Duke ITAC - March 5, 2020 Minutes
Duke ITAC Meeting Minutes – March 05, 2020
4:00 – 430 – Special Guest: Executive Vice President Tallman Trask III (30 minutes)
Announcements were deferred to after our first agenda item. Rachel Ricchesson started the meeting with the introduction of the Executive Vice President, Tallman Trask III.
Dr. Trask commenced the meeting by saying that he will be retiring. He then continued to say that he wanted to engage the audience in a discussion about what’s working and what’s not working for everyone. The room was then open for questions to Dr. Trask.
Q: Are there things related to technology that you see in the next several months that you think are important for us to nail down or focus on?
A: I believe we are in good shape. I think we, like most universities, have never quite figured out what academic computing entails. What is done on a unit by unit basis and what is done centrally. I feel that we can work on those things.
Q: Any issues you see with sharing data or getting data from the community?
A: We are having a lot of discussions about data acquisition, especially as it relates to individuals. I think this will be an ongoing discussion for years to come.
Q: During the years many things have changed. What are your thoughts on things that have been the most arduous and successful?
A: on the administrative side, in the 90s there were a few humps. However, we have smoothed out those humps and now are in a better state. Peoplesoft at points has been problematic.
Q: What are your thoughts on long term infrastructure project investments, for example, 5g space or are we well-positioned to grow if we invest in these projects or any new thing that comes along?
A: I believe we are well-positioned. One thing I worry about is about being victimized by those who have monopolies on technologies. We are a great institution that we can be in control of technology and not buy from someone else but there is that worry.
Q: people have expressed concerns that a financial downturn might be approaching. Any thoughts for us about how duke managed the last financial downturn?
A: if something does happen, it will not be easy. However, last time it happened we managed it well. Revenue and resources are higher than what we had during the last time this occurred, so we have more flexibility.
Q: given the concerns about coronavirus, what conversations have been had at your level about the coronavirus and how that intersects with study abroad DKU and housing students on campus?
A: We are trying to see what the endgame is. If this gets bad, we won’t be in control of it. We are preparing so that we have spaces to isolate people if they need to be isolated. I don’t think we are going to start canceling programs unless they are in countries where a travel restriction has been imposed. Part of the problem is that labels are applied to countries, but these are local infections.
Q: Are there any interactions with other universities? is there a formal organization where you sort of compare your strategies and intelligence and work together?
A: there is a group of EVP/SVP with varying levels of responsibility for administrative support that meets twice a year. There is another group of 6-7 people that talk every week.
Q: The undergraduate student has been urging that Duke not using should add support for GSuite. Any scope for change.?
A: this conversation has been going on and off for years. We have been trying to work with Google to try and get an agreement that lets us start pilot and explore it.
Rachel thanked Dr. Trask for sitting with us and for sharing his knowledge. We wish Dr. Trask the best in the future.
4:30 – 5:00 – Announcements (5 minutes)
After ending the first part of the meeting with Dr. Trask, Rachel moved to circulate the meeting minutes for review for two past meetings. One of those was from June 2019 and one more recent from February 2020. Hearing no objections regarding the meeting minutes, they are approved and will be published.
4:35: - 5:05 – IT Engagement Groups, Jen Vizas, Engagement Group Representatives (20 - minute presentation, 10 – minute discussion)
Jen Vizas started the presentation with some background information about the IT engagement groups. She mentioned that the groups started in the fall of 2016. The goals of these groups are to discuss the units lead, focus on upcoming initiatives or projects, look for ways to partner with the organizations on new and emerging projects, look for areas where there can be automation/integration, and most recently data analytics. Vizas emphasized that all this is being done while keeping in mind the unit’s goals and objectives. Structure wise, 8 – 10 people on an engagement group. The groups include leaders and staff among the units. Regular meetings are also held. The unit-based staff are predominantly operational and functional not technical/IT.
Vizas then talked about the conversations these groups have and what the groups are about. It was mentioned that the goal of the groups is to include the people on the operational side but also those on the functional side so that there are coherent conversations about issues and about building and enhancing the relationships between the different parties involved.
Vizas invited the engagement group co-chairs to discuss in detail how things are going.
Chris Meyer and Bill Marchese started first talking about the Administration engagement group.
Bill Marchese mentioned that the experience so far has been positive for them in three ways.
- Discussions between the administrator people and IT people regarding the different IT tools about what’s possible for them has been helpful.
- Building relationships with these groups and having a face to face interaction has been very beneficial.
- From an HR perspective, the discussions around the different IT and HR policies and what the policies have in common or how they affect each other has been beneficial as well.
Bill then started talking about the different discussions with various teams. Bill mentioned discussions with the Identity Management team about how they immediately came up with a procedure on how to give people access to data and what that process entails. Also, what happens when someone is requesting HR data or other kinds of data, so some procedures were established based on that conversation.
