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IT professionals reflect on past, focus on future at 20th annual tech conference

Since 1995, Statewide IT has been sparking community, innovation among hundreds of IU tech professionals

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — When Indiana University tech professionals gathered for the university’s first-ever Statewide IT Conference in 1995, "Google" was not yet a verb — or even a company — and smartphones were science fiction.

Now, 20 years later, IU will celebrate this milestone at its 2015 Statewide IT Conference, October 19-21 in Bloomington, with the theme "20/20: Reflecting on Our Past, Focused on Our Future" as the university works toward its bicentennial in 2020. Each year, the conference brings together more than 900 colleagues from all eight IU campuses to learn about new technologies and initiatives, plan for the future and share ideas with their counterparts on other campuses.

"Statewide IT is our major staff development conference, and it is an essential part of sewing together the knowledge and relationships that make IT work at IU," said Brad Wheeler, IU vice president for IT and CIO. "Our attendees come from schools, administrative departments, faculty, students and, of course, UITS. The annual conference is a part of growing a great culture that makes working in IT at IU a career of choice."

From "The Internet of Things" to "Big Data and Decisions," the opening keynotes will set the tone for this forward-looking event:

  • Oct. 19, 2-3pm: "IT: The Endless Frontier" by Florence Hudson, senior vice president and chief innovation officer at Internet2. Hudson will discuss how IT has transformed from an elusive data center to an entity that is embedded in our everyday lives and innovations. This phenomenon is evolving the IT industry into the Internet of Things (IoT) industry. She and Wheeler will kick off the conference with a discussion about the need for IT leaders to become an integral part of the future of IT and IoT.
  • Oct. 19, 3:30-4:30pm: "No regrets: How successful schools are reframing decision support" by Chris Miller, executive director, Education Advisory Board. This presentation, based on interviews with more than 150 higher ed thought leaders, examines how successful schools are reframing academic decision support data efforts as enterprise processes instead of technology projects.

These talks take place at the IU Auditorium. They are open to the public at no cost and do not require preregistration.

For registered Statewide attendees, the no-cost conference is a professional development highlight of the year. This year features 70 breakout sessions on topics ranging from "PowerPoint like a Boss" and "The impact of wearable technology in higher education," to more tech-focused sessions such as "GitFlow Redux" and "Digital hoarding is driving away users and killing conversion." All breakouts will take place at the Indiana Memorial Union.

All keynotes and breakout sessions will be available via live stream with recordings posted online after the conference.

After a day of learning, conference-goers are encouraged to break out of their tech shells and bond with their colleagues. Here are a few opportunities:

  • 5:30pm, Oct. 19: IT5K Fun Run and Walk — Run or walk at your own pace with fellow IT professionals as Craig Stewart, associate dean of research technologies, leads the charge.
  • 8pm, Oct. 19: Statewide Fashion Show — Students in the IU Department of Apparel Merchandising and Interior Design will debut creations blending fashion and tech. This fashion-forward event is free and open to the public with no registration required.
  • 6:15pm, Oct. 20: Tours of the Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative facility — Take a spin around the MDPI facility in the Innovation Center, where teams work to digitize IU’s deteriorating time-based audiovisual materials for research, education and enrichment of future generations.

On the final morning of the conference, Oct. 21, attendees are invited to attend "MDPI: The opening event" from 10-11:30am in the Whittenberger Auditorium of the Indiana Memorial Union. This event marks the official opening of the Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative.

The conference closes with a keynote luncheon, "IT at IU: Seeing at 20/20," by Wheeler and IU President Michael A. McRobbie on Oct. 21, noon-2pm. McRobbie joined IU in 1997 as its first vice president for information technology and CIO and was instrumental in positioning the university as a leader in research supercomputing and technology for higher ed. In 2007, he was succeeded by Wheeler, who expanded on McRobbie’s vision with initiatives that established IU as a leading innovator—in education and beyond. McRobbie and Wheeler will share the stage for a discussion that looks at the past, present and future of IT at IU.

To learn more about Statewide IT’s schedule, presenters and accommodations, visit: statewideit.iu.edu.