Minutes of January 17, 2013

Minutes of the AHS IT Committee          

January 17, 2013

Present:  Jose Arocha, Robin Duncan, Katherine Marshall, Bill McIlroy (Chair), Steven Mock, Terry Stewart.

Regrets: Thomas Karakolis

Guests: Andrea Chappell (IST), Ian McKillop (AHS)

1. IT Strategic Plan (Andrea/Ian)

The emerging themes of the IT Strategic Plan are:

  1. Enabling Research – common services, local specialty support
  2. Supporting Student-Life – services, support to student use of technology, environment for expanding learning
  3. Enabling the Learning Environment – IT services and support for technologies in the learning environment
  4. Information Management – access to information to facilitate use of data while maintain security and privacy
  5. Governance – transparent, effective, participatory decisions
  6. Supporting Business Processes – support admin functions by providing effective, efficient  and user friends application
  7. Re-focusing Client Services – focus our decisions, support, and evolution of technologies in collaboration with our users
  8. Campus Integration – enable collaborations in IT support and development in our design and architecture; federated IT

Andrea provided the committee with a set of questions for discussion. A survey is available online with the same questions for additional input (Help shape the future of IT at Waterloo | IT Strategic Plan)

What IT Services work well?

What challenges are uWaterloo IT facing today? In the next 3-5 years?

  • Business applications (e.g., FORE – It is very difficult to maneuver through the system)

How to improve IT environment?

  • The introduction of LEARN was an example of requiring better communication when implementing new systems, allowing the preparation  for change
  • Should we developing a process for fixing these concerns?
  • Currently, a liaison is assigned to each faculty to assist with LEARN and bring comments from the faculty to IT. Terry is the contact point in this situation. He will direct you to the correct person for any concerns you may have and this applies to all systems.

What IT priorities do we need to focus on?

  • Researchers and faculty members must be contacted to give their input 
  • To assist faculty in moving away from historical ruts, IT should providing resources for implementing new ideas in classrooms. For example, IT should provide Remote Access Software to address the difficulty of students accessing classrooms. This falls under multiple themes of the IT Strategic Plan including Student Life, Research and the Learning Environment. Alternatively, we should change our philosophy and move away from the idea of student labs. Instead we should look at operational solutions for student learning by creating a university that welcomes students with all appliances. This will address the issue of the number of students who cannot access labs to do school work versus the problem of purchasing software and licensing.
  • Facilitating things to occur quicker (agility)
  • IT is concerned that there is too much focus on operation and needs to free up time to facilitate these concerns without causing delays.  There is the concern of the structure to free up time. However, if IT can deal with common concerns correctly the first time, there will be available time to address these concerns.
  • Better methods are required to back up large amounts of data now stored on NAS drives.
  • The needs of the students must be looked by asking them what they require and looking at other schools to see what they provide. Currently the following are in place to aid with this:

The Student Success Office is attempting to pull all initiatives together across campus. Student Technology Advisement Committee is in place.   Student representatives are sitting on the task force.  FEDS has set up an IT rep to determine priorities of upcoming terms, such as improving wireless Internet, maintaining communication with IT, and the idea of a portal on the uWaterloo website. Students are pushing towards open data.

When ready, the Strategic Plan strategy map should be given to department reps to take back to department for review. 

2. Chair’s Remarks (Bill)

  • We are still looking for an undergrad to serve on the Committee. One of the co-op students working in the Dean's Office this term was suggetsted.

3. Minutes of Oct 5, 2012

Approved as posted at: Meeting minutes

3. Report of IT Director (Terry)

  • The IT Strategic Plan currently in the consultation stage.   A draft will be available by February and final draft by May.  See item 1 above.
  • IST Reorg for Success. This initiative is in  the data gathering phase.  Outside consultants have been hired and consultation with AHS Computing group was be on January 11, 2013. A further round of consultations will be held after plan developed.
  • Nexus Migration. The software phase is now complete, including Sharepoint. Hardware has been acquired by IST.   “Keys to the domain” still in Engineering but the process has begun to move it to IST.
  • Waterloo CMS. Kin finished. RLS started and will go live on Feb. 28. Research Centres have also started (Propel, MAREP)
  • Web Accessibility. In order to meet legislative requirements, all public-facing sites must be accessible by Janurary 1, 2014. AODA website legislation outlines guidelines.Still a number of personal sites and course sites that are inaccessible. This also includes Faculty/staff personal web sites  and any course sites not on Learn (D2L).
  • Request Tracking Initiative is at the RFI stage and software testing will begin in January. Do we need one for AHS? Discussion for next meeting.  Terry is on this committee.
  • Audit System. Currently in the Project Development Stage. AHS will not be represented but will be an observer (Terry).
  • Software Delivery for students.  AHS Computing has had an initial meeting with IST. AHS has volunteered to be a test case.  SAS, SPSS and NVivo will be looked at first. This is not yet a formal project but a charter is being developed. 
  • WATITIS.  The annual IT conference for IT staff on campus was ver y succesful.  Lowell from AHS Computing was chair and organizer for this conference.
  • Green IT. Met with Waterloo Hydro to look at funding of new equipment
  • Other. 
    • Installation of SCCM in Labs
    • New version do Symantec Endpoint distributed
    • Testing of Windows 8 started
    • Course software in the labs requires lead time, preferably before start of term.

Next Meeting – TBD.