ITAC Minutes for September 28, 2023

Perkins 217 Korman Assembly Room.


4:00 – 4:20pm: Annual ITAC Group Photo

We’ll take a quick walk to the steps outside or we will be on stairwell inside for the photo depending on weather and then efficiently reconvene in room for the meeting.


Victoria Szabo -Welcome, lets step outside to take photos


Photos taken


4:20 - 4:30pm: Announcements & New Students Members welcome (10 minutes)


Victoria Szabo: Introduction of the new student representatives:
-Andrew (Andy) Li (Trinity ’26)

-Arnav Jindal (Trinity ’26)

-Sam Carpenter (Trinity ’26)


Introduction of new stenographer, Jamie Palmer and backup coordinator Sheri Tibbs.

4:30 – 4:55pm: DKU Updates – Bob Johnson, Judith Heath and Mary Frances Luce (15-minute presentation, 10 minutes Q&A) 

What it is:  Updates regarding the phase 2 opening of the DKU campus 

Why it is relevant:  DKU’s footprint in Kunshan has grown exponentially with the opening of phase 2, combined with the return of international students and marking the 10-year anniversary of DKU’s founding.  What once started as a small graduate school mainly focused on business education has transformed into a graduate and undergraduate liberal arts institution with over 2,000 students, hundreds of faculties and staff and has accomplished the first two graduating classes of UG students during the pandemic restrictions in China.  The massive and impressive phase 2 expansion highlights many challenges, as well as opportunities for Duke, DKU and Kunshan in the future.   


Bob Johnson - Introduction of Judith Heath and Mary Frances Luce


Judith Heath – Provided an overview of the phase 2 expansion, including 22 new buildings:

    • Library (where most classrooms are located)
    • Community Center (dining services, clinic, specialized AV spaces)
    • Sports Complex
    • Wuhan Duke Research Center (some classrooms and labs)
    • Administration Building (offices and meeting rooms)
    • Employee housing
    • Graduate and undergraduate housing
    • Visitor Center
    • Service Building


Bob Johnson – In total, Phase 2 represents 1.2 million square feet of additional space. Buildings are being used for classes, library and labs.


Judith Heath – Noteworthy is that there were no new staff hired for the new buildings. So for example there is specialized AV equipment in the performance spaces without new personnel.


Video Shown -


Judith Heath – The video showed, for example, performance spaces, but as alluded to earlier, no one at DKU has the expertise to run the technical aspects of the performance space. The sport areas have needs and challenges, including training student workers. There are lots of student workers, with limited hours and skillsets. Sports only budgeted for three student works. Currently they are unsure of where staffing and funding will come from.


Challenges (slide)

  • A tremendous amount of new space and no increase in headcount
  • Support of classrooms, meeting spaces, labs, events and the DKU community with phase 1 and phase 2 buildings spaced far apart
  • Specialty AV spaces such as the theater and performance café support needs
  • Sports complex technology needs
  • Many spaces unfinished and the potential use unrealized due to funding constraints


David MacApline - What is the broader long-term plan for DKU?


Mary Frances Luce - My sense early on, some may have underestimated how expensive Academic programs would be, including how many faculty members would need to be added.


Bob Johnson - Phase 1 began as a plan only for a business school only. For the second phase the Chinese government proposed a Design Build approach for DKU, and built around what they thought the emerging programs would be at that time. They had a compelling vision, then the pandemic came. Two things happened then, it was difficult to recruit students and tough to get international students to come back. this is improving but we are still focusing on getting the ideal student: faculty ratio?

Mary Frances Luce – Right now it is 6 to 1, approximately.


Bob Johnson- Currently DKU is working through which programs could become the most successful with a liberal arts education in China. How will the Chinese government support DKU’s growth? There are restrictions on their student counts, so for the next two years we are learning what will be successful. The best thing about phase 2 is Judy’s team is able to provide more support. Previously they were extending the hours, with classes from 7am to 10 pm.  Now they have lots of class rooms so aren’t having to work that late.


Judith Heath- Not all faculty and students have been able to return to China. Differences in time zones for hybrid classes caused issues. Faculty want the students there in person and we don’t have enough staff to support that currently.

Mary Frances Luce- DKU has a two-year financial horizon to figure out what the priorities are for the budget. Since we have that time, we can really think about what are priorities are. There are two finalists for campus EVC and it’s a moment in time to make some strategic tradeoffs. There is a path forward,

Bob Johnson- One of the great things about DKU, is it’s an opportunity for us to test things out there on a much smaller scale that we may want to do here at Duke. We can launch Chat GPT for the whole student body. Evan Levine has been helping out with that. We want to know how it will be utilized, what the consumption is to better help us understand what it would be like to do it here at Duke.

Evan Levine- It’s all token and usage based. DKU is buying a minimal package. It’s going to give us an idea of average student usage.

