How the IT Summit Evolved in 2017
Attendees who have been to previous IT Summits noticed a difference as soon as they entered the Student Union Grand Ballroom October 24, 2017. More tables and chairs filled the space, a result of the record-breaking registration of 675 UA employees, faculty, and researchers with an interest in IT. The poster session moved to an additional room open to the ballroom, alongside a photo booth where attendees could celebrate the IT Summit’s 5th anniversary.
Alex Alvarez, IT Summit Planning Committee Chair; Karen Williams, VP of Information Strategy and University Libraries; and a videotaped President Robert Robbins started the day of activities with their welcome messages. Rob High, of IBM Watson, delivered an engaging keynote on Artificial Intelligence that explained why, exactly, we do not need to fear robot overlords taking over. He assured the crowd that people and AIs each have unique benefits, and that we can’t be replaced.
After lunch, Karen Williams and Tom Bourgeois, Executive Director of Campus IT Operations, expanded on the success of five years of the IT Summit and other campus collaborations to talk about the movements to further the development of the campus IT community and to create a new campus IT strategic plan.
Throughout the day, the summit continued its tradition of collaboration and education with campus peers and vendor sponsors sharing their expertise about the use of innovative technologies across the University in seven different topic tracks, an afternoon poster session, and a networking reception.
New this year, the IT Summit added a second day of hands-on workshops. The topics included learning opportunities for faculty, researchers, business managers, and other campus professionals who use IT, beyond just IT staff. The workshop day idea came from IT Summit 2016 attendee feedback requesting more in-depth learning opportunities, and the sessions proved to be popular.
This event has been and continues to be entirely supported by our sponsors. We are grateful to Dell EMC, World Wide Technology, Adobe, Amazon Web Services, NetApp and Presidio, Lenovo and CDW-G, Cisco, Panopto, TEKsystems, VMware, New Horizons, Nor-Tech and Micron, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Honors College, College of Humanities, and University Libraries for their support.