Steve Fleagle

With change comes opportunity, and the year 2021 was marked with significant change, both in how the campus utilizes technology and in how the IT community works to provide it.  

Throughout the pandemic, faculty, staff, and students have turned to technology more than ever. One of many examples is the steep increase of online video conferencing and collaboration tools such as Zoom, which hosted more than a million UI meetings and webinars, and Microsoft Teams, with 4,800 daily users—a 45 percent increase over the previous year. 

In addition to using tools like Zoom and Panopto for lectures, biomedical engineering major Joseph Verry reported using new extensions and tools on ICON that his professors implemented into their course designs. He used a virtual desktop to access software for his engineering courses without having to go to a computer lab, and he began utilizing the Microsoft suite of tools with Office 365 more often.  

“I used Word and PowerPoint along with OneNote, Teams, and SharePoint for my classes, extracurricular organizations, research, and job through the university,” Verry says. “All of these tools allowed me to work on projects with others safely and efficiently.”  

Returning to campus 

As students and many university employees returned to campus last fall, others transitioned to remote or hybrid work arrangements. IT professionals effectively supported these new ways of working, getting equipment set up to be used on campus, after helping departments quickly move home in March 2020. The Help Desk walk-in space reopened and support staff rolled out new capabilities such as hoteling spaces and new conference room technologies to better support hybrid meetings. 

This year OneIT helped the campus respond to constant change related to COVID, developing mechanisms for disbursement of $11.6 million in federal relief to 9,400 students, as well as mask-fitting appointments, flexible work arrangement forms, online commencement, and vaccination records.  

Change has also been a theme in leadership. The OneIT community welcomed new directors of Research Services, Administrative Information Systems, Pharmacy IT, the Center for Teaching, and a new chief information security officer. At the university level, we are excited about building relationships with a new president, new deans, a new controller, and a new director of public safety.  

Supporting the core mission 

Change is often challenging, and I am proud of the resilience, innovation, and dedication the OneIT community has exhibited, especially as the pandemic extends, to help the institution thrive.  

That perseverance allowed us to continue to make progress on strategic and core-mission activities. The Center for Teaching celebrated its 25th year of supporting excellence in teaching and learning through workshops, resources, and one-on-one consultation with instructors. OneIT played a key role in implementing Hawkeye Introductory Courses, preparatory math and science-based courses that support student success, and expanded computing services and training for researchers

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) remains a priority for OneIT. Websites and applications were updated to use more inclusive terminology and a new DEI digest and coffees have sparked thoughtful conversations and reflection across the IT community. 

Collaboration with health care IT has also continued to be a focus, as we transition the campus to internet-based telephone service managed by Health Care Information Systems and Office 365 email managed OneIT. In February, OneIT adopted the Cherwell IT service management system used by health care, enabling support professionals to assign customer inquiries across all workgroups. 

Looking ahead 

We have much in store for 2022, and you can always view the latest project roadmaps on the OneIT website. We will expand relationships with the research community to enable and accelerate the work of faculty. The Hawkeye Introductory Course Initiative is a three-year initiative supported by the Office of Teaching, Learning, and Technology, and promises to positively impact students in critical courses. 

Other priorities include upgrading technology and architecture to pave the way for a more flexible and secure campus network, continuing to make progress on the OneIT DEI Action Plan, and ongoing efforts to attract and retain IT talent.  

I hope you enjoy and share the OneIT Year in Review. We are grateful to all of our campus partners, and we appreciate your interest in what we accomplished together this year to move the university forward. 

