The changing landscape of IT at the Claremont Colleges

You have probably noticed some signs of it: the landscape of Information Technology at the Claremont Colleges has begun to change significantly. In this article, I will remind you of some of the initiatives that have started or will start in the near future and try to give an idea of their potential impact.

The Council of the Claremont Colleges (“Presidents’ Council”) commissioned a report on Information Technology from consulting firm BerryDunn in 2013. The report made a number of recommendations about consolidation and cost reduction/avoidance.  This led to extensive discussion between the ITC (committee of CIOs of the Colleges) and Council, resulting in the creation of six initiatives, collected under an IT@TCC umbrella.  The initiatives were to do with Networking, Security, Disaster Recovery, Telephony, Identity and Access Management and Data Centers.

At a very high level, the initiatives all call for appropriate centralization and improved management under the aegis of CUC.  In 2016, many of the original six, as well as a few others, launched.   CUC has begun to build a strong IT unit that will manage shared services.  They have made a number of great hires for the roles of CIO, deputy CIO and network management.

A new cross functional committee, the IT Steering Committee, has been formed.  It is comprised of the Vice Presidents from each College with responsibility for IT, the Dean of the Library, and representatives from each of the committees that report to Council (Academic Deans, Treasurers, Student Deans, Communications).  This committee has responsibility for governance of IT and for making decisions about which services should be provided at a Claremont wide level, rather than at individual colleges.  You can read about the ITSC and view its membership on the new it.claremont.edu site.  That site also has information on a number of sub-committees (called “ITOCs”) that are digging into initiatives on networking, telephony, identity and access management among others.

Other initiatives that started before the ITSC was formed are connecting up with the new governance structure and process.   They include:

  • Claremont participation in the Workday Student Strategic Influencer program, led by Andrew Dorantes
  • Assessment of Student Information Systems (SIS), led by Jeff Groves
  • Deployment of Workday’s Human resources system, led by Stig Lanesskog of CUC

So what might this all mean for  HMC faculty, students or staff?

By the summer, Council should have a recommendation from the SIS assessment group regarding the student information system.  It will take at least a couple of years, once a decision on a vendor has been made, to deploy a new system, but we will be saying goodbye to the current versions of the Jenzabar portal and underlying software.  I know that this will be welcome news to many.

The deployment of Workday HCM (“Human Capital Management”) has begun. This is the second Workday system that is being deployed for the Claremont Colleges, following the Financial Management System – the two are tightly integrated.  The new system is scheduled to go live in January 2018 (to coincide with the tax year).  We will be saying goodbye to UltiPro, to PeopleAdmin (for job applicants) and to current performance evaluation system (word docs).   Cynthia Beckwith, Kimberly Taylor and I are your HMC representatives on the workgroups responsible for deploying Workday HCM.  So please get in touch if you think there’s some aspect of this that you would like to influence. We’d love to know what is currently working well, what works but could be improved and what is not working for you at all.

The landscape really is changing, and there is much more to report, but I will stop for now.  Do get in touch if you have questions or comments.

 

 

Update on Portal Advisory Group

Screenshot from 2013-03-14 17:30:10I’ve written about the Portal Advisory Group before.  Affectionately known as PAG, it’s a group that will assist us with setting priorities for the Portal, starting from the premise that the portal is a tool which we know HMC has not used to its full capacity. The group will guide CIS and the College in improving and expanding use of the portal.

The following people have all agreed to participate and I am grateful to them.

Mark Ashley (Registrar, Chair)
Lauren Kim (Assoc Registrar)
Susan Selhorst (CIS)
Cindy Abercrombie (CIS)
Paul Steinberg (HSA)
Vatche Sahakian (Physics)
Tim Hussey (OCA Communications)
Jennifer Greene (OCA Communications)
Guy Gerbick (DOS)
Scott Martin (BAO)

We are also seeking one or two students to help with this initiative.

The first meeting is being scheduled for just after Spring break.

I look forward to good outcomes!

Welcome Veronica Hart to CIS

Veronica Hart
This month we welcomed Veronica Hart as the newest CIS staff member. Veronica graduated from Scripps College where she was able to major in art and also complete a CS minor, taking courses at HMC and Pomona. While a student at Scripps, Veronica worked all four years in their IT department. She later returned to work at Scripps in the IA Office as Assistant Director of Development Services creating reports and providing technical assistance. As our new Database, Reporting and Workflow Developer, that experience will be put to good use. Veronica will be dividing her time between Cognos reporting and OnBase Workflows.
Originally from New Mexico, Veronica is interested in computer gaming and would one day like to develop games herself. Veronica enjoys yoga and zentangling as well as the company of her cat, dog and salt-water aquarium.

Sakai hits record usage

John Trafecanty wrote to the intercollegiate Sakai Administration Team this morning:

Hello SAT:

It looks like we hit a new record for usage last night. There were approximately 1,900 users online at the same time. The old record was last semester at about 1,450 users.

John Trafecanty

Sakai is now one of the most heavily used systems at the Claremont Colleges.  Harvey Mudd is the “lead college” for this service. CIS provides Tier 1 (help desk) and Tier 2 (educational technology) support for HMC, and Tier 3 (System and Application management) support for all the Claremont Colleges.

Portal Progress

After a successful pre-registration for Fall courses, we have continued to make progress on improving the features available through the Student/Faculty portlets.

This summer, for the first time, students are able to add and drop classes through the Portal add-drop feature. Of course, students need to discuss changes with their advisors, but they don’t need to make a special trip to the Registrar’s office to deal with paperwork.

Department Chairs now have the ability to view the grades for all the courses in their departments.  If you are a Department Chair, you should see an option to “Change Semester/Instructor” on the Faculty Course Control page.  If you don’t, please let us know.

The next big project for the Portal is a version upgrade and new versions of both the Student and Faculty CRM’s.   We are working now to incorporate the Claremont Colleges local changes into the standard versions of the CRM’s in our test environment.  Testing and implementation will happen this summer.

Erik Pope Joins CIS

Erik Pope became the newest member of the Data and Software Engineering Services group when he joined CIS in January as a Senior Software Engineer.  Erik comes to HMC from Pomona College where he was a member of the AISO team that supports the use of CX and JICS at all five of the undergraduate Claremont Colleges.   You may have seen him around campus on his electric skateboard, which he sometimes uses in his commute to work.

Erik’s focus right now is on making sure the JICS Portal is ready for web pre-registration at the end of April.  He has ungraded the HMC Portal software and installed numerous updates to support Claremont’s local modifications for cross-registration.  In addition, Erik is working closely with the Registrar Office on testing.

Beyond his work on the Portal, Erik has experience in documentation and work flow that are sure to be useful as we work with our customers to design new projects.