Annual Report of the
Committee on Information Technology
For 2006-2007 the elected members of the committee were Jonathan Christman, Paul Escott, Wei-chin Lee, Luis Gonzalez, Bill Marcum, Stan Thomas, Kristen Kemp, Joshua Michael King, and Delphine Masse. Paul Escott was the chairperson, and Luis Gonzalez kept the minutes. JoAnne Lowe and Jeffrey Muday attended each meeting and made helpful contributions as Instructional Technology specialists. Jay Dominick and/or Pat Morton were present at every meeting. Interested faculty or staff also attended at times.
The CIT formally met nine times during the academic year. In addition, several problems, questions, or issues that arose between meetings were fixed, answered, or resolved between meetings through emails and the committee’s listserve.
Important actions by the CIT included the following:
- Encouraged and endorsed the plan of Information Systems to develop a broad and comprehensive information security plan for the University. Development of this plan is underway and will continue next year.
- Decided to continue for one more year with Windows XP rather than switch to Vista.
- Decided to use Microsoft Exchange as the underlying structure for email next year. Faculty members and students will continue to use the current email package. It is anticipated that as we move into the future some staff will choose to use Microsoft Outlook for calendaring functions and/or email.
- Discussed concerns from faculty about the screen resolution on the current year’s T60 Thinkpad. In response to these concerns, IS provided a replacement display to those who wanted one. (A dozen or fewer faculty members accepted that offer.)
- Participated directly, through the work of Jay Dominick, Delphine Masse, and Lynn Sutton, in the bidding process for next year’s computers. The committee as a whole also met frequently to hear reports about the process and to give advice. The bidding process was successful, and next year’s computers for students, staff, and faculty will be more powerful than current models. The contract with Lenovo offers price and other advantages and is for five years, with an option of two two-year renewals.
- Appointed a sub-committee to study the possibility of using Google email as the students’ email system. This sub-committee will work during the summer and into next year.
- Adopted recommendations, including a Vision statement, a Mission Statement, and a SWOT analysis, about academic computing and submitted these to the University and College strategic planning committees. Stan Thomas, Jeff Muday, Delphine Masse, and Jay Dominick deserve special thanks for work on this document.
- Elected Luis Gonzalez as the chair of the committee for next year.
Other matters discussed by, reported to, or handled by the CIT included the following:
- Progress on the redesign of the university’s web page
- There is an emergency host for the WFU website that will be available in case of a power blackout in Winston-Salem. The URL is http://emergency.wfu.edu.
- Discussed and commented on some problems relating to the implementation of Banner.
- Discussed improvements to intranet communication between the Reynolda Campus and the Bowman Gray Campus.
- Heard a detailed report on the MobileU program, which brought free instrumentation to the university, offered price advantages to those who chose to participate, and cost the institution very little. It was not adopted by a large number of students, however, because most were already tied in to long-term contracts with a cell-phone provider.
- Reported, through the chairperson, to the AAUP on the MobileU program, in response to the AAUP’s request.
- Heard a progress report on the project to create a wireless system in Winston-Salem.
- Discussed and encouraged publicity (through articles about Sylvan Boko’s course) about the videoconferencing abilities of the Reynolda campus. There are 3 videoconferencing rooms on campus (2 in the IS building plus DeTamble) and one portable system (that cannot offer the same quality of audio). All facilities are easy to use. The ITGs or Jay’s staff can help to set up a session, and the cost for academic use is $0 if IP (rather than a phone line) is used. Scheduling also is easy and can be done through the IS webpage. (See Media Solutions.) Ten professors used videoconferencing last year, including two semester-long classes, but much more use of this exciting resource is possible.
- Met with and heard from Rick Matthews, Umit Akinc, and Catherine Harris, of the old Academic Computing Advisory Committee, who very helpfully advised about the need to send a document to the strategic planning committees.
- Heard a report on the use of a tablet computer by some professors.
- Noted that the Reynolda Campus can now use the Medical Campus web system for IRB forms.
The Chair thanks the members of the CIT for their hard work and their readiness to volunteer as tasks arose.