UC Davis Information & Educational Technology

IET Report : Campuswide Technology


This section focuses on the development and implementation of overarching campuswide computing and technology initiatives, policies, and projects.

Technology Expert Appointed Vice Provost-IET On May 22

Provost Hinshaw announced the appointment of Peter M. Siegel as UC Davis’ new Vice Provost for Information and Educational Technology and Chief Information Officer. Siegel is an expert in university information and learning technologies and the chief information officer at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a university that is regarded as a national leader in the area of information technology. His appointment is effective August 15.

As vice provost, Siegel will be responsible for providing the leadership necessary to assure the effective and strategic deployment of information and educational technology to the campus’s academic and administrative operations. He also will be responsible for coordinating technology between the Davis campus and the UC Davis Health System. Siegel will manage the myriad forms of information technology used throughout the campus, including computing systems and data, voice and video communication services.

Siegel succeeds Peter Yellowlees, who served as interim vice provost of IET for the past year. Yellowlees will return to his appointments as a professor of psychiatry and director of academic information systems at the UC Davis Health System (see the campus directive at http://directives.ucdavis.edu/2006/06-058.cfm).

New Course Management Tools Will Launch in Fall

Working with the Schools of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, IET is coordinating a campus initiative to implement a new course management system. In preparation for the first campus offering this fall, twelve faculty members experimented with the new course management and collaboration tools in winter and spring. The pilot group met weekly to discuss pedagogy and practical applications of the tools, and to offer suggestions for improvements.

IET has extended its pilot to summer and plans to welcome several new faculty members over the next few months. To help gauge support that will be needed in the fall, IET will be assisting the School of Medicine by hosting two classes from their Family Nurse Practitioner/ Physician Assistant Program. In addition, UC Davis is working closely with UC Berkeley and Stanford, providing programming support for enhancements to the grade book and tests/quizzes modules (expected by winter 2007). A number of communications and a public Web site will be released in early June.

Analysis of EDUCAUSE Survey Reveals Technology Differences Between UC Campuses

UC Davis recently completed an analysis of the information technology data submitted for EDUCAUSE's 2004 Core Data Service Survey (http://www.educause.edu/apps/coredata/reports/2004/). The review of this data for a select group of peer institutions confirmed that UC Davis is a late technology adopter and is, in comparison, under-funded and under-staffed in the technology areas. A follow-up analysis was undertaken to see how five of the UC campuses that participated in the survey (UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC San Diego, and UC Santa Cruz) compared with each other. This information was also supplemented with other data collected on IT expenditures. While there are inherent inconsistencies in any type of institutional survey like this, there are recognizable trends. Examining data from the EDUCAUSE survey for the five UC campuses:

  • UC Davis falls second to UC Berkeley in staffing and funding. This is true whether examining overall figures or by normalizing the data by student count. Two factors are important to point out: 1) despite being second, the gap is rather large; 2) UC Berkeley is near the middle of the set of comparison institutions examined as part of the larger EDUCAUSE survey.
  • This basically implies that, with the exception of UC Berkeley, the UC institutions that reported data to EDUCAUSE are on the lower end of the scale for staffing and budgeting.
  • Combining data collected on IT expenditure with EDUCAUSE data provides a better picture of overall IT expenditures and IT expenditures per student.
  • UC Davis is positioned in third place behind UC San Diego and UC Berkeley. If UCLA data were available, UC Davis would fall into fourth position.
  • The position is less important than the size of the funding gap and less important still than what would appear to be a systemic problem across the UC system: UC is not funded to be a technology leader and is, in fact, behind the technology curve. This issue is exacerbated by the loss of economy of scale associated with the independent development of technology on each of the campuses.
  • The combination of the funding and scaling issues could be a significant detriment as technology continues to gravitate more to the core of the teaching and research missions of the institutions.

IET has initiated discussions of the IT funding problem as it relates to UC Davis with the campus planning and budget office. Given that it is highly unlikely that we can close the significant funding gaps between UC institutions and other public and private research institution leaders across the United States, UC will likely need to adopt another strategy to be technologically competitive.

Electronic Communications Policy Revised, More Succinct

The UC Davis Electronic Communications Policy (ECP) has been revised to ensure consistency with the UC-wide ECP, and to make the policy more clear and succinct for campus users. As part of the revision, the workgroup split the existing campus policy into two sections: a) acceptable use, and b) privacy and access. The policy was vetted with the campus community and the final version was posted May 9.

See “Electronic Communications—Allowable Use” (http://manuals.ucdavis.edu/ppm/310/310-23.htm) and “Electronic Communications—Privacy and Access” (http://manuals.ucdavis.edu/ppm/310/310-24.htm).

Microsoft Best Practices Event Scheduled for June

On June 20, a Microsoft Best Practices for Higher Education event will be held at UC Davis. IET has helped to facilitate this event on campus. Registration opened on April 11 and will remain open through June 9. At this free, day-long event, attendees will be provided a range of strategic insights and tactical directions, and they will have the opportunity to interact directly with technology specialists from Microsoft’s Education Team.

