Minutes - December 2012

December 13, 2012

Members present: Judy Fredenberg, John Greer, Mark Grimes, Aaron Heiner, Art Held, Tony Jablonski, Loey Knapp, Roger Maclean, Jesse Neidigh, Sandi Nelson, Erika Noble, Mark Pershouse, Manu Samuela, Jennifer Sauer, Allen Szalda-Petree

Members absent: Trent Oliver

Staff present:  Gordy Pace

Overview and expectations of IT Senate

CIO Loey Knapp explained that the IT Senate formed as part of last year’s campus-wide IT strategic planning process. Consultants who advised on the strategic plan expressed a need for a governance structure and worked with campus groups last spring to define that structure. The initial plan called for an IT Council, an IT Senate and IT directors identified for each sector with dotted line reporting to the CIO. President Engstrom determined that the IT Senate would report to the Cabinet through the CIO, rather than forming a separate IT Council.

Loey explained that the IT Senate is a campus-wide body comprised of IT and non-IT folks. It is a strategic committee that will take over IT strategic planning, identify initiatives to implement and assess how UM is doing against plans.

Previous IT governance initiatives have had little success, but Loey pointed to several factors that are different this time: 1) This is the first comprehensive IT governance structure that was designed by representatives from across campus, 2) it has buy-in and expectations from the Cabinet, and 3) IT is providing staff support

Loey pointed out that the IT Senate has been assigned responsibility for about 10 items in this year’s IT operating plan, but suggested that the group needed to agree on 3-5 specific goals that can be accomplished this year.

Roger Maclean asked if the IT Senate is an advisory group or a governing group. Jesse Neidigh suggested that it is an advisory group in that the cabinet makes final decisions. Loey said that the Senate will have some governing powers, although those powers are undefined right now.

Judy Fredenberg asked how decisions that are made would be operationalized. Loey said that tiger teams formed by the Senate would do much of that work. One example would be team that would come up with the criteria and process for purchasing enterprise software systems.

A question was raised about the budget authority of the Senate. Loey said that she has submitted a request for a technology fee increase to provide funding that the IT Senate could use for strategic projects.

There was concern raised about whether IT Senate decisions would be accepted by the Cabinet. Loey pointed out that the Senate has responsibility for assessment of IT, which is a part of the University’s accreditation process. Judy suggested that the Senate provides an opportunity for robust discussion, and that all decisions may not be accepted, but that she has hope for a system and process to advance IT in a cohesive way.

Loey said that other people would be invited to attend IT Senate meetings, including representatives from purchasing, legal and IT security.


Loey suggested that immediate tasks for the IT Senate include electing officers, constructing bylaws, determining priorities for spring semester actions, and starting communication processes internally for the Senate and externally to all of campus.

IT Senate chair

John Greer suggested that the CIO should be the chair of IT Senate. Judy pointed out that could present a potential conflict of interest. Jesse said that during early discussions about the IT Senate, one thought was that the CIO would not even be a voting member. Mark Grimes suggested that Loey should be the initial chair not as CIO, but simply as an IT representative. Art suggested that perhaps there should be an IT Senate chair for each semester, or for a six-month period to focus energy on specific initiatives.

There was consensus that Loey would be an excellent choice to chair the IT Senate for the first six months as the group works to become established, and agreement that if there was a concern about that arrangement when the new CIO started, the Senate would address it then.

Judy moved that Loey be IT Senate chair through June 30, 2013. Mark Grimes seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.

Bylaws and spring priorities

Loey called for volunteers to serve on a bylaws group and on a prioritization group.

Bylaws group volunteers: Roger Maclean, Tony Jablonski, Mark Pershouse and Gordy Pace

Prioritization group volunteers:  Sandi Nelson, Erika Noble, Mark Grimes, John Greer and Jesse Neidigh


Gordy will create an IT Senate website immediately where agendas, minutes and other information can be shared.

Next meeting

The IT Senate will meet again in early February with the preferred dates being Feb. 11 or 12. The agenda will include discussion of other officers and presentations by the bylaws and priorities groups. Those groups should provide written proposals to the Senate a week in advance of the next meeting.

Minutes submitted by Gordy Pace