Updates and interim reports

IT Review Interim Report - February 2023

This interim report offers an update on the status and actions being taken to support the advancement of recommendations for each major theme and "other" categorization identified in the 2020 IT Review final report. The document identifies timelines for tasks/action items, other ideas being discussed within the working groups (lead by the co-leads), and cross-theme connections.


The IT Review, conducted between April 2019 and May 2020, was launched to assess the University of Waterloo's overall IT capability. The result of this work was captured in the Campus Information Technology Review Final Report (PDF) and included recommendations for building on and enhancing Waterloo's IT landscape. In 2022, when the focus shifted from pandemic activities, the IT Review recommendations needed to be put into action.

Taking action

65 recommendations identified in the final report were reviewed and organized into 7 main themes, each with a unique goal. There were also eight "Other" recommendations that, while not considered major, were included in the Final Report for consideration by campus IT management.

Major themes include:

  • Working Together, 10 Recommendations
  • Strategy & Vision, 9 Recommendations
  • Risk & Security, 11 Recommendations
  • IT Governance & Data, 15 Recommendations
  • Research Computing, 6 Recommendations
  • Teaching & Learning, 6 Recommendations
  • Administrative Systems, 8 Recommendations
  • Other, 8 Recommendations

Co-lead responsibilities

Project co-leads are responsible for a theme(s) and, in collaboration with other team members, aim to bring accountability, visibility, and awareness to the work; action identified recommendations, where reasonable; and report on progress for the implementation of the IT Review recommendations. Each theme has co-lead assignments from IST, an ASU and a Faculty. The IST co-lead is the key contact and sponsor for each theme they are assigned to. Connie van Oostveen is the Program Manager and Greg Smith is the sponsor for the overall program.

Working Together

Co-leads: Stephen Murphy, Michelle Hollis & Melanie Will

In-flight actions

Alignment Description (See rec# on website)

Timeline & Status

Intranet/Knowledge Management Project

  • Build a knowledge management environment and practice, which would include skills, education technology tools, applications, projects or other information. ( Rec. #4)
  • Create a true campus intranet, which would provide faculty and staff with necessary and secure resources. ( Rec. #5)
  • Jan/Feb 2023 for project initiation, Tara Hillis assigned project manager
  • Co-sponsors: Michelle Hollis and Andrew McAlorum

Continuous improvement process review

  • Continuous improvement process review for common IT practices between IST, Faculty IT and Academic Support Units. Start by looking at intake process across a few areas (e.g. Continuous Improvement, Change Management, Project Management). (Rec. #1)
  • Process flow definition, socializing idea with IST and HR, and further definition of work underway.

Other ideas/actions

  • Guidelines and principles for IT collaboration across organizational units, to make "the best use of limited resources, through reducing redundancy". Collaborate with Security and Risk theme e.g., improper use of technology. (Rec. #1, #9)
  • Inventory of University IT capabilities "to provide a comprehensive capability baseline" and "to provide clarity on IT roles, relationships, and responsibilities" Leverage results from Waterloo@lOO, Building Resilience and Strategic Talent & Performance Framework efforts before beginning work on capabilities and skills. (Rec. #2, #7)
  • Review and compare IT services in the faculties, ASUs, and IST "to identify specific services that might benefit from a closer affiliation" Start with review of service desk practices across Faculty IT groups and IST to look for services that could be improved by process changes ( Rec. #3)
  • Memorandum of Understanding outlining IT support for affiliated and federated institutions of Waterloo (AFIW). Build on existing similar agreements at an institutional level (e.g. with Legal & Immigration Services) for formal agreements. (Rec. #10)
  • Support and champion FAST
    • FAST is an initiative to bring together staff developers from many departments across the University of Waterloo. There are many pockets of local development on campus with varying levels of skill, resources, and support. By participating in FAST small teams are able to gain access to knowledge and resources of larger groups, and all participating members gain access to the shared knowledge of the team. Faculty & Academic Support Software Team is an example of cross campus partnerships that provide a useful guide and story to help define a new vision.
  • Presented to CTSC January 2023

Cross-theme connections

  • Security and Risk theme efforts can be combined with Working Together guidelines and principles.

IT Governance & Data                                       

Co-leads: Greg Smith, Catherine Newell-Kelly, Stefan ldziak

Provost briefed and input sought in October 2022. A presentation was delivered to Info Group and UCIST in January 2023, based on the IT Review recommendations. The actions were socialized and supported. Next step is to write a briefing note for the Provost.

