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Committee on Information Technology

Minutes of the April 10, 2007 meeting of the
Committee on Information Technology

Present:  Umit Akinc, Jon Christman, Jay Dominick, Paul Escott, Luis González, Catherine Harris, Bill Marcum, Delphine Masse, Rick Mathews, Matt Nelkin, Jeff Muday, Susan Smith, Lynn Sutton, and Stan Thomas.

The first item in the agenda was a report on the bidding process for the next academic year’s computer. Jay, Rick, Lynn, and Delphine informed the committee that the process was almost complete, and that the results so far exceeded their expectations. The committee representing the Reynolda campus, the Hawthorne campus, and the Hospital in the bidding process had sent that same day (April 10) a recommendation to Nancy Sattenfield and Matt Cullinan. After Nancy and Matt’s decision, the process could be finished in a couple of days after a few phone calls to finalize some details. Jay expected a final decision in a matter of days.

The CIT had had a meeting on March 28, when the committee heard how the bidding process was going from Lynn, Rick, Jay, and Delphine. Lynn was not at the meeting but had sent a report that all members of the committee read before the meeting. Rick had sent an email in which he entirely agreed with Lynn’s assessment. At the meeting, Jay and Delphine explained how the process was going, asked and answered many questions, and obtained a vote from the CIT committee on the direction to proceed with the information available at the time. The vote was unanimous, and the negotiations kept going in the direction anticipated at that meeting. It was agreed that no minutes from the meeting on March 28 would be written, since some of the information shared at that meeting could interfere with the bidding process.

The second item in the agenda was the need to have a voice on behalf of academic computing in the strategic plan. There was a clear agreement that academic computing cannot be taken for granted, and that the CIT is the appropriate group to go on record making a strong statement on the mission and vision of academic computing. Paul observed that many departments have integrated computing into their academic programs to the extent that computing is a fully functional part of each of them. Rick added that innovative and robust computing was pushed not only in science departments, but also in art and social sciences. Umit pointed out that academic computing and administrative computing were intertwined. Jeff noted that research computing was an integral part of a university, and that Wake Forest needed to be at the forefront of computing, including research computing and collaborative computing. Jay agreed that a mission statement for academic computing will be welcome by IS.

Paul asked for a few volunteers to draft a mission and vision statement for computing, as well as a brief statement on strengths, weaknesses, and threats. Stan, Jeff, Delphine, and Jay volunteered. They will have a draft to be circulated by April 24 at the latest, when the next meeting of the CIT will take place. The statement will be sent to the College and the University.

Jay had proposed via email a friendly amendment to the minutes from March 7. He proposed to replace “memory” with “storage” in the first paragraph. The entire paragraph, with the change, is included below.

Paragraph from the March 7 minutes:

Paul informed the committee that the idea from Rick Mathews about letting students who graduate keep the same email has been considered in the past by the administration. However, it was thought that storage demand could grow astronomically, and vulnerability to viruses and spam could be even greater. The idea was then set aside at least for some time.  Jay addressed the idea of using freeware instead of Blackboard and explained that, in addition to the challenge of converting from one system to the other, the cost in staff support would be greater than the cost of using Blackboard.

The next meeting of the committee will be on Tuesday, April 24th at 4:00pm.

Respectfully submitted by Luis González
April 12, 2007


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