Kurt Bartelmehs had an idea. Through a casual conversation, the technology integration specialist became aware of a plan to renovate the UT Police Department’s Dispatch and Emergency Operations Center. Bartelmehs, whose official title is assistant vice president of research, suggested redesigning the space to integrate technology into the plans more thoroughly and efficiently. His efforts saved money on design, installation fees and equipment.
“Kurt took the old 10’x10′ dispatch center’s ‘spaghetti’ of wires and machines and turned it into a state-of-the-art dispatch center. It saved our department over $250,000,” said Robert Dahlstrom, chief of police.
President William Powers Jr., today announced an initiative to promote similar resourcefulness among faculty and staff. The Ideas of Texas is an interactive Web site intended to stimulate creative problem solving at the university.
“In these challenging times, when we must do more with fewer resources, sharing good ideas is invaluable,” Powers said. “Our community includes some of the world’s most gifted, innovative and dedicated employees. I look forward to recognizing — and celebrating — the ideas that come out of this process.”
All university employees are eligible to submit ideas to The Ideas of Texas Web site, which allows faculty and staff to review, comment on and vote ideas up or down. Ideas will be ranked according to reviews and voting. At the end of each semester, the president and representatives from the colleges and units will evaluate top ideas. The Ideas team will respond to all ideas, and the best ideas will be implemented, if feasible. If they aren’t, the Ideas team will explain why.
Because the site is being introduced late in the semester, ideas submitted in 2009 will be considered throughout the spring semester. Even if an idea isn’t ranked among the top ideas, it could be implemented if it proves to be beneficial to the university. Powers will acknowledge implemented ideas at the end of the 2009-10 academic year.
What kind of ideas should be submitted?
“We’re looking for ideas that improve campus life, teaching and research, energy conservation and productivity,” said Geoff Leavenworth, special assistant to the president, whose office will manage the site.
Faculty and staff with a UT EID and password can access The Ideas of Texas Web site. Provisions have been made to assist employees who do not have access to computers or who do not speak English as their primary language.
The Ideas of Texas makes it possible for all faculty and staff members to make a difference with an innovative idea. A sister Web site of The Ideas of Texas will be introduced in the months ahead for students, alumni and friends of the university.