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UNLV Hosted Its First Technology Conference, Attracting 150 Campus Technology Specialists

The UNLV IT Summit brought together the institution’s technology specialists to share their experiences, learn about best practices, and integrate cutting-edge technology for the benefit of the campus community.

OIT News  |  Apr 15, 2020  |  By Nicole Johnson
A crowd of people sitting down at the UNLV IT Summit conference.

Monday was a special day for UNLV technologists. Approximately 150 of them attended an information technology (IT) conference meant to open conversations about new ways to connect, collaborate, and innovate - while building a strong IT community on campus.

The institution hosted the inaugural UNLV IT Summit in the Student Union ballroom. More than 20 innovative leaders from 10 different campus units spoke about technology - its impact on business operations, their approaches to utilizing different platforms and tools, and how integrating new technology can benefit students, faculty, and staff.

“UNLV is fostering a rich community of technology changemakers,” said Dr. Joe Horne, associate director of instructional technology services for the Office of Information Technology and one of the organizers of the conference. “Because UNLV encourages innovation, our IT specialists have many opportunities to share their expertise around the world. The UNLV IT Summit was a unique chance for campus innovators to share their knowledge at home while learning, collaborating, and creating with their peers across the street.”

The event’s keynote speaker was Dr. Jennifer Sparrow, associate vice president of teaching and learning with technology at Penn State University. A respected expert in instructional and developmental technology in higher education, Sparrow discussed how technology is preparing learners to be 21st century digital citizens.

“The ability to adjust to the changing nature of work and technology is one of the skills that round out 21st-century digital citizenship,” Sparrow said during her presentation. “IT is uniquely positioned to support our students in learning about these emerging technologies and to provide opportunities to practice the skills needed to be successful in today and tomorrow’s workplace.” 

The day-long conference also featured other special guests like cybersecurity expert Paul Mudgett, who spoke about ransomware and hardening strategies, and CIOs from Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) institutions. NSHE Chief Information Officer Anne Milvovich sat on a panel with other state university IT leaders. Milkovich, who started her career with Microsoft, brought over a decade of higher education experience to the table, along with years as a consultant for General Motors, AT&T, national and state agencies, small businesses, and nonprofits.

“By championing a collaborative movement, we hope campus technologists continue to work together, learn from each other, and stay connected,” said Horne. “We believe the UNLV IT Summit is just one example where conversations and partnerships can inspire innovative concepts right here at UNLV.”

Horne said the plan is to make the UNLV IT Summit an annual tradition. He, along with his fellow conference organizers, hope to take what they learned this year to make next year’s event bigger and better.