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Monday, October 21, 2013

Portal Sponsorship Pathway Determined

One of the challenges facing the Enterprise Portal project has been the quandary of ownership. The Portal is a new product and a new opportunity, and, while initial development is in scope for ESUP, this sort of tool needs a strong sponsor with a holistic perspective. What sponsorship structure will be most effective in setting the Portal up to create value for the long-term?  As ESUP has moved forward this question has become more crucial.    

The question of Portal sponsorship became a barrier as the project team began working on portal features.  What are the right things to do now to effectively facilitate a positive user experience for students, faculty and staff? The Portal team had good ideas and a clear process for this, but had no sponsor with whom to vet the long-term vision.  Even short-term priority setting was becoming difficult, since each priority has ramifications for long-term sustainability.  

The Executive Oversight Committee wrestled with this question last week, and, based on recommendations from the Portal Leadership Team, has determined that the Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost is the right place in our structure to sponsor the Portal.  The Provost's Office has agreed to take on this responsibility. ESUP sees this as a great fit, as the Provost's Office has system-wide responsibilities, understands and supports student and faculty affairs and the mission of the Portal, and has a broad interest in improving the coherence and continuity of the user experience. In addition, a collaborative Portal Governance Team with representation from other strategic areas of the University will be put in place.  

Given the tight timeline for the upgrade, the Provost's Office doesn't want to interrupt progress. They have assigned leadership for the duration of the program to Susan Van Voorhis, Assistant Vice Provost of Academic Support Resources and University Registrar, while they figure out how best to structure their resources. Sue will provide active sponsorship within the context of ESUP to help ensure that the Portal project meets our goals. Sue will work with Susan Geller, Portal Project Director, and the Portal Leadership Team to continue setting priorities, so the team can deliver Portal features that meet the needs of ESUP and the University community.

ESUP is very pleased to see this next step in our sustainability planning come to fruition. ESUP governance and the Portal Team look forward to working with Sue and the Provost's Office toward continued success.

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