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Penn Computing Model

Computing is inseparable from Penn's mission and touches every member of the University community. In Penn's highly decentralized environment, the Penn Computing Model leverages the University's resources and governs how information technology services and support are supplied to the University community. The model encourages collaboration for the common good, even as it values organizational self-reliance, and focuses action at the University level on issues of campus-wide importance to Penn. IT leaders, computing organizations, and process teams come together from across the University to do Penn's business together.

At the center of the Penn Computing Model is the user, representing each student, faculty, or staff member at Penn. Each user has a computing "home," which serves as a single point of contact for local services and support. A computing "home" can be a school, center, or residence.

Local services
Schools and centers are responsible for the frontline support of their own members, delivering local services and support to address their unique needs. Their primary focus is on academic computing and direct support of research and instruction. Local support can consist of everything from questions about using email lists for students to new tools for teaching that use the campus network.

Central services
ISC supplements the computing support services offered by Penn's 12 schools and provides a computing infrastructure of strategic campus-wide services shared by academic, research, and administrative systems. The campus network connects virtually all of the approximately 180 buildings (including student residences), and provides Internet connectivity to the entire community, as well as Intenet2 connections for the research community. Technology and security standards provide the broad foundation for our intranet, internet, business applications, and information access. Other targeted services, supplied to local providers of computing support include second tier support that ranges from maintaining Penn’s desktop standards and supported products to addressing specific issues of interest to staff. ISC also oversees most of the administrative systems at Penn that use Penn's central repository of data. Administrative systems are those used by all centers and the 12 schools in support of academic, business/financial, and research administration.

ISC brokers support and facilitates the communication (through committees, advisory groups, user groups, and other channels) that allows Penn’s distributed model for computing to work effectively. ISC works with colleagues in schools and centers, collaborating with academic, administrative, and IT leaders, to explore areas of strategic interest, address campus-wide computing needs, and set priorities for IT investment.

Related Links
Penn's Computing Structure
Penn's structure for delivering IT services across the University
Archived Content
Penn's approach to computing developed in 1996 and revised in 1999

Information Systems and Computing
University of Pennsylvania
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