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.

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