COVID-19-related innovations in technology land Curtis A. Carver Jr., Ph.D., among Alabama’s most important leaders.
Written by: Kerry Bean
Media contact: Alicia Rohan
After a year of technology projects designed to combat COVID and improve student success amid the pandemic, UAB Vice President and Director of Information Curtis A. Carver Jr., PhD, today received the award at the AlabamaCIO’s 2021 leadership.
The award was presented during the OIO’s annual ORBIE Awards ceremony in Alabama, organized by the organization on June 4, which honors top statewide technology leaders. Carver is one of only two educational CIOs to have received the Leadership Award, as well as one of only two CIOs to have won an ORBIE in two different states (Alabama and Georgia) in the 23-year history of the awards. The award comes after UAB IT was named the winner of the CIO 100 2021, which places the university among companies, including Adobe, Charles Schwab and GE.
“Curt is an industry leader that has transformed UAB’s information technologies to consistently provide more and better services to our students, faculty and staff,” said UAB President Ray L. Watts. “But that’s not where Curt’s approach to maximizing the positive impact of the knowledge and experience he and his team offer comes from. There’s no bigger example than when he rolled up his sleeves to help the city, l ‘state and nation to get COVID-19, a job that really saved lives and livelihoods.’
Since March 2020, Carver’s team has been dedicated to COVID-related innovations that affected not only the UAB campus, but the state and the nation. UAB’s information technology led the development of the GuideSafe ™ COVID exhibition notification application using Google and Apple technology, which allowed Alabama to be one of the first states to deploy this application, and the only state that used a patent-pending automated positive test verification tool. which simplified the work for the Alabama Department of Public Health.
UAB IT also built the computer system for COVID reintroduction tests for college students statewide and participated in the Healthcheck symptom survey and passport application used in Alabama.
While UAB IT focused on technology to help combat COVID, the team also focused on ways to pivot successfully, from face-to-face work to hybrid and remote classes. Carver accredited his team to UAB IT as well as strategic partners from across campus for last year’s successes.
“Our work in 2020 has taken us at least five years ahead in terms of technology,” Carver said. “None of this would have been possible without laying the foundations in recent years for a strong technological ecosystem at the UAB.”
With a strong technology infrastructure built by Carver’s team over the past five years, the UAB used the CARES Act funding to invest in improvements, including cameras and other technologies in the classroom, to allow instructors to disseminate and record courses for to remote students; Wi-Fi hotspots in UAB car parks and a free statewide Wi-Fi map to extend Internet access not only to students and campus employees, but also to students throughout Alabama; and occupancy sensors to create safe and socially remote study spaces in campus buildings, along with a control panel to measure capacity.
“Student success is crucial to our success,” Carver said.
In early 2021, UAB IT and Student Affairs also deployed a mental health app for students, UAB B Well, which has since expanded to include employees. The application was the result of a request from students whose pandemic suffered mental health.
And as students and employees return to campus, UAB IT is not slowing down in any way.
“In IT, we are not just running servers; our job is to be agents of innovation, “Carver said.” Every year, our goal is to achieve at least 100 technology victories for the campus; in 2020, we exceeded 140. We will never stop striving to improve the life of our customers in a significant way ”.