Fall 2018 update from the CIO

I hope that your Fall semester is winding down to a good end and that it was a productive one.   Here at CIS we have had our heads down, working hard on a lot of different things, so I thought it was time to give you a Fall update.

New Faces

The best and most important thing about Harvey Mudd College is the people.  We have new people to introduce to you, all of whom we are delighted to welcome to the College.   Click on their names for more details.

Additionally, Brad McCauley joined us six days ago.  Brad will be in the role of SIS specialist and his position is funded by the Workday Student Initiative, providing “back fill” for two years.

With these new arrivals, I am delighted to note that the CIS staff roster is now 47% women!

I would also like to give a shout out to all the interns that worked for us this summer: Shruthi Sukir,  Marie Tano, Adam Grobman, Huize Huang, Peter Johnson, Kyle Grace, Huey Fields, Stephanie Hernandez.  They helped us move forward on many projects and were a delight to work with.

CIS Service

Our survey responses (you’ll find one in your email every time we “close a ticket”) and anecdotal evidence strongly suggest that our current user support team is doing a phenomenal job. I’ve had a number of people walk up to me and say things like “It doesn’t matter who is at the desk, I get consistent service…”.  This kind of feedback is music to our ears, but we love all sorts of feedback so that we can continue to improve. You can respond to surveys, talk to any member of the computing committee or just come by.

It was particularly gratifying to see CIS listed as “a great resource” in Talithia Williams and Susan Martonosi’s presentation on “5 things you should know when you revamp a course

High Performance Computing

In the summer, Jeho Park left HMC to become Director of the Murty Sunak Quantitative and Computing Lab at Claremont McKenna College.  Shortly thereafter the search for his successor yielded Dr. Aashita Kesarwani, whom you might have met on campus during the summer when she taught a class for Girls Who Code.   Aashita brings knowledge and experience in data science and she quickly became an XSEDE (High Performance Computing) campus champion. So there are now three campus champions in Claremont: Aashita, Jeho and Asya Shklyar at Pomona.  Their skill sets complement one another and they will be collaborating to support faculty and students.

At a recent Bite of Learning, Aashita provided an overview of high performance computing resources at the Claremont Colleges.  You can view it online here.

Math CIS service initiative

In the summer, we hired Molly Reeves to help with the Math CIS service initiative, which is focused on streamlining IT services for the math department.  It builds on the assumption that we can partner with the department so that CIS supports its basic operational needs and Molly can provide support in areas that are unique or special to the Math department.  You can read more about this initiative on the special website we have set up to map progress.

Goals for 2018-2019

Every summer all of the HMC Cabinet members discuss progress on their goals for the past year and draft goals for the coming year. Last Fall we shared our 2017-2018 CIS goals.  This past summer I did an oral presentation to Cabinet on CIS progress, but I am planning to write something up that I can share.  We did very well on almost all of our 2017-2018 goals. In July I presented the new goals for 2018-2019. If you have time, I would love to receive your comments and feedback on that document.   We now have three lenses through which we view our initiatives:

  • CIS annual goals and initiatives discussion with Cabinet
  • Monthly project updates that are conducted at the CIS staff meeting
  • Every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon we run a brief stand up meeting to discuss the work we are doing (mostly for projects but also for smaller initiatives).

Workday Student

You may recall that the Workday Student project started in June.  On a roughly two year timeline, the Claremont Colleges will replace Jenzabar CX (perhaps known to you as “the portal”) with a new system that is part of the Workday suite.  The Colleges already use Workday Human Resources and Finance. Many people at HMC are heavily involved in this project already. Here’s a list, with the “functional implementation groups” (FIGs) that they are serving on:

Holly HauckAcademic Appointments
Laura Palucki BlakeAcademic Appointments
David WilliamsAdmission
Lauren KimAdmission
Raissa DiamanteAdmission
Scott MartinStudent Finance
Gilma LopezFinancial Aid
Joseph VaughanIntegrations
Mark AshleyRecords, Advising, Curriculum
Nabel VillafañaRecords, Advising, Curriculum
Kevin BiancoReporting
Patricia WangReporting
Cindy AbercrombieSecurity

HMC is represented on the SIS Faculty Advisory Board by David Harris, Bob Keller and Darryl Wright.

Workday Student is a large complex piece of software and we would be naive to think that there won’t be bumps in the road, but I feel sure that you already know that all of these people care deeply about the students and faculty at the College, and about the principles outlined for the SIS project, among which I would highlight #10:

Simplicity. We will make the system as simple as possible for end users. We will also reach out to users as early and as much as possible to understand their needs.

I think my new year resolution is going to have to be “provide more frequent updates”, since there is a list of things that I wanted to tell you about, but this email is already long enough.

On behalf of the team at CIS, I wish you all the very best for peaceful and restorative holidays.

[Note: IBM Watson tone analyzer says the tone of this messasge is “joy”.  Yay!]

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