Steve Fleagle (he/him/his)
Associate Vice President and CIO 


17,230 students
saved an average of $144 in the ICON Direct electronic textbook program
in the 2020-21 academic year
In the 2020-21 academic year, 17,230 students saved an average of $144 in the ICON Direct program. The program has already served 15,655 students in the 2021-22 academic year. 
UI instructors
have participated in TILE faculty development
The faculty development component of the TILE (Transform, Interact, Learn, Engage) Program is internationally recognized for its support of instructors transforming teaching practices through lively interaction, active learning, and faculty/student engagement. More than 10 years since its inception, over 500 UI instructors have participated in TILE faculty development, which now consists of TILE Essentials—a two-part workshop focused on active-learning pedagogies in TILE classrooms.
Leslie Schwalm teaches her Making Change, Making History class in one of the Main Library's TILE classrooms.

25 years of transformative work

The Office of Teaching, Learning, and Technology Center for Teaching supports instructors to enhance student learning. Staff at the center work collaboratively with campus partners as advocates for effective, evidence-based teaching and share expertise in educational development through workshops and other programming.
Ted Neal uses a digital textbook, called a Pressbook, in his class for future science teachers.

Etextbook program saves students $5 million

Since its pilot in 2017, the ICON Direct program has grown from six courses to more than 600 courses, reducing textbook costs and providing easy access to digital course materials.
First day of classes, August 24, 2020 CEE:4187:0001 STATISTICS FOR EXPERIMENTERS Patrick O'Shaughnessy (Primary Instructor) College of Public Health

Making better introductions

The Hawkeye Introductory Course initiative targets high-enrollment courses that are especially difficult for students discovering the demands of college academics, aiming to identify challenges specific to each course and help more students succeed.


50 million
files transferred
with the Research Data Collaboration Service
In 2021, Iowa’s 82 Research Data Collaboration Service (RDCS) users transferred 50 million files—324 terabytes of data.
student accounts
supported by the Interactive Data Analytics Service
During 2021, IDAS supported 34 classes and 934 student accounts. Course instructors typically use IDAS tools for in-class demonstrations, assignments, and exams.
Pappajohn Business Building Scenes Phil Hadley Finance Lab

Wrangling big data

ITS Research Services provides computing services to help investigators and educators interpret, manage, and share massive datasets. In addition to high-performance computing and large-scale data storage, they have scaled up access to collaboration tools, data-analytics services, and training.


IMU footbridge scene with flags and students walking

Building an inclusive culture

OneIT teams working on diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives understand that innovation happens when everyone has a place at the table. Conversations about systemic problems, individual experience, and potential solutions have became fixtures of OneIT listening posts, project planning, and hallway conversations.


of ITS staff are on campus
Some critical IT roles—such as hands-on technical support and installation and maintenance of equipment and key IT infrastructure—continue to be performed on campus.
of ITS staff are fully remote
Some roles can be done effectively from afar with the help of video conferencing and collaboration tools such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams.
of ITS staff split their time between home and university workspaces
After a successful pilot of the various work arrangements, university administration gave ITS permission to make remote and hybrid work part of its normal operations. The business rationale for this decision included significant demand and competition for IT professionals.
IT professionals
join the monthly online CIO Listening Posts
Monthly online CIO Listening Posts continue to attract strong crowds of 300 to 350 as a venue for employees to ask questions and cover topics such as health and safety, campus updates, employee recognition, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. To date, 41 forums have been held, where nearly 350 staff questions were answered and almost 700 “shout outs” were delivered for a job well done.
increase in participation in training offered
by the Office of Teaching, Learning, and Technology
Participation in training offered by the Office of Teaching, Learning, and Technology (OTLT) increased by 78 percent from 2019, when it was all in-person, to 2021, when it was offered online (from 203 to 362 people). Additionally, feedback on quality from attendees in the online events is equal to in-person events. OTLT also offers one-on-one consultations for instructors to improve their teaching and classroom experience. Beginning July 1, 2021, instructors were given a choice of online consultation via Zoom, or a face-to-face meeting. Thirty-four out of 40 (85%) chose online over in-person.
attendees at the first online Tech Forum
Employee engagement has been a focus throughout the pandemic. OneIT held its first online Tech Forum for university IT professionals in 2021, drawing 450 attendees per day across two half-days of programming. Participation in project roadmap review sessions is better than ever, and employees have launched interest-specific spaces in Microsoft Teams to simulate water cooler chat. A conversation partners program is being piloted to foster informal conversation and build relationships.
ITS Staff Zoom meeting

