May 2010 update from the CIO

I hope that this finds you shifting into summer mode, whatever that might mean for you.  I notice that it means a lot of hard work for the faculty and students involved in Summer Math (I see them there in Galileo every morning).

In CIS we have definitely shifted gear, with much more emphasis on projects that need to be carried out over the summer, as well as busy preparations for next year.

1. Alumni Weekend.

As you know, Alumni Weekend was a great success.  It seems so long ago already!  Calvin Tong wrote an article about the role CIS played, which you can read at

2. LabSTOR

Over the past 18 months I’ve been working with the CIOs of Allegheny, Middlebury and Occidental on  a project we’re calling LabSTOR.  It is designed to allow access  via Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) to application environments that run specialized software for which we might have limited licenses.  No more having to trudge over to the <insert name here> lab to use a given application!   Read more at

3. Microsoft Online Training.

As part of HMC’s  software licensing agreement with Microsoft, we have access to online training for many Microsoft applications.  Perhaps the summer would be a good time to consider taking one of the courses.  I just logged in and saw 134 courses in English on everything from “What’s New in Microsoft Powerpoint 2010” to “Working with pivot tables and charts in Excel”.    Thanks to Jeff Sessler at Scripps College for reminding us about these online courses.  For more information see

5. The Learning Studio in Sprague

If you’ve visited the first floor of Sprague recently, you’ll no doubt have noticed that the carpet is in, the walls are painted and the wood is stained.  We’re waiting now for the arrival of furniture (scheduled for June 14), equipment and the Nanawall (mid-July) that will enclose the east side of the classroom.   I stroll over there every now and then just to get a boost from standing in the space.  We believe it will be an exciting place in which to teach and learn starting this summer.   Elizabeth Hodas is your direct contact for details about the Learning Studio.

6. Tactical Initiatives

By now, I probably don’t need to remind you that we have four areas of emphasis in our strategic planning for information technology:

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

In each, we’ve been identifying tactical initiatives for the next year.   A big one for us in CIS is our client centered initiative.  At our May staff meeting we put together a plan to do our first round of service catalog development.   We plan to do the work of examining fifteen services this summer.  We intend to rethink services from the ground up, taking the perspective of our clients, based on what we learned in focus groups and surveys.  We will be redesigning things to make our services “easier to do business with” and we will look at such things as the potential for automation and moving away from the model we used to have where one person  often had sole responsibility for all steps in a piece of service delivery.

On the IT infrastructure front, our team recently identified three vendors to which we wish to pay closer attention in our search for an Account Provisioning and Identity Management solution.  They are Microsoft, Novell and Fischer International.  Andy Davenport is leading this project and he can talk your ear off about it if you want to drop by his office.

I have not mentioned all the posts that are on our news site, so please visit

Thanks for reading.  More to come at the end of June.  Stay cool!

Joseph Vaughan

CIO/VP for Computing and Information Services

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