Victoria Szabo- Are there challenges with students using ChatGPT?

Bob Johnson- This is Microsoft China’s license for Chat GPT. Hong Kong University is currently using it. This follows in with all the emerging security and local Chinese laws. My job is to help people understand potential risks and discovery and that everything is transparent with everyone. Anything stored will be stored in China. All other tools from Duke go through the VPN.

Steffan Bass- I was at DKU in November 2019.  The staff there complained about VPN throughput.  How is this now? Has this improved or gotten more difficult.  Bigger picture plays an enormous role, but global politics may put a damper on it.

Bob Johnson- I believe in building bridges not walls. In the past we were relying on a VPN. We have now installed 2 MPLS (Multi packet label switching) pipes with permission from the Chinese government. It comes from DKU to a firewall outside of Duke. This is a point-to-point circuit that is a one gig pipe. We now have a second one gig pipe, as a redundancy. We have two ways that we allow people to connect. We have a proxy that is URL-based. The URL you type in gets put into the trusted list and then the website is allowed.  That's been proving difficult to keep up because everything has these embedded links in it.

We just released Horizon, which is a virtual machine that just stays up all the time.  If you're in the PRC, you can actually click between a PRC environment and a Western environment and that's unfettered access This is strictly limited to faculty and students, as we can control who gets to it.  This was just soft launched in Spring.   It works really well.  That connectivity will remain in place.

Paul Jaskot- Is this going to take all our OIT support? What is the division of labor between Duke and DKU?

Bob Johnson- DKU does pay Duke OIT. There is an Augmentation Plan that allows us to hire additional staff, to help cover support needs specific to DKU and not take away from what OIT does at Duke. It covers 12-14 positions.

Evan Levine- It’s been a good experience for the staff.  Not taking a lot of our time, and gives us an opportunity to test things.

Bob Johnson- DKU headcounts for software licensing have not yet pushed us into a higher tier of enterprise [Duke] licensing, and DKU pays their fair share of those licenses. Duke is not subsidizing DKU’s efforts.

Evan Levine- It gives us the ability to roll out, for example, new approaches to AV. We can’t try that at Duke.

Victoria-Szabo- Time to talk about opportunities


  • 10-year celebration attended by President Price, Provost Gallimore and many others from the Provost Office
  • Renewed interest in DKU
  • Return of international students and faculty
  • Global health (graduate program) 10-year celebration end of October
  • Large Duke leadership delegation trip in mid-November to China with DKU visit and conference

Judith Heath – Mary Frances attended the 10-year celebration along with President Price and others. There has been a renewed interest in DKU. Lots of discussion in engaging DKU with research efforts at Duke. Most international students and faculty have returned after a 3 ½ year absence. Global health graduate program 10-year celebration is at the end of October. Several hundred people will attend that celebration. There is a large conference and delegation in November.

Victoria Szabo - Question regarding AV in classrooms. Is hybrid learning built into new infrastructure?

Judith Heath- Since the pandemic the scope of what was built as changed. For phase 1, there was a heavy investment in Zoom rooms. They were not put in all the classrooms in phase 2.  Phase 1 classrooms have Zoom classrooms.

Victoria Szabo - Is Zoom an example of where we have a massive Duke investment and DKU is able to join in that?

Judith Heath - DKU pays for all their Zoom license counts, within the overall Zoom license that Duke maintains.

David MacAlpine - Are there any opportunities for Duke faculty to visit?

Judith Heath- Yes

Sunshine Hillygus- When IT staff are devoting some portion of time to DKU, how is that cost covered?

Bob Johnson - Some expenses are in-kind; some are the augmentation plan.

Sunshine Hillygus - Is it the case that we are going to see direct costs, and indirect costs? What is it taking for Duke to maintain that campus?

Bob Johnson - We should take a look at costs

Mary Frances Luce - We have a good sense of people who are supporting. DKU gets a lot of advice from Duke staff.

Bob Johnson - Going back to the AV discussion, at DKU it is all AV over IP, which is a brand-new approach. There are over 1,000 endpoints, making it one of the largest AV over IP deployments in the world.  We have a small AV over IP deployment within buildings here.  This approach saves money. All the rooms were designed for hybrid learning. We are going to regroup at the end of the semester and review what works and what doesn’t. We will share our findings.

Brandon Le- Has the student population changed with the opening of Phase 2?

Mary Frances Luce- There has been a planned ramp up of students. The first graduating class was 236. Then we graduated 275. We just graduated 400 and trying now to ramp up to 500. I think we could go bigger with this campus, but will need approval from the Ministry of Education to go above 500 a year.

Judith Heath - then add more graduate programs

Mary Frances Luce- We will add more study abroad programs. There are 5 masters degrees that are all duke degrees. For the next phase we will apply to the Ministry of Education to have DKU master’s degrees.