In-flight actions

Alignment Description (See rec# on website)


Build enhanced IT Communication across campus

GOAL: To create a common format for sharing IT work updates with the broader campus community (Rec #4,6)

  • Socialized & supported by Info Group & UCIST
  • To Do: Briefing note for Provost

IT Governance-GOAL:Refresh and review UCIST and other IT Committees (Rec #1,2,3)

  • Expanded role for UCIST, and new chair (from Provost's office)
  • Ensure all IT committees have a path to UCIST
  • Create a common understanding and expectations for the role of a UCIST member
  • Socialized & supported by Info Group & UCIST
  • To Do: Briefing note for Provost

IT Planning and Budgeting

GOAL: Support of evolution of the Waterloo Budget Model process, including common workflow and alignment with multi-year budgeting for major IT initiatives, while containing costs as

possible (Rec #5)

  • Socialized & supported by Info Group & UCIST
  • To Do: Briefing note for Provost

Data Governance

GOAL: Expand use and utility of central data lake

capabilities (Rec #1), and (re)establish data governance body (AIGC or other) (Rec #1,4,5,6)

  • Socialized & supported by Info Group & UCIST
  • To Do: Briefing note for Provost
  • Recent Policy 46 update

Cross-theme connections

IT and Data Governance have broad connections to how IT work is planned, funded and completed on campus, and how systems and data are implemented and shared. IT Governance has connections to all IT Review themes.

Risk & Security                                                    

Co-leads: Jason Testart, Stephen Murphy, Justin Nankivell

In-flight actions

Alignment Description (See rec# on



Mandatory security awareness training project

Explicit in security (Security Rec #2, 3)

  • Project initiated, planned, UCIST approval; Maher Shinouda project manager
  • Anticipate budget as part of IST 2022-2023 request

Expansion of vulnerability management software agent deployment

Gain more visibility into security posture of university IT assets (including research)

(Security Rec #3)

In progress

Endpoint detection and response (EDR) project

The project addresses a gap in IST's ability to monitor threats as people are not always on the campus network. (Security Rec #1)

  • Project initiated, planning underway; Nathan Lee project manager
  • Anticipate budget as part of IST 2022-2023 request

Endpoint management project (software distribution and updates)

The project will enhance software

distribution tools and expand the scope of managed endpoints such as mobile devices, Apple workstations and laptops. (Security Rec#l)

  • Exploration/training of Microsoft tool
  • Survey
  • Project initiation and planning underway for implementation

Other ideas/actions

  • For the risk section of the theme, follow the same process for IT risks as done for the Policy 11 risk register. Identify risk areas and have senior IT leaders prioritize risks.

Cross-theme connections

  • Risk and security connect with all themes. Risk decisions need proper governance, security is everyone's responsibility, research security is a priority area for the organization.

Research Computing

Co-leads: Bill Mcilroy, Vincent Gaudet

In-flight actions


Timeline & Status (See rec# on website)

IT Services for Researchers

Implement initiatives and process improvements to coordinate, communicate and make more transparent the campus-wide resources available to support research computing at the University in the following areas:

  • advanced research computing, i.e., compute servers
  • research software
  • research data management

Resources may include any or all of tools, software, storage, services, consulting, and/or processing available both internally and externally. Research computing resources will be identified, and shared where feasible, in consultation with Faculty IT, Library,

Office of Research, IST, researchers, and faculty.

Proposed Timeline:

  • Project initiation, December 2022 (charter is drafted)
  • Phase 1- IST resource inventory; January-April 2023 ( Rec #1,2)
  • Phase 2-Access to Dept/Faculty resources that could be shared across UW; March-June 2023 (Rec #1,2,3,6)
  • Phase 3 - Updates to address identified gaps in the resources available to researchers based on a needs assessment; September- December 2023 (Rec #3,4,5,6)

Wendy Hague, Project Manager

Investigate enterprise software licensing for research

Recent examples include Adobe Acrobat Pro, MATLAB,

NVivo. Currently investigating Overleaf and SAS.


Investigate enterprise licensing for public cloud services for researchers

Examples of cloud services include Google, AWS, Azure


An expanded, centrally-supported storage infrastructure service for research data



Other ideas/actions

  • Review faculty representation on IT committees
  • Create a new mechanism for faculty advice on IST projects and strategic planning - possibly a new faculty advisory group
  • Presentations: CTSC January 2023, UCIST in February 2023

Cross-theme connections

  • Recommendation #5 Relates to security & compliance directives for Research Data; connections with (Risk and) Security and (Governance and) Data themes.
  • Recommendation #6 Refers to areas and mechanisms by which faculty might better participate in IT activity; related to recommendations under the IT Governance theme of the IT Review

