Tambellini Group Spotlight


By Disrupting Through Collaboration, Leaders from UCLA and Temple University Win 2022 Tambellini Technology Leadership Awards

Irvington, Virginia – March 17, 2022 – Where others see formidable hurdles from administrative bureaucracy, the 7th annual Tambellini Technology Award winners find new opportunities to make remarkable progress by building coalitions to re-architect the way their institutional stakeholders work together to harness the power of technology.

Lucy Avetisyan, the CIO for the University of California, Los Angeles won the 2022 CIO Award, and the cross-departmental team at Temple University in Philadelphia, led by Registrar Bhavesh Bambhrolia, took top honors with the Innovative Team Award.

“We know that technology platforms and tools can only enable improvements when an institution’s people and processes are strategically aligned and committed to clear goals,” said Vicki Tambellini, CEO and Founder of Tambellini Group.

“I am proud of our award winners for their visionary leadership and success in building collaborative, long-term partnerships within and beyond their campuses to make impactful and positive changes by leveraging innovative technology.”

As the world’s leading independent technology research and advisory firm dedicated solely to higher education, Tambellini Group created the Technology Leadership Awards to celebrate IT teams and leaders for their excellence in driving transformative modernization efforts.

CIO Award Winner: Lucy Avetisyan, University of California, Los Angeles

When Lucy Avetisyan joined UCLA as CIO in 2020, she faced a tough yet common challenge: decades of distributed decision-making had led to a “lack of clear processes and defined criteria for choosing technology tools” to serve the university’s 46,000 students across 297 degree programs. With 47 separate IT units, only one-third of 950 IT staffers reported to the CIO’s office, and UCLA had been operating without a CIO for almost two years.

But in Avetisyan’s first six months, she conducted 28 listening sessions with 240 campus leaders. In less than two years, she restructured the university for the better with a new Executive IT Governance Board, IT Steering Committee, five domain-specific steering committees, and 32 strategic partners representing academic and administrative units.

With a transparent and equitable approach for vetting and funding technology, Avetisyan is determined to build consensus across a vast organization of disparate stakeholders to ensure that every technology investment meets consistent accessibility, privacy, and data security standards. 

“I’m humbled and honored to receive this award and have a platform to share my passion for higher education, along with the message that our people are our greatest asset,” said Avetisyan. “I hope to continue creating a space for them to become the best versions of themselves and find joy in serving the UCLA mission, and that our efforts help to inspire my fellow technology leaders facing similar hurdles.”

Avetisyan ambitious five-year “Digital Campus Road Map,” was finalized in January 2022. The road map outlines six pillars and 28 initiatives to strengthen her institution’s technology foundation and advance UCLA’s mission. Though she stresses there is still much more work ahead, her strategy has already yielded tangible results, including:

  • Campus-Wide Learning Management System: In fall 2021, UCLA implemented Canvas as its single LMS system, along with an ecosystem of learning technology tools to enable a world-class inclusive and integrated teaching and learning experience. In the most recent Winter 2021 semester, the system hosted 2,200 course sites for 39,000+ students and 2,100 instructors.
  • Unified Strategic Communications: UCLA transitioned from an outdated home-grown HTML tool with various distribution lists to a streamlined cloud-based communications platform, Salesforce Marketing Cloud. This transition enabled more effective communication with the entire UCLA community, reducing the time it took to send out time-sensitive communications from hours to minutes, and providing real-time insights to enhance community engagement.

Innovative Technology Team Award: Temple University

While Temple University’s students had previously considered their campus registrar a roadblock, that all changed once University Registrar Bhavesh Bambhrolia convened a “Jedi Council” cross-departmental team that broke down administrative siloes and transformed the office into an automated engine of user-friendly efficiency.

“The challenge in higher education is that there’s a bureaucracy where what we do is often governed by regulatory requirements, but they don’t dictate how we do it,” says Bambhrolia.  “We are privileged to receive this award because it’s a testament to our team’s dedication and commitment to enabling student success.” 

As the gatekeeper in verifying students’ identity and protecting their data, the registrar’s office has a touchpoint in every important milestone and decision students make: official requests for transcripts, registering for courses, issuing diplomas, changing majors, and even paying tuition. But those touchpoints can also cause significant bottlenecks.

Through their Project Stella initiative—named for Temple University’s mascot—Bambhrolia and his team developed and deployed over 40 task-specific bots and revamped their public website for self-service with 20 portal features, removing redundancies and eliminating the in-person intake of more than 45,000 pages of documents annually across Temple’s 17 schools and 44,000 students.

By transitioning to a verified customer model and countless other innovations, Bambhrolia and team:

  • Implemented digital diplomas using Parchment and reduced diploma issuance from 6 to 2 weeks per graduation cycle.
  • Automated 44,000 annual transcript requests, 11,000 change of major requests, and 100% of degree and enrollment verification letter requests.
  • Exceeded their goal of earning 80%+ satisfaction ratings from students for transcript services.

Temple’s team continues to raise the bar with 60+ enhancements to existing features in the works and the recent successful launch of an industry-leading comprehensive learner record.

About the Tambellini Group

The Tambellini Group is the leading independent technology research, analyst, and advisory firm dedicated exclusively to higher education.​ Tambellini Group members benefit from more than 100 unbiased research reports every year that provide insight and analysis on the changing higher ed technology landscape. With over 20,100 global institutions and more than 84,000 technology selections, the Tambellini Group’s proprietary Education Institution Technology Profile Database® is unparalleled in the industry. Founded in 2001, Tambellini Group is a woman-owned business and a certified Great Places to Work® company for 2021–2022.

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