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25 Years of the Center for Technology in Government at the University at Albany Share your memories by e-mailing brmeyers@ctg.albany.edu

What is CTG UAlbany?

CTG UAlbany – formerly the Center for Technology in Government at the University at Albany – works with governments worldwide transforming public service through innovations in technology, policy and management.

A research institute at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Albany, CTG UAlbany was established in 1993 to pursue new ways to use technology to address practical problems of information management and service delivery in government.

In pursuit of this goal, CTG UAlbany collaborates with hundreds of domestic and international researchers on projects to understand and apply emerging technologies.

At the same time, CTG UAlbany works with scores of local, state, federal, and international government bodies as trusted advisors and facilitators to address societal challenges.

Academically, CTG UAlbany develops and teaches undergraduate and graduate courses, while also involving students in our applied research projects through assistantships and internships. CTG UAlbany staff have guided dozens of masters and doctoral students through their degree programs. Those students often go on to apply the insights gained through their work with CTG UAlbany and University at Albany in their careers.

Some of our recent work has advanced both research and practice in open data visualizations, smart cities, data strategy and management, shared services and regional information sharing networks.

As part of our commitment to translating our cutting edge research to practice, CTG UAlbany shares its expertise with governments and the research community through training, advising, and leadership roles in academic conferences and journals.

“[CTG] is one of the leading research institutions studying technology adoption by governments around the world and continues to push the envelope on how best to integrate technology and public policy towards a new frontier in openness and government accountability.” – Kirsten Gillibrand, United States Senator for New York

The Early Days (1993-2000)

In 1993, then New York Governor Mario Cuomo facilitated the creation of CTG UAlbany, "to pursue new ways of applying technology directly to the practical problems of information management and service delivery in government."

Sharon Dawes is the first director of CTG UAlbany.

CTG UAlbany was a first-of-its-kind innovative model of public-private partnerships where government, academia, and the corporate community work together to solve complex problems facing society.

"The vehicle title process at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) can be improved with document imaging technology...The project re-engineered the Department's vehicle title process by using document imaging and work flow management systems to cut a 20 step process in half, increase employee productivity, and improve data and service quality...'the project at CTG gave us 20-20 foresight,' said DMV Commissioner Patricia Adduci..." - First CTG UAlbany press release (1995)
The Center for Technology in Government at the University at Albany (CTG UAlbany) was established in 1993 to pursue new ways to use technology to address practical problems of information management and service delivery in government.
First CTG UAlbany logo

1995 - Sharon Dawe's presented the Center for Technology in Government to the Innovations in American Government National Selection Committee at the Harvard Ash Center. CTG UAlbany was a finalist for the honor and...

...the Center for Technology in Government won the Innovations in American Government Award. The program is part of the Ford Foundation and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Dawes accepts the honor with former Vice President Al Gore.
Current CTG UAlbany Director Theresa Pardo in action in 1995.
"Governor [George] Pataki launched the New York State Home Page in December 1995. Since then, the Center for Technology in Government has been guiding several New York agencies through the process of developing their own Web sites. On June 20, 1996, the Center [hosted] the "Internet Testbed" project...Seven agencies, including Empire State Development, the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee, Hamilton County, the Division of Housing and Community Renewal, the Division of Military and Naval Affairs, the Office of Real Property Services, and the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services [were] on hand to describe their participation in the project." - June 1996 press release

Sept. 1999 - CTG receives its biggest award since its inception in the form of a $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation to, "knowledge networking in the public sector, taking into account the variety of relationships, policies, information, processes, and technology tools organizations use to achieve collective goals."

"We're excited to embark on this investigation into the rapidly-expanding field of knowledge networks and especially pleased that NSF has recognized the importance of information sharing in the public sector. We're honored to have such a prestigious research organization recognize the value, quality, and impact of our work." - Center Director Sharon S. Dawes said of the $1 Million grant and related study in Sept. 1999.
In the wake of events like the Columbine High School Shooting, CTG UAlbany used a grant from the United States Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs in April 2000 to participate in a nationwide integrated justice technology effort. CTG developed a comprehensive guide, "And Justice for All: Designing Your Business Case for Integrating Justice Information," to help justice officials gain the necessary support and funding to make integrated information systems a reality.

The 21st Century (2001-08)

June 2001 - CTG releases its first First E-Government tool in the 20-page guidebook, "Untangle the Web: Delivering Municipal Services Through the Internet." The guidebook was created to help county and municipal government officials understand ways of doing business on the Internet. The guide contained practical lessons, advice, and Web page samples. The book drew on the experiences of public officials in the cities of Albany, Oneonta, and Saratoga Springs; the towns of Bethlehem, Colonie, and Queensbury; and the counties of Allegany, Montgomery, Orleans, Rockland, and Schoharie.

