Introduction & Overview

Project Background

In February 2012, BerryDunn was selected to facilitate the development of a university IT Master Plan. The goal of the engagement was to design a plan that:

  • Addresses evolving technology infrastructure and services needs
  • Builds a technology foundation to support future development and innovation
  • Ensures the protection of the university’s information assets

The IT master planning process was completed in three phases:

  1. Current IT environment assessment and benchmarking
  2. Creation of the IT Master Plan
  3. Revising the IT Master Plan to maintain alignment with evolving university strategic direction


UNLV’s approach entailed gaining an independent and objective perspective on the current capabilities, resources, needs, and issues surrounding IT at the University. The assessment provided a baseline the Core Team used to develop a plan that would meet the comprehensive needs of the institution.

Throughout the development of the Plan the University engaged more than 450 UNLV students, faculty and staff who contributed their perspectives on the University’s current and future technology needs. BerryDunn interviewed over 275 stakeholders, either in face-to-face meetings, via videoconferences, or by phone. An additional 131 responses were received from students, faculty and staff who responded to similar questions in an online survey.

In addition, throughout the planning process BerryDunn considered information and data from EDUCAUSE, the recognized thought leader for IT in higher education. The annual EDUCAUSE “Top Ten IT Issues” should be considered in reviewing, implementing, and sustaining the IT Master Plan at UNLV.

EDUCAUSE Top Ten IT Issues, 2016

EDUCAUSE Top Ten IT Issues, 2016

Phase 1: Technology Assessment and Benchmarking

In October 2012, BerryDunn visited the UNLV campus, engaging a broad cross-section of stakeholders to understand their perspectives on the role of IT at the University. Responses from those 450 stakeholders, described above, were used to create the Current IT Environment Report and inform future planning. The Current IT Environment Report provides readers with an understanding of current services, resources and key challenges related to IT at UNLV. See Appendix B for a complete list of the identified strategic IT issues.

BerryDunn also conducted peer institution research with the University of Oregon, Arizona State University and George Mason University during Phase 1. Information collected from these institutions has been incorporated into the Plan where appropriate.

Phase 2: IT Master Plan

Upon completion of the Current IT Environment Report, BerryDunn met with over 100 faculty and staff in academic units to discuss the findings and refine the needs assessment. Building upon the analysis from the report and subsequent input from the academic units, the consultants worked with UNLV’s IT Master Plan Core Team to design and facilitate eight work sessions to gather campus-wide input on meeting the identified needs. Work sessions focused on the following topics:

  1. Creating an IT Master Plan and Setting Strategic Vision
  2. The Faculty Experience: Teaching and Learning
  3. Advancing and Supporting Research: Defining the Technology Resources of a Global Research Institution
  4. The Student Experience: Access, Mobility, and Success
  5. IT Security: Establishing a Sustainable Model for Protecting Data and Building Security Awareness
  6. Addressing IT Services: Defining the Roles and Responsibilities of UNLV’s IT Community
  7. Creating a Robust Infrastructure: Building the Technology Foundation for a 21st Century Academic and Research Institution
  8. Defining the Governance of IT: The Value of IT Governance and How It is Sustained

The work sessions, attended by UNLV subject matter experts, generated ideas that built the foundation of the Plan. Refer to Appendix C for summaries of work session findings.

Although each work session included different constituents and emphasized different topics, redefining campus IT governance emerged as a focal point in all sessions. The work session recommendations have proven both visionary and resilient.

Since the 2013 work sessions concluded, the university has undergone four high-level leadership transitions and two strategic shifts. Nevertheless, although the magnitude of those campus changes delayed the Plan’s release, many of the major recommendations emanating from those sessions remain as important in 2016 as they were in 2013.

Phase 3: Revising the IT Master Plan to Maintain Alignment

As the first draft of the IT Master Plan was nearing completion, UNLV entered a unprecedented period of change in campus leadership that led to shifts in the university’s strategic direction.

  • Fall 2013 - President Smastrek unveiled a new Tier One initiative redefining campus priorities
  • December 2013 - President Smastrek resigned
  • February 2014 - NSHE Board of Regents appointed Don Snyder as UNLV Acting President
  • August 2014 - School of Medicine was created
  • January 2015 - President Jessup became UNLV’s 10th president
  • May 2015 - Tier One Initiative was expanded to a more comprehensive Top Tier Plan
  • July 2015 - Acting Executive Vice President and Provost Rapoport replaced Executive Vice President and Provost White
  • February 2016 - Diane Chase named UNLV’s next Executive Vice President and Provost, effective May 1, 2016

In 2014, Acting President Don Snyder reviewed the IT Master Plan and assisted the team in strengthening the Plan’s emphasis on enhancing community partnership. Executive Vice President and Provost John Valery White and President Len Jessup reviewed the Plan in Spring 2015 and elected to delay approval and implementation, allowing time for the Plan to be further revised to support emerging Top Tier strategies. The final version of the Plan represents the best ideas generated over the course of the extended planning period and is fully aligned with UNLV’s Top Tier Plan.