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Information Technology Committee

During the 2009-2010 academic year, the C-13 committee played an active role in providing input on the new information technology (IT) governance structure that was recommended in the Strategic Information Technology Advisory Committee (SITAC) report and approved by President Powers. Paul Resta served as chair of the committee, and David Neubert, School of Music, was elected as vice chair at the initial meeting.

The committee met frequently during the fall to consider and develop its role in context of the new governance structure, and to offer recommendations to ensure that the new governance structure would address the needs of the faculty. Following the initial meeting, the committee met on the following dates: October 1, 15, and 29; November 19; December 3 and 15; January 14; February 4; March 11 and 25, April 8; and May 13. One goal of the committee was to have meetings that were open and transparent to the faculty. Detailed minutes of each meeting were prepared and made publicly available.

Brad Englert, ex officio member of the committee who is now chief information officer for the University, provided a comprehensive briefing on the SITAC report during the first two meetings. During each of the following meetings, he and Liz Aebersold continued to update the committee on progress in implementing the new IT governance structure and changes in ITS.

In addition, special presentations were invited to help the committee understand the current issues, trends, and context of IT at the University. These included:
  • Joe TenBarge, assistant dean for technology, College of Liberal Arts, and chair of the University Technology Classroom committee, reviewed the progress made during the past ten years to upgrade classrooms with technology. He noted that, of 270 general-purpose classrooms, 259 were now equipped with technology. He also cited results of a survey of UT teaching faculty that indicated that 91 percent were using the technology and that faculty were either very satisfied or satisfied with the facilities and technical support.
  • Cam Beasley, University information security officer, discussed IT security issues, including protection of Category 1 data, ISORA, and the ongoing attempts by hackers to access and use the University’s IT resources. The need for faculty to understand these issues and policies, and ways to accomplish this, were discussed.
  • Bruce Porter, chair, Department of Computer Science, who made a presentation called “Information Technology for Research in Computer Science: Why ‘One Size Doesn’t Fit All” and provided his perspectives on the development of the SITAC report.
  • Shan Evans provided a presentation of the Mobile Online Course Assessment System (MOCA) and a briefing on the digital measures initiative.
  • David Neubert provided a demonstration of the capabilities of Adobe Connect to support not only distance education but other functions as well.
  • Mike Heidenreich, audio engineer, and David Cannon, classroom console technician, demonstrated liberal arts’ lecture capture system and shared information on their initial pilot of the system during the fall.
In October 2009, a subcommittee began developing a set of recommendations to enhance the effectiveness of the new governance structure. The recommendations were reviewed and approved by the committee (see Appendix C13).

The new governance structure provides for the C-13 chair to serve as a member of the Strategic IT Accountability Board (SITAB). The board is chaired by President Powers and has over-arching responsibility for University IT policy and direction. The board meets quarterly and, during the initial meeting on February 1, 2010, the C-13 chair presented the C-13 committee’s recommendations for the new governance structure.

The recommendation to add representatives of college/school IT faculty committees to the C-13 committee required a change to the existing policy and submission of the recommendation to the Faculty Council in the form of a legislation proposal. It was also suggested that the proposal should also indicate how many colleges or schools had such committees. The committee chair conducted a survey, through the assistance of the TechDeans, to determine which colleges had such committees. This information, as well as other information, was included in the legislation proposal (D 8074-8075). The proposal was submitted to the Faculty Council Committee on Committees, which unanimously approved it. The proposal was on the agenda for the May 10, 2010, Faculty Council meeting, but due to lack of time, it was sent out to Council members on a no protest basis and was approved on May 25, 2010.

During the March meeting, the committee elected Dr. David Neubert as chair elect. He will begin his term as chair at the beginning of the 2010-11 academic year. The issues that are suggested for the committee to consider next year include: a review of the current landscape of learning management system options including Blackboard, Moodle, and others; the use of open education resources to support instruction; and the need to establish minimum standards for computers and related technologies for faculty use.

In summary, the C-13 committee has had a productive year. It has provided an effective means to articulate the needs and views of faculty and to offer recommendations to help ensure that the new governance structure will meet the needs of faculty and students. Based on the continuing development of the governance processes, the C-13 committee will continue to meet during the summer to assist in this effort.

Paul Resta, chair