Research Director J. Ramon Gil-Garcia in action in 2003.

May 2002 - CTG UAlbany Launches e-Gov FirstStop (a Web-based e-Government Resource a Knowledge-Sharing Partnership)

"Readily accessible and high quality resources on e-government topics are high on the government manager's wish list. We are confident that e-Gov FirstStop will be a valuable resource for individuals at all levels of government. It provides the capability to be one click away from selected and practical advice on e-government issues." - Sharon Dawes about FirstStop
After terror attacks in Sept. 2001 and the Washington Sniper attacks in Oct. 2002, CTG UAlbany is tapped by the U.S. Department of Justice to develop a capability assessment model based on best practices in information sharing across justice agencies in Jan. 2003. The model will help justice agencies gauge their readiness to implement information sharing and integration initiatives.

April 2004 - CTG UAlbany publishes, "Making Smart IT Choices: Understanding Value and Risk in Government IT Investments."

"Why evaluate information technology (IT) choices? Because IT innovation is risky business in every organization...There are three ways to mitigate the risks inherent in these complex decisions: thoroughly understand the problem to be solved and its context, identify and test possible solutions to the problem, evaluate the results of those tests against your service and performance goals." from Making Smart IT Choices... April 2004.

June 2004 - CTG UAlbany published, "Information, Technology, and Coordination: Lessons from the World Trade Center Response." In it the center stresses the importance of educating policy makers about the benefits and limitations of information technology and developing a comprehensive plan for business continuity during times of crisis.

August 2004 - "Return on Investment In Information Technology: A Guide for Managers" is published. This guide is designed to help public sector managers better understand how a return on investment (ROI) analysis can take some of that risk out of their next IT investment.

Nov. 2004 - "Return on Investment in Information Technology: A Guide for Managers," is published and sets a practical guide still used by officials all over the world for guidance.

"Most new government IT projects require a return on investment (ROI) analysis before they get that needed line item in the budget. Unfortunately, there aren't a lot of models out there that show public sector managers where or how to begin that analysis. That's why we put this guidebook together," - Former Deputy CTG UAlbany Director Anthony Cresswell about the guide.
Logo circa 2005

Oct. 2005 - CTG UAlbany receives another $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Digital Research Program (DG) to build and sustain an international digital government research community of practice. CTG UAlbany creates opportunities and venues for international research discussions and enable U.S. researchers and educators to advance their work through international collaboration.

"The Center for Technology in Government is broadening the reach of UAlbany by pursuing exciting international opportunities to address digital government from a global perspective. By fostering collaborative partnerships, CTG will be expanding the knowledge base of researchers and creating an important new community of practice. We are grateful that the National Science Foundation has acknowledged the leadership of CTG in the international research community." - Former UAlbany President President Kermit L. Hall in Oct. 2005

Oct. 2006 - "Advancing Return on Investment Analysis for Government IT: A Public Value Framework," is published. The report analysed process from a high level view of the IT investment and then drilled down through to identify specific measures and methods that reveal and document public value.

Dec. 2006 - CTG UAlbany publishes, "New York State Information Technology Workforce Skills Assessment Statewide Survey Results." CTG helped design and administer two surveys. This report provided key findings of the IT workforce skills assessment surveys administered during March and April 2006; involving nearly 5,000 IT professionals employed in state agencies, authorities, and boards.

Continued growth (2009-13)

June 2009 - Theresa Pardo is named the director of the Center for Technology in Government. Pardo, a UAlbany alum, served as deputy director since 2002.

CTG UAlbany is all about promoting and building the international expert and academic community specializing in government ICT adoption. This helps to change world governments to be more adaptive and modern. CTG UAlbany is a place where every person can participate, express opinions and learn a lot! - Evgeny Styrin, Senior Research Analyst, Institute for Public and Municipal Administration, Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Visiting Scholar 2009

Oct. 2009 - CTG UAlbany releases a report summarizing the results of a national survey of cross-boundary information sharing in the public sector. The national survey and the findings are the result of U.S. National Science Foundation funding that began in 2002. The survey of over 700 government professionals from criminal justice and public health agencies at the local and state levels from across the 50 states dives into the clarity of roles and responsibilities; knowledge of organizational policies and information needs; informal problem solving; and information confidentiality, security, privacy, and disclosure concerns.

“The identification of a consistent set of factors and the understanding of how they interact to influence cross-boundary information initiatives will provide practitioners from around the world with important knowledge necessary to increase government’s performance, accountability, and transparency,” -Brian Burke, then a senior program associate, about the report, Oct. 2009.
May 2010 - CTG UAlbany releases its latest new resource for government practitioners. This time the center focuses on guidance for developing social media policy. The guide, "Designing Social Media Policy for Government: Eight Essential Elements," helps governments as they work to understand the necessary components of a social media policy. The guide is part of a larger project focused on government use of social media tools.

