4:00 - 4:30 p.m. - Special Guest: Executive Vice President Daniel Ennis (30 minutes)
What it is: Each year ITAC has the opportunity to hear from selected senior leaders. This week will mark our first visit with Duke’s new executive vice president, Daniel Ennis, who will answer questions and share his perspective as it relates to technology and other topics.
Why it’s relevant: EVP Ennis 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 Executive Vice President Daniel Ennis. EVP Ennis states that he has been looking forward to connecting with ITAC in person. Questions have been assembled and EVP Ennis is interested in dialog. He would like to know what is on IT’s mind and what is the vision for the community.
EVP Ennis begins by addressing his impressions of the team and gratitude and his observation of Duke’s missions and the role of IT.
Impressions of the team and gratitude: EVP Ennis has spent time with Tracy and the team, and he is impressed with the quality of the leadership team. EVP Ennis likes that Tracy’s team is big on working with faculty and staff and on creating a can-do attitude. EVP Ennis says thank you. Also, EVP Ennis is impressed by the very serious focus on diversity and inclusion. It takes courage to have the conversations that are taking place across the Duke IT community. Honest, sometimes emotional conversations are taking place thanks to supportive leadership. The technology team is living diversity and inclusion.
Duke’s missions and the role of IT:
There are many ways the technology team has contributed to the Duke community mission-wise. First and foremost, the team rallied through the pandemic supporting remote work, remote education, remote delivery of clinical care. EVP Ennis underscores the creation of a SymMonapp and interfacing surveillance testing and vaccination programs to the Duke Health systems. There is an enormous amount of technology behind the scenes.
On the research side, EVP Ennis says OIT works side by side with faculty to best support their work. Some of the biggest challenges on the research side are in the high-performance computing zone; a lot of work and investments are needed.
On the educational student side, EVP Ennis loves how the IT team is directly engaged with students and is delivering curricular experiences supporting their research. The 3D printing capabilities have been valued by students as well.
On the clinical care side, Duke went from 0 to 60 mph meeting the needs of patients with Tele-health. EVP Ennis believes this will forever change the quality of patient care.
On the administrative side of Duke, Tracy has identified opportunities to enable technology to drive efficiency and effectiveness in how we serve our clients, students, faculty, and staff. EVP Ennis is impressed with the administrative systems and SAP team. There are still significant opportunities that we can take advantage of because of the skills Tracy’s team can bring.
EVP Ennis says Duke is being well-served by OIT’s Security Team as well. Cyber threats are relentless and yet the response team is great and constantly working the problem.
EVP Ennis has a very strong interest in the kind of how technology can drive change and operational processes. “Oftentimes, we say oh if we just had technology that process would be fixed but that is never the answer.” The prospect of technology should drive better operational thinking and then technology should be leveraged for that improvement and operational thinking. EVP Ennis believes the technology team can bring sophisticated thought about process improvement and then bring in the technology behind that. EVP Ennis is interested in exploring this further for a better run enterprise in support of Duke missions.
EVP Ennis concludes, “So thank you for all that you do; it is a real pleasure to be connected to you, to be able to speak with you today, and looking forward to digging in on any questions that are on your mind.”
Q. David MacAlpine – I have been impressed with how my grants are still going out on time and we can order and buy supplies even though I have not seen my grant managers for months. How do you see university changing as far as remote work going forward?
A. EVP Ennis – The question we want to ask is how do we best support our missions? At this moment in time, employees and their families benefit from being home. We need to ask: where do you feel most productive? Then, our first priority is cultivating talent. Next, we can look at reducing Duke’s carbon footprint via individual behavior modification; can commutes impact the carbon footprint? Finally, we need to ensure that space is optimized for academic operational needs. A more flex work environment would lead to shrinkage of costs related to space; we need to be smart about costs and this type of cost reduction would not threaten jobs.
Q. Robert Wolpert – Duke has a healthy relationship between IT and staff, more so than any other university.
A. EVP Ennis – agrees, he has noticed the collegial relationship between IT and faculty. Much trust is seen.
A. Tracy Futhey – would like to acknowledge Robert Wolpert who is a statistician and was a founder of ITAC; Robert was part of a faculty committee that established the OIT organization 25+ years ago.