Vitoria Szabo- Thank you.


4:55 – 5:15pm: Outdoor Wifi updates - David Smith (10-minute presentation, 10 minutes Q&A) 

  What it is:  Over the summer, David and his team worked to enhance wifi experience for many locations in Duke. 

  Why it’s relevant: David will provide an update on the current status of outdoor coverage along with an overview of what is in the pipeline in the future. 

David Smith- I’m the Senior Manager for the Network engineering team here to share an outdoor wi-fi update. The update grew out of feedback at the end of last year from students and expressed concern regarding the outdoor wireless footprint.

The first step after getting the feedback was to budget the money to procure the equipment. Due to lead times, that was almost a three-month procurement. Equipment ordered in May showed up mid-August. There are lots of different components: cabling, building penetrations, things that keep it safe, so it can be costly.

David Smith- (slide show)


Work Completed this Summer

  • Dorm Room AP Replacement
    • New Outdoor APs have arrived!
    • We upgraded over a 1000 APs to newer models (Wi-Fi6) in Keohane, Edens, Craven, Wanamaker, and other locations.
    • Addressed 175 down APs this summer across all student housing locations
    • Edens, Decker 3A and Mitchell outdoor APs
    • Duke Gardens – Phase 1

Inflight Projects

  • Keohane Quad - Two Phase Approach
  • Duke Gardens Phase II - AP Mesh Deployment
  • Back of the Chapel - New Outdoor Enclosure

Next Phase

  • C1 bus routes - Mesh Deployment
  • Emergency Phones - Template Deployed
  • Student Wellness Meditation Area - Mount APs Outside

This summer we replaced over 1000 APs throughout dorms around campus and also addressed 175 down APs. We deployed some outdoor work along Edens, Decker and Mitchell and started work in Duke Gardens. We are calling it Phase 1. Outdoor areas are seating and common areas. We needed to work with FMD and landscape architects and the process went well. Duke Gardens previously had equipment, and we add more to boost the coverage.

With APs you need power or network. With a large outdoor space, you have a distance limitation of about 300 feet for your cable. We had to be creative to cover the outdoor space.

Inflight Projects – The Keohane Quad will be a two phased approach. Duke Gardens phase 2 is a mesh technology. If we can get power to an AP, we can use the wi-fi signal to take one of those bands and use it for the back haul.

We hope to be finished with Keohane by the end of October. We are working our way down the quad to provide wi-fi.

For the C1 Bus routes, we will need to use the same mesh technology as the Duke Gardens. We are looking at deploying APs on emergency phone locations. We want to make sure it fits the footprint and are waiting for approval on this.

The student wellness meditation area is tricky. It is difficult to place APs on the windows. We need to penetrate the walls of the building.

Arnav Jindal - Speed has been falling in areas. Do we know the cause? Is it because of too much usage?

David Smith- We hope it that is not the cause. We appreciate any direct feedback. we have 10,000 APs on campus, which rivals the medical center. Most of our APs are at a low power level, so that we can self-heal. We haven’t done a site survey of the whole campus, so we want to look into any issues that come up.

Victoria Szabo- At what point does Duke decide to launch a satellite? When do we go to the next level?  Is that a thing?

David Smith- Not that I’m looking into.

Victoria Szabo- Looking ahead, what do we see happening?

David Smith- You are going to see faster speeds on new generations, but they have their own problems with indoor coverage. Regarding outdoors, new wireless APs run 6 ghz, which is a new spectrum that is owned by the government and leased out. We are not allowed to use it outdoors yet.

Bob Johnson— We have a pilot up for CBRS, deployed on East and West campus. It is one of the cellular options.  Private LTE, this is the build out of your own private cell network.  We have been testing it and have 7 nodes operational.

David Smith- Currently we are looking for a vendor give us one AP that can do all these things. This could be a great solution, especially for the back haul.

Zoe Tishev-Thank you for acting on the student concerns about the wi-fi issues.  Is there a method for reporting slow wi-fi?

David Smith-We’d talked about the Fixit, which gives students a really quick way to submit an instant ticket, as it backends to our system.

 Lindsey Glickfeld- Any plans to expand to the medical center side, outdoor spaces?

David Smith- You will have to ask colleagues on the medical side. We work with them quite often.  They run the student wellness center, so we are working with them.

Bob Johnson- we have some shared VLANs across the network

David Smith- we have them broadcast the DukeBlue WiFi network everywhere.

Colin Rundel- what does the monitoring look like for load per access point? Students having multiple devices, does that cause issues?

David Smith-Our monitoring system gives us load. For anything over 150 connections, the newer APs can detect collision, since they are Full Duplex [equivalent speeds upstream and downstream].

Victoria Szabo- adjourns the meeting.