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IU cyberinfrastructure matters to researchers

Project Leads: IU Pervasive Technology Institute personnel

Divisions/Groups who enabled highlight:  IU Pervasive Technology Institute

Cyberinfrastructure Building
Figure 1. IU's Cyberinfrastructure Building (CIB) - the home for IT at IU.

Ask most any computer center and they will tell you that their services are important. To get a better sense of how important IU cyberinfrastructure resources are, and why, the Office of the Vice President for Information Technology (OVPIT) sponsored a qualitative study by an outside assessment organization.

During FY 2015, experts from the I-STEM Education Initiative of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign interviewed IU faculty who had worked closely with the IU Pervasive Technology Institute and the Research Technologies Division of University Information Technology Services. The faculty interviewed had changed status in some way in the past five years: come to IU as new faculty member, left IU for another university, been promoted, or retired.

Faculty across many disciplines hailed the caliber of IU’s hardware resources and its positive impact on the quality of research throughout the institution. Access and availability of these resources is also perceived positively, and junior faculty in particular consider these significant incentives for joining IU. Former faculty members (retired or transferred) also identify ongoing access to some of IU’s resources as a significant benefit. Some comments include:

“The day I left IU I had marvelous lab facilities and a lovely office with a beautiful view, I had been there for [number] years and the thing I was most sad about was leaving the UITS environment. That probably says quite a lot about the quality.” – Former Faculty

“I continue to use the resources that I’ve gloriously been given access to.” – Former Faculty member, still collaborating with IU researchers

“As someone who doesn't come from a computing background I've benefitted enormously from having a more open door policy at IU.” - Former Faculty

That there are people out there who like UITS, Research Technologies, and PTI services is all well and good. But what are the overall, average impressions? To measure these, OVPIT contracts with the IU Center for Survey Research to do a thorough and accurate sampling of community views. For FY2015, surveys were sent to 6,394 randomly selected people at IU Bloomington and 9,929 randomly selected people at IUPUI. The questions on the survey are primarily Likert opinion scales (1-5 rating scales with 5 always being the most favorable rating).

The overall summary of this survey is that people do indeed like PTI and RT services. In response to the question "Overall, how satisfied are you with the UITS research technology services available at IU?" faculty, staff, and graduate students gave an average score of 4.06 ± .13 out of 5 at IU Bloomington, and 4.17 ± .12 at IUPUI. At IU Bloomington, 29% of the faculty, graduate students, and professional staff made some use of IU’s research cyberinfrastructure, while this same number was 32% for IUPUI – almost a third of the IUPUI research community!

For information about the Pervasive Technology Institute, the Research Technologies Division of UITS, and IU’s advanced cyberinfrastructure see http://pti.iu.edu.