The Division of Information Technology
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Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Academic Support Services Subcommittee Report
The Division of Information Technology continues to work collaboratively with various Divisions supporting technology projects. As technology support for Business Affairs’ Payroll Project returns to normal levels, DoIT efforts turn to the local implementation of SciQuest, the UNC system’s purchasing application. While the project is slated to begin in earnest in late summer, preliminary meetings and information gathering has begun with project management provided by Denise Carroll of Business Services. DoIT’s Jonathan Lowery is our technology project partner. For Student Affairs and in support of Academic Affairs, DoIT is a project partner on the implementation of EMS software, a campus event management and room scheduling application that should bring much needed scheduling functionality. There is an anticipated large return on investment for this project in terms of reduced staff time to find and schedule meeting rooms, classrooms, and space for activities. Cynthia Oxendine is the project manager and DoIT’s John Hays is representing technology. Tom Jackson, our Chief Technology Officer has provided technology leadership with Residential Living on CBORD’s HMS Odyssey, a new online software that allow students to choose rooms, dining plans, roommates, and a slate of additional services. This project is nearing completion. Advancement is conducting final acceptance testing for an online giving application developed locally by DoIT’s Pam Chavis and Jonathan Lowery with leadership by Tom Jackson. Working closely with a Financial Aid team, Pam Chavis led DoIT efforts as the team finalized a number of new reports and processes to assist Financial Aid in meeting student demand for services. The reports and processes reduce manual steps freeing staff time for other pressing activities. Tammy Locklear deployed several critical reports related to budgeting as needed by the Payroll Project. Sue Gaston, working with the Registrar’s Office deployed new reports related to student advising. In early April, Dawn Albrecht and Terry Oxendine updated our Oracle database version and applied necessary upgrade patches to our enterprise Banner infrastructure. Application’s staff along with the DoIT team welcome Delores Lowry back as we missed her during her time away.
The Network and Operations area of DoIT addressed two major issues recently. On March 31, quick action by DoIT’s Barry Graves and Elaine Veseley with help from Facilities Management kept power to our Data Facilities in Oxendine. During a routine generator test, the main backup power supply for the room suffered a critical failure when a main circuit board failed. By quick diagnosis and following emergency procedures, Graves and Veseley were able to bypass the failed power supply to advert a major outage. Network staff Tony Chavis and Chris Desmit resolved three critical network issues during March, an equipment failure in Belk, vendor changes that impacted select fire alarms, plus an issue related to an intermittent voice delay on campus phones. Chris Desmit, Kevin Pait, Tom Jackson and Terry Oxendine continue to work closely with global network giant Cisco and their local vendors to design and purchase network equipment to refresh UNCP’s network infrastructure. This refresh is a major initiative providing the network infrastructure foundation to serve campus goals and objectives for a number of years. DoIT is greatly appreciative of the continue support of the Chancellor and the Executive Staff in making this project possible.
Director Kevin Pait reports that our faculty and staff email accounts now total 1375 accounts using a total of 824GB of storage. DoIT’s Operations area now supports 95 physical servers and 45 virtual servers. These servers are the combined total of servers between the primary and secondary data centers. The 95 servers consist of 52 HP based servers, 4 Apple servers, 22 Dell servers, 14 Sun servers and three generic servers. The virtual server environment continues to grow and increasingly provides a valuable resource for departmental servers and replacement of older physical servers. We are focusing on increasing capacity and redundancy of the virtual environment as mission critical services continue to migrate onto this platform. The use of virtual servers reduces operational costs and contributes greatly to campus Green initiatives.
