February 2011 update from the CIO

It hardly seems right to call this the February 2011 update, when I am sending it on March 4th. Maybe we should think of it as delayed in the mail? As I wrote that, I had a sudden flashback to the mid 80’s (not that long ago, really), when, homesick, I would go to the stacks at UCLA and be delighted to find an Irish Times that was only two weeks old!

February was an intense month. As a result of the  Trustees’ decision to move ahead with the new building, David Dower and his team pulled out and dusted off the interim space plans.Wrecking Ball They included a permanent move of CIS to Sprague.  We will be moving to the fifth floor, with our help desk function located inside the Learning Studio.  We’ve had a couple of busy weeks as we developed detailed plans to move us all.  We are hoping to create a space that is, like the first floor, light filled, flexible and open.   You will all be welcome to visit and enjoy the view.  I have been making corny jokes about Pie in the Sky and Cloud Computing, but I am really grateful to and proud of the CIS staff for rolling with these changes and being very creative in thinking about how to meet our needs without turning the fifth floor into a rabbit warren of offices.  F&M is working flat out to get us moved as soon as possible, so that Advancement staff can move out of Thomas-Garrett into our current space.

Last month, I told you about three open positions in CIS.  In February, Susan Selhorst successfully completed our search for someone who will work on Cognos reports and OnBase workflows.  Veronica Hart will be joining us on March 14th.  Watch for a news article with more details, including news of a partnership with CUC that promises to allow us to develop workflows more quickly.   Next week, we will host visits from four people who are candidates for the Director, Systems and Network position.  Hopefully, we will soon have news about that one too.

The Computing Committee met twice in February.  At one meeting, we got into some detailed discussion of calendar scenarios once we move to Google Apps and Microsoft 365.  Our exploration of this decision and its implications is ongoing, but we have not yet hit a show stopping obstacle.  I will shortly post a news article laying out some  of the things we’ve been thinking about.  CIS is ready to start testing the two systems, and the Computing Committee has agreed to help.   Once we have a Systems and Network Director on board, the pace should begin to pick up.   At the second meeting, Elizabeth Hodas updated the committee about her progress on goals for the Educational Technology and Media Services unit.  They also discussed the Learning Studio in detail.

Cloud Computing continues to loom large.  We learned that CUC will move to a new Human Resources platform that is provided in a Software as a Service (SaaS) model.  And I helped Admission with negotiations on some new software that is also Saas.  Read more at http://www5.hmc.edu/ITNews/?p=1011 and http://www5.hmc.edu/ITNews/?p=1019.  I think we can expect to be dealing with Cloud Computing issues all the time from now on.

In my note about the security breach in January (see http://www5.hmc.edu/ITNews/?p=915) I mentioned that we had been exploring Vulnerability Scanning Services.  We have now contracted with Trustwave for this service.  Our plans include an initial scan of all networks (except the dorm network) to help identify where there are servers.  Once we know where the servers are and after discussion with the owners, we will set up security scanning to validate each server’s security measures.   We will of course send out notifications and more explanation before doing this.

We had a couple of great Bite of Learning Sessions this past month, including one in which Jeff Groves and Bill Alves talked about their work   And I’m really looking forward to one in April, in which Tim Tangherlini (UCLA) will talk about computational folkloristics.  You did read that right, he’ll be discussing computational approaches to a large corpus of folklore stories, mostly looking for house elves.

So, a busy but productive month.  I hope everyone has a great Spring break!





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