Minutes - October 2017

October 17, 2017

Members present: Brock Flynn, Judy Fredenberg, Frank Grady, John Greer, Aaron Heiner, Antony Jo, Roger Maclean, Colin Milton, Jesse Neidigh, Stella Phipps, Brad Reardon, Dawn Ressel, Matt Riley, Renae Scott, Laurie Slovarp

Members excused: Pope Ashworth

Members absent: Karen Moore, Jennifer Sauer

Ex-officio members and staff present:  Joe Hickman, Adrian Irish, Gordy Pace

Call to order

Antony Jo called the meeting to order at 3:32


Roger Maclean moved to approve the minutes. Stella Phipps seconded. Approved.


Introduction of new members

Brock Flynn, representing ASUM, is now an IT Senator. Laurie Slovarp, representing Faculty Senate, participated in her first IT Senate meeting through Zoom.

CIO update - Matt Riley

  • Matt reported that UM has been working toward getting back to baseline with Banner, and has just purchased the last hardware infrastructure for Banner. The next step will be to look at a cloud choice. 
  • Internet2 has developed a program to further opportunities for women in IT. Kayla Pierson from the IT web team received a scholarship into program where she’s learning skills around supporting research networks.
  • The IT accessibility team bid on an RFP to provide services for the University of Southern Oregon and will likely get the contract. It could be a model for shared services for accessibility across the state of Montana

Jess Neidigh reported the kickoff of the Office 365 project. Renae Scott will be the project owner while Dan Bowling from SAIT and Anna Martin from IT-EIS will co-manage the project.


OneIT update

Jesse Neidigh reported that the OneIT hosted an open campus forum and that initial recommendations have been available for the previous two weeks in IdeaScale for people to react to. The big themes include organizational structure and services consolidation, leadership and governance, training and development, quality of IT services, and hardware and software. A final report will be submitted to President Stearns by November 1.

Research computing progress report

Tiago Antao and Zach Rossmiller

Tiago reported that there is a lot of research computing going on in a way that IT was completely detached from a year ago. We have faculty who have research computing needs that they solve themselves. That’s problematic because they don’t have the technology knowledge to do that, so they hire tech people, which is economically inefficient. Each mini silo requires a level of administration and it’s risky to faculty and the University. The other problem is that hardware is under-utilized. There are a lot of opportunity to combine hardware together in ways that’s more efficient.

Zach said they are to get rid of closet data centers and move them to the modular data center (MDC). That’s entailed working to develop relationships. Six racks in MDC have been allocated for research computing, and we are now at 21 percent capacity for research. He added that there is some incredible research taking place that is supported by our data center.

Tiago said there is consideration for providing services in three areas: 1) system administration; 2) support for high-performance computing and programming; 3) central infrastructure that won’t be as expensive because of scale.

John Greer asked how many PIs are active in the MDC. Zach said that the Division of Biological Sciences has seven; Forestry has a few, and SELL. He said we need a correct recharge structure in place for grants. Tiago said the idea is for faculty to own hardware and put it in the facility.

Zach reported that IT has launched a data center website that showcases the MDC as well as virtual hosting opportunities. Tiago added that we are not yet saving on human resources, but have created a a better and safer environment.

IT Senate charge review

Antony opened the discussion about reviewing IT Senate’s role by pointing out that it has been largely an information-sharing forum, which has value, but it hasn’t done a lot of governance. The current charge of IT Senate is to help prioritize IT projects and to recommend IT strategic directions to the President’s cabinet.

Renae Scott shared that at a OneIT forum discussion around governance, someone recommended that that the CIO shouldn’t be a co-chair, but an ex-officio member, and have a central IT and a non-central IT person co-chairing the group. The CIO would be the conduit to the cabinet, giving the CIO the responsibility to report back from the cabinet. 

Jess said there was also a question about why this senate functions differently than other senates on campus, all of who have their chairs report directly to the cabinet. Antony pointed out that IT Senate has the name senate in its title, but it is different from the other senates.

John Greer suggested that it’s not that the charge needs to change. We just aren’t doing what the charge says. The question is why. He mentioned the Office 365 project mentioned earlier as an example, wondering why that wasn’t brought to IT Senate for priority evaluation. IT Senate is supposed to consider strategic directions and email is pretty strategic.

Antony suggested the possibility of using the IdeaScale platform for IT Senate. It’s a democratic and transparent way to evaluate ideas. It would be a way to get input from students.

Renae said she ran an IT governance group at her previous school and the whole idea was to allow central and distributed IT groups to plan for and allocate resources, and to prioritize projects and technology that were going to hit campus and make sure it aligns with the University’s strategic goals. It was also meant to help reduce the deploying of technology in silos.

Open forum

No comments.

Meeting adjourned at 5:00 p.m.

Minutes submitted by Gordy Pace