A meeting of the Committee on Information Systems (CIS) was held Wednesday, November 6, 2019 from 12:30-2p in Library 143. The attendees were:
- Stefano Costanzi (CAS)
- Nancy Davenport (LIB)
- Terry Fernandez (OIT)
- Reuben Jacobson (SOE)
- Kiho Kim (CTRL)
- Stefan Kramer (LIB)
- Patrick Jackson (SIS)
- Joseph Mortati (KSB)
- Rick Semitian (SPExS)
- Scott Talan (SOC)
- Mauro Tiso (CAS)
- Stef Woods (CAS)
- Brian Yates (CAS)
- Bobby Zitzmann (AUSG)
- Guest: Mike Piller (Senior Director, Academic Technology, Library)
The following items of business were discussed.
General: The October 2019 minutes were approved. The Committee elected Brian as Vice-Chair.
Upgraded Classrooms: Mike Piller briefed the Committee on the problems and potential solutions with respect to information technology and physical plant issues in classrooms, event spaces, and other meeting and performance spaces across the university.
There is interest in establishing a single, central entity for reporting and solving problems in teaching technology and physical plant issues. The Library noted that it is not equipped to handle specialized spaces such as theaters (Katzen and Greenberg) and labs built for specific purposes (SOC).
There also is interest in standardized hardware available in AU spaces for teaching, learning, and meeting.
Funding for maintenance of technology was reviewed several years ago by the then-Provost and Registrar. Funding is not a base item, but instead is established separately in each budget. Funding is now on the order of $200K annually, although it used to be several million dollars. Partnership with Sony helped contain costs for East Campus and the Hall of Science some, and that may or may not continue.
One strategic imperative is how to improve space across campus. This is led by KSB’s Maureen Breslin. There needs to be a reasonable picture that looks at the issues through more than just what’s centrally-scheduled. A suggestion was raised to include Laura Ragusa and Jim Merrifield in these discussions.
Mike noted that WCL is completely independent, and the Library has two full-time and two part-time staff in SVB to handle classroom concerns.
Mike supported having CIS make recommendations in the coming months related to this and how classroom issues can create disparate experiences for faculty and students. The Committee discussed the need to improve communication between campus offices and schools, establish baseline funding to cover maintenance and replacements, consolidate some processes, and impose some standards. CIS does not need to wait for a new COO before making these recommendations. We can work online to draft recommendations for discussions at future meetings.
CTRL Request re Faculty Software Budget Allocation: Kiho explained that CTRL now has control over a considerable budget for software allocation for faculty teaching and research. He said would appreciate guidance for specific responses to faculty recommendations for software purchases. He wondered whether CTRL was the best entity to make decisions on faculty requests for software, given how CTRL’s mission has changed. This does not fall within OIT’s purview since OIT doesn’t handle academic technology. Mary Clark and Kiho would like to shift the decision-making out of the hands of one or two people, establish a clear process, and increase transparency. They thought CIS might assist with this.
Kiho shared that schools contribute $19-20K to the faculty software budget with an additional $138K coming from CTRL. On average, CTRL receives 10 requests a year for $15-20K. CTRL would still write the checks, but asked if CIS would be willing to establish some general rules or suggestions.
There ensued considerable discussion of both recommendations for specific types of software and of the possibility of developing general policies, principles, or rules for CTRL to following in responding to faculty requests. These included possibly prioritizing open access software, faculty software vouchers, learning how other universities make these decisions, determining which software is integral to a course or department, deciding if the standardized suite is sufficient; and favoring software that could be installed on VCLs.
Discussions ensued as to whether this responsibility falls within the Committee’s purview and if it does, what the Committee’s role(s) should be. In previous years, CIS received applications for faculty software requests and issue grants up to $10K. Karen Baehler, Faculty Senate chair, believes that this does fall under CIS’ mission. Some members agreed, while others feel as though this is beyond CIS’ scope. Additional concerns were shared about the changing membership, how some schools and departments have greater representation on CIS, and how accepting this role could prove difficult and time-consuming for future members.
The Committee voted in favor to continue these discussions and decide whether CIS should help CTRL respond to faculty software requests.
Recruiter: Brian will meet with Ann Parambil, Associate Director of CRM Product Management, about the Psychology Department’s concerns about Recruiter. He will report back and will schedule meetings involving user representatives from major teaching units.
Slack/Teams: The Committee discussed the need to work outside of our monthly meetings as we prepare possible recommendations regarding upgraded classrooms and brainstorm approaches to CTRL’s request. Brian demonstrated the functionality of the channels that he set up on Slack, and members shared their thoughts on the platform. We also discussed the listserv’s strengths and limitations. Kiho shared that Teams is free, supported by Microsoft 360, integrates Skype, and has worked well for CTRL. Teams also is the platform that AU has chosen and supported. Brian offered to set up Teams and channels for the Committee.
The meeting was adjourned.