotional and informational materials and training sessions about SMU’s High-Performance and Artificial Intelligence computing capabilities to engage the community.

In addition to the progress already made, we are also looking ahead to manage the adoption of emerging technologies, like the AI chatbot ChatGPT, to ensure our capabilities of handling any data set, large or small.

Teaching & Learning

The teaching landscape is constantly changing, and OIT must continuously adapt to it. With face-to-face, hybrid, and fully-online modes of instruction all being used in the post-pandemic world; technology standardization, ease of use, and accessibility for our faculty and students are paramount to continue delivery of SMU’s high standards of learning.

Advanced Flexible Technology Classroom

Equipment installed over the last few years to accommodate hybrid and online modalities has greatly improved the classroom experience. Work continues further standardizing these systems within our other standard room control system to provide more automation for simple usage. We expect much of this work to be completed over the Summer 2023 classroom refresh period. One major benefit of our standardization program is the use of a central monitoring server that allows classroom support staff to see and resolve technical issues before they become a problem during valuable teaching time.

Our Academic Technology teams have also been working tirelessly towards supporting faculty and the technology they use on a daily basis. Multiple workshop programs have been delivered on Canvas, classroom systems, research and HPC, the new Simple Syllabus system, Python and C++ programming, and more.


From frontline support to day-to-day system and service maintenance, operational excellence is an essential part of our success. One area of our portfolio that requires extra vigilance is information security. Staying ahead of cybercriminals is in itself a full-time job, and many initiatives have been put in place to create a culture of “Zero Trust” to protect SMU’s data. Zero Trust simply means to prevent security breaches by removing as many trust relationships between SMU systems as possible, reducing the chance that one of those relationships can be exploited.

Our work towards Zero Trust has included reducing or eliminating excessive administrative permissions and authorizations, and establishing an Enterprise Architecture Board to improve communications and team unity when making critical security and infrastructure decisions.

my.SMU New DashboardThe student experience received a major makeover recently with the new Student Dashboard, which provides a streamlined, mobile-friendly interface with my.SMU! This also included Degree Planner, further improving the student’s ability to chart their course to graduation. For faculty, Simple Syllabus has greatly reduced the administrative burden of creating and uploading syllabi.

On the administrative side, several initiatives are underway to improve the my.SMU PeopleSoft experience. New time and labor interfaces have been introduced, along with new grant modules and a new project to redesign the Student Financials module. Campus technology equipment inventory has also undergone a transformation by being integrated into STABLE, allowing for more accurate data and robust reporting.


With our long-standing tradition of data-driven decision-making, several projects are currently underway to advance the culture of innovation in OIT. To help this advancement, communities of practice have also been established to improve communication, process improvement, and foster a welcoming and collaborative environment for continuous progress.

To guarantee a steady and accurate stream of data, “data lakes” have been established for STABLE and Canvas, which have enabled us to take the massive amounts of data contained in these systems and translate them into human-readable and actionable visualizations and dashboards using Tableau, PowerBI, and PeopleSoft. These lakes have already empowered us to make improvements for decision-making not just in OIT, but for all areas of campus.

As mentioned earlier, security systems and procedures must remain at the forefront of technology developments to stay ahead of digital and physical malicious threats. Recent projects toward this aim include consolidation of identity management with physical building access, automation of threat detection and prevention, and centralized vulnerability detection services.

Our work also melds seamlessly into the greater university’s goals of the SMU Ignited campaign and SMU’s marketing initiatives. In conjunction with Development and External Affairs, OIT has begun the process of applying web templates to smu.edu that adhere to our new, dynamic brand identity that transforms the appearance and energy of SMU’s web presence. This project also includes better usage of Google search functionality for SMU physical map locations as well as other important information visitors search for. We have also taken the opportunity to clean up and remove redundant or outdated web pages on smu.edu, saving resources and simplifying navigation.

As you can see, progress is the prevailing word at OIT! With these recent developments and working with you on our next chapters, we hope to continue to be your trusted partner for technology support and consultation now and far into the future.


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Published by

Rachel Mulry and Zach Peterson

Associate CIO for Planning and Customer Service Office of Information Technology