Information Technology Advisory Committee (ITAC)

2002-2003 Report

 

Executive Summary

 

The Information Technology Advisory Committee (ITAC), which conducted nine meetings during the academic year, offers the following recommendations to the Faculty Senate and University:

 

Immediate Iss ues

 

Web Issues

§         The University should provide adequate central resources and staffing to support the information structure and policy needs of the campus web, as well as adequate collegiate and local support to carry out the mandated work.

 

Digital Asset Management

ITAC should investigate the progress of the joint library and ITS digital library projects early in the fall of 2003, and hold discussions on the value of these services and possible future uses

 

Innovations in Instructional Computing Awards

§         ITAC strongly supports continuation of this program

 

Long-Term Strategic Issues


Relationship between central and distributed campus IT support

§         ITAC should continue to examine the relationships between central providers such as ITS and the libraries, and distributed IT providers in colleges and departments.

 

Faculty and student support for instruction

§         Last year, a conceptual framework for improved instructional IT support was presented under the name “Project X.” This topic was chosen as a top priority for ITAC.  The committee should work with the CIO and others to further develop these concepts

 

Research

§         Evaluate campus awareness of IT services for researchers and the responsiveness of IT providers to the research community

 

Budget issues

§         A close watch should be kept on IT budgets to ensure that proper resources are available to maintain systems, train faculty and staff, and support innovation


Information Technology Advisory Committee (ITAC)

2002-2003 Report

 

ITAC Recommendations for Future Issues

 

Information Technology Services (ITS) continues to provide high quality IT support in a complex, highly diverse atmosphere, using limited resources.  ITS collaborates with colleges and other IT providers when appropriate. The depth of services and number of issues involved make it difficult for the committee to cover all IT issues during the academic year.  However, some themes did emerge as particularly important, while others are ongoing concerns that should not be allowed to fall below the radar of the committee, or of the University.   The following list is intended to serve as points of interest and future points of discussion, not only to the Faculty Senate, but also to the CIO, central administration, ITS departments, and to next year’s ITAC committee, who will be responsible for future work on these issues.

 

1. Web Issues

§         As mentioned above, many decentralized units are responsible for IT issues that seem to be mandates from the University, or academic culture in general, but for which there is no funding or support available from the University.  These units seem to be at a cross-roads due to the expectations for continued use of the Web for all aspects of academic life – teaching, research, and support.  The committee was surprised to hear that the current central support for Web development in University Relations is not even a fulltime, permanent position.

o       The University should begin to show commitment of real and ongoing central and local resources to support use of the Web

o       Clear communication should be provided to decentralized units about expectations for University Web content: branding, message, rules, policies, etc.

o       The University should provide adequate central resources and staffing to support the information structure and policy needs of the campus web, as well as adequate collegiate and local support to carry out the mandated work. The information structure should include structure, design, and content management strategies.

o       ITAC should request an update on progress in 2003-2004, either from Josh Kaine, the CIO, or someone in University Relations on future Web strategies.


2. Digital Asset Management

§         Over the past several years, development and storage of digital media has become a need by more and more diverse units on campus.  Larry Wood’s presentation toward the end of the year highlighted several projects that ITS and the libraries will be completing over the summer of 2003, in an effort to begin organizing these valuable assets.  ITAC should investigate the progress of these projects early in the fall of 2003, and hold discussions on the value of these services and possible future uses.

 

3. Innovations in Instructional Computing Awards

§         Awards that were presented from the 2001-2002 year were quite impressive.  ITAC should stand firm behind the recommendation that this program continue.

ITAC should participate in a joint presentation with ATAC of the winning proposals from the 2002-2003 competition in the fall of 2003.

 

4. Relationship between central and distributed campus IT support

 

 

5. Faculty and student support for instruction

 


6. Research

§         Evaluate campus awareness of IT services for researchers and the responsiveness of IT providers to the research community. This should include at least these three areas:

 

o       Support and collaboration to specific grants or PIs in need of incremental IT services or consulting. This is typical of the services provided by ITS Academic Technologies-Research Services

o       Impact and effectiveness of the campus IT infrastructure components in support of research. Examples include data network, voice services, authentication and authorization of resources, data storage, and others.

o       The importance of marketing available services or practice to all researchers, so they can partake of those that are relevant to their immediate needs.

 

7. Budget issues

ITAC Activities 2002-2003 Academic Year

 

ITAC continues to see progress in information and communications technology at the University.  During the academic year, ITAC discussed the current status of information technology (IT) on campus and the role and function of Information Technology Services (ITS). Reports made to the Committee acknowledged the impact of the current fiscal environment on IT activities.