A. EVP Ennis – would like to see this type of cooperation between OIT and faculty expanded to the relationship between University IT and Duke Health IT. Also, some research faculty are in a no-man's land between the two.
Q. Michael Faber – With Google’s coming to Durham, is Google engaging with Duke directly in any ways that we can take advantage of? Are there any conversations around partnership?
A. EVP Ennis – Tracy will take a significant role in cultivating this relationship. We worked hard to land them in Durham; it was an important team effort. They are in the School of Medicine and the DCRI consolidated to avail that sublease to Google. This effort is incredibly exciting for the economic development and the innovation ecosystem in the Triangle and in Durham. Duke is in conversation with others as well.
A. Tracy Futhey – The challenge with the Google relationship is how decentralized Duke is and how many things happen on the edges with individual faculty units. Decisions to do something are rarely coordinated top-down. And Google is the same way. So how can we have a lightweight way of keeping the connection between Duke and Google that does not impede those individual relationships that exist and need to grow? Google probably has a few goals at the corporate level and we don’t know what they all are yet. But recruitment is a top goal. Google is also very interested in diversity and inclusion.
Q. Tracy Futhey – Are there lasting changes for higher ed around hybrid models for learning that you would like us to focus on in the future or think about?
A. EVP Ennis - Not dissimilar from the employee experience, the student experience has changed dramatically. A significant proportion prefers online classes, not for health reasons but because that is what works for them. We need to test new pedagogical models. Also, we need to look at whether we are missing opportunities to have an impact on and connect with broader communities. Duke is not as commercially oriented with online classes as some of Duke’s peers; maybe the pandemic will create a shift in delivery and Duke ’s financial position can be strengthened in this way.
Q. Financial question.
A. EVP Ennis says 1st and foremost, he wants to recognize the sacrifice that faculty and staff made. The Duke community rallied in time of uncertainty to ensure we could protect jobs and incomes and for the lowest paid. It is also not easy to live in a competitive world as far as retaining talent. So this was a hard and meaningful sacrifice but Duke has now moved to continue 403b matching and to increase salaries. Will these actions be enough to retain talent and protect Duke financially?
There are significant headwinds – investment returns are much better than expected and feared; like equity in a house, Duke’s equity value rising; this does not mean much on a day-to-day basis but is good news.
The Health System and University are quite busy but have not quite had the same level of operational productivity due to the pandemic. Because of social distancing, the Health System was hit for a couple of months with a massive drop off in clinical events. This is now ramping up. The clinical mission is over 50% of the enterprise on a revenue basis.
On the University side, enrollments are now better than we feared they would be as well. So, we must appreciate these headwinds. Also, Federal funding is growing and supportive of research and development.
Challenges exist concerning expense growth rate. We need to be smart about how we support Duke missions. Duke has grown its footprint dramatically in beautiful and important impressive ways, but we need to titrate that a bit and slow the pace of capital expenditure. What is saved by reeling in space, can be put toward renewal and tech but not toward as many buildings. We need to change the slope of the line. But we have come through this pandemic crisis with little job loss and little financial loss.
4:30 - 4:35 p.m. - Announcements (5 minutes)
- Congratulations to Charley Kneifel for winning the presidential award for the rollout of the Covid 19 pandemic infrastructure!
- The March 8th and 14th minutes are approved.
4:35 – 5:00 p.m. - Staff Response to Graduate and Undergraduate IT Issues, Jen Vizas and service owners (25 minutes)
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 March 18, 2021. In today’s presentation, Duke’s IT leadership will provide feedback on the students’ concerns and suggestions.
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.
For background, Jen mentioned to Daniel that both the undergraduate and graduate student survey their peers to collect feedback about the different IT services. One of the main things from the student response this year was awareness, said Jen. Jen introduced Camille Jackson. Camille will be at the center of the awareness campaigns.
Camille kicked off the presentation and said that she is pleased with working on these campaigns and the feedback collected from the students has helped her in terms of the areas that need improvement.
