University of Wisconsin–Madison

March 25, 2011 Minutes

Information Technology Committee March 25, 2011, 10:00-12:00, Mechanical Engineering 2188

  1. Greetings/welcome extended by Katrina February minutes were unanimously approved with Katrina’s change (motion by Jon McKenzie, seconded by Ivy Corfis).
  2. Updates IT Strategic Plan (Joanne Berg) handout There is a $125M budget cut for the next biennium ($62.5 M/year). Darrell Bazzell and Paul DeLuca asked for proposals in scenario format for 5% and 7.5% reductions to help them decide how to best implement cuts. Four areas to consider in crafting scenarios (from handout):
    • Consider protected areas of critical importance – core mission
    • How cross departmental/unit interactions were optimized
    • How cross-campus collaboration activities were leveraged, and
    • Whether the priorities to enhance student success, ensure progress to degree, closing the achievement gap are effected by reductions In November, DoIT Directors had a retreat. At that event an evaluation tool was created (included in handout). DoIT Directors have been working with it to develop budget scenarios.

New Badger Partnership (BP)

If anyone has not attended a forum, please go on-line to be informed: Relative to IT, the Public Authority model looks at flexibility and accountability. Discussions on how tuition will flow are being looked at. How tuition money is allocated and campus priorities will be included in these discussions. Common Systems – John Krogman and other CIOs in UW System have been working in this area. John has been working with Darrell Bazzell to look at Common Systems from the public authority point of view of “IF” UW-Madison is a public authority. Public Authority would give us a chance to create a new personnel system. With the newly created HRS what does that mean? Will we manage HRS and provide services to the other campuses, or will they want to go on their own? Efficiency consultants are on campus (Huron Consulting Services Higher Education group). There are three phases.

Phase I will take from 2- 26 weeks to complete. The two goals are:

    1. Where do we have savings to offset the budget deficit? Areas discussed are: – Strategic sourcing (e.g., computers – will we offer X or Y) – ‘Organizational Structure’ – who reports to whom? Compared to our peers, our top layer is thin. – Staff competencies for building our own treasury model, and – Recommendations for processes
    2. Imagining what it will take to become a public authority. Meetings are occurring to continue to look at linkages to System. How long would it take to define a new personnel system?

Phase II will be about process improvement – how to streamline and implement recommendations. An advisory board is being created. Governance committees are included.

  1. Imagining what it will take to implement recommendations from Phase 1
  2. Making the changes we agree are useful to make. The public authority meetings are occurring to continue to look at linkages to System. How long would it take to define a new personnel system? Don Miner added: The structure surrounding efficiency engagement are three tiered:
    1. Sponsorship by the Chancellor, Provost and Vice Chancellor for Administration
    2. A steering committee with appropriate representation form governance and constituency groups (labor, student governance).
    3. Working groups are addressing specific tasks (e.g., how we are organized and how do processes –referred to as APR-Administrative Process Redesign on steroids) Public Authority would give us a chance to create a new personnel system. In Phase I, Huron will help us identify cost efficiencies and how to enhance revenue other than tuition (the win-win partnerships). We do not invest tuition monies at this time. Under BP we could invest that money. We do not have treasurers in UW System. There is no one thinking about cash flow day to day. Huron is able to help guide us. Partnership examples include how we order from MDS (Materials Distribution Services). These are big master contracts from which we get returns, and lower contract prices (e.g., office supplies dropped by one semi in Verona, and redistributed is a win-win as the vendor does not have to deliver on campus) is example of strategic sourcing where vendors can lower prices. How this relates to the IT strategic plan – Joanne has refocused in order to take into account what consultants need, and what campus leadership and community needs (see last page of handout).

Q. Who is the campus leadership?

A. Provost Paul Deluca, Vice Chancellor Darrell Bazzell, and Chancellor Biddy Martin. Paul and Darrell have seen the ‘Rethinking Information Technology for a Sustainable Future’ document, but all is on hold. Joanne is in the process of reshaping to assure that both Huron and Campus Leadership are looking at this. Q. Will campus Leadership see the Whitepapers from our strategic planning task force and are they before Huron? A. Yes, as timing allows. John has already met with a couple of the Huron consultants.

Q. Why not have a sequence, e.g., emails, whitepapers, etc.
A. This is all about timing, and focus on relevance. Comments continued about the need for a one page executive summary detailing hours and time spent by the campus AND adding a $ value to how much time been spent. Brian: There is sifting and winnowing that occurred over the past three years. We want to keep what is contributed, and the time it takes to create summaries (while the changes continue to occur). Research computing is an example of a priority shift that has occurred. Joanne: I am working with the Business School to engage students enrolled in MBA programs to discuss Recommendation #2 from the IT Strategic Plan (last page). I will report back results from these groups. Joanne – it will be helpful for all of us to think outside of the box to gain some perspective beyond traditional University business.

