Duke ITAC - April 11, 2019 Minutes
ITAC Meeting Minutes - Thursday, April 11, 2019
4:00 – 4:05 – Announcements
- John Board announced the support call for surplus machines and modems as well as temporary relocations for people to work due to the recent gas explosion in downtown Durham.
- The ITAC meeting minutes from December 2018 were motioned upon, seconded and approved.
- Rachel Richesson chaired the meeting and introduced Dr. Tallman Trask III.
4:05 – 4:35 – Special Guest: Executive Vice President Tallman Trask III
What it is: Each year ITAC has the opportunity to hear from selected senior leaders. The executive vice president, Dr. Tallman Trask III, will answer questions and share his perspective as it relates to technology and other topics.
Why it’s relevant: As Duke’s chief business and financial officer, Dr. Trask is responsible for the management of all financial and administrative services of the University – including information technology. ITAC members are invited to pose questions.
Dr. Trask III opened his talk by remarking on the unfortunate gas leak accident in downtown Durham and his concern for the victims. He also mentioned that across the street from the tragedy was a less known Duke research facility that had to be relocated due to the gas explosion nearby.
Dr. Trask did not have a specific agenda and was happy to take questions from the audience and offer his insights on various topics regarding growth and development in Durham, campus buildings and renovations, parking solutions, and Duke’s relationship with the community.
On the question of Duke’s footprint beyond the campus itself, Dr. Trask described that there are about 5000 Duke employees in downtown Durham which is at a scale that requires a higher degree of service and coordination, of which technology is a big part, and is especially relevant are common notification schemes since not all buildings are owned by Duke.
About 15 to 20 years ago, there was not much growth in Durham unless Duke agreed to be a significant contributor, said Dr. Trask and now there are no compelling reasons to grow more Duke space downtown from a development stand point as space is no longer inexpensive and the market will continue to pickup the needs of the community. However, Duke has been a strong partner in building Durham and will continue to be, as needed.
Regarding thoughts on how Duke is perceived in these communities particularly downtown and especially in the health field as health indicators show improvement, could this be due to people getting healthier or are healthy people moving in?
Dr. Trask replied “probably both” and also discussed Duke’s recently withdrew from Durham’s Light Rail infrastructure project due to several unforeseen factors not controlled by Duke. Dr. Trask mentioned that in partnership with Durham, Duke and the AJ Fletcher Foundation recently donated $2.5 million for low-income housing to be developed around the bus station and downtown areas that will be constructed soon.
On the question of financial investments in strategic areas, Dr. Trask remarked on the challenge of deciding when and how do we make long-term, big investments in areas such as Sciences & Technology Initiatives without knowing how things will evolve in the next decade or so.
When asked about the perennial issue of sufficient parking, Dr. Trask expressed his belief that another parking lot is not needed as there are better ways to manage parking with clever passes and apps that can locate, allocate, and communicate the vacant spaces.
As far as future campus building renovation/maintenance of our aging buildings and the future of Central campus, none of the original stone buildings on East or West have required any substantial mortar work. Regarding Central Campus renovation, the trustee task force will report their conclusion in May. Regarding an example of location for potential future renovation or building, the parking lot east of Anderson is considered prime land, however, west of Anderson is much more valuable real estate because of its proximity to the Medical center.
Many people have commented that Central campus looks like HUD funded housing and that is because it is, as Terry Sanford, had convinced HUD that graduate students were low income American and therefor it was built for their housing. As housing demands for undergraduates grew, the graduates were squeezed out. The plan is to take all buildings down on central campus before they fall down.
Dr. Trask concluded by thanking the ITAC team.
The chair thanked Dr. Trask for his visit and valuable insights as the audience applauded.
4:35 – 5:05 – Staff Response to Graduate and Undergraduate IT Issues, Jeannine Sato and Jen Vizas
What it is: Earlier this semester, ITAC undergraduate and graduate student representatives surveyed their peers on a variety of IT services and perspectives, and presented their findings at the ITAC meeting on February 14, 2018. In today’s presentation, Duke’s IT leadership will provide feedback on the students’ concerns.
Why it’s relevant: ITAC values the input and needs of students, especially as it pertains to our goals of supporting Duke’s academic mission and reviewing the status of information technology. The dialogue between staff and students keeps the lines of communication open to identify and address problem areas, as well as to recognize successes. We invite further discussion of student concerns and proposed solutions, and will share feedback with Duke’s IT leaders.
The staff thanked student representatives for their hard work and diligence in providing thorough feedback and presented their response to the survey focusing on three areas of improvement:
- There are several services available on campus to students but some are not aware of them. These services include DukeMobile, Security, ePrint, Mobile DukeCard, Multi Factor Authentication, Software and the ability to browse lists, CoLab experience and equipment support, chat functionality, and computing facilities including libraries.
