SIST_principlesAn IT organization that can effectively deliver quality service and keep up with its customers’ dynamic wants and needs requires guiding values and principles as foundations upon which it operates. Below are what I shared with my organization at our retreat soon after I became the Acting Executive Director for my IT organization in November 2014. The opportunity to be in this position was certainly unexpected. So the transition was short (one month), and within that time, I had to define and communicate my concepts and vision for our organization. I prefer that we as our organization go through a process of defining these guiding principles and values. Still, given the circumstance, some staff members wanted me to share my ideas as a starting point for the organization to consider and discuss. Upon discussions, the guiding values and principles were adopted for our organization.

As I’ve been with my organization for more than 15 years, I have a good sense of our culture, strengths, capabilities, and areas of improvement. I firmly believe that we are a very capable organization, proven by what we’ve been able to do and we can continue/improve our delivery of quality solutions and excellent customer service. We have a dedicated, highly knowledgeable, and skilled team with strong support from our senior management. For these reasons, I strive for the idea that when people think of THE model of higher education IT, they think of UCSB SIS&T!  

I believe my organization’s guiding values and principles must be able to stand through time in the midst of ever-changing technology landscapes and dynamic customer services and needs. It is with this mindset that these guiding values and principles were formulated.


SIS&T is committed to contributing to the success of UCSB students in their pursuit of learning and personal development by providing current, effective, reliable, and secure information technology delivered through exceptional and professional customer service.



  • We trust, respect, and value diversity and inclusion of ideas.
  • We strive to develop a sense of community, and our organizational roles and hierarchy do not define worth/values.
  • We are committed to helping others – our colleagues, partners (staff/faculty), and customers (students, parents, community).


  • We will define processes and frameworks that add value and effectiveness to our work.
  • We will be disciplined in implementing these processes and frameworks.
  • We will make adjustments to these processes and frameworks as necessary.


    • We are an adaptive and learning organization.
      * Supportive and learning environment
      * Concrete learning processes and practices
      * Leadership that reinforces learning
    • We are customer-focused.
      *People, Objective, Strategy, Technology (POST)
    • We must perform as a team.
      * “Teams win championships” – VC Michael Young

It has been about six months since our retreat, and I believe we have made some strides toward our goals of being an even better organization. Here are some of my observations:

– Changing the organizational culture, as I’ve found, takes time and requires leadership to model the behaviors we want to see in our organization. Communicating our guiding values and principles must be done through the leadership’s actions and words, and they must be practiced consistently.

– It requires participation/contribution from our entire organization to make change happen.

– At times, the environment that encourages diversity and inclusion of ideas has resulted in honest/frank conversations from different parts of our organization. I have welcomed and encouraged these sometimes uncomfortable conversations as I believe this is a sign of a healthy, evolving organization.

– I expected some missteps in my attempt to implement some changes, and I have. But, I acknowledged this at the retreat, and I encouraged the idea that, at times, we will “fail” with the ideas we try, but that’s perfectly okay.