As an overview, Camille showed a list of the different IT services where awareness campaigns are happening.
working with OIT departments to develop awareness for many of the services including:
Smart dorm setup
To help with the campaign efforts, Camille mentioned that a cohort of communication interns from Duke and NCCU were hired to help in the coming months leading into Fall. With that, Camille handed the stage to the different stakeholders to talk about their respective IT services.
ePrint - Michale Faber
Presented in bold are some of the main feedback talking points received from the students, and below is the response from the service owners.
Duke should not force us to buy ePrint if we don't need it.
- The student quota is free to Duke students.
- Duke provides a $32 allocation for undergrads for B&W printing, with a one-time opportunity to add $8.
- Only after this $40 total (2000 double-sided pages) need to add Flex funds for printing.
ePrint doesn't work / ePrint popup never works.
- In most cases, this is due to being on the wrong network. The popup will not appear if you are not on the Duke network (must be Dukeblue, not visitor) or on a VPN.
- You can also send print jobs via email (must send from the email address associated with your netID), via MyPrintCenter on the web, or Pharos Print iOS/Android apps.
- The best documentation is the ePrint page on the OIT site but will be reviewed.
- Admittedly some of it is out of date and needs updating.
VCM – Michael Faber
Duke VMS are slow, clunky, and unreliable
- The use of Duke VMs for classes has skyrocketed recently, especially with remote learning & expect there would be some growth issues.
- OIT will continue to monitor usage and ensure there are enough resources available for student work.
- We will also work more directly with faculty to advise on best practices for these resources (like not asking everyone to log in at the same time in class, etc.).
Software – Michael Faber in place of Terry Lonergan
Video editing software
- Adobe Creative Cloud suite is available to all students at no cost - includes Premiere Pro, Premiere Rush, and After Effects.
- Software Licensing strives to make this process as straightforward and simple as possible; We are open to additional feedback to improve the ordering process.
- It wasn’t clear here as to what the issue was. Was the issue about ordering software from software.duke.edu or the download / install process of the software? If it is about the downloaded / install process after software has been ordered, the team would like to know about the specifics, said Michael.
Longer license after graduation
- In most cases we are contractually bound to revoke access once a student graduates; Exceptions: Office and Windows, which can be used perpetually post-graduation.
STATA & Maple → Why aren’t these free to students?
- Some software products like Stata and Maple are purchased with a volume discount and have an associated recovery fee that helps fund the large cost. This approach allows us to offer non site-licensed products at a substantial discount relative to what they might cost individuals outside of Duke.
Expanding the software catalog for CAD software
- Students can access Autodesk software, including AutoCAD, at no cost by creating an account directly on the Autodesk website. https://software.duke.edu/node/30
Sakai - Michael Greene
- FA20 released new templates.
- Kits usage grew 177% over last year.
- Coming Spring 22, the new Sakai Dashboard
Better Tab Support:
- Sakai community Tab Safety project scheduled for release in 2022.
- Discussing new options with Duke’s Mobile Team.
- Currently investigating Gradescope, Panopto Cloud, OneDrive, Google Drive
- Forums: Piazza sunsets later this year. Ed Discussion pilot, Forums.next project
DukeHub 2.0 – Chris Derickson
- Communication needs to be improved: How to use the system and upcoming changes.
- Continue to listen to students: Feedback has been critical and will continue to be a major source for effecting change.
- Continue to partner with student leadership, especially for graduate and professional students:
- SISS and DSG have been meeting regularly since the implementation began.
- Establish the same level of partnership with grad/prof students.
More changes are coming:
- Degree Planner tool enhances My Planner is being piloted by Nursing.
- New Course Evaluation Tool is being piloted by Trinity and Pratt for the Spring.
- Changes are coming to improve the interface between Sakai and DukeHub
Duke Mobile - Richard Outten:
- Improved detail display of locations
- Global login Phase 1 is in test.
- Squashed several bugs and library upgrades.
- Notifications from Sakai
- Improving navigation
- Broaden Duke Mobile Steering group participation.