 

Nine meetings were held.  (In 2002 -- September 13, September 27, October 25, November 22, December 20 and in 2003 - February 21, March 14, April 11, May 9)

 

ITAC divided its work into two areas – Discussions and Reports.  Discussions centered on topics that ITAC members discussed as a group.  Reports are topics of interest to ITAC for which the relevant university unit provides information.   ITAC had Reports on 7 topics.  Names of providers of reports are underlined in the following section.

 

ITAC discussions

 

September 13:

Meeting began with joint session with ATAC. The two groups reviewed tasks to be addressed during the academic year. In a separate ITAC session:

 

In a brief discussion of possible future topics, several ideas emerged:

 

1.         Web issues, including web page production support, asset and content management, archiving web pages, web policies.

2.         Mainframe hours, other research computing support issues

3.         The role of ITAC in central versus decentralized computing issues

4.         Security issues, including Patriot Act consequences

5.         Classroom topics identified in ITAC final report for 2002

6.         Wireless and mobility topics

7.         Library portal development, technology refresh.

8.         Overlap / gap / provider information on services ('one stop broker')

9.         Movement towards unified authentication, single password

10.       Network bandwidth issues in Resnet

 

Group was asked to review the reports and expect to set priorities for topics at next meeting.

 

September 27

 

Aletia Morgan (IT office, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences) reported on a study conducted in the summer of 2001 on the cost of web support in CLAS. The study demonstrated that the College was spending over $150,000 on web support, and that support models were not consistent across departments. Brett Cloyd (Webmaster, CLAS) described the templates and central support provided by the College office to departments; it is a advisory rather than proscriptive approach.

 

Aletia Morgan provided a handout [available on paper only.] Brett referred to the College webmaster site,

http://www.clas.uiowa.edu/it/tools/index.shtml

 

Mark Hale discussed web support models in other colleges, which vary from very informal to highly structured.

 

The committee discussed the recommendations contained in the 2001-2002 report as well as the ideas developed at the previous meeting, and then ranked their importance and priority on a ballot. (See attached summary.) Top priority was the "X Project", followed by "Movement towards unified authentication, single password", which has a relationship to #4 (mobile computing, the part that doesn't mean wireless and PDAs.) Security and web issues also received strong support.

 

October 25

Steve Fleagle spoke briefly about cell phone contract negotiations. (No handout available.) Dave Dobbins presented the Project X slides to start discussion. [URL for slides available, if desired.] The discussion of X project and related priorities occupied the rest of the meeting.

 

November 22 ITAC

The group continued discussion of the X Project -- what should be the next step? After discussing various possibilities for acquiring data about interest (e.g. task force), the group concluded that a faculty survey might be appropriate, and Mark agreed to bring supporting materials to the next meeting. There was a short update on progress in the Enterprise Authentication project. [handed out Intro to Enterprise Authentication Mindsnack notes dated 10/24; URL available]

 

December 20 ITAC

Mark Hale presented a summary of several documents on IT assessment and samples of assessments conducted at Michigan and OSU, as well as an assessment activity in the UI College of Nursing.

 

1. Members expressed consensus regarding the need to routinely collect data on campus IT use as well as the needs of IT users. They were not interested in ITAC leading such a data-gathering effort.

2. Members supported the use of focus groups to gather information on teaching and learning issues associated with the X Project. Again, members were not interested in conducting such focus groups.

3. Members recommended the development of a standard set of questions (perhaps in survey form) that would be collected from IT leaders on campus focusing on campus IT use issues. The questions could be embedded in other information-gathering instruments distributed by Central Administration.

4. Members acknowledged a dichotomy between student and faculty perspectives on IT issues.

January 31, 2003 AT Advisory Council

 

Stewart Ehly and Mark Hale presented a summary of the ITAC discussions on a faculty survey to the January 31 meeting of ATAC. There was much discussion of issues related to the purpose of the survey, desirability of surveys, and survey methodology. In general, the position of ATAC seemed to favor finding other means of seeking faculty input rather than a survey. [attachment available, or as URL] The X-Project proposal might be recast as a statement of values (about collaboration, planning, reliable infrastructure, etc.) Dave provided an ITS status summary, including data about the Enterprise Authentication progress.

 

February 21 ITAC

 

Jane Drews, campus IT security officer, reported on several recent security initiatives, including Enterprise Authentication, stronger password requirements, collegiate security discussions and cyber-attack defense planning, and security policy development, HIPAA, and the Patriot Act.