- User interface issues addressed services students use, but don’t quite like how it looks or behaves.
- Service availability issues included services the students want but can’t access or were not available.
To make students aware, the staff will have year-round campaigns to promote:
- LINK services and support
- Android Mobile
- Security with Multi Factor Authentication
The best ways to reach students include social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, or WhatsApp, the DSG Tech Tips, weekly emails, via Resident Assistants using printed flyers, and signage at ePrint stations.
DukeHub had relatively positive feedback from the survey, however, a few remarks on look and feel are being taken seriously to improve user experience. Student registration performance has been excellent as 90 percent of students registered in the first minute. A couple of years ago we redesigned student info in DukeHub and now partnering with Highpoint’s Campus Experience (CX) product as well as UVA to provide better usability, guide features and functionality, and ongoing improvements. Campus Solutions is our Student Information System and we’ve had it for over 20 years and its highly customized as we continue to improve it.
Building the Next Generation of Sakai will be a Code+ project to rebuild Sakai’s user interface for all elements (buttons, forms, navigation etc.) with a goal of a cohesive and intuitive user experience. The navigation will be standardized across the application and changes made at Duke will be distributed to all Sakai users.
The Kits project, kits.duke.edu, is a new service to streamline user experience across all learning experiences, lists all courses and students can add links to a kit for a course even if faculty not using that. The non-course Kits is scheduled for later in 2019.
DukeMobile’s recent additions and new version of the app, include support for android devices, persistent login for up to 30-day sessions, capability of tokens and checklists, a customizable menu that allows changing order of apps, route planner, and an interface that provides routes on campus for walk, bike, transit, and car. Also, coming soon will be Map-based search for places on campus dining, DukeCard, Stores, etc. The live transit overlays on the main map will be user customizable for routes and times.
The outdoor Wi-Fi & Cellular initiatives over the next year will include a pilot 5G between East and West campus, enabling Wi-Fi on certain bus routes, the Plaza outside of Perkins Library, outdoor areas in the Engineering Quad, around the Hollows, and residential quad with a test location TBD. The T-Mobile Cellular will expand with an indoor distributed antenna system. A wireless test pilot is going live soon in Trinity to have students test and report issues.
Transloc issues are a combination of equipment and gaps in cell coverage around Swift Avenue and we are working with cellular carriers to identify coverage gaps, testing new bus modems to improve accuracy, add dual carrier capability if Verizon is unavailable flip to AT&T. Also, a Macrocell is going up on Swift which will improve coverage and services.
The Security office will continue to use Multifactor Authentication to ensure a decrease in compromised accounts while continuing to expand awareness campaigns to use Duo Push on the phone as well as research options for a more convenient and secure web login experience. The Security Office will continue to alert students of issues of general security and also highlight ways to protect themselves.
Co-Lab support will continue to improve services and staff will be easily identified with IDs displaying photos. The clearing of the 3D printers can be done by students as well once they’ve been elevated to a more experienced level. The Co-Lab will also be targeting training towards non-STEM students with design-based workshops such as Adobe Creative Cloud components in the Fall at the Rubenstein Arts Center facility that use technology as a tool for creation. The goal is for more program and service communications with student involvement to increase awareness efforts.
Duke’s Compute Resources will look into Slurm slowness and access to GPUs by researching Bitfusion for scheduling GPUs more densely. The Slurm community is very active at peak processes running 250,000+ jobs per day and is causing tuning challenges. We will continue efforts to improve the user experience; monitor and alert when issues arise and continue to tune Slurm scheduler to minimize delays in scheduling and user operations. OIT will continue to work with schools and departments to create “economical clusters” to meet local needs.
5:05 – 5:30 – DKU Students at Duke, Jennifer Francis and Valerie Hausman
What it is: Duke Kunshan University launched its undergraduate program this academic year, and the arrival of the Class of 2022 marked an important moment for Duke and Duke Kunshan’s international partnership. As part of the experience, DKU students may come to Duke for one semester. Jennifer and Valerie will review the extensive planning and coordination behind the DKU students’ time in Durham and discuss important issues to consider as this initiative progresses.
Why it’s relevant: The realization of the Duke Kunshan undergraduate experience will strengthen Duke’s international presence and engagement, while helping position Duke as a leader in global education. ITAC members are invited to share feedback on the plans for DKU students on Duke’s campus, particularly as it pertains to information technology and the student experience.
The areas of focus represented all aspects of Duke’s planning for welcoming DKU students on campus. The DKU Class of 2022 is 31% international and represents 27 different countries with a total number of 259 students:
- China:180 (69%)
- USA:36 (14%)
- Other Int’l 43 (17%)
- 64% women
- 36% men
- 86% English not first language
The operating assumptions are that:
- Students may come to Duke for up to one semester and one summer session during their junior year.
- Students cover all costs during the summer, including tuition, housing, insurance and fees.