Q. Lisa: Is there a website for the efficiency study?

A. Not yet. The Badger Partnership has FAQ, but the efficiency study is new. Rob: With both the efficiency study and IT planning there is a normalization and aggregation process over time that has resulted in duplication of IT services. Will Huron see service duplication at a high level, but not see the mission focus? (e.g., how Engineering supports instruction and research may look identical, but it may not be.) We may backslide on areas that could push us back 10 – 14 years. Joanne: When HRS goes live, identity management will be tested with that system, then we can move on other issues. Q: Which group is here from Huron – the Higher Ed group? A.: Yes, Jim Roth is the director.

Update on ComETS (Lisa Jansen)

ComETS = Community of Educational Technology Support. See for information on mission, events, communities, contacts, etc. ComETS listserv membership is over 250 – mostly UW-Madison staff and faculty who support technology for teaching and learning in some way. About 1/3 or 80 members are actively engaged in ComETS activities. Of that 80, about 1/4 or 20-25 people play leadership roles by serving on committees, leading communities, planning events, and participating in campus initiatives.

  • What we do: Work to improve teaching and learning on campus through networking, collaboration, sharing expertise and resources, and advocacy.
  • How we are organized: Steering Committee of 10-12 members from variety of schools and colleges meets every six weeks. Four subcommittees:
    • Admin: sets agendas for steering committee meetings, facilitates steering committee meetings, tracks action items from meeting to meeting.
    • Events: when ComETS started, this is all we did.
    • External relations: manages relationships with partner organizations such as ITC, Teaching Academy, etc.
    • Membership and community: coordinates membership and communities We have several communities (used to be called Special Interest Groups) organized around topics like Learning Spaces, Simulations and Games, Drupal, Media Shops, etc.

Everyone in ComETS is a self-appointed volunteer except for PA support provided by DoIT Academic Technology. We don’t hold elections and are not a governance organization.

Initiatives – If we see a need for something, we do something to communicate with and engage our membership. Example: Sakai Event –> Open Source Software SIG –> Moodle collaborations –> formation of Moodle Council. Current examples:

Ongoing work on IT Strategic Plan charters – Work with Aaron Brower and DoIT Academic Technology on Continuity of Instruction (includes upkeep of ComETS 1st point of contact list) Events and communities provide further clues to our initiatives. Example: event on March 30 with Joanne Berg, John Krogman, and Linda Jorn is part of our ongoing initiative to provide access to campus leaders; discuss concerns, ideas, and common goals. Other examples: Learning Spaces Community, Accessibility events. We want to dispel the myth that we have things covered. We are all volunteers and most of us don’t have campus wide duties (some do, such as DoIT AT, library staff members). If we volunteer for something we need to be able to show benefit back to our department, school or college. ComETS members often wear multiple hats. Some are supporting research and desktop computing in addition to instructional technology. Also, the instructors we support are also wearing multiple hats (teaching, research, outreach). To work with ComETS, connect your initiative to teaching and learning. For research computing initiative, that could mean finding ways to connect to undergraduate education or Wisconsin Idea.

If you don’t know who to contact you can start with Lisa Jansen and Mike Pitterle (ComETS liaisons to ITC). Or you can contact any member of the steering committee (members listed at

Questions and discussion:

Joanne: How to get research computing accomplished here on campus could benefit from the ComETS model. It is a grassroots effort that is successful. Jon: There is redundancy in networks/web (the ComETS model), vs. hierarchical models. I will help illustrate to see redundancies. It is hoped that Huron consultants understand the differences in these models. Sometimes in a distributed grass roots structure one still needs an administrative head in case there are decisions that have to be made immediately for cost savings or other reasons.

Q. What is ComETS connection to Aaron Brower, Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning?
A. The steering committee asks to meet with new leaders (e.g., Aaron). Currently we are working together on continuity of instruction. ComETS is a volunteer organization with PA support as the only paid position.

Q. What are resources ComETS shares?
A. An example is knowledge about Drupal – staff knowledge/time, server resource for web shared. Moodle Knowledgebase documents is another example

Q. Are there students on ComETS steering committee?
A. Student members who have a role in teaching and learning with technology (grad students) have participated. For events, all are welcome. Contact a member of the ComETS steering committee if you want to get involved. The website is:

Rob: Many people meet through ComETS and network or form partnerships through common interests.

Jon: A turning of the ship to include research as well as teaching and learning and the research that undergrads do, how they turn to social media as a solution – if there is a way to leverage this by finding a mix of students – a way to do campus wide thinking that supplements teaching and learning. Social media and badger partnership twitters is an example.

MTAG – Madison Technology Advisory Group (Rob Kohlhepp) – MTAG is planning to meet with Darrell Bazzell to engage in a discussion that is related, but not limited, to IT impact from public authority status, budget cuts, and the impending efficiency study.

NAG – Network Advisory Group (Richard Kunert) – For the past two meetings the Network Advisory Group has been discussing the next generation of hardware for the 21st Century Network. DoIT network engineers have been asking for input on important features for the next revision. Disaster recovery is one component of the design and Dale Carder gave a presentation on possible methods to support units that want to have redundant servers at different locations on campus. There also have been discussions in NAG about budget impacts. Firewall and wireless services were identified as the most important both