Shaping the future of work

With the pandemic as an impetus, information technologists at the University of Iowa are adapting to and supporting a variety of work arrangements, including on-campus, hybrid, or fully remote positions.


university websites
adopted the new UI brand
As Iowa embraced a new brand, the web team supported brand deployment across campus by developing Sitenow v3, an on-brand low-code/no-code site-building platform for use by its web partners. By the end of the year, more than 600 university websites had adopted the new brand, with upwards of 400 building on the Sitenow v3 platform. In 2021 alone, the relaunched sites included the undergraduate admissions website, five college websites, and numerous other high-profile websites critical to the university’s mission.
UI website managers are using SiteImprove
to enhance nearly a thousand campus websites.
In 2020, the UI deployed Siteimprove, a tool to continuously monitor for new and emergent search engine optimization, as well as quality and accessibility issues.
Campus scene of pentacrest and new UI branding signage

Building better websites

A polished and user-friendly website can make all the difference as prospective students explore what the University of Iowa has to offer them. The year 2021 was one of tremendous progress in the UI’s web space, as hundreds of campus sites were revamped and refreshed with consistent branding and other enhancements.


3.9 million
pageviews on the ITS website in 2021
a 15% increase in traffic over the previous year
The ITS website, packed with information about IT services and how-to content, is one of the most heavily used websites on campus. Increased promotion of the IT service alerts page fueled a dramatic 800% spike in traffic as more individuals visited the site to check on the status of key services.
hours of service logged by ITS' 66 student employees
OneIT and its customers rely on the skills and talents of student employees for a host of tasks—taking calls at the Help Desk, working on websites, maintaining and installing equipment, performing administrative tasks, and much more. Many of these students use their IT work experience to land great jobs after graduation, including some who find positions within the UI.
phone lines retired
due to the Skype for Business conversion completion
In recent years, OneIT and HCIS have partnered to convert traditional phone lines to Skype for Business, which uses the internet to make calls and offers users a host of improved features such as instant messaging, video conferencing, and integrations with other Microsoft tools. They recently reached a milestone in completing that conversion, which involved 10,300 Skype for Business users.
of customers were satisfied or totally satisfied with ITS Help Desk services
a 3.4% increase from the previous year
Customers of the Information Technology Services (ITS) Help Desk reported increased satisfaction during the pandemic. The Help Desk asks customers to rate their experience from “totally satisfied” (5) to “totally dissatisfied” (1). ITS examined whether there were changes in customer satisfaction as many IT professionals transitioned to fully or partly remote work arrangements during the pandemic, using 2019 as a baseline year and comparing it to July 2020 to September 2021.
ports in over 90 different buildings
were replaced to enhance internet connections
A reliable internet connection is essential, and a recently completed project replaced the technology behind every wired ethernet port on campus. The completion of this project improves the reliability of computers connecting to wired network ports and boosts the performance of campus wireless services. It also significantly decreases the risk of a cybersecurity incident and paves the way for future enhancements.
Windows devices migrated
in the UI's device-management system to enhance security
The UI manages thousands of computers and other devices, ensuring that systems and software are up to date and monitored for security issues. OneIT migrated more than 16,000 Windows devices to a centralized group in its device-management system, enabling IT professionals to simplify and speed up patching for security vulnerabilities and improve response times to evolving threats.  
ITS Help Desk staff working in call center

Advancing IT support and infrastructure

People at the University of Iowa count on stellar customer support and strong underlying infrastructure to meet their IT needs. OneIT made strides in both areas in 2021, including improvements to phone and email service, network connections, and device security.