- Student Affairs
- Alumni Engagement and Development, …
- Strategically focus on content/customers
Transloc – Bob Johnson, Tyler Dewey
- Transitioned from “Transloc rider” to new “Transloc” app in fall 2020.
- Multi-language support. Spanish and Chinese
- Improved real-time vehicle tracking.
- New route visualizations
- Dynamically suggested routes
- Improved stop details, including schedule data and ETA.
- “Pin” their favorite/most-used stops.
- Easier to search for routes and select/deselect routes.
- Improved agency alerts (highlight detours, delays, “masks required” etc)
- Real-time vehicle occupancy, adjusted for covid capacity.
This concluded the staff survey response conversation. The discussion part and the rest of the IT services response was postponed for a later ITAC meeting.
5:00 - 5:30 p.m. - Digital Intelligence (DQ) certificate track, Nita Farahany (20-minute presentation, 10-minute discussion)
What it is: The Digital Intelligence (DQ) certificate is a new track within the Science & Society Undergraduate Certificate program in partnership with the Center for Computational Thinking. This certificate track focuses on providing undergraduate students with a foundational understanding of contemporary and emerging computational applications, such as artificial intelligence and data sciences paired with a grounding in those technologies’ social, ethical, and policy implications.
Why it’s relevant: Unprecedented access to data, computing, and technology is transforming our world and our concept of a liberal arts education. The Digital Intelligence track builds on wide-ranging partnerships with other units across Duke and with real-world clients to examine ethical technology issues with computational thinking. This certificate track provides students with a holistic understanding of revolutionary technologies and the responsibility researchers, designers, and regulators bear in ensuring they are built and implemented responsibly. Students will access robust, thoughtful, and critical considerations of technology and its implications for individuals and society.
Nita Farahany speaks about the new Digital Intelligence Certificate track and the new Science and Society Certificate tracks for undergraduates launched this past January. The goal of these certificates is to integrate computational thinking with ethics policy. The track gives undergraduate students a foundational understanding of artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, web and mobile technologies, database, and software engineering in combination with the ethical, legal, social, and policy frameworks that are needed to understand the complexities of how technology impacts the world. The understanding given via this certificate is called Digital Intelligence (DQ). This certificate track has many partnerships across Duke – Computer Science, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Code+, Arts and Sciences, Engineering Public Policy, Law, and Science and Society. This started as several asynchronous modules that Larry Carin developed and put on the Coursera platform. Some topics include:
1.Algorithms and algorithmic bias and transparency
2.Big data and data integrity
3.Identification privacy and cybersecurity
Students watch asynchronous content and then, there is a discussion section to the content.
After the core class, there are electives. Electives include:
2.Ethics and policy
3.Communication of Science and Technology
4.Computation in practice including computational genomics computational microeconomics computational sequence biology.
The goal is to draw from existing offerings within Duke. Students can also obtain credits for attending different lectures across campus. There are existing programs with funding challenges and this certificate program can provide some tuition support when students are obtaining credits.
Q. Jackson Kennedy – love this model where students can obtain credit for attending lectures across campus.
A. Nita Farahany – We think this solves existing constraints of people being able to engage in so many of the co-curricular offerings across campus.
Q. Tracy Futhey - I know as part of the elective structure in the different areas of focus that there are a lot of actual direct courses in Computer Science and Engineering, so it seems like although you had to create the intro course and the capstone experience, it seemed like one of the things that is interesting and compelling about this certificate is that it takes the greatest advantage of the things that already existed to create it.
A. Nita Farahany – That’s absolutely right and the area that has been central to the program has been the Ethics and Policy piece. Also, Computer Science is crushed with the number of students coming in and all on one pathway. This program leverages what already exists within Computer Science and hopefully, relieves some of the burden because there is this other set of courses.
Q. David MacAlpine – This sounds fantastic. Have you considered something similar for graduate students?
A. Nita Farahany – Yes, absolutely. There is a lot of demand for this type of program. We are looking into what would make sense for graduate students as a pared-down offering is needed because grad students have fewer classes. The administration of the program as well as scaling also needs to be considered. With no advertisements and with a late launch, the undergraduate program was fully enrolled this semester, so demand is there.
David MacAlpine ends the meeting.