Minutes - December 2013

December 10, 2013

Members present: Matt Riley, Manu Saumuela, Jesse Neidigh, Tony Jablonkski, Mark Pershouse, John Greer, Eric Reimer, Sandi Nelson, Mark Grimes, Allen Szalda-Petree

Members excused: Mariah Williams, Erika Noble, Art Held, Judy Fredenberg, Roger Maclean, Loey Knapp

Members absent: Jennifer Sauer, Aaron Heiner

Ex-officio members and staff present: Joe Hickman, Antony Jo, Bob Hlynosky, Barb Seekins, Gordy Pace

Call to order

Matt Riley called the meeting to order at 3:32

Matt welcomed Bob Hlynosky from Business Services as a new ex-officio member of It Senate.


Mark Pershouse moved that minutes from the November 12th meeting be approved. Sandi Nelson seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.


UM minute – IT focus

  • John Greer reported that PaperCut made it through purchasing as a sole source. We will primarily be rolling it out for all students. Matt suggested that we need get communication out don't have competing printing solutions.
  • Joe Hickman reported that Provost Brown has said that 25 Live will be the only scheduling software for all academic units.
  • Jess Neidigh reported that wiring for wireless installation in the last of dorms will start next week. By the next time IT Senate meets, all halls should have convenience wireless. Matt said there was a lot of interest in that story across campus. We need to do a press release after the holidays.

Reports of standing committees and Tech Partners

Enterprise Applications committee

John Greer reported that there were no updates, but there will be at next meeting. In between, the committee has to get membership going, and start going over frameworks and ideas.
Matt suggested that since there's extra time between IT Senate meetings, hopefully we can land on some things that we want to bring through the governance process.

Architecture and Infrastructure committee

Tony Jablonski reported on two projects:

Wireless project – The committee is refining survey to run past students to identify pain points from their perspective, particularly with dense wireless. Also will get some opinions from faculty. The survey will be out early next semester.

TMU project (modular data center). Tony reported that the project was bogged down because of two issues. One was getting the state started on the process of selecting an engineer to oversee the project. The other slowdown was with the vendor. Because of an acquisition of the company we’re working with, the process stopped for some time. That is now moving forward, but it’s going to be a later go-live date than anticipated for the TMUs. Tony Still anticipates it get it done in first quarter of next fiscal year.

Mark Grimes asked about purpose of the TMUs. Tony said it will address a high-risk IT data center in the Liberal Arts building. Matt also pointed out that we have 23 data centers on campus and that it would be great to centralize a lot of that with space that is more efficient and robust. The TMU project will make an impact on that, but it’s not the end of the story. The TMUs takes the most critical things we maintain centrally and puts it in a state of the art facility. From sustainability standpoint, it's a great story Matt said. They are the most energy efficient data space available period. Our current situation is perhaps the worst in higher education for efficiency and vulnerability and this project will take us to one of the best. It also allows us to offer something to research computing.

Antony Jo asked if the LA space would be shut down. Tony said it would. Joe Hickman asked about location. Tony said the TMUs will be located where biomass facility was going to be, near the heating plant. That space makes sense because that's where everything comes into campus.

Communication and Collaboration committee

FY14 IT operational plan approval

Jesse Neidigh reported on behalf of Roger Maclean. 

Jess explained that the committee pulled the “FY13” designation from the operational plan and added an introductory paragraph. The responsibility column was also amended to make it clear that the committee or organization listed in that column was primarily responsible for assessment of the activity. Matt mentioned that some activities had “IT Senate define team” in the assessment column. We would put together team to investigate and perhaps do some activity he said.

Matt said that he hoped to adopt the plan at the meeting with the changes made. Tony Jablonski said he thought the committee hit the mark on making the corrections. He moved to adopt plan as is. John Greer seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Matt said he had shared the draft IT operational plan with VP council and was waiting for a response. At some point, he said, we will do a share at one of the spring cabinet meetings.

Mark Pershouse asked if it was okay to share the plan. Matt said yes. Jesse suggested that as people share the plan that they ask if people would be interested in helping in any capacity. 

Allen Szalda-Petree asked if progress on the plan would be tracked dynamically or if we would wait until May. He suggested that discussions might be more productive if we can show progress. Jess said the communications committee would look at a way to do that.

Tech Partners 

Antony Jo shared activity taking place through Tech Partners:

  • Dan Bowling in SAIT is leading a developers group to address web accessibility issues. The group meets monthly to 
share ideas and expertise.
  • Central IT is looking at the possibility of pooling campus resources to add Microsoft premium support.
  • The campus Microsoft volume licensing deadline coming up this month.  Jesse explained that some people on campus are considering pulling out of using Microsoft Project and replacing it with SmartSheet. Joe said the Registrar’s Office is looking at using Smart Sheet for course scheduling and catalog projects.
  • IT talked about LANDesk service desk rollout. They are a few weeks into the project, working on internal processes.
  • Authentication for wireless will be solely with NetID beginning sometime in January.


Ellucian assessment

Matt presented information about a proposed assessment of how UM uses Banner. He said the project has executive sponsorship from both the Provost and A&F vice president. We're at a point of where we need to plan timeline for 4-5 month process.

The Ellucian proposal looks to align our use of Banner with our UM 2020 plan.

Purposes of the assessment include aligning technology to processes and policies; realizing efficiency gains; redirect time saved to strategic initiatives; utilizing existing UM investments in Ellucian technologies; and collaboration on future planning.

There will be a four-step process under the categories assess, organize, prioritize, and implement. The process will kick off with web-based survey of a sampling of Banner users across campus. Matt asked for input on timing of that survey. Allen suggested that it be open a couple weeks before the start of spring semester.

Matt said the Ellucian assessment can be a 12-week engagement, but ours will be longer because of the calendar. Jesse asked about Banner governance and module priorities group. Matt said this would be the first chance to circle back and see where that fits with IT Senate and the Enterprise Applications committee. John Greer said he thought the concern was that Banner’s direction was overly focused on A&F and not other components. This Ellucian process might allow us to reprioritize. 

Degree Builder application

Joe Hickman presented the new Degree Builder application that was built by central IT. He said that Loey Knapp and IT has been doing a great service for academic fairs. The tool provides a way for departments to build degrees in a way that will result in a single source of data about degrees for catalog and websites. That single source of reliable data will be key in making a degree audit system—when we purchase one—plug and play.

The application has already been pilot tested by several departments and colleges. Now it’s been rolled out to campus. Loey is doing short courses to train people on building degrees. The goal is to get all departments done by the end of February so the Registrar’s Office can produce the catalog out of this system.

The application will have when courses offered as well so we can map schedules.

The tool has templates that help standardize degrees across the campus.  That is necessary to get to a degree audit system. There are 177 majors, minors, concentrations, options, certificates and other credentials to get through the process. We will do graduate programs after undergraduate is done.

Joe said that most degree audit systems are a combination degree audit and academic planner. His hope is to have one integrated system

Matt said that this project is an outstanding example of cooperation across campus. 

Joe reported that he is looking at revenue options that would allow his office to pay for degree audit over a period of about a year and a half.

Spring meeting dates

Senators agreed to continue meeting the second Tuesday of each month from 3:30-5:00. There will be five IT Senate meetings in the spring:

  • February 11
  • March 11
  • April 8
  • May 13
  • June 10

The meeting adjourned at 4:54 p.m.

Minutes submitted by Gordy Pace