The proof is in the spending

A good school treats learning as a journey. At Appleby College in Oakville, Ont., Kevin Pashuk has ensured that IT is one of the vehicles that takes students where they need to go.

Pashuk was named IT Leader of the Year in the SME division at the recent ComputerWorld Canada IT Leadership Awards.
Pashuk has been working with a variety of vendors to replace the aging infrastructure which supports an organization that teaches young men and women in Grades 7 through 12. More important, perhaps, has been Pashuk’s success in making technology an integral part of the school’s institutional strategic plan. 

“IT works closely with the academic leadership to determine new tools and technologies that can assist in the curriculum. IT is invited to curriculum planning sessions and departmental meetings to not only create awareness of new tools, but to allow the academics to ‘tell their story’ of what learning could look like.” Pashuk wrote in his submission. “’Wouldn’t it be neat if we could . . .’ statements quite often describe the outcome, rather than the technology used to support it. Our role has changed. To the line of business owners we are not technology providers, but the group that “helps make our visions come true.”

The proof is in the spending: At a time when almost every IT department is seeing major cuts or at best flat budgets, Pashuk has managed to earn an approximately 25 per cent increase in his operating budget on a go-forward basis. He’ll be using that to improve Internet availability, system performance and the ability to integrate new media into curriculum effectively, as well as the ability to manage bandwidth for educational purposes.

The first phase of the multi-phase project included core and edge network switches, high performance wireless infrastructure, server virtualization, new SAN and backup systems. Network management and security tools was implemented during the summer of 2010. His work around a videoconferencing system, meanwhile, was recently profiled in our sister publication, Network World Canada.

Pashuk is mindful of the fact that Appleby is a private school and that the outcome of their education is the “product” his organization is offering. According to his vendor partners, the breadth of his planned upgrades has never been undertaken at this level by an independent school.

“Our students come from 32 different countries and parents are highly engaged in their children’s educational experience. There is much written about the flat world, and as such today’s graduates need more than academic rigor (although that is important too),” he said. “They will graduate in a globally competitive marketplace and the infrastructure platform we are implementing will allow Appleby to create the learning environment that develops critical skills and competencies in our students.”


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