Minutes: September 26, 2007


Report of the Computing Committee meeting of Erindale College Council held on Wednesday, September 26, 2007 at 3:10 p.m. in the Ante Room, Room 3129, South Building.
Present: J. Lim (in the Chair), J. Sills, R. deSouza, J. Hu, A. Vyas, A. Aakers, T. Al-Sarraj, D. Kreuger, C. Capewell, C. Mejia, S. Senese
In attendance: Rishi Arora, manager of client services
Regrets: D. O'Day

1. Minutes of the Previous Meeting (October 25, 2006; March 28, 2007; May 14, 2007)

The three minutes listed were approved.
2. Report of officers:

a) Report on the UTORid/UTORmail Migration - Rishi Arora, Manager of Client Services

Mr. Arora, reported that computing services started work on the UTORid migration process on July 1, with an expected completion date of August 18. Most of the transfers have been completed, but there is still some outstanding work to be done. This work has been affected by the scheduling conflicts for faculty and staff during summer vacations, other issues related to quotas for some special accounts, which have been resolved, in addition to inconsistent data mapping across the St. George campus, which resulted in multiple id's for those who were students and became staff. This also affected graduate students and retired faculty who were incorrectly identified on the data feed from St. George. These problems have now been resolved, but it has taken longer for these groups to have their UTORid set up.

A member suggested that a communiqué be sent out regarding the creation of UTORid's to grant access in the teaching labs, instead of just serving people on a case by case basis at the help desk. Mr. Lim noted that an email would go out with appropriate information.

Mr. Lim also noted that CNS was very helpful with the UTORid migration, which is now near completion. He added that the next step for web applications is to provide the ability to upload and download larger files from editors of journals, which is now in beta testing and will be released in the near future.

Mr. Lim reported that VPN service for U of T Mississauga is now in the testing stages and will be released in mid-October. An announcement will be sent out to faculty and staff in the near future. In response to a question, Mr. Lim noted that VPN will be available to faculty, staff and graduate students.

b) Report on the changes to Computing Services and Projects - Joe Lim, CIO

Mr. Lim reported that on changes to voice communication. Voice communication hosting responsibility was transferred from U of T Mississauga to St. George Telecommunications. This change has been communicated to all departmental secretaries, so that requests for new phones, changes and related requests can be directed accordingly. In addition, the U of T Mississauga telephone directory will no longer be printed. The U of T Mississauga telephone directory is being replaced by the online directory at http://www.utm.utoronto.ca/phonebook and the speech attendant, accessible by dialing 4455. All requests for data cables are now handled by the Infrastructure and Facilities department.

Mr. Lim reported on classroom and laboratory changes. The following labs were decommissioned: K109, CCT2130 MAC Lab (it will become a classroom), and NB173 (relocated machines to the study area and cafeteria). A corridor has been built to separate the multimedia editing suites from CCT3140. Work planned for December includes, decommissioning CCT2140 and converting it into a classroom, converting SB1154 (Hitachi Lab) into a Linux lab and SB1158 into a Windows Lab with 30 seats. New labs to be built include SB1161, which is a Windows Lab with 20 seats and CCT2100, which is a Windows Lab with 24 seats. Mr. Lim noted that many smaller labs were created to fulfill a specific need.

Regarding the Meal Plan, Mr. Lim reported that the application was successfully implemented with approximately 1120 students enrolled in the plan. Students are able to check their balance status and report missing cards through portal.utoronto.ca. Similarly, the UPass web application was successfully implemented so that undergraduate and graduate student eligibility could be verified prior to obtain a transit pass. The Chief Administrative Officer acknowledged and thanked the staff, who designed and implemented both applications.

Mr. Lim described the U of T online events calendar (http://www.events.utoronto.ca/), which was developed by U of T Mississauga in collaboration with the Strategic Computing Group at St. George. Hosted by UTM, it is a single, searchable, central repository for University events that includes an RSS feeds option and is managed by authorized event publishers. The calendar is used by all three campuses.

Mr. Lim proceeded to discuss two different groups or committees that he created to aid the position of the Chief Information Officer with coordination and communication of information technology issues. The IT Operations Committee is a basic day to day operations committee, and will discuss IT services and projects across multi-departments and other operational and service issues. The second group, the CIO's Advisory Council, was created as a forum for informal discussion to promote effective IT practices throughout the campus and to assist and provide valuable feedback to the CIO to shape the technology-related support on campus. The membership of both groups was given. Mr. Lim emphasized that neither of the above two groups were going to be considering policy issues, but rather, they would filter operational details from the consideration of the Computing Committee, which would continue to consider policy decisions and strategic issues.

c) Report on Classroom Projects and Staffing Changes- Anil Vyas, Manager of Micro Electronics

Mr. Vyas reported on minimum classroom technology standards for classrooms, summer 2007 projects and staffing changes in the Micro Electronics department. The main objectives of developing minimum classroom technology standards for classrooms with capacity of over 36 are to implement and provide uniform access to standard classroom technologies across the campuses, to facilitate instructor use of existing and future classroom technologies and to improve the educational experience of our students, especially undergraduates.

Mr. Vyas provided the committee with the implementation schedule for electronic classrooms. The following classrooms were going to be upgraded in December of 2007: CCIT 1080, 1140 Kaneff 137 South 2072, 2074 North 292. In 2008 the following electronic classrooms will be upgraded: South 2080, 2082, and 3127 North 134, 205, 287. Ten of the 36 to 100 capacity electronic classrooms will be upgraded during the first round of work in 2009, while the 20 remaining rooms in this capacity category will be completed in 2010.

Mr. Vyas described and showed pictures of the classroom renovation projects, which were completed in the summer of 2007. These included classrooms 292, 174 and 160 in the North building, Kaneff room 112 for the MMPA program, room 3101N for the new MMI program, and rooms 185 and 190 in the library.

Mr. Vyas also announced some staffing changes in the Micro Electronics Department, including the transfer of the photography area from computing services to micro electronics.

3. New Business:

a. Information Technology Services Organizational Review: process and status - Ray deSouza

Mr. deSouza reported that an IT services review was commissioned by the Provost in March of 2007, but the draft has not yet been made available for wide distribution. The report will be brought to this committee as soon as it is released, but the he wanted to provide members with some of the report's highlights. IT is expensive, with U of T spending approximately $68M on it in 2005-06, while at the same time many services are duplicated. Redundancy occurs in the 128 various email systems and dozens of help desk services with little or no connection to each other. The report also discusses potential opportunities for cost savings, including making use of website content management systems instead of manually coded websites. The review also suggests that servers are used only between 5 and 25% of their capacity. In addition, hundreds of systems such as videoconferencing and collaboration tools exist, without any knowledge of such systems beyond the host unit. In addition, the report outlines best practices for managing risk, and the need for implementing security disaster recovery programs consistently across the university. With respect to governance and management structures, the report notes the lack of a formal hierarchy for decision making on strategic IT matters. The proliferation of task forces, surveys, steering committees and advisory groups makes it difficult to ensure alignment of IT investments with institutional priorities.

The report makes three recommendations: the creation of an efficient IT management structure; the creation of a central group with authority to make assessments; and the creation of senior level U of T position such as a Chief Information Officer.

Mr. deSouza noted that the penultimate draft of the report will be presented to the Computing Committee for member feedback. A campus wide discussion of the recommendations of the report will then follow.

The next meeting was scheduled for Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The meeting was adjourned at 4:15 p.m.

Secretary of Council _____________________________ Chair _____________________________