Technology with Purpose: Launching an institutional plan for technology

The new plan supports institutional priorities and reflects the needs of the university community in a rapidly changing technology environment.


This week, the University of Alberta officially launched Technology with Purpose, an institutional plan for technology. With a vision of operating as One University and advancing our position of teaching and research excellence, Technology with Purpose aims to ensure that secure, sustainable and innovative technology is available to all. It outlines a clear vision for supporting the university community in all of its technology needs while achieving a connected, accessible and supportive technology experience. This plan is not a strategy for Information Services & Technology (IST), but rather a plan in which technology supports the goals of the broader institution.

The plan reflects Shape: A Strategic Plan of Impact, 2023-33 and other institutional strategic plans as well as reflecting feedback provided from external reviews conducted with the university community. It aligns with the strategic priorities of the institution and aims to support the university in achieving these goals through the four strategic pillars and three foundational supports identified below.

Achieving our collective goals through strategic pillars

1. Enhance teaching, learning and student experience

Our vision is for students and instructors to meaningfully engage and connect with innovative teaching and learning approaches in a seamless, technical and diverse environment. We aim to support instructors in continuing to provide uplifting, outstanding and flexible learning experiences for their students.

Ultimately, we envision a technical environment that evolves and grows to support both the university’s growth plan and to embrace new technological innovations.

2. Enable innovative research 

To sustain creativity and fuel discovery, talented researchers require high-calibre research spaces and supports. This plan aims to provide an agile, reliable and secure technology ecosystem that assists in mobilizing research for maximum impact. Our goal is to increase researcher access and satisfaction through more available research technologies.

3. Advance service excellence

In order to continue to move ahead in the university's pursuit of service excellence, Technology with Purpose focuses on providing an administrative technical ecosystem that enables productivity through seamless workflows and a simplified user experience. A significant portion of this work is being conducted through the technology stream of the Continuous Administrative Service Improvement Program (CASIP).

4. Foster community collaboration

While the previous three pillars focus on supporting internal goals, fostering community collaboration is about supporting the institution in its role in the external community including government and international partnerships. Its emphasis lies in creating a technical environment that enables and supports expansive collaboration and partnership to promote community engagement in a seamless, transparent and welcoming manner.

Underlying foundational supports

1. Cybersecurity and sustainable infrastructure 

At the core of all technology work and goals lies the inherent need for secure, reliable and sustainable technology that safeguards the university community while providing an anywhere, anytime, user-centric experience.

2. People and culture

Ensuring that our employees have the skills, environment, support and opportunities that allow them to thrive and grow is paramount. We aim to create a workplace culture that is in line with Shape, the university’s strategic plan and the People Strategy as well as in support of Braiding Past, Present and Future: University of Alberta Indigenous Strategic Plan and strategic and action plans for EDI.

3. Governance

We have refreshed our governance structure to ensure we stay in line with constituent needs with regular meetings and connection with colleges, portfolios and stand-alone faculties. We are committed to providing regular governance updates in order to hold us accountable in ensuring we are on track for supporting the university community in all of its technology needs.

Delivering Technology with Purpose

We know that in order to deliver Technology with Purpose we need to listen to the aspirations of our university community and act on the areas that will deliver impactful value to the institution as a whole.

One unique piece you’ll notice about this plan is that we have purposefully not given it a fixed timeframe. This choice reflects how rapidly technology changes and our need to be agile and adaptive in our delivery. In order to stay relevant in this fast changing digital world, while in a resource constrained environment, purpose driven agility is key. 

A three year project roadmap has been developed to set our sights on what we can achieve in support of these strategic pillars and foundational supports. The roadmap outlines major technology projects that the institution has prioritized and will be working towards completing over the next three years.

I would like to take a moment to thank everyone who has been involved in the engagement and development of this plan over the last seven months. This plan exists because of our collective efforts. We will consistently assess and adjust to ensure it remains in sync with the evolving goals and priorities of the broader institution, working together to see it come to fruition.

Shari Baraniuk
Associate Vice-President (IST) and Chief Information Officer