Staff Excellence: Purdue Information Technology

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Purdue IT is responsible for major operational systems, the multicampus wired network and one of the world’s largest wireless networks. The individuals behind Purdue IT also support dozens of student computing labs as well as tens of thousands of desktop computers in classrooms, research laboratories and offices, and numerous petabytes of storage for business, educational and personal use. 

In 2023, Purdue IT completed a restructuring to integrate all IT operations into one organization, led by Vice President for Information Technology and CIO Ian C. Hyatt. Comprised of more than 700 individuals, Purdue IT manages everything from end-user experience to research computing, security and policy, artificial intelligence and much more across the Purdue system. 

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Each December, Purdue IT recognizes members of the senior staff for their contributions and commitment to the department. Pictured are 2023 honorees Nathan Cummings, Aaron Walz, Daniel Bruhn and Robert Oxender.
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Purdue IT’s mission is to provide the technology infrastructure, services, solutions and information security that support teaching and learning, enhance research, and enable faculty and staff to achieve their objectives while providing a positive student experience.

“Our vision is to empower giant leaps across Purdue by providing safe, efficient and reliable services in our pursuit to become the benchmark for IT in higher education,” Hyatt says. “Three pillars guide our daily work: people — developing the skills and talents of our workforce; processes — refining and improving our processes toward operational excellence; and technology — developing the right technologies to solve the right problems at the right time.”

Although online connectivity, desktop support and software access are among the tasks top of mind for most users, there is more to Purdue IT than meets the eye. In addition to supporting major academic systems, such as the Brightspace course management system, Purdue IT tests, implements and develops innovative learning and classroom technologies, along with big data analytics systems, to make prime use of university data to improve learning and Purdue’s operations through data-backed methodologies.

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During Cybersecurity Awareness Month, Purdue IT staff at Purdue Northwest (PNW) launched a “Spot the Phish – Win a Phish” game to raise student awareness about phishing and cybersecurity.
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Purdue IT also supports an advanced research cyberinfrastructure across campus that includes multiple shared, TOP500-class supercomputing clusters for intensive computational needs; a state-of-the-art, multitiered research data storage array; and high-speed networks linking campus labs and computing resources, and connecting the campus to national resources.

Behind the scenes, dedicated staff work around the clock to report and troubleshoot outages and other incidents that impact the user experience with the Purdue network and the myriad software and technology services. Per week, service desk representatives handle upwards of a thousand calls and tickets submitted through the Purdue IT Service Portal.

Meanwhile, another group of staff focuses on application strategy, development, transformation, integration and software support across custom and enterprise solutions. In FY23, the team completed nearly 150 projects in partnership with business and student administration units to support improvements and enable new capabilities such as Mobile ID.

The team behind the Rosen Center for Advanced Computing (RCAC) provides advanced computational resources and services to support Purdue faculty and staff researchers, while also conducting their own research and development. In addition, RCAC supports student research through various summer camps and programs for high school and undergraduate students.

Powering the technology behind a multicampus, top research institution like Purdue requires a dedicated team focused on cybersecurity efforts. Purdue IT’s team works diligently to anticipate new threats, continually evaluate current security, and design and implement new safeguards, programs and solutions to protect Purdue at another level. In addition, the team provides routine updates and training to keep the Purdue community on guard for phishing and other cybersecurity threats. Recent examples include systemwide cybersecurity training for faculty and staff, anti-phishing campaign outreach to students and enhancements to multifactor authentication processes.

For more information, visit the Purdue IT website.

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