Duke ITAC - February 2, 2006 Minutes

DUKE ITAC - February 2, 2006 Minutes


February 2, 2006

Members present : Owen Astrachan, Pakis Bessias, John Board, Shailesh Chandrasekharan, Tammy Closs, Dick Danner represented by Ken Hirsch, Shiva Das, Brian Eder, Nevin Fouts, Tracy Futhey, Christopher Gelpi, Michael Gettes, Daron Gunn, Paul Harrod represented by Alfred Trozzo, Billy Herndon, Deborah Jakubs, David Jamieson-Drake represented by Bob Newlin, David Jarmul, Roger Loyd, Gregory McCarthy, Joseph Meyerowitz, Kyle Johnson, George Oberlander, Lynne O’Brien, Mike Pickett, Molly Tamarkin, Christopher Timmins, Trey Turner III, Robert Wolpert, Steve Woody

Guests: Tom Wall, Perkins; Julian Lombardi, OIT, Dmitriy Morozov, Computer Science

Start time : 4:06 P.M.


I. Review of Minutes and Announcements:

  • Mike Pickett says Chris Cramer asked to let you know about the Blackworm virus. This virus deletes files that end with PDF, XLS, etc. by writing over them with a little text file. We have scanned incoming packets, and we haven’t seen the signature. Just be aware that this is out there. It’s probably wise to make sure you are up to date on your virus protection software.

II. Dr. Tallman Trask, Executive Vice President

Tallman Trask: We are into the next round of planning, and I think we’ve agreed that we’ve got to do what we did last time. Having that money around last time turned out to be invaluable, with generally understanding that we don’t rush out to spend it.

John Board says from time to time we have heard of Oracle exposure; do you worry about Oracle/People Soft issue? What kind of planning do we need to be thinking about?

Dr. Trask says we all assume in the end nothing good will come from it. I think consolidation of a number of those products all raise issues for us. The reality is software is more and more a commodity business and less a unique user business, which means they want to sell more and more copies of stuff. We haven’t seen emerging crisis, however.

John Board says the DukeCard seems to be a monster growing in many directions simultaneously, and it seems that we have been bitten in a couple of places for the amount we charge ourselves to use our own card.

Dr. Trask says the DukeCard has become our security access system. The number of locks in buildings varies greatly. We’re looking at taking that back that into a central function, so no matter how much money a department is they have can’t have card readers for no good reason. Building cards create access to a building; there are a lot of places inside buildings that people want to be locked up, so we have to think about if we are willing to let people do that. In my mind, it has some really interesting applications. The issue is if we make it only an off-campus credit card, bumps into federal regulations of credit cards. We try to find some middle ground.

John Board asks where do we stand in the credit card reigning-in cycle?

Dr. Trask says we have a few, but I think we know who they all are now. We gave explained to them that they need to convert to go through our payment processes. At some level I’ve threatened to go after people who don’t comply, but we haven’t had a big problem. On the Pcard we don’t see any set of issues. It’s easier to commit fraud with it than on paper, but it is also easier to catch you. The card we are concerned about is the alumni Affinity card. After Mike Krzyzewski appeared on an American Express ad, Affinity decided it was violation of our credit card contract with them, and they expressed that they wanted to renegotiate the price.

John Board says we’ve heard a lot about iForms. How fast are we gong to be pushing the webification of lots of other data, like home address information, to make it more user self-service vs. manager functions?

Dr. Trask says we had been told to look at these, and we’d rather put up some money and get it done sooner rather than later. So, I think we’ll be fairly aggressive.

Robert Wolpert says when talking about the DukeCard, it is part of Auxiliary Services, but as we move forward there are places that would like to use identification devices for strategic reasons. However, they can’t do that if it costs $100 for devices to read cards.

Owen Astrachan says like ePrint: we can’t afford to do it for our department.

Dr. Trask says that’s because that is how it’s set up to work: set up to make money for Auxiliary Services, not to do anything.

III. AP iForms demonstration - Todd Orr

Todd Orr and Ned Neeley demonstrate iForms functions.

Molly Tamarkin asks what is the link between this and Brassring?

Ned says this will be what the hiring manager does in Brassring. Our goal is you will never know you are in Brassring.

IV. Library planning - Deborah Jakubs

Deborah Jakubs says there are basically two library planning processes going on: the Perkins system, and a Campus-wide Committee, which is a working group appointed by strategic planning. The Perkins system group was commissioned by the provost. The Campus-wide Committee includes directors from Divinity, Law, the Medical School, Fuqua, me, Mike Pickett, and some faculty. The Perkins system planning group is made of people from all areas of libraries, but not professional schools. Also, there is a lot of library planning integrated into university-wide planning,

Charges: The Perkins group has been asked in a general way to integrate their plans with the universities; the Campus group’s plan has a whole list like the cooperative cost of development, alternative funding models, shared missions, and a vision for provisions of information resources. One reason library planning is important is with the focus on interdisciplinary work. Disciplines that cross schools and departments require a cohesive system of libraries so they are serving not just their primary clientele, but that also has services and collections that may be of interest to the broader campus. The Medical Center library is also a good example of where this is important.

Emerging themes: We are looking at presenting this very simply in terms of the libraries needing to simplify the interfaces, to make the library easier to use, and anticipate user needs. Some themes have to do with seamless access to information, which includes CDs, music, network information; a dynamic environment for supporting undergraduate research; the need to coordinate campus-wide services, recruitment, retention, and training of library staff; the theme of space. Which includes completing the Perkins Project and that the Chemistry library is going to be orphaned, so we need to determine how to provide access to the Chemistry materials.

