March 2011 update from the CIO

Here’s our March update. It was a really busy month! 

New Hires
Three hiring events in March!  Veronica Hart joined us to fill the role of Database, Reporting and Workflow Developer.  Veronica is part of the Data Services and Software Engineering unit within CIS, which is led by Director Susan Selhorst.  Read more about Veronica at  The long search for a Director of Systems and Network had an unusual outcome.  To my delight, from one search we found a Director of Information Technology Planning and Projects (formerly Director of Administration and Budget) as well as a Director of Systems and Network.  Both will start in May. Watch for a news post with more details on them.

Chris Marble retired after seventeen years working as a system administrator for the College.  On the last day of March we had a nice reception in the Green Room.  Bob Cave (Dean of Faculty), Rick Simon (Alumni Association Board of Governors) and Richard Parker (former Director of CIS) all spoke warmly of Chris’ time at CIS.  Chris figured out during the reception that he was the first HMC alum to retire from employment at the College.  We wish him well on the next part of his journey.

Schools App
The current batch of admitted students were added to the Harvey Mudd on Facebook App, and they quickly started conversations.  “Help, I’ve been admitted to Mudd and MIT…” ; “Harvey Mudd sounds like Harvard Med” and “I got admitted to HMC but not Pomona” were some of the posts.   Here’s a map of where the admitted students are from and of course you can always go meet them at

Email and Calendar
Slow but steady progress on Email and Calendar. As you know, we’re exploring the consequences of my decision to contract with both Google and Microsoft for these services. Incidentally, I came across a paper by Terry Gray of the University of Washington which nicely summarizes their reasoning that led to the same decision. Check it out in Educause Quarterly.   We’ve set up the domains that will be used in production ( and, no prizes for guessing which one is which!).  CIS accounts are being created and we are talking a few other people into being early testers.  Once the two new Directors are on board, you can expect a lot faster progress, and a detailed plan for migration will be released.

Formstack training
Keith Lawton, the most recent hire into User Support, gave a training workshop on Formstack in March. It was well attended and well received.  Feedback from the attendees included a lot of enthusiasm for Keith’s teaching style and good humor, as well as satisfaction with Formstack itself.  I counted yesterday, and 172 forms have been created in Formstack. Can you imagine how many hours of programmer time that would be if we used the old model of having a programmer make all the changes?

Server Infrastructure
In March we ordered a server and small entry level SAN (storage area network). This will allow us to replace the aging server named Charlie, which contains a large amount of important data. It also lays the groundwork for us to proceed with a virtualization initiative.  We have already virtualized several servers but we plan to virtualize most of them.  As a consequence of this purchase, however, F&M has drawn our attentiont to power, cooling and fire suppression issues in the server room.  This brings the focus back on one of our key initiatives in the IT infrastructure area: we need to decide on the future of the server room.  Expect more news on this soon! 

IT Strategy and Initiatives
We continue to maintain focus on the four areas of IT Strategy:

  • IT Decision Making (Governance)
  • IT Infrastructure
  • Central IT: CIS
  • Innovation

The CIS Management Team is scheduled to present an update at the April Faculty meeting.  We’re excited about that, and have been working on the presentation.

That’s it for the March update.  And I didn’t even mention our work in planning the move to Sprague Center!  Faculty, please consider our call for IT projects for the summer (see We wish everyone the best of luck with the hard work involved in wrapping up Spring Semester.

Call for Proposals for Faculty Teaching with Technology Innovation Grant Program

## Short version:
CIS in conjunction with the Dean of Faculty’s Office will be running the second term of a pilot program, Teaching with Technology Innovation Grants, this summer. The grant program’s goal is to support faculty in the incorporation of technology in their teaching. Faculty whose projects are selected for a grant will receive support from CIS in the form of staff time and/or a stipend depending on the needs of the project. Reply to Elizabeth Hodas for more info or read through the following call for proposals.

## Formal and long version:
Summer 2011 Teaching with Technology Innovation Grant Call for Proposals

0. Important Dates

* April 29, 2011 — Proposal Submission Deadline
* May 13, 2011  — Awardees Announcement
* May 20, 2011 — Begin meeting with CIS staff
* August 15, 2011 — Final meeting with CIS

1. Overview
During Summer 2011, CIS will be conducting a faculty technology grant pilot, the “Teaching with Technology Innovation Grant.” We invite proposals from faculty for projects that aim to improve student learning outcomes by exploiting new and innovative technology in education.  The grant program provides support for utilizing emerging technology as well as access to CIS staff time and training.
During the 2011 pilot period, two to three projects will be supported.  Priority consideration will be given to applications that:

* have high impact on student learning;
* engage in innovation of teaching and research through the use of technology;
* have applicability of its use by other faculty members;
* are feasible to be completed and implemented during the proposed time line;
* are not already available elsewhere on campus;
* could not be purchased with other funds such as grant money or departmental funds.

The pilot program is being run in conjunction with the Dean of Faculty’s Office.

