CIO50 2021 #26-50: Liz Gosling, Auckland University of Technology
The Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns in 2020 provided a massive challenge to AUT and the organisation’s ICT Services who needed to enable students and staff to continue to work in unique circumstances. CIO and COVID-19 response lead Liz Gosling says sustaining an elevated level of performance and service through ever-changing environments and levels of alerts, allowed the University to function and communicate successfully with students, staff and external stakeholders.
Specific examples include:
· The team moved with speed and agility to provide an on-line teaching, learning, and working environment to students and staff. AUT was up and running the first day of the lockdown, with all services being provided remotely by the ICT team.
· The development and rollout of Microsoft Teams for voice, during this challenging time. This technology allows AUT staff to be able to operate and collaborate and even teach students if required, from any location, even during times of lockdown.
· The setup and provision of remote desktop computing environments so students could access AUT software critical to being able to continue to learn remotely.
· The development, delivery, and implementation of a new call centre solution AUT-wide supported our ability to work both onsite, offsite, or multi-mode delivery.
· The complete replacement of the AUT firewalls during the pandemic. These devices are critical to keeping AUT data secure and minimising any impact of Cybersecurity threats or events. This migration activity was technically complex but was completed seamlessly.
· The development and deployment of a completely new platform for the remote and centralised delivery of software applications to AUT students.
· The staff and student service desks helped thousands of our community as they adapted to a new way of working.
· The ICT student support team worked tirelessly on the Digital Equity project to ensure that laptops and modems were sent to the students who needed them.
In 2020 Student success rates were in line with previous years showing that the collective efforts of AUT staff, backed by ICT innovation and platform delivery, enabled our students to succeed in their chosen fields of study, despite the challenges of lockdowns.
Meanwhile the Digital Equity programme provided 1,049 laptops, and 518 active broadband modem connections to students in 2020 – helping to ensure these people were not disadvantaged to due lack of access.
COVID-19 response lead
In this role, Gosling has overall University-wide responsibility for AUT’s response to the pandemic included far-ranging elements such as emergency management, business continuity, and co-ordinating the organisation’s leadership in priority workstreams: Supporting Students; Supporting Staff; Supporting Research; Learning and Teaching; and Finance and Infrastructure.
This leadership has covered immediate needs, identifying, and mitigating risks, issues management and longer-term planning. While ICT platforms and solutions have been essential to this work, Gosling’s leadership has extended way beyond the technical aspects to include government liaison, sector leadership, and working with public health.
A specific example is the work done with Auckland Regional Public Health Services during the current lockdown. As an increasing number of AUT students informed the University that they had tested positive for COVID-19, Gosling stood up a team of ICT experts who were able to use information from AUT’s Wi-Fi usage, class attendance and other data to assist with vital contact tracing and provide locations of interest.