Minutes - September 2013

September 10, 2013

Members present: Matt Riley, Manu Samuela, Roger Maclean, Jesse Neidigh, Judy Fredenberg, Tony Jablonkski, Art Held, Mark Grimes, Eric Reimer, Loey Knapp, Mark Pershouse, Erika Noble, Sandi Nelson, Barb Seekins

Members excused: John Greer, Claudia, Allen Szalda-Petree, Aaron Heiner

Members absent: Jennifer Sauer

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

Call to order

Matt Riley called the meeting to order at 3:33

Opening remarks

Matt Riley welcomed new member Joe Hickman, interim Registrar.

He also asked for a motion to formalize a decision made last spring to keep Loey Knapp on the IT Senate as a CIO appointee. Erika Noble made the motion. Tony Jablonski seconded. The motion carried with no objections.

Matt raised the issue of faculty representation on the IT Senate for future consideration, suggesting that if the IT Senate needed to grow in the future, more faculty representation might be appropriate.


Jesse Neidigh moved that minutes from the May 7th meeting be approved. Roger Maclean seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

UM minute – IT focus

Matt introduced the idea, championed by President Engstrom, of beginning the meeting with a UM minute with an IT focus. The idea is to briefly share good news happening on campus related to IT. Loey Knapp reported that UM has received a $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to improve network infrastructure in campus buildings. The grant proposal was a collaborative effort by multiple departments. The improvements will help researchers with big-data projects.

Election of chair-elect

Matt pointed out that in following IT Senate bylaws required election of a chair-elect. The chair elect will chair IT Senate next year and work with the chair throughout this year.

Matt called for nominations. Loey Knapp asked if Mark Pershouse would be interested. Judy Fredenberg endorsed it being a faculty representative. Loey nominated Mark and Judy seconded the nomination. There were no other nominations. The motion passed unanimously.

Charge to the IT Senate

Matt thought it was important to revisit the charge to the IT Senate at the start of the new academic year. IT Senate provides a forum for initiation, evaluation, and prioritization of strategic initiatives, and recommends IT strategic directions to the President and cabinet.


Matt reported some progress with committees during the summer, but there is more to be done. The infrastructure group that Tony is leading made progress last year and has some tangible things on tap, including the technology modular units (data center). During the summer, the communications committee met about how to handle communications.

Enterprise Applications Committee

Another committee that needs to be formed is the enterprise applications committee. There was some notion that John Greer would be the chair of that committee. Matt said that John was willing to lead that group and asked the Senate to formalize that.

Matt pointed out that the enterprise applications group will need to test some of those things that we might see as shared IT services across campus, consider new applications and maybe look at some other models that are more mature. He would like the group to have an on-going process for evaluating what we have for the campus, how services are retired and how we innovate to use resources wisely. It needs to be an active group.

Loey pointed out that the original thought for the enterprise committee was that it would look at criteria for purchase or development of new software so we wouldn’t have duplication of systems. Matt recommended considering some models that are out there. He suggested looking to a recently developed University of Michigan IT governance model for how a purchasing process should work. That should be the committee’s first priority.

There was consensus on the nomination of John Greer as chair of the enterprise applications committee. The rest of the committee membership is up for discussion. Erika Noble would like a Student Computer Fee Committee member on committee. Roger recommended that Business Services rep was essential to committee. Matt pointed out that Ian Robbins from purchasing has declined to serve on IT Senate this year. Roger suggested waiting for the new Business Services director and invite them to participate.

Communications committee update

Roger Maclean said the communications committee will look at how IT Senate communicates issues and updates. The IT operational plan is a place to start. We need to communicate what’s been accomplished and what’s in process. It’s important to show that progress is being made across the campus and with affiliates and everyone who has a stake in the IT enterprise.

Other proposed committees

Matt addressed proposed IT Senate committees that have not yet been formed. He suggested that we could eliminate the Banner priorities committee and elevate that discussion to the enterprise applications committee. Matt proposed not addressing the academic computing committee at this time. There is a research computing group that has gotten together twice to discuss shared needs. The group has IT representation in Matt and Loey. Matt suggested this group could serve as the IT Senate research computing committee. Matt asked Judy Fredenberg if she would have an interest in leading the committee. Judy said she does have an interest even though her position is within the support capacity of sponsored programs, not directly with the VP of research.

Loey circled back to the academic computing committee and pointed out that there is an ad hoc committee looking at academic planner and degree audit. She suggested that the group could be formalized as an IT Senate committee. Matt said that is a possibility, but it needs more thought before we solidify that.

Matt also suggested leaving the proposed user support committee on the list, but not pursue formation of that committee right now.

Tech Partners report

Antony Jo, representing Tech Partners, shared some of the discussion topics being addressed by the group, including:

  • A campus printing solution – PaperCut brought up with SCF funding
  • Read/Write Gold, which is software that helps students with accessibility issues. You feed it a document and it will read it.
  • Coordination of bulk purchasing from vendors through the bookstore in order to get better discounts
  • Wireless issues on campus, including some current issues with authentication

Loey talked about the new model for Tech Partners. It used to be mostly central IT people talking about what they were doing. Now it’s run by a leadership group. Loey asked if that approach had made a difference. Antony thinks there is more participation and people are more willing to work together. Judy said she’s on the listserve and said that she senses a lot more collaboration and camaraderie. It’s a valuable resource just to be on the list.

Antony said a change in board members will be coming soon.

Matt said it would be wise for the IT Senate to consider Tech Partners as a resource for questions we might have, or what is the interest or technical challenges in approaching a change.

It was suggested that there should be a Tech Partners’ report every meeting. Senators agreed and a standing invitation was extended to Tech Partners.

Operating plan update

Matt pointed out that last year we had an operating plan that was successful, and provided a lot to assess at the end of the year. The communications committee proposes updating the operating plan and then showing it to the IT Senate for feedback. Matt asked if the Senate was in favor of that approach.

Art Held suggested that putting together an operating plan required some discussion about priorities in advance so we could apply those to the plan. Matt said the communications committee could take the first shot at it and then have the discussion with the Senate about priorities.

Matt reported that Eric Tangedahl in the School of Business Administration offered the possibility of using students to take our plan and turn it into a Microsoft Project document that we could use as a project plan. Roger Maclean said this would be part of a class project in one of Shawn Clouse’s courses.

Future meetings

Second Tuesdays from 3:30-5 was suggested as a standing meeting time.

Closing remarks

Significant takeaways from the meeting include:

  • New chair-elect Mark Pershouse
  • An approach in place to work toward an operational plan
  • A new leader of the enterprise applications committee, John Greer 

The meeting adjourned at 5:02.

Minutes submitted by Gordy Pace