2. Eligibility
All faculty at Harvey Mudd College are eligible to apply.

3. Awards
Each selected project will be awarded a stipend and/or software and hardware as needed; the amount of the stipend will be determined by the requirements of the proposal. Faculty will work closely with CIS staff to complete the project.

4. Expectations
Upon completion of the projects or at the end of the project term, faculty may be asked to do a presentation about their project at A Bite of Learning or other venue, or write a brief report on the project goals, achievements and their experiences to be shared with HMC faculty, students and staff. CIS may also ask faculty to survey the students in their courses about how the project affected their learning experience.

5. Application Procedure

All proposals must be submitted to CIS by April 29, 2011. Submitted proposals will be reviewed by the selection committee in early May.  Grant awardees will be announced by email and on the CIS website by May 13, 2011. The selection committee includes members from CIS and the Dean of Faculty’s Office.

Faculty should submit a brief description of their project including as much of the following information as possible: project’s goal and significance; required staff resources, equipment and material; timeline for project completion; your availability during the summer for work with CIS staff on the project; estimated budget (estimate costs of hardware, software and person-hours). Faculty should feel free to consult with CIS if they have any questions.

Proposals should be emailed to

6. Selected Projects for 2010 Summer Grant

* ODE Architect Software Package Incompatibility Solutions by Prof. Bob Borrelli (Math): In his proposal, Prof. Borrelli addressed compatibility issues with ODE Architect (ODEA) package and Windows 7 operating systems. The ODEA is a 12-year old legacy software package still being used by some Differential Equations courses at the Claremont Colleges. Through this project, CIS reviewed the issue thoroughly and proposed a viable alternative, virtualization with cloud computing, using a free cloud computing service called The solution is being used by math faculty and students in Math 45 this semester. For more info, visit
* Web-based Multimedia Quiz Tools by Prof. Bill Alves (HSA): Prof. Bill Alves was looking for a robust web-based quiz tool for his music courses. The requirements for the quiz tool were that it should 1) provide feedback for every answer chosen, 2) allow multiple attempts, 3) allow embedding mp3 files, video clips, and YouTube clips, and 4) be platform independent. CIS searched for available quiz tools out on the Internet, and made suggestions. Through testing and discussions, service was chosen. It is being used by two Music courses, Film Music (MUS179) and Music of the Peoples of the World (Mus063), this semester.
* Hand-Press Printing How-to Video Making by Prof. Jeff Groves (HSA): Prof. Jeff Groves wanted to create a series of hand-press printing videos to help his students understand complex procedures of creating hand-press printing and (more importantly) cleaning the press after use. During 2010 summer, CIS A/V team supported his creating storyboard, filming footages, and editing/encoding/compressing the clips. The video clips are currently being used for his course, Workshop in Hand Press Printing (ART 060), this semester.

7. Contact Info
Joseph Vaughan:
Elizabeth Hodas:
Jeho Park:

Admitted students post on Schools App

As of last week, the students that have been admitted for 2015 are up and active on the Harvey Mudd on Facebook App, at (note: only HMC community can see or add this app to their Facebook profile).  Lively discussions are taking place between admitted students and current students.  The faculty and staff are very quiet 🙂

Among the topics of discussion “I’ve been admitted to HMC and MIT, how do I choose?”,  “Is there a decent gym?”, “Harvey Mudd sounds like Harvard Med”….

You can join in the discussion on the Facebook App.  If you have not logged in before, it is expecting your username to be your hmc email in the format  If you have any trouble logging in, please contact the CIS Help Desk.

Here’s a map showing where all the admitted students are from.
[iframe 600 550]

View HMC Admitted Students 2015 in a full screen map


File Associations, Why Should I Care?

Last post we discussed the differences between Adobe’s Reader and Acrobat. Many times when you’re wanting to just view a PDF file and you double-click on its icon… it opens up inside Acrobat (the conversion program) when you’re expecting (or wanting) it to open up inside Reader (the viewing program). This has to do with an operating system feature called “file association”. Your computer has a list of files and the programs to be used to open or edit a specific file type. If you want your computer to open Adobe’s Reader program when you double-click on a PDF icon, yet the document opens up inside Acrobat… we need to reset the file association for your PDF files. On a PC, this feature is located in your “Explore” window. Here’s how you can set or change your file associations on a PC:
To change which program starts when you double-click a file, follow these steps:
• Right-click your Start button > select Explore > Navigate to a folder that contains the file type for which you want to set up a file association.
• Right-click the file > select Open With > The Open With dialog box is displayed.
• In the Programs list, click the program that you want to use. If it is not shown here > select Browse, locate and then click the program that you want to use, and then click Open.
• Click to select the “Always use the selected program to open this kind of file” check box > Click OK.
You have just setup a file association for that file type. From now on, when you click to open that file type, Windows will open that file type using the program you selected.

Here’s how you can change/set your file associations on a MAC.
First you need to open the file’s information window by:
• Selecting the file
• Click “Get Info” from the File menu
• Select “Open with:”
• Click the “Open With” drop-down menu
• Select the program you want to open the file > close the window
When you double-click the document, the MAC operating system will now open it using the program you selected. Cool eh?