 

Stewart, Mark and the other members of ITAC who were present at the January 31 ATAC discussion outlined the ATAC response to the survey plan. Dave commented that the X-Project statement was originally a call to action, and in fact, the project is continuing.

 

March 14 ITAC

 

Four handouts were distributed at the March 14 meeting.

 

Josh Kaine, the campus webmaster from University Relations, spoke about web support from the UR perspective, and the draft standards for official university web sites. His handouts were

 

ITAC Presentation / discussion

Standards …. – Executive Summary

Web Standards ….

 

Larry Woods discussed current library digital initiatives, and provided the included handout.

 

Dave Dobbins commented on the ITS / library collaborations, which are related to some of the digital library initiatives.  His points included

 

(1) He and Nancy Baker have been working on a Memorandum of Understanding defining the collaboration.

(2) The video services alliance is an operational level group including ITS video services and various library units who are working to make the collective service offerings appear seamless to customers.

(3) CIC schools are looking at technology engines underlying digital asset management

(4) Nancy and Dave reaffirmed their partnership, which might move beyond services into facility issues (e.g. addressing Info Arcade).

There was no handout.

 

Stewart mentioned that the Senate secretary has asked for a preliminary report by April 17, which is 3 days after the next ITAC meeting. Accordingly, he will be preparing a draft that will be sent to the group beforehand. The agenda next time will concentrate on discussing the draft.

 

Committee Charge

 

According to the Operations Manual, ITAC shall:

 

(a) Advise on the present and future needs of faculty, staff, and students for computing services and formulate recommendations for meeting these needs and for maintaining a proper balance among all academic computer needs and services in the University;

(b) Provide a forum to which faculty, staff, and students may refer questions and recommendations concerning University computer policies, services, and development;

(c) Advise in the development of general policies concerning the University's acceptance of computer funds from sources external to the University and the University's provision of computer services to users external to the University;

(d) Advise on procedures for proposals by faculty, staff, and students for funds to support computing of an extraordinary and innovative nature;

(e) Review from time to time the activities and recommendations made by working committees established by the designated administrative officer. (These working committees may be established for the purpose of advising the officer on specific administrative questions concerning the operation, development, and utilization of computer resources for teaching and research.)

 

ITAC Members 2002-2003

 

Faculty: Connie Delaney (Nursing), Lance Lichtor (Anesthesia), David Stern (Philosophy), Stephan Arndt (Psychiatry), Stewart Ehly (Psychological and Quantitative Foundations), Lisa Troyer (Sociology), Mark Young (Chemistry)

Students (UISG): Josh Connors, Julia Miller

Staff: Lucille Luxenburg (Hospital Information Systems), Maggie Jesse (College of Business)


 

Attachments

 

By the final report, all handouts and URLs from ITAC reports and discussions will be listed on the ITAC Web site (currently under revision):

 

September 14, 2002

Dobbins. Strategic Information Technology Themes

Langstaff. Update on Course Management Systems at Iowa 

________ Role of Academic Technologies Advisory Council

________ Academic Technologies Report to ITAC

 

September 27, 2002

Morgan. Results of CLAS Web Survey (8/2001)

Cloyd. CLAS web support site http://www.clas.uiowa.edu/it/tools

Hale. Raw votes from ITAC meeting, 9/27/03

 

October 25, 2002

Dobbins. X-Project PowerPoint slides

http://www.its.uiowa.edu/cio/Plans/TheXProject-11-02.ppt

 

November 22,2002

ITS. Introduction to Enterprise Authentication, Mindsnack Powerpoint. http://.......

 

December 20, 2002

Hale.Information Technology: Faculty Survey on Use, Resources, and Support. (Adapted from Berger.)

____ College of Nursing Scorecard for IT Resources to Support Informatics and Knowledge Management.

____ Evaluation Guidelines for College IT Resources.(Adapted from EDUCAUSE)

____ PowerPoint slides on survey options.

 

January 31, 2003

Hale. ATAC presentation on Survey of Faculty Technology Needs and Directions.

 

February 21, 2003

Dobbins. ITS Summary Status Report.

Drews. Information Technology Security Update.

_____  HIPAA: Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996.

 

March 14, 2003

Kaine. Web Standards for Official University Web Sites.

_____ Central Issues.

_____ Standards for Official University Web Sites: Executive Summary.

Woods. University of Iowa Libraries Digital Initiatives.