- Automating the Duke employee Tuition Assistance program in SAP (eTAP). This used to be a paper process. This has been tremendously helpful in terms of efficiency.
- Consolidation of retirement vendors from four to one.
- Replacing the legacy homegrown Visa management application with Terra Dotta.
- DukeCard eAccounts – The ability to have door access and flexible spending account on people’s phones.
- Code + & parking app (ParkDuke) - resell unused parking spaces on an hourly basis.
- Replace custom SAP travel expense approval application with SAP Concur
- Automate Children's Tuition Grant Program in SAP
- issuing NetIDs in advance of new hire start dates (IdM, SAP, HR)
- Added retirees to ServiceNow which improved customer service when retirees contact the HR Service Center
Next, to talk about Athletics engagement group, Bob Johnson and Mitch Moser are the co-chairs but Laurie Hyland and Ryan Craig where present to speak about athletics.
Laurie mentioned that they have become proactive instead of reactive which has been of tremendous help for their department. Laurie emphasized that they are grateful for the relationships that have been built and the support from the other teams.
John Board then took the stage to talk about campus safety conversations. John stated that campus safety runs a variety of systems that are used in times when emergencies arise. This is important stuff that helps the Duke community stay informed about public safety.
He also mentioned the emergency lockdown button that’s in place which lets the Duke police push a button to put all the doors on campus in a “controlled state”. A controlled state means that you need a special type of card that’s approved to get into buildings. John also mentioned that like other groups they try to stay ahead of emerging needs in the Duke police and other aspects.
Charlie Kneifel and Russell Thompson talked about being satisfied with the regular meetings that OIT and FMD have engaged in. Working hand in hand as well has been beneficial. Communication has been the key to the success of the facilities management engagement group.
Jen Vizas and Naomi Nelson are the co-chairs of the group. Laura Cappelletti talked about the different discussions and success of the group. Like the other groups, they have met regularly and coordinating different things. One of those things has been coordinating the library renovations. Laura mentioned having new technology-enabled rooms. The library catalog system will be replaced with Folio, an open-source project. Laura mentioned that this will be a big project for all the central libraries to tackle. Lastly, Laura mentioned the plan to implement mobile checkout readers in the libraries this summer.
Public Affairs and Government Relations
Some of the successes here, web governance, bringing in Emma as the mass mail tool replacement has been beneficial in keeping the community informed about different things happening and also correspondence from the president’s office. All of this coming from the new Emma tool.
There were some discussions about DukeCard services, back to school efforts, attendance tracking – student organizations/programs. Some accomplishments with DukeCard have been
- Ironed out support processes for locks (FMD, Housing-GMM, OIT)
- Auto feed from Mercury (housing system) talking to IdM grouper groups.
- Collaboration with facilities
- Academic Media production
This concluded the feedback from each of the engagement groups. Jen mentioned that it has been very successful. Groups have been meeting regularly so that’s been helpful.
A very good question was posed for the different engagement groups regarding what changes could be made in the process or if there is anything that either of the groups needs to get done? What, if anything should change?
Ways to collaborate with other groups. As put in the exact words of the athletics representatives, “how do we grow our status?” that is in terms of finding ways to collaborate with other groups
Library representatives mentioned taking the time to try and share master planning.
Q: Other engagement groups we don’t have that should be involved?
A: there is perhaps a group in research computing.
5:05 – 5:30 Online Education, Shawn Miller, Quentin Ruiz-Esparza (15-minute presentation, 10-minute discussion)
Shawn started the presentation by introducing himself and Quentin. Shawn mentioned that this presentation is focused on online learning. Quentin next took the stage and outlined some goals for the presentation. Quentin outlined the presentation in three stages. First, he mentioned giving a summary of the Learning Innovation’s teams and services for online learning. secondly, how Learning Innovation aligns online learning design with the needs and goals of Duke schools and programs. Lastly, A new service: market research for new online programs and a new online model: credential stackability (described in more detail below).
Quentin next started talking about the four different teams and the services each of these teams provide. The first group, art learning experience designers, they are the core staff that partner with faculty to do all of the online course design and building an online course platform. They work very closely with the teaching and learning consultants, who can advise on pedagogical best practices and course design strategies that have worked before.
Next, the learning technology analysts, led by Michael Greene, this group advises faculty on what technologies to use once the faculty have an understanding of what it is they want their students to learn online. Quentin mentioned partnering with OITs academic media services to develop different videos. There is also a market research analyst that works with Quentin and together they are doing market research projects to advise where should Duke be looking next and finding new online programs.
Quentin emphasized that the goal here is to understand how to best meet the needs/goals that a school or program at Duke is trying to accomplish. This spans everything from pre-college, graduate and undergraduate programs as well as alumni education. For undergrad and graduate, a lot of the needs that are being addressed are within the curriculum. This is done through online courses and also using online modules to enrich face to face teaching and learning. This helps students reach an equal level of preparedness before they begin a particular course or research project. Giving an example of this, Quentin mentioned that he has been working with the Pratt School over the past year to develop Python programming modules. The work being done with the Pratt School is to target students who are placing out or not taking CS 101 but need to learn Python programming before taking a more intermediate engineering course.