Teaching & Learning

Co-leads: Pam Fluttert, David DeVidi, Robert Park

In-flight actions

Alignment Description (See rec# on  website)


Evolving the EdTech Ecosystem project:

  • Implement an EdTech governance model
  • Create an EdTech intake process
  • Improvements to the EdTech support model
  • Central location (EdTech Hub) for information
  • Process to review the EdTech ecosystem
  • Process for EdTech roadmaps
  • Create an EdTech forum for instructors
  • Create EdTech funding model
  • Overall edtech plan, strategy, funding model & governance (Rec #1)
  • Better engagement with stakeholders (Rec #5)
  • Review ecosystem to develop support & funding models (Rec #1,6)
  • Robust classroom support model allowing pedagogy advancement by instructors (Rec #3)
  • Infrastructure & support alignment for classroom technologies (Rec #4)
  • EdTech Steering formed and EdTech advisory membership in progress
  • Terms of Reference being drafted for governance
  • EdTech Ops review and potential changes on hold
  • Evaluation criteria drafted for EdTech intake and ready to pilot
  • Scoping and planning work for EdTech support review
  • Initial launch of EdTech hub complete. Some phase 2 planning in progress.
  • Other deliverables not started

E-classroom projects and activities:

  • Hybrid and Active Learning Classroom Spaces project
    • Upgrade some classrooms to hybrid AV technology
    • Convert PHYS 235 to active learning classroom
  • Technology-ready learning spaces for innovative teaching project
    • Catch up on rollover and accessibility updates
    • Install interactive display units in some e-classrooms and make some accessibility improvements
  • Infrastructure & support alignment for classroom technologies (Rec #3)
  • Robust classroom support model allowing pedagogy advancement by instructors (Rec #3)
  • Hybrid upgrades approximately 75% complete.
  • Some installation for active learning classroom will begin shortly but supply chain issues will impact completion time line
  • Technology to catch up on classroom rollover and interactive display units ordered and starting to arrive

Teaching and Learning Spaces Governance and Budget Models:

  • Investigate relationship of e-classroom and edtech governance structures
  • Ongoing budget and processes for technology rollover
  • Budget for larger e-classroom projects
  • Process to collect faculty and student feedback on classrooms more regularly
  • More transparency one-classrooms
  • Infrastructure & support alignment for classroom technologies (Rec #4)
  • Robust classroom support model allowing pedagogy advancement by instructors (Rec #3)
  • E-classroom governance in place and some preliminary discussions about relationship to edtech governance
  • Discussions on gathering instructor and student feedback started (were using 2018 survey data)
  • An annual budget for e-classroom technology rollover in place but needs to be compared to changes in market again
  • Process with governance in place for larger renovation budget requests
  • T&L Spaces website active with committee projects

The EdTech governance and support model work may result in further changes.

Additions to teaching and learning spaces website for transparency will be discussed.

Other ideas/actions

  • Guidelines for digital course content, EdTech training and self-help documentation improvements, EdTech sandbox for instructors (Rec #1,6)
  • Improvements to gather feedback and prioritize future work for e-classrooms (e.g. regular survey to faculty and students) (Rec #3,5)
  • Consult with faculty and staff (e.g. Library for OER) on expectations, review Policy 73 (intellectual property), video content management platform (Rec #2)

Cross-theme connections

  • Working Together: campus intranet and knowledge management environment(s) can provide tools for EdTech information sharing
  • Strategy & Vision: ensuring the EdTech directions are aligned
  • IT Governance & Data: EdTech Governance intersections and communication flows
  • Risk & Security: EdTech intake process
  • Research Computing: some EdTech tools are used for faculty to conduct research (web collaboration tools, for example)

Administrative systems, service and delivery                   

Co-leads: Greg Smith, Fred Zhu, Corrine Krauss

In-flight actions



To be determined

Cross-theme connections

  • There is overlap with Building a Resilient University of Waterloo in the University's strategic plan. Andrew McAlorum, as program owner for the IT Review, is establishing a regular connection to the Provost's Office.
  • There is foundational work to do in the Governance theme, before significant action can be taken on the recommendations.
  • The Working Together theme can support some of the inventory components needed for service and delivery related recommendations.

Strategy & Vision                                           

Co-leads: Greg Smith, Marek Stastna, Beth Namachchivaya

The co-leaders of Strategy and Vision have met. Related background information is collected for the next CIO, for use as they lead the strategy and vision theme.

Other recommendations

Notable activities

Accessibility: AODA recommendations are being reviewed to prioritize and identify work for IT actioning (Jenny Flagler- George)

Sustainability: Two initiatives are identified for work in 2023: Procurement project & Energy project (Nathan Lee project manager)