September 11, 2000
Volume XXXIII, No. 33




HSC Profile

In Memoriam

Newly Granted

Question to the President



New department formed

Vice President and Chief Information Officer A. Jerome York announced the formation of a new department within Information Management and Services (IMS). Effective Sept. 1, the department of Academic Informatics Services (AIS) will begin providing support to faculty in the areas of instruction and research. The department will be led by Dr. John Littlefield and comprise four current IMS units: Center for Distance Learning and Telehealth, Division of Educational Research and Development, Teleconference Network of Texas and a portion of Computing Resourcesí Academic Computing Services, including three biostatisticians.

Over the past four months, Dr. Littlefield and York have met with academic department chairs from each school and three representative groups of faculty to better understand the issues and challenges faculty face when utilizing information technology tools and services for instruction and research. As an outgrowth of these meetings, three goals were developed for Academic Informatics Services:

  • Improve planning, prioritization and assistance of informatics support for both instruction and research.
  • Build on existing quality and improve on those areas that are inadequate.
  • Consolidate disparate IMS units into a single department, resulting in a coordinated critical mass whose primary responsibility is to the faculty and students.

A single unit will provide informatics support for both instruction and research, and the unit can more effectively compete for recurring and one-time funding. It will reduce administrative overhead by reallocating funds to informatics staff and equipment. It will also provide comprehensive support for instruction and research, which could be the basis for a Health Science Center Biomedical Informatics academic program.

To ensure these goals are achieved, a new faculty-based advisory group will be formed for guidance and counsel to Dr. Littlefield and York, who was selected president-elect of the Association of American Medical Collegesí Group on Information Resources (GIR) for 2000-2001. The GIR is a professional development group that brings together information technology leaders with interests spanning academic systems, clinical systems, health science libraries and educational technology.

AIS also will collaborate closely with the newly funded Bioinformatics Core Research facility, led by Dr. Susan Naylor, so that resources may be effectively consolidated and leveraged to improve informatics support for basic science, clinical and educational research.

Effective Sept. 1, all requests for service from AIS and from those units that now make up AIS should be directed to Dr. Littlefield at 7-2283 or