Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Mike Kaplan and Tracy Scott have received 2019 Board of Regents Staff Excellence Award in recognition of extraordinary contributions that significantly benefited the university and the state of Iowa.

Mike Kaplan headshot
Kaplan addresses complex problems with mission-critical applications

Kaplan is the director of HR systems and analytics in the Administrative Information Systems department of Information Technology Services (ITS). He was nominated for leadership, outstanding service, responsiveness, and his ability to envision and implement solutions to complex problems as he develops and supports mission-critical, enterprise applications for the University of Iowa and other Regents institutions.

Many projects Kaplan has led have tremendous impact, including an overhaul of the employee self-service website that greatly improves the experience for thousands of users. He oversaw implementation of a new performance-management system, time and attendance tracking tools, compliance and qualifications tools, and universal workflow systems. He partnered with the University of Northern Iowa to customize the Jobs@Iowa talent-acquisition system for use at UNI, provided expertise in developing a suite of HR data dashboards that help leverage vast and complex data as an institutional asset, and was a key contributor to developing the data goal in the OneIT Strategic Plan.

Kaplan cultivates strong collaborative partnerships with senior leaders, stakeholders, and peers, prioritizing effective process design and ongoing change-management. Nominators said he epitomizes the concept of “working smarter,” using strong analytical and technical skills and expert knowledge of UI business practices to promote efficiencies and advance campus goals. They praised his willingness to go the extra mile, saying “whatever the project, large or small, he will plan and execute the design carefully, always delivering the highest quality product at the end.”

Kaplan is known for his dedication, organization, and attention to detail. Colleagues described him as “one of the most intelligent, articulate, creative individuals” they had ever met and said they appreciate his innovative thinking, calm personality, and creativity.

Tracy Scott headshot
Scott plays key role in TIER projects and collaboration with health care IT

Scott is the senior IT director for service management and support in the Enterprise Services department of ITS. He was nominated for his dedication to the institution, discipline, and work ethic, along with the key role he played in transforming IT at the University of Iowa in recent years.

Scott was instrumental in the successful completion of the IT component of the Transparent, Inclusive Efficiency Review (TIER) initiative at the UI, helping to achieve the $4.4 million in annual savings. He was actively involved in several of the projects that involved services within his purview.

One of the most challenging TIER requirements was the OneIT End User Support project. It unified all help desks to a central IT service desk with a central ticketing system. Nearly 50 IT support consultants were consolidated into a single desktop support team. A new Apple device-management service was implemented and great strides were made in Windows device management. Nominators said Scott “executed this diligently, working through the many administrative, financial, and political challenges to meet the requirements of TIER and address the needs of dozens of administrative and collegiate units.”

Scott is also heavily involved in new UI directives for increased collaboration between ITS and Health Care Information Systems (HCIS), leading much of the planning for shared IT service-management tools and processes, consolidating to one campus ID for most of the UI, migrating to Office 365 as a single email service for the UI, and deploying Voice Over IP (VOIP) to campus. He leads many security efforts, as well as negotiations for hardware and software licenses for the three Regents institutions.

Nominators described Scott as respectful, mindful, and patient, a champion for positive change, charismatic, and able to bridge diverse business models and cultures. They appreciate his educated, well-thought-out responses in his areas of expertise and his willingness to roll up his sleeves as needed.


Kaplan was recognized by UI Staff Council and his nominators at a senior HR leader meeting and Scott’s recognition took place at a OneIT Leaders meeting. There will also be a Board of Regents recognition lunch in June. Each of them received a commemorative gift and a $1,000 prize from the university.

“Both Mike and Tracy are extremely deserving of this award,” says Associate Vice President and CIO Steve Fleagle. “We are truly grateful for their hard work and all they have accomplished, and very proud that two of the six Board of Regents Staff Excellence Awards went to IT professionals this year.”