4:00 – 4:05 p.m. – Announcements (5 minutes)

David MacAlpine begins the meeting by welcoming Demaris Murry, Director of Faculty Data Systems.

Approved minutes attached July 23rd and September 3rd.

4:05 – 4:35 p.m. – Special Guest: Executive Vice President Tallman Trask III (30 minutes)

What it is: Each year ITAC has the opportunity to hear from selected senior leaders. This week will mark our final visit with Duke’s outgoing executive vice president, Dr. Tallman Trask III, who will answer questions and share his perspective as it relates to technology and other topics.

Why it’s relevant: 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.

David MacAlpine introduces Duke Executive Vice President Tallman Trask and begins with prepared questions:

Q: Looking over your career of 25 years at Duke University, what accomplishments are you most proud of?

Dr. Trask responds that he is most proud of the fact that the place works well. Also, Duke University’s finances are stable or at least were until six months ago (when the COVID 19 crisis hit.) Also, Trask stated: we built more buildings in this time frame than we built with the original construction in the 1920s and 30s.

Dr. Trask is also proud of the way that Duke handled sweatshop labor. Duke was the first university to ban university merchandise produced under bad conditions. It took a lot of courage from a lot of people. “There was a lot of push back, but we got through it.”

Dr. Trask also highlighted Duke’s environmental responses including Duke’s solar initiative. Duke is buying 100 megawatts of solar power which is the biggest purchase of solar power ever in North Carolina and will come online in 2022; this represents about half of Duke University’s electricity. Regarding a question about whether that involves Duke Forest, Dr. Trask reports there is no place flat enough in Duke Forest without cutting a bunch of trees which is why this is outsourced.

Q: Are there any things you started over the years that you want to wrap up in the next few months?

Dr. Trask responds, “I would love to wrap up biogas which we’ve been working on for a decade... When we started it, people said it wouldn’t work. And so, we built a demonstration project that showed it would work.” Eastern North Carolina despite being swine country was against the project, so Duke found interest in Western North Carolina. Ten years later, interest has increased to the point where Duke Energy bought the initiative out from under Duke University. Trask is still happy that Duke University started the initiative.

David opens the floor to questions:

Q: John Board asks, what falls to your successor?

Trask says not much. The campus’ electrical, heating, and water structures from the period of the 1940s through the 1980s have been renovated. There used to be chillers in front of each building. When Trask got here and looked at Duke’s infrastructure, replacing the chillers was a priority. The Chillers were inefficient and made a lot of noise. So, Trask decided to throw the chillers away and build a central chilled water plant which is much more efficient. It cost a lot upfront but paid for itself quickly. Steam was the way you heated buildings in the 1930s but was old technology once Trask came to Duke; also, steam is dangerous.

Trask also thinks Duke IT infrastructure is pretty good and that 5G is something to look toward in the future.

Q: Ed Gomes asks about the Duke Durham partnerships that are most memorable.

Trask says the most obvious is DPAC. Durham began the design but couldn’t afford it in the end, so Duke paid the difference. DPAC has changed downtown Durham although the impact that it would have wasn’t fully realized at the time.

Q: Tracy adds that the American Tobacco Campus and much of the Durham revitalization is to have been to your credit. Tracy says she has heard Trask say, “What’s good for Durham is good for Duke.” How did you come to that realization?

Trask: Duke wasn’t going anywhere. It’s not like you can move the chapel. And we’d watch the impact of deteriorating neighborhoods at Yale, University of Chicago, and Johns Hopkins where their strategy was to buy up property. Duke took on a different strategy partnering with non-profits on the condition they keep the property on the tax rolls and that's what doubled Durham’s city budget in the last 20 years. This strategy works in Durham because Duke’s ability to help is proportional to Durham’s problems. That’s not true in Baltimore where the problem is just massively larger. Duke does get complaints from time to time, for example, that we’ve gentrified Durham too much. Trask also mentioned Duke’s partnership installing wifi at McDougald Terrace.