- Students pay housing, insurance and student fees during the semester.
- Students are not required to come to Duke in order to meet the requirements of the dual degree program.
- DKU students will be living on West campus with students dispersed among the Duke student population and fully integrated with the Duke community.
- To the extent possible, DKU students will have a comparable student experience to that of Duke students.
- Students will work closely with DKU and Duke academic advisors to design their schedule at Duke, considering majors, degree requirements and interests.
- A maximum of 100 students per semester for 2020; max of 250 students per semester in 2022 and beyond.
- DKU students will be Duke alumni when they graduate.
- DKU students come to Duke to:
- Experience campus life at an established non-profit US research university, including academic, extracurricular and social opportunities.
- Gain access to depth and breadth of coursework.
- Gain access to faculty, staff and student networks in their areas of interest.
- Build upon the concept of ‘Rooted Globalism’.
- Learn about American culture, history, society and political environment, either through curricular offerings or immersion.
- Engage with faculty on research projects and interdisciplinary opportunities.
- Students can expect to have:
- access to resources available to Duke students, with the exception of some programs or activities or opportunities that span more than one semester.
- opportunities to continue to strengthen and grow relationships formed at DKU, while at the same time expanding their networks to include Duke faculty, staff and students.
Student Survey Results re: Study Abroad, administered by DKU Study Abroad Office in February, 2019, had an 87% participation rate showing 33 students (13% of class) may study at Duke and 189 (73% of class) absolutely plan to study at Duke as follows:
- Only one semester: 100 students
- One semester + one summer: 107 students
- Only one summer: 1 student
- From feedback and questions, we learned that students are interested in opportunities to conduct research and interact with faculty. Many students planning on attending graduate school in US and desire to participate in campus life, e.g., clubs, sports, recreation, arts, etc., and especially eager to know how they will be received.
- The biggest take away was that we could have 85% of the class coming to Duke next year, perhaps 100+ per semester for Academic Year 20-21.
Some questions from the April 10 Info Session were:
- How will we be received and integrated on campus?
- How do we access the alumni network?
- Will we have access to pre-professional advising?
- How much time will we have to get involved in clubs and activities?
- Are there classes on Fridays?
- Will there be a lot of homework at Duke?
- Do you think it is harder for Chinese students to integrate than other Asian students and if so, why?
- may become challenging as more and more DKU students arrive on campus. DKU students will be dispersed across West Campus as they arrive at a steady state. 125 rooms will be set aside prior to room sign up in Feb/March. Spring semester students will replace the fall semester students in these locations during the winter break. We see the following advantages to this schedule:
- Least disruptive to the Duke Houses concept.
- Most immersive in terms of exposing DKU students to traditional Duke students and the House experience.
- Rooms set aside could be grouped so DKU students have other DKU students nearby (by house, by floor).
- Eliminates perception that DKU students are getting the newest housing or that DKU students are being isolated.
Academic planning show that it is challenging to assess course selection demands so far in advance and to manage DKU student expectations and guard against Duke student perceptions. We have started curating lists of Duke courses by DKU major that fit with majors and are popular courses at Duke. We have been working with high demand departments, e.g., Econ, Natural Sciences, etc. to discuss feasibility of increasing capacity as well as work with departments where demand is heavy, to expand enrollment capacity in specific courses when feasible.
Academic Advising and support includes a dedicated Academic Dean, Liguo Zhang, who will be a member of the Trinity AD organization as well as a new position for a Director of Student Engagement who will liaise with DAEs and other advising resources, connect to co-curricular opportunities on campus, perform regular check-ins with students and connect to DukeReach, CAPS and other resources as needed. There will be significant interaction between DKU faculty advisors and teams here, both before, during and after Duke semester.
Course Planning and Registration will focus on working group meetings on a bi-weekly basis. We have a dedicated staff member, Tessa Derickson, to focus on incoming DKU students as well as working on issues related to onboarding DKU students, credit transfers, tracking of Duke faculty-taught courses, ensuring SACS compliance, transcripts, degree audit and reporting.
Communication Planning will also include working group meetings on a bi-weekly basis to focus on timeline for communication to all stakeholder groups (Students, Faculty, Deans and Program Directors, Administration, Durham Community, Alumni, and Parents). Communication channels will include social media, web content, ‘road show’ presentations, departmental meetings, committee meetings, and The Chronicle, etc.
Orientation Planning will include year-round orientation, communication that can be delivered online vs. in-person sessions at DKU, role of student ambassador groups, the Blue Book equivalent for DKU and leveraging resources at O-Week, transfer orientation, and International House orientation, and also unique content for DKU students.
Our priorities going forward include academic planning, enrollment capacity evaluation, identifying research opportunities and process for communication and application, solidifying academic and co-curricular tracks or pathways communication planning for fall, 2019 and beyond as well as resource and staffing planning.