Campus group themes: When providing extensive services, are policies as consistent and can they be? The possibility of joint appointments/cross training of staff, supporting primary clientele while serving the university; we need to be well plugged into the process of considering new degree programs and initiatives. We need to collaborate on electronic archiving; the idea of establishing campus-wide library counsel; the concept of a physical library as collaborative learning space; clarify and strengthen relationship between library and OIT/tech support centers; and incorporate other library plans and determine their impact.

Robert Wolpert says the medical school library always seemed a little different from the rest. Is there any hope to smooth the interface between it and the rest of campus?

Deborah says we hope so; that’s one goal of this group. We’re well aware of that problem. They are also looking to change their space. They’re planning on sending most of their books to an off-site to library service center and turning that space into a learning center. The medical center library will be on one floor now, and of course a lot is electronic.

John Board says in a number of planning environments we see new technology putting a strain on resources. Are you happy with the degree to which the library is planning for new media?

Deborah says its great having Lynne O’Brien around to talk with about this, and Tracy Futhey too; it’s like Lynne was saying, we know some things are going to happen and we want to be ready for them.

Tom Wall says we want to stress the partnering piece. We’re trying to see ourselves as facilitators of teaching, learning, and research. A lot of what we do is provide content, and we need the ability to bring content to different formats. We want to understand the need better.

Deborah says our architect has been in town, and we were talking about how the concept of library space is blurring into classrooms and learning environments. We need to be positioned very flexibly to provide settings for faculty and students to do work.

V. Instructional technology planning - Lynne O'Brien, Julian Lombardi

Lynne says I am the chair of working group looking at instructional technology. So far we have met several times, and we have come up with documents to discuss what kind of instructional technology things are happening at schools we see as our competitors and trends in industry. CIT staff has gone out to interview faculty to find out what is on their minds. Through that, we came up with a number of conclusions.

One thing we thought was substantially different from five years ago is that Duke made great strides. We’re more of a national player than at the last strategic planning, and we see that as something we can build on and that is important to continue. At same time there are areas that need to be improved; we would like to know if we are ever going to be in place when faculty says “Boy, classroom technology is working great this year.” We felt that if we didn’t make certain advancements we wouldn’t keep our forward edge. I don’t see Duke as inventing major new technologies; on other hand, I postulate that Duke ought to see itself as a school that is one of best innovators in the application of technology and models of technology supporting teaching.

There are four big areas we are focusing on. We continue to see selves as an experimental school, which means we want to continue to do things that fit with Duke’s culture but expands it a little bit. Key ideas are to have a program where people who have more of a cutting edge idea could be carefully selected and nurtured so always doing some things beyond our existing technologies. Third, many felt wise to say in the last planning, it was good to have funds committed to possible future plans.

If we want to stay in an innovative place, we have to institutionalize things that work. We have some important work to do in terms of increasing support for faculty. Multimedia is an area where the volume of inquiries from faculty and students interested in doing things has increased greatly over last couple of years.

There are people who think the time and effort to pursue innovative technology needs reasons, and some do it just because it is personally rewarding, though there could be more thoughtful ways of looking at technology innovation in a person’s career. In other cases, we could maybe invest more in professors of the practice and support them.

VI. IT strategic planning process - Marilyn Lombardi

Marilyn Lombardi says our IT strategic plan is for Duke as a whole. It has involved collaborations and stakeholders from across campus who have been good enough to come on board for one or more of the working groups. I like what Tracy Futhey said at the beginning: we’re really looking at set of concentric circles. One of interesting things is we have so many ideas percolating, when it comes to institutional change, that’s when I turn to some of the things coming out of Molly Tamarkin’s group to set a vision of the future in academic research support and administrative support.

VII. Planning for departmental support - Molly Tamarkin

Molly says a few things to note about departmental support: many departments have developed complete IT organizations locally that manage the department’s complete IT infrastructure and do so successfully, sometimes because they don’t have the option to do otherwise. They are maintaining infrastructure and to some degree innovating. The question is: what is the line between infrastructure and innovation? We can’t give mandates for local support; we have to realize that needs vary greatly. There aren’t enough options for people to offload infrastructure to OIT.

My first recommendation is that OIT expand services to provide backup, storage, etc. Second, my recommendation is that we change the culture of OIT so that we can work together more effectively. You can’t set a goal like “changing the culture,” what I’d like to see happen is recognize the excellence of local staff who are experts at security, backup, web development, etc. and have them partner more systematically with counterparts in OIT so we see a lot more communication and collaboration. I think it might surprise this group the degree to which this doesn’t happen right now. It’s hard to find out who does what on campus, and I suggest we create a service inventory for who does what on campus. We will be working with Julian Lombardi to develop those means to collaborate.

The third recommendation is the creation of academic technology specialist positions to provide disciplined support that goes beyond desktop support. There’s no hand-off now for CIT when something moves from cutting edge to acceptable. We need people locally who can help faculty use new tools in experimental ways as well as pick up where CIT leaves off. The difficulty in that is you can see that becoming dozens of new positions and being yet another person whose number someone has to remember to be able to call. We need to make sure as much as possible that we have one number for someone to call and that it’s clear who needs to help them. I think about two models at Duke we can learn from now. One is in Arts & Sciences who have departmental support staff, some working for several departments. The other thing I think about is the library. I think about having a subject specialist service; how we do that would be similar to how we could handle this academic technology specialist question.



End time : 5:30 P.M.