Q: Tracy asks about the plans for Central Campus or whether these are on hold due to the pandemic.

Trask responds that there was a committee that started a couple of years ago studying the future of the central campus. Last week, the report was submitted to the trustees. Trask said to the trustees, “One of the things I’m very happy about is that we have nothing going on in Central Campus. We have no capital commitment to it because if we did, we’d be running.” It will be one of the great assets to Duke someday. Central Campus represents 60 acres of flat land that can be built on. No other major research university has that. Trask doesn’t think Duke will be building anytime soon. Duke is a sloppy user of space and a lot of staff will continue to work from home given the way the world works is changing.

Q: Jackson Kennedy asks about the thought process involved in distinguishing what needs to be done versus what is a passing trend.

Trask says you never know. Some things are passing trends, but Duke wants to be involved. Trask gives the iPod project where Duke and Apple collaborated as an example. There was a segment on the CBS Sunday morning news about what a great technology campus Duke was because of this project.

Q: Judy Heath mentions IT spending controls implemented in response to the COVID virus. What is the vision around spending controls and the form that was put forth for staff to fill out?

Trask says we always struggle with a balance between central control and letting people do what they need to do. Overall, in the fourth quarter, Duke’s non-salary expenditures are down $ 60 million. As part of this initiative, Trask didn’t know that Duke owned 6 Salesforce licenses. Trask says Duke can’t continue with these spending levels forever but hopes the university can stop unnecessary buying.

Q: Ed Gomes asks, “Can you share some remembrances of Duke’s relationship with the arts.

Trasks talks about Duke Performances, ADF, and the Baldwin Auditorium renovation.

Q: Tracy asks, “What do we need to know about your replacement?

Trask’s job has been cut into pieces at many other universities, but Johns Hopkins has a very similar structure to Duke and Daniel Ennis’ job there is similar to Trask’s job. Daniel also has IT at Hopkins. Hopkins is also an SAP campus. Trask isn’t sure how governance work at Hopkins; he is not sure if they have a faculty summit. Trask says the challenge is how do take responsibility for the university when you can’t go there and can’t meet anyone (due to COVID.) Trask will stay for about 1 month to overlap with Daniel. Trask will try to ensure that the budget is back in balance before he leaves.

Tracy thanks Trask saying: your instincts about good ideas and crazy ideas were always on point. Trask says he is proud of OIT.

Robert Wolpert thanks Trask for making Duke a great place for faculty and students as opposed to building an empire. Trask thinks Daniel is similar. Trask says the relationship between faculty and staff is the most important thing.

4:35 – 4:40 p.m. – ITAC Annual Photo (5 minutes)

John Shaw placed ITAC members into one Zoom breakout room and took some pictures for the annual ITAC photo. This photo tells the current situation with the coronavirus since, for the most part, everyone is working from home. The photo will be published on the ITAC website at itac.duke.edu.


4:40 – 5:05 p.m. - DKU Update, Bob Johnson, Judy Heath (15 minutes presentation, 10 minutes discussion)

What it is: Duke Kunshan University opened its campus for classes this fall for the first time since COVID shut down operations in January. Travel and Visa restrictions for international faculty, students, and staff led to the majority of the global population teaching, learning, and working remotely while those in China mainland are collecting in classrooms and working on campus. Also, DKU continues to address emerging China cybersecurity concerns.

Why it’s relevant: The impacts of COVID travel restrictions and GFW continue to impact the teaching and learning environment for both Duke and DKU. The hyflex teaching and learning needs resulted in a quick turnaround for additional AV room functionality while also stressing the limits of the small IT organization given the rigorous schedule of classes being held 7 am-10:30 pm along with some weekends to encompass a time of day differences and a late semester start due to Gaokao delays. Planning for the spring semester has begun as students are slated to move back in on January 4th and classes start January 6th. Continued travel restrictions associated with Visa’s and limited flight availability will likely impact international faculty and students returning to DKU for the spring semester, as well as Duke students in China from coming to Durham.

