Uniting a campus through technology
With the rise of satellite campuses and remote work, many universities are trying to find ways to improve collaboration between locations. But for the University of Florida, this challenge—and the technology required to solve it—are especially crucial.
Because UF is a land grant university, it’s required by law to have a physical presence in every county in Florida to provide educational resources to the state’s residents.
For UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Science, which manages the school’s land grant obligations, that means a cooperative extension center in each of Florida’s 67 counties, and a total of 102 facilities statewide.
For the Institute’s IT team, this presents huge physical barriers to collaboration that must be addressed with technology. But standardizing tools and processes across those locations can be a struggle. “The hardest part of what we do isn’t technology, it’s communication,” said IFAS IT Director Dan Cromer. “Getting everyone to follow the same processes takes a lot of work.” IFAS found that, in the absence of a user-friendly option, employees were turning to personal Dropbox accounts to overcome the distances between them. The spread of data and processes across systems was having a negative impact on both security and collaboration.