On behalf of the Office of Information Technology (OIT), I would like to invite you to review
our annual report for academic year 2009–2010. This was the first year of the university’s
new strategic plan, and OIT took numerous action steps to support the goals of the plan,
some of which I’ll highlight here.
Related to the goals focused on support for instruction and research, we worked with the
Center for Teaching, Research, and Learning (CTRL) on several initiatives, including:
an upgrade of Blackboard to the newest version, featuring Web 2.0 capabilities
a new synchronous learning tool called Wimba, which makes it possible to teach
online using streaming video and audio. During the snow closure, Wimba was used
to keep many classes going.
a new virtual lab initiative that Dell Corporation supported with $32,000 of hardware
and software
the build out of a new media center to enable development of podcasts
and streaming video to help support teaching and university marketing and
communications activities. University Communications and Marketing (UCM)
partnered with us on this effort.
We also implemented the new Faculty Activity Reporting System to help produce the
annual faculty report, which can be leveraged for building research communities of
practice. In further support of research, we worked with a group of faculty headed by
economics professor Mary Hansen to develop a high-performance computing proposal to
the National Science Foundation.
Recently we began a pilot program to provide faculty with access to Google
Applications and Gmail to support a shared environment with their students.
Working with Bill DeLone, interim executive director of CTRL, and Bill Mayer,
university librarian, we also have begun to track and analyze the use of
computer labs and electronic classrooms to see if we can find a way to more
efficiently and effectively address campus needs.
Under the goals for enhancing student services, OIT worked
on several key initiatives, including implementation of a case
management and issue tracking system, phone trees, and a walk-in
queuing system in support of the launch of the new AU Central
one-stop center. Two new online student services, degree audit
and advising, will be launched in the fall. We also developed
a new student portal based on the Datatel and Microsoft
SharePoint systems, which will be launched this fall.
In support of the goal of enhancing the university reputation and marketing, we
participated in the Web phase II project, helping to add thousands of new Web pages and
piloting a new blog capability to be launched this fall. Our new Web site, which rolled out
last year, has won several awards, including the EduStyle best Web site in higher education.
We also supported a consortium of campus digital signage owners to implement an
enterprise approach and common management tool to the many signs that are now on
campus and will be forthcoming in the future.
Under the goal for improving our administrative efficiency and effectiveness, we
implemented NovusHR as the new online job application system, upgraded the Facilities
Focus management information system, and selected and implemented a new business
intelligence tool called MicroStrategy to support ad hoc reporting, the generation and
analysis of business analytics, and modern dashboards. Last, but not least, we supported
the selection and implementation of the strategic plan tracking system called TracDat.
Related to the enabling goal to address general infrastructure and operational
improvements, we completed phase II of the upgrade of the campus network. We have
now completed the replacement of the core and building level switches to enable higher
speeds and provide more reliability on our network. We selected a new wireless network
technology and have begun the implementation that will be phased in over the next year.
The new wireless network will use the most modern standard, 802.11n, providing a ten-fold
increase in bandwidth and improved coverage.
Our data center has become more sustainable, since we virtualized a majority of our servers
and reduced our average server power consumption by 50 percent. Our business continuity
plan continues to mature with the operationalizing of twin data centers to help us reach our
goals of better reliability and improved uptime for our critical systems. We have installed
the LANDesk endpoint management system on more than 3,000 endpoints (i.e., desktops,
laptops, servers) to help us maintain a real-time inventory of our systems, provide remote
customer assistance, and install important software updates and security patches. Finally,
we upgraded our Cisco Network Admission Control system (formerly known as CCA) and
expanded our Web application and network security vulnerability assessments.
In the pages that follow, you will learn in more detail how OIT is supporting the university’s
strategic plan. Thank you on behalf of OIT for taking the time to review our report.
Dave Swartz
Chief Information Officer and Assistant Vice President