Quentin also mentioned a pilot of four credit online courses with Duke summer session. This an opportunity for students to earn credit for an elective that they need while they're still participating in DukeEngage or an internship for being elsewhere in the world. It's also about connecting faculty and students globally.
In the co-curricular space, a lot of the work being done entails developing modules that help provide career or life relevant skills. An example of this with Larry Carin plus the Data Science initiative. Carin offers a suite of co-curricular experiences that allow students in various disciplines to understand what data science is and how to make they can apply it to their disciplines. There is also work going on with the Office of Information Technology (OIT) in developing online modules in digital citizenship.
For alumni education, a lot of it has to do with relationships, whether it's the university's relationship with different alumni, or trying to create communities of learning and practice among alumni and strengthening networks and meeting their ongoing educational needs.
In the pre-college area, there are a few projects in trying to develop different types of online courses. This is achieving two things:
- help train middle school and high school educators on how to teach computer science.
- Teachers are also interested in using the materials that Duke Faculty are creating. Teachers are taking the video lessons and the practice assignments to aid in teaching their students how to do computer programming.
During the final part of the discussion, Quentin emphasized the area of developing new programs through market research. He mentioned two things he wanted to talk about, one, Labor market analysis and secondly employer interviews.
In the labor marketing space, Quentin mentioned one project that was recently completed with the Sanford School. This project entailed working with MZ, a data provider that mines job posting. This is done to better understand a particular job market. It helps in answering certain questions like, how big is that job market? is the employer demand for that particular job market shrinking or growing? and what skills are employers looking for? All these questions help to make sure that the curriculum is aligning with the skills that employers are looking for.
Quentin also mentioned employee interviews.
Concerning market analytics, Quentin mentioned the myriad of metrics gathered and showed two examples. One example he displayed helps answer how large a market is and also if demand is growing for that market or if there is an indication that it could be growing. The example showed how many job postings there were for public policy professionals each month from September 2016 to the present. This data gives confidence to a school about whether they should be investing in a new curriculum or not. The second example of data highlighted skills that are in most demand. In this case, The Sanford School was primarily focused on the top 20 skills for three job types. Those three job types are researchers, analysts, and consultants. Quentin mentioned that this allows Sanford to evaluate if there are any areas in the curriculum that Sanford should work on, should Sanford pivot and offer new offerings? Or if there are better ways to communicate the marketing of the programs and how all this data aligns with the Or is there ways that we can better be communicating in the marketing of our programs, how it aligns with the particular skills that employers are looking for.
The second research method Quentin talked about was employer interviews. The goal here is to learn what employers are looking for from Duke. Quentin mentioned that what they are looking for when doing these interviews is to find out what common themes can be seen across a diverse representation of employers.
Lastly, Quentin talked about Stackability. Stackability provides professionals and their employers' flexible options for pursuing graduate-level or professional education. Quentin showed an example of how Stackability works by using a master’s degree curriculum as an example. Using the modular design of online learning to break down the master's degree into multiple credentials learners can opt-in for smaller initial time commitment before deciding whether to pursue a full master’s degree. One other thing that Quentin mentioned was that Duke Schools and programs are mentioning is that campus experience is incredibly valuable in a graduate learning experience. one possibility here is having one fully online credential, but then in the credential that's more significant that allows students to go deeper in their learning is to embed the residencies in that portion.
Quentin ended the presentation and asked if there were any questions from the audience.
Q: what is the nature of this fractional credential?
A: there are a couple of models out there, MIT pilot and one of the first ones which is a micro masters where someone was earning 25% of the degree in some online courses, and they could enroll in the master's program. The University of Chicago is now rolling this out with Coursera. The branding for that is Master Track and it's basically earning one or two courses through some online courses and then applying to the master’s program.
Q: Do you anticipate that this is something that the other schools could probably take advantage of when we start thinking about which courses people should be offering?
A: Divinity has a certificate program called Theology and Health Care. The idea here is to in part address the issue of physician burnout. We are doing some market research for them and looking at the employers of clinicians and understanding what their top is of my professional needs and see if do the value propositions of that new program resonate with what their priorities are.
Q: Do you see this being more applicable to master’s and Ph.D. programs or something that could aid in looking at undergraduate programs?
A: I can see it being both. What I like to get at is to try and understand what are the target audiences that Duke is wanting to learn about, and what are the types of questions that we could be understanding and in terms of what would be a compelling value proposition for that audience.
Q: What are your thoughts on the level of complexity to do online instruction for certain areas of the curriculum, for example, the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, is there a better fit for this at all?
A: I think that depends. I think part of that also aligns with what the particular audience is looking for, whether it's really about gaining from the faculty’s expertise in certain areas, or whether it's hard skills that they're looking for.