Duke ITAC - November 21, 1996 Minutes

DUKE ITAC - November 21, 1996 Minutes

Information Technology Advisory Council (ITAC)

ITAC Meeting Minutes 11/21/96

Premeeting: Open session -- discussion of public cluster upgrades

RWolpert gave historical background: at present OIT is planning public cluster renewal on a three year depreciation schedule. After introductions, BLeCompagnon opened the discussion with need for cluster discussion to consider both long term issues (like place of the clusters in future teaching and learning needs) and short term ones (what do we need to do this year).

EScheesele presented student ideas for optimizing use of funds for greatest benefit, including not just cluster hardware but improved cluster support and chairs. Faculty and student comments subsequently agreed on the need to balance needs as faculty see them for course demands with student perceived needs.

Unix box upgrades raise somewhat different issues than PC upgrades because Unix boxes are OS bound for future maintenance upgrades, whereas PC's of the same general power are fairly vendor independent when it comes to OS and application software.

The question arose: what are our goals for the cluster upgrade? BLeCompagnon emphasized the short term purpose for the discussion was to properly configure the maintenance upgrade using money already earmarked for that purpose.

A question arose about giving students "first dibs" on cycled-down cluster pc's. BLC indicated it was difficult because the pc's were purchased with university funds so normally it's expected they be kept in university departments, however there could be some flexibility here.

Formal meeting begins


BLC indicated she presented the strategic plan to senior officers and had a discussion with Trask and Strohbehn about next steps. Sent plans to PACOR, Len Spicer (AC chair) and deans council for further review. Discussion with senior officers included mention that technology changes too fast for five year ahead planning. The discussion went well. The plan is on the web under ITAC.

*** The December 5th meeting is cancelled. The next meeting will be Dec. 19.

1. Janet Pumo presented the major findings of the Campus/IT strategic plan interim report. This report was presented to the senior officers on 10/31. Since the last time Janet met ITAC, focus group data has been incorporated into the survey data.

  • Chapter 1: present status
    • faculty, staff and students have good access generally.
    • increased students ownership of pc's raised rather than lowered use of clusters because of a) printers in clusters and b) camaraderie. Demand for scanners and multimedia in the clusters.
    • remote access is an important "growing edge" -- important, lots to be done, lots of good activity so far.
    • information access: highest unmet student demand was for access to financial information (includes financial aid and student bills/accounts) not much faculty/staff use of enterprise systems so far because they're "specialty" apps like budget planning; this demand will grow when more generally useful enterprise apps like student information systems come on line
    • architecture issues: broader acceptance of standards for things like e-mail
    • support: most faculty/staff get first line support from departmental staff, students get first line support for peers; help desk and central support generally meet second line needs for extremely heterogeneous range of needs
    • need to be more clear about what services are provide to appropriately scale user needs: what basic services are available "free" and what are available at a premium
    • teaching and learning: lack a process to take what pioneers develop and make it broadly available; ca. 15% of faculty don't use technology in teaching and learning today but would like to; this is low compared to some other schools, may be due to lack of awareness, again pointing to need for info exchanges among faculty
    • governance: 1) lots of committees involved in IT committee making, but lack of clarity about how decision processes are coordinated; 2) lack of clarity about time lines, so people can't make good decisions about whether to handle things locally or wait for shared solutions
    • funding model for IT: schools feel they are paying for less than adequate central systems, may begin to look outside Duke; at other schools university services can be selectively "cannibalized" by external niche vendors, costing more overall
    • overall students are very happy; since they lack history and legacy their perceptions may better reflect current state than faculty/staff, who were neutral to positive
  • Chapter 2: future of IT for Duke
    • proposals come largely from IT planning document (John Board committee)
    • Duke should be "early follower" for admin services, as advanced as possible for academic research and education
    • buy don't build
    • don't enter info more than once
    • reengineer processes first, systems second, within reason
    • plan for lifecycle of IT projects to include maintenance, updates and replacement
    • "just in time" IT decision making
    • open systems, many vendors
    • monitor IT projects so none fall through the cracks
    • senior officers should periodically review success of IT efforts

The next report to ITAC will include the final chapter which proposes solutions; Janet expressed a preference for not sharing the interim report until the solutions section has been completed. E-mail janetp@vnet.ibm.com with any questions.

2. The current version of the Computer Use Policy was unanimously endorsed by ITAC.