March 2011 - Former director Sharon Dawes, now a senior fellow, is named Chair of the Advisory Board for the United Nations University-International Institute for Software Technology. UNU-IIST, located in Macao, is one of the Research and Training Centers of the United Nations University, an independent UN agency.

During my time at CTG I felt very confortably as an academic and in personal terms. Then, I had the feeling of being part of a nice family , at the same time that I found out great academics and helpful people for my research interests. I wish CTG another 25 years of successful collaboration around the Globe, during a period in which emerging and smart technologies will continue driving innovation in society, politics, and government. - Criado Ignacio, Postdoctoral visiting scholar, 2011; Research fellow, since 2016

April 2012 - Published first in 2000 and revised in 2002, "Opening Gateways: A Practical Guide for Designing Information Access Programs" is re-released.

"...develop affordable, manageable, and effective information access programs. Given the changing technological and social environment, the type of planning processes facilitated by this Guide are more relevant than ever..." - April 2012 Opening Gateways guide.

Oct. 2012 - ICEGOV 2012 - With over 360 participants from over 60 countries, the fifth annual Conference on Theory and Practice of Electronic Governance (ICEGOV) was one of the biggest in the history of the Conference.

Established in 2007 by the United Nations University, ICEGOV brings together a unique blend of practitioners, developers and researchers from government, academia, industry, non-governmental organizations from the developed and developing world and UN organizations.

One of the most important moments in the history of CTG UAlbany, to me, was when we hosted ICEGOV in 2012. It put CTG UAlbany in the international spotlight. It was a long way from when I started at CTG. I was tracking and coordinating the printing of many publications of the results from the projects at the time. This was for our showcase every year...creating, printing and mailing of the Annual Report. - Paula Rickert, Assistant Business Manager, CTG UAlbany

April 2013 - J. Ramon Gil-Garcia is named CTG UAlbany's research director following an international search that attracted top candidates in the field of digital government research and practice.

Recently... (2014-2018)

March 2014 - In partnership with the State of New York, CTG UAlbany leads the collaborative workshop, "Shaping Open NY: Visioning a New Transparency Hub." The goal was to develop strategies to take the State’s Open NY program to the next level. Open NY was initiated by Governor Andrew Cuomo in 2013 to create, “unprecedented transparency across all levels of government.”

LEFT: Andrew Nicklin, Director, Open NY giving opening remarks at the workshop. RIGHT: Andrew Hoppin, CEO of NUAMS, reporting out from one of the small group brainstorming sessions.
Jan. 2015 - Supported by Institute of Museum and Library Services, CTG UAlbany release "Enabling Open Government for All: A Roadmap for Public Libraries," which addresses growing questions about how “open government” is influencing, and possibly transforming, the role of public libraries in their communities.
Logo circa 2014

Oct. 2016 - Theresa Pardo is the first woman to be named the Chair of the country of Oman's E-Government Award Jury. The jury recognizes government agencies and other organizations that are increasing productivity and improving public service in Oman by successfully innovating with technology.

Jan. 2018 - Working with New York State's Department of Health, CTG UAlbany completes a “Data Visualization-Ready” framework to help New Yorkers make better health insurance decisions. The CTG UAlbany team makes data about the quality of health insurance plans more accessible to the citizens of NYS through the use of visualizations, and demonstrated visualizations' adaptability across data sets, years, situations, and users – without requiring complete re-development efforts.

April 2018 - Theresa Pardo presented research awards, two of her own research papers and chaired three sessions at the 11th Conference on Theory and Practice of Electronic Governance (ICEGOV) in Galway, Ireland. Most notably, Pardo was Chair and moderator of an open dialogue about the future of the UN’s E-Government Readiness Report. The keynote speech and panel session features UN Chief of E-Government Vincenzo Aquaro.

Pardo moderating at ICEGOV 11th annual conference.

Looking to the Future (2019-...)

While we look back, we have also been planning an exciting new future. The central administration at the University at Albany has recently committed to “promote” the Center, if you will, into a full research institute. This new designation presents opportunities to expand our research, areas of expertise, and also update the identity we present to the world. Therefore, starting in January 2019, we will be known as “CTG at UAlbany.” Even with a new status and name, what will not change, what will never change, is our dedication to improving government and public service through innovations in technology, policy, and management for years to come. - Theresa Pardo, CTG UAlbany Director
Since our inception many organizations have emerged stating that they "transform government" but we are dedicated to working with government ( not for them) and really helping them as they make IT and data related investments. Our goal is to support them in their decision making. I think there will always be a future for an organization that listens and responds. - Meghan Cook, CTG UAlbany Program Director

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