Mely Tynan named new CCIT head

By Joseph Altman Jr.

Arizona Daily Wildcat

The UA's sector of cyberspace is now under new command.

Mely Tynan was named the associate vice provost for Information Systems and Technology effective Jan. 1, making her head of the Center for Computing and Information Technology.

Formerly the executive director for CCIT's transition team, Tynan said she is planning to continue transforming CCIT from a single source of technology to a catalyst for departments on campus to become connected to information and computer technology.

"We need to move away from CCIT as the single monolithic source of technology," Tynan said. "(CCIT's) role is as a primary source, a facilitator, a catalyst so all of the pieces can fit together and work to support a robust, reliable campus network."

This philosophy is what made Tynan the ideal choice for the job, said Greg Andrews, computer science professor and member of the UA information planning team. Members of the planning team were consulted by Vice Provost Martha Gilliland before she selected Tynan.

"CCIT was very slow in the early '90s to recognize that they weren't the central provider and that the large part of the action was happening elsewhere. Mely came in that context," Andrews said.

New features such as on-line information kiosks in the Student Union and expanded availability of student e-mail accounts are some of the things CCIT is working on to allow "access to information anytime and anywhere," Tynan said.

That access is incredibly important, Andrews said. "They (students) can look through this World Wide Web of information. Mely has really been a strong advocate of that kind of service expansion for the campus."

"Learning is about information exchange," Tynan said. "The nature of learning is so fast, interactive, very dynamic."

The exchange of information will be easier after CCIT increases campus e-mail capacity and works on residence hall connectivity this semester, Tynan said.

"Students' access to information is a very critical part to prepare students for the 20th century," Tynan said. "This is a very exciting time for information technology."

The next step for CCIT's advancement in information exchange will be the opening of the university's multimedia and visualization lab on Jan. 31. The new facility provides audio/visual effects to create multimedia presentations that can be used for teaching, learning and research.

With Tynan's appointment, her position has also been upgraded to the vice provost level, placing her on Provost Paul Sypherd's planning team.

Larry Rapagnani, who held the Information Systems and Technology position until last February, left after saying the UA was not committed enough to upgrading information technology.

Tynan said she has not seen the administration support technology as much in the past as it has currently, citing a study by the information planning team which was completed last June. That study resulted in a $4.5 million decision package for new learning technologies, she said.

Tynan said Sypherd has supported an instructional computing allocation grant program with $2 million in funding for open access labs and department support, and there are plans to build an instructional technology facility as well.

Tynan has been at the UA since 1982, when she was hired as a computer documentation specialist. Her new position will pay $92,200 per year.

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