April 2010 update from the CIO

Hello everyone,

Here’s the monthly update from CIS for April 2010.

1. IT Strategy

As you know, April is the month in which HMC employees work on annual performance evaluations. In the past few years at CIS, these have morphed into documents that represent a set of agreements about the goals we will pursue in the next year and, most importantly, how we will measure progress toward those goals.  During this year’s round of evaluations, we are looking at goals through the lens of the IT strategy document and the four areas it emphasizes:

  • IT Governance
  • IT infrastructure
  • CIS, the central IT organization
  • Innovation

For each of the four areas, we are identifying tactical initiatives, and asking each employee to fit their goals into that matrix.  You’ll read more about the tactical initiatives in future monthly updates.

2. New Staff Member

We recently welcomed Erik Pope to the CIS team.  He is working in the Data and Software Engineering Services (DSES) unit and focusing primarily on the student and faculty portals.  Read more at http://www5.hmc.edu/ITNews/?p=320

3. Email and Calendar

The Email and Calendar task force continues to examine issues around the College’s services in this area.   We are now looking at two off-site options, Microsoft’s Live@edu and Google Apps for Education, both of which are increasingly popular with colleges and universities, large and small.   If you’re interested in obtaining a test account on either (or both) of these, please drop me a line at  vaughan@hmc.edu I will ask you to agree to write up some notes on your experience, but would love to have you join the assessment. Read more at http://www5.hmc.edu/ITNews/?p=243

4. HMC Facebook Application

CIS, the Dean of Students Office and the Office of Admission have been working together to prepare for the launch of Harvey Mudd College’s first application that runs on the Facebook platform.   It is built using a product from Inigral called Schools on Facebook, which adds online social networking features to information about the college and college life. The first wave of our launch, which went live two days ago,  was directed toward admitted and incoming students.  They are able to see where other admitted students are from, easily connect with others who have similar interests and learn more about HMC, all within the Facebook environment that is so familiar to them.   See  http://www5.hmc.edu/ITNews/?p=340 for more.

5. Learning Studio in Sprague

It’s almost here!  If you’ve been over in Sprague in the last three weeks, you know that the first floor is under construction.  It’s already clear that the space will be light filled and airy, and you can get a good sense of how large the classroom on the north west corner will be.  Carpets are due to go in May 5, furniture is ordered, computers are next.  Elizabeth Hodas is posting regular updates on the Learning Studio; the most recent is at http://www5.hmc.edu/ITNews/?p=344

6. Matlab non network version

If you’re going away for the summer and will need Matlab, then the non-network version is for you.  CIS collaborated with several departments and the Dean of Faculty to upgrade to a new “Total Academic Headcount” license for Matlab.  Calvin Tong, our Director of User Support Services, wrote about this at http://www5.hmc.edu/ITNews/?p=271

7. Jenzabar Visit

Jenzabar, the company that makes the student information system software that is used by the Claremont Colleges, hosted a meeting for the CIOs of all five undergraduate Claremont colleges.  It was a valuable meeting which helped us get a better understanding of Jenzabar’s plans for the future of CX (the student information system product), JICS (the portal product) and their Institutional Advancement product.  I know that many people cringe at the mention of the Student and Faculty portal, but over the last two years I have come to realize that the facts are very complex in this case and it is hard to determine whether the product falls short or our implementation of it falls short.  I believe it is important to re-engage with the company leadership in order to get an answer to that question.

8. Summer Plans

At CIS the summer usually means a long list of projects, and this summer is no exception.   We will give top priority to the next steps in our Client Centered Initiative, which will involve creating a catalog of all CIS services and analyzing them using the perspective we have gained from our information gathering activities (focus groups, surveys, department visits).  For each service, we’ll be asking how well we deliver it, whether it is “easy to do business with”, and whether we have arranged our systems and people to deliver the service optimally.  As we do that, we expect to be making changes in the way we deliver many services,  so watch for updates.

I encourage you to visit our news site for more detail and other news.  I received several encouraging comments about the March 2010 update,  so please do write and tell me if you like what you are reading and anything you’d like to read more about.

On behalf of the CIS staff, I wish you the very best during these busy busy weeks leading up to Commencement.

Joseph Vaughan

CIO/VP for Computing and Information Services

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