Going National

As campuses struggle to be disaster-prepared, CT gets behind a nationwide effort.

Being the author of a “Seen & Heard” column has placed me in an interesting position: People call or e-mail every week to tell me what they’ve seen or heard. (Isn’t it neat the way that works?) Unfortunately, I’ve taken to mentally editing those contributions on the fly as they come in, so that I don’t find myself inundated by the time I have to sit down and knock out this column. As my callers speak, I’m thinking, “Naw, sounds light; not strong enough for a column,” or “Hmmm… sounds like something for a feature…” Then I politely route the caller to the appropriate editor or writer, congratulating myself on preserving information while not gumming up the works—or my own little brain, for that matter. I do the same thing for the e-mailers. Click! One suggestion g'es off to an editor…Click! Another heads over to a feature writer. Click! Click! I’m a routing automaton as I send ideas off to the far corners of the office or the country.

But sometimes, in the midst of all this call-forwarding and mouse-clicking, certain information sticks to me like flypaper to the sole of a sh'e. That’s what happened when I received a heads-up from a caller, telling me that he had heard Case Western Reserve University CIO Lev Gonick waxing dubious about higher ed’s ability to effectively tackle the challenge of disaster planning and business continuity in an age where the need is proving to be critical.

In fact, in Gonick’s Dec. 27, 2005 Bytes from Lev blog, he places this challenge at the top of his “Top 10 Technology Stories of 2005”—those that “will likely have enduring impact on the university campus beyond the current hype.” Moreover, Gonick says, “For the first time ever, data security, disaster planning, business continuity and recovery are now near or at the top of every university campus’ top priority list…. This one is not going away.” The problem, he says, is that colleges and universities are either attempting to meet the challenge on their own, or are playing “You store my hot data and I’ll do the same for you,” via limited agreements with other campuses. Yet what’s really needed, he asserts, is a nationwide university-based strategy for disaster recovery—an idea I see as far-reaching and visionary, yet one that d'es not include the luxury of leisurely academic or governmental consideration. The urgency here must be taken seriously, and we here at CT intend to be pivotal, moving such an initiative forward at Campus Technology 2006 in Boston this summer (Jul. 31-Aug. 3).

The conference now focuses on top-level cross-functional teams enacting change on campus. Accordingly, workshops and sessions will largely be team-presented and team-attended. One workshop panel—Lucinda Lea’s “When Disaster Strikes: An Actionable Strategic Plan for Emergency Communication Preparedness,” and a partner session—Doug Gale’s multi-campus panel on business continuity management—are designed to equip attendees with tools they can put to work immediately, back on campus. We also will be taking Gonick’s nationwide proposal to the next level, via additional panel sessions and dinner discussions in and around Boston. To find out more, head to www.campus-technology.com/conferences/summer2006. We’ll “see and hear” you there!

—Katherine Grayson, Editor-In-Chief
What have you seen and heard? Send to: kgrayson@101com.com.

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