  1. Johnson started the topic by mentioning that this is a follow up to the last session presented at ITAC regarding the DKU update. Amongst this pandemic, the start of the semester has brought up a few challenges at Duke and DKU. One of those challenges has been travel restrictions being that about 70% of students are from PRC (peoples republic of china) and about 70% of faculty are from different countries around the world. This has resulted in many faculty personnel to not be able to get into the country. This has been an interesting experience. Through all of this, OIT is supporting DKU and IT efforts, though an orientation plan that DKU is funding. This is a 3-year plan to get DKU ready for their next campus launch, referred to as phase 2 which will almost double the campus size both buildings and land. The goal is to get them on a sustainable path after three years.

Up next, Judy took the stage and started talking about enrollment numbers.

DKU is now in the third year of the undergraduate program. Although COVID has been in the picture, enrollment numbers were on target.

enrollment numbers:

  • before COVID- international students target was 100, 74 students enrolled.
  • 10 additional students, newly admitted, international students chose to defer their admission to 2021.
  • original china enrollment target was 235 mainland, 235 enrolled. an additional 10-15 from China Hong Kong, Macao, and Thailand. DKU was granted the ability to recruit in additional provinces within china.

Next, Judy talked about the undergraduate populations.

  • third year for DKU undergraduate program.
  • 226 international students (almost all of whom are off campus. 30 at Duke, 1 at the duke marine lab and the rest studying online/hybrid DKU classes from their home countries.)
  • 878 UG students, a total of 652 on campus
  • 50 Duke visiting Students
  • 7 non-duke/non DKU visiting students from other US universities.

The graduate population:

  • 208 active DKU graduate students in total,
  • 89 are on campus now
  • 71 visiting graduate students from DUKE, either at DKU or online.

Duke students that are DKU:

  • housed at neighboring CISK (Canadian international school Kunshan)
  • DKU students in campus residence halls, scholar's hotel, and new talent apartments
  • the hybrid mix of teaching and learning with students and faculty on campus and worldwide.
  • class scheduling from 7 am-10:30 p.m

Q: What is Gaokao?

A: similar to our SAT scores here in the US.

Judy next talked about travel implications,

  • china started allowing foreign nationals holding valid china residency permits to reenter the country on Sept 23rd without the need for a special visit.
  • mandatory two-week quarantine in government-designated hotels upon arrival and rigid COVID testing.
  • additional 2-week quarantine in Kunshan or Jiangsu province before entering the DKU campus due to one confirmed case of COVID in Nanjing on September 22nd. further COVID testing in Kunshan
  • extremely limited flights, high costs.
  • poor internet connectivity in quarantine hotels, DKU IT sponsoring Mi-Fi units for returning faculty and staff.
  • green Suzhou health code mandatory for all webinars planned by DKU student affairs leadership and international parent/students on October 23rd to discuss concerns.

Regarding support, Judy discussed ServiceNow task metrics.

The top four issues reported:

  1. Device support
  2. software support,
  3. phone web and video conferencing
  4. Audio-Visual support

Judy mentioned that although the DKU support team has a limited staff, the team has been able to manage all these issues with great effort.

Judy turned the attention to John Robinson to talk about how to ensure connectivity at DKU.

John mentioned the great firewall that has caused many challenges there for Duke throughout the years. The challenges here are primarily interruptions to the VPN, and connection to most western services.

To mitigate these challenges, John mentioned that they set up an intra-china VPN this year to allow connectivity to/through DKU. The intra-China VPN was registered with the Chinese government on DKU’s behalf by CERNET, the PRC equivalent of Internet2.

One thing that has been a savior, is the MPLS connection (the direct pipe between DKU and Duke) implemented and expanded to accommodate the traffic. It is important to realize theMPLS connection back to Duke terminates external to Duke’s network firewalls, so all incoming traffic from DKU is treated as “outside” and still subject to all of Duke’s security protections.


One thing that Judy stressed was the usage of a VPN. The VPN was able to route traffic through different channels, meaning that China's traffic will stay within china, and traffic that needs to come back to Duke is routed through a VPN.

Judy continued to talk about Spring planning.

to date, 5 non-DKU/non-Duke students have requested to attend DKU for the spring semester.

considerations are underway for duke undergraduate and graduate students within China to study at DKU and DKU undergraduate students in the US to study at Duke.

For the spring semester, there is a likelihood of a hybrid model for classes.

DKU is making a strong effort to have most faculty return before the spring semester begins.

concerns about international students being able to return given visa restrictions, limited availability, and high cost of flights.

This concluded the presentation and Judy asked if there were any questions.

Q: You mentioned the difficulty in scheduling all the classes and what a nightmare that must have been for the registrar's office. Why is it that we didn’t have much trouble here?

A: China is 12 hours ahead of us and once daylight savings time comes, we will be 13 hours ahead. Along with that Students and Faculty are all over the world. The time zones difference is a big factor when it comes to scheduling classes. This has been making it challenging for the registrar office. We have had a few students who have deferred for a year or have taken a leave of absence due to these time zone challenges.


Q: How is the VPN traffic holding up now that the semester is well underway? how is the satisfaction with zoom, both in-country and when it involves international hops?

A: The infrastructure is holding up as hoped. We had one small issue with zoom early in the semester with zoom. DKU is using the Duke Zoom account which the primary data center is the US data center. There were some personnel that if they were not on campus and were attempting to access Zoom, these people would hit the great firewall trying to connect back to the zoom our data centers. but we have solved that issue for the most part. One other issue has been Zoom administration challenges.


5:05 – 5:30 p.m. – Self-Phishing: Duke Health Trial Update, Randy Arvay, Shelly Clark Epps, Cara Bonnett (15 minutes presentation, 10 minutes discussion)


What it is: The Duke Health Information Security Office (ISO) will update ITAC on the first year of the Simulated Phishing Program. The team will share their experience with 2 DH entity level phish as well as information on the opt-in program.

Why it’s relevant: The program is rapidly evolving with very positive outcomes and more Duke Health entities opting in each month.

Shelly Epps talked about Duke Health’s Simulated Phishing Program, the purpose of which is to train the Duke community to recognize and report email phishing attacks. The BigPhish phishing campaign had a 36% click rate. Due to the pandemic, the campaign was put on hold. Then, in August, another BigPhish was sent out. The link contained: stop.seriouslydonotclickthis.com and 22% clicked this time. From February to August, the click rate is going down and the report rate is going up. If an incident should happen, there is a very small window in which Duke would need to take action to get in front of an attack. More than half of the clicks from the BigPhish campaign were from mobile devices. While every entity improved, the biggest reduction is from those who opted in: DHTS, SON, DCRI, and PRMO.

  1. a Working at Duke article, many more groups are wanting to opt-in.

Q. Richard Biever – Is this a part of onboarding as well? Also, if interested in security programs on campus, Cara Bonnett is in the audience and is happy to talk to you.

Yes, Not only that. We are intentionally building advisory capacity within the entities for this program; we have an advisor's program. We also have an ambassador's program which is for those with their feet on the ground.

Shelly also mentions 2 other initiatives that Duke Health Security is working on with ITSO: 1. Revamping of the annual security training embedded in LMS. This includes 3 short videos on best security practices. 2. Proofpoint backend video training – users can take the Intro to Phishing module to be entered into a drawing for an Apple watch. There are 20 other curated modules that users can select from for other prizes.

Q. John Board says feedback is great but the answer back is often, this is “not dangerous” but the email is often still a scam so John would like to petition for messaging these as well even if they are not depositing malware. John would like to see a concentration on the nature of the email as opposed to focusing on URLs.

There is a general agreement on this. Randy Arvay adds that they try to keep the messages lighthearted so this can be something staff are excited about and so the awareness campaign gains momentum.

David MacAlpine adjourned the meeting.