Cindy Saylor and Liz Cummings of the Client Services area are working with Elaine Vesely in Networking to roll out shared mailboxes for Unified Messaging to approximately 55 campus users. Cindy and Liz are in the process of organizing and provide training for the individual users in charge of the shared mailboxes. This project, made possible by a Microsoft Grant, replaces an aging voicemail system for campus telephones and is projected to be completed before May 1st. Melanie Jacobs provided five sessions of security training to 73 participants. This training module was created by Jacobs, Tom Jackson and Cindy Saylor. Institutional Effectiveness and the Registrar both provided input from their areas for the presentation. The security training is informing the campus about how to keep both technologies and data secure, by explaining both good practices and inappropriate technology behaviors. Another slate of sessions is being organized. Seven Client Services staff members and one Media Center staff member earned Mac OS X (10.6) Snow Leopard Essentials certification. Staff members are Crystal Barton, Daryl Burgwyn, Liz Cummings, Wes Frazier, Mary Graham, Rob Hughes and Mike Pruitt (Client Services), and Brock Brayboy (Media Center). Charles Kearney has done an excellent job of removing a total of 87 WordPerfect 9 installations from machines on campus and identifying other issues with individual desktop campus computers. This project produced cost savings by eliminating extra word processing software by utilizing campus licenses of Microsoft products. Under the collaborative efforts of Liz Cummings and Wes Frazier, a team of Client Services staff and DoIT’s student BraveTechs began the installation of the 2009-10 faculty refresh computers along with functional office staff refresh computers. Mike Pruitt is leading a DoIT Task Force in preparation for migrating to Windows 7. The upgrade roll out had been planned for summer 2010, but given the need to thoroughly test the new operating system, the anticipated start date is now October 2010. The task force members include Mike, Daryl Burgwyn, Liz Cummings, Wesley Frazier, Robert Hughes, Cassie Manis and Cindy Saylor. Classroom/Lab staff members Tabitha Locklear and Daryl Burgwyn are in the process of preparing recently received computers to refresh many classroom and student lab computers. The refresh is consistent with student feedback and institutional strategic efforts to increase access to newer technologies. In partnership with NC State, UNCP’s virtual computer lab continues to see much use by students and faculty. Geo sketchpad image software, Microsoft Office and SPSS statistical software all continue to be very popular. The VCL generates cost savings by allowing software licenses to be shared among users.
Allan Prevatte, Melanie Jacobs, James Lewis and Cindy Saylor are part of DoIT’s team working to implement new Blackboard software. Blackboard is the online learning platform chosen by faculty. Our current version is being migrated to the latest version 9.2. The upgrade is a major software change providing many new features for faculty and students, including new Web 2.0 collaborative tools such as Blogs, Wikis, interactive discussions and online chats. Terry Oxendine has installed necessary server infrastructure and implemented the new software so testing and development work is underway. The campus will “go live” with Blackboard 9.2 in August. DoIT is working closely with Livermore’s Michael Alewine, George Guba of the Teaching Center and Terry Locklear of Distance Education on the campus deployment.
DoIT’s Maureen Windmeyer, Cindy Saylor, James Lewis and Bob Orr collaborated with Terry Locklear and Dr. Charles Tita of Distance Education, Sylvia Pate of the Regional Center, Kathleen Hilton from Academic Affairs, Deans Leah Fiorentino and Cammie Oxendine, Department Chairs Mario Paparozzi and Sherry Edwards and Livermore Library’s Robert Wolf in submitting a $1.6 million dollar grant request to the Broadband Technology Opportunity Program (BTOP), part of the ARRA funds. UNCP also provided letters of support for additional grants applications from MCNC, our campus network provider and for North Carolina Central University’s Law School. A $5,000 development grant was awarded to Distance Education and DoIT by Polycom Inc. to assist in UNCP’s grant development. The BTOP grant, if awarded, will create the Community Interactive Video Collaborative building interactive video classroom facilities at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center, Sandhills, Robeson, Bladen, Central Carolina and Brunswick Community Colleges, UNCP’s Regional Center, and UNCP School of Education plus expand existing facilities in Business. DoIT suggests this was a model for campus collaboration with all contributors equally contributing to this effort including Linda Little and the staff of Sponsored Research. The Contributor’s enthusiasm generated remarkable synergy for the project.
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