The agenda includes sessions on management technologies, resources for information workers, Microsoft(r) Antigen and Client Protector, ISA Server and an open discussion session with all of the speakers. The keynote will discuss Windows Vista. Starting May 30, space permitting, registration will be extended to colleagues across the UC system (http://security.ucdavis.edu/training.cfm).

Contingency Plans Developed for Potential Avian Flu Pandemic

UC Davis is hard at work on a plan to keep the university up and running in the event of an avian influenza pandemic. The UC Davis Business Continuity Plan for Avian Influenza is being developed with contributions from each of the deans and vice chancellors, all of whom have been asked to appoint a workgroup and submit their individual emergency plans by July 1. A planning guide has been developed that includes a template and questionnaire that each workgroup must fill out, and several two-hour workshops are scheduled to help workgroups along.

The campus's Pandemic Management Team and Emergency Management Advisory Council will then have until September 1 to integrate the information into a single plan, looking for common issues and preparing solutions for the entire campus. As part of these planning efforts, IET is preparing a technology continuity plan and options for mitigating telecommuter access issues in the event of a pandemic (http://safetyservices.ucdavis.edu/emergencymgmt/AvianInfluenza.cfm).

Survey Indicates Need for High-Performance Scientific Computing

Information from a fall 2005 IET survey on high-performance scientific computing was provided to the UC Davis Architects and Engineers department as supporting documentation to the feasibility study for a data center expansion. The feasibility study, which was completed in April, indicates that a $2.8 million investment would be required of the existing data center, but that even this is inadequate to meet the ever-growing campus demand for high-performance computing space. As a result, the Office of Resource Management and Planning, IET, and Architects and Engineers have agreed to develop a feasibility study for a new high-performance computing center near the existing network operations center.

Workgroup Issues Recommendations on How to Develop the Campus Data Warehouse Operations

In March, the UC Davis Institutional Research Workgroup issued a report offering several recommendations on how to develop the campus Data Warehouse operations and outlining other campus efforts to more effectively develop, coordinate, and provide greater access to campus institutional data. This report was developed at the request of the Institutional Research Policy Committee. In the report, the workgroup noted that the campus appetite for new institutional data sets continues to grow, which further emphasizes the need for an overall plan for organizing and improving access to institutional data on campus. Among other recommendations, near-term priorities were identified for the Data Warehouse, including developing a new integrated graduate students database with emphasis on financial support; and providing a specified number of retrieval tools, beyond pre-defined reports, to take the place of Hyperion Analyzer (http://ccfit.ucdavis.edu/agenda/Campus_Data_Warehouse%20Report_%20FINAL.pdf).

Faculty Merit and Promotion Project Goes Through First Merit Cycle

The Faculty Merit and Promotion Project sponsored by Academic Personnel aims to develop an online system (based on the MyInfoVault application) that will create faculty digital portfolios used in support of academic merit and promotion actions. The pilot project was extended to 2005-06, with two primary goals: test the system with the pilot departments through at least one merit and promotion cycle, and finalize technical and functional enhancements to the application prior to campuswide deployment. Based on the recently-completed capacity planning analysis for future hardware needs, new application servers will be added this spring. Many architectural changes have already been identified; development and implementation of these improvements will also begin this spring. In addition, classes continue to be offered. By late April, several schools and colleges representing 102 departments and 2,263 accounts were participating in the pilot (http://myinfovault.ucdavis.edu).

Illegal Copyright and File Sharing Show Upward Trend, Legal Download Option Under Consideration

Information provided by the campus’ designated agent for Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) indicates that the number of illegal file sharing notifications at UC Davis for 2005-06 shows a trend upwards over previous years. Notifications in 2004-05 totaled 132, while 2005-06 through the end of April was 172, and 2005-06 will surpass the 2003-04 total of 181 to be the second highest year since the DMCA was enacted. Fiscal year 2002-03 notifications numbered 392. For more information, email dmca@ucdavis.edu or see http://research.ucdavis.edu/copyright.

Last year, after looking into options for providing legal online entertainment services tailored to the UC community, UC Office of the President negotiated a campus license with Cdigix, an online music provider. A free streaming music service option by Cdigix is being offered to UC campuses. Representatives from Student Housing and the IT Security Coordinator will meet with Cdigix in early May to discuss this latest offer.

Temporary Affiliate Form Expected to be Available Online in Summer

IET is developing a new Web-based application for departments to request (and extend) access for guests and visitors to campus network resources. In addition to minimizing time and effort spent processing temporary affiliate approvals, this application will enable sponsors to track the status of their temporary affiliates over time. Development and testing of components—applicant interface, authorized approvers database, and approver database management interface—are underway. Roll-out is expected this summer (http://email.ucdavis.edu).