Welcome to the 2012-13 ITS Biennial Report

As Chief Information Officer, I facilitate coordination, planning, and delivery of IT services between all IT units on campus, and have oversight of the largest IT organization, Information Technology Services (ITS). 

In addition to tending to the day-to-day IT needs of campus—everything from responding to 80,000 Help Desk contacts per year to maintaining 3,000 access points for wireless service—ITS employees are always looking ahead in the fast-changing world of technology with an institutional perspective, developing and revising the detailed strategic plans called road maps to be sure the university is poised to meet the IT needs of the future. I am continually impressed by the productivity, innovation, adaptability, and collegiality I see exhibited throughout the organization.

For that reason, I asked ITS staff to prepare our first biennial report, focusing on the many accomplishments of the 2012 and 2013 calendar years. I encouraged them to include metrics to illustrate use of the services provided, and to tell stories about how IT supports the teaching, research, and operational needs of the UI. The goal of this report is not only to keep record of the advances made each year, but also to celebrate our achievements, and to help others understand the scope and quality of work ITS does. 

The theme of the 2012-13 report is collaboration. You will notice this common thread throughout the content because virtually every service or project ITS provides is a collaborative effort. To succeed, we must partner with IT professionals in colleges and departments, and work closely with faculty, administrators, and students on projects such as developing websites and applications, supporting high-performance computing, and developing faculty programs around pedagogically-sound use of technology. ITS also collaborates beyond campus borders with other Regents schools, Committee on Institutional Cooperation schools, and higher education IT organizations like EDUCAUSE, Internet2 and the Common Solutions Group.

Below you will find a summary with highlights of the 2012-13 report and a preview of what we will be working on in the year ahead. The report is divided into seven sections: Administrative Information Systems, Enterprise Infrastructure, Enterprise Services, Instructional Services, Research Services, Information Security and Policy, and Business and Administration. Each includes an introduction and look at upcoming projects, stories about featured projects or services, a list of accomplishments, and interactive graphs and charts.

We hope you will find the content interesting and informative, and we appreciate you taking time to learn about how ITS supports the University of Iowa. 

Thanks and best regards,

Steve Fleagle

Associate Vice President and Chief Information Officer

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Highlights 2012-2013

The Year Ahead

A high-level summary of what ITS will be working on in the coming year:

Research computing

  • Improve support and awareness of existing research computing services
  • Provide support for the Iowa Informatics Initiative, and continue to actively participate in campus conversations about cyberinfrastructure and informatics 
  • Establish the Neon high-performance computing cluster as a productive tool for campus

Records and administration

  • Continue work on a universal electronic workflow system that routes electronic forms for financial, human resources, and other purposes for approval by the appropriate individuals. Complete routing engine and convert forms to use the electronic workflow architecture
  • Develop proposal for a Shared Service Center for Business Intelligence with dedicated resources; architect a BI infrastructure
  • Expand Enterprise Financials application portfolio beyond PeopleSoft Financials
  • Second-phase initiatives for the new student-information system, MAUI (e.g. syllabus repository, prerequisite checking, course renumbering, academic advising replacement system, enhanced guest accounts, advanced reporting, universal workflow integration)

Communication and collaboration

  • Complete migration of student e-mail to Microsoft Office 365
  • Implement Unified Communications via Lync 2013; expand Lync offerings to include web-based online meetings, audio conferencing, and improved mobile clients 
  • Upgrade SharePoint to improve collaboration and document-management capabilities
  • Launch new cloud-based file storage service (OneDrive, formerly known as SkyDrive Pro), providing employees with 25GB of storage, easy file sharing, and access from anywhere with web or mobile devices

Security initiatives

  • Conduct enterprise-level IT security risk assessment
  • Enhance network monitoring to better correlate log information between systems, enabling quicker response to problems and helping to prevent costly exposures of information
  • Continue bolstering databases and applications for protection against security threats
  • Remediate Social Security Numbers from electronic records, create “vault” for secure storage
  • Continue enablement of door-access systems to accept Iowa One Card credentials
  • Develop isolated virtual network for credit card transactions; investigate an e-commerce gateway for processing the transactions in compliance with evolving security standards

Learning technologies

  • Complete major upgrade to ICON (Iowa Courses Online), allowing instructors to more easily add and rearrange course content, providing new progress-tracking tools, and enabling text or e-mail alerts for deadlines, grades, and discussion posts
  • Continue exploration of new instructional technologies related to student learning analytics, digital content solutions, and MOOCs (massive open online courses)

Infrastructure and technology management

  • Upgrade core network routing infrastructure to increase speed, capacity, and features
  • Review campus wireless network architecture, evaluate wireless equipment vendors, and begin to deploy the next wireless standard (802.11ac).
  • Establish a Mac management service via Casper, in partnership with the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • Encourage migration from inefficient data centers to more efficient ones

Explore the Sections

Collaborating with campus partners to build customized IT systems that meet the UI’s unique needs
Partnering to provide reliable, sustainable IT infrastructure that’s vital to the institution’s operations
Working with customers to implement IT solutions and services that benefit the entire campus
Joining forces to mitigate IT security threats with education, protective policies, and detection tools
Teaming up to develop learning spaces, tools, and teaching strategies that promote student success
Cultivating a sense of community in ITS, and uniting IT professionals from all corners of campus
Supporting scholars with high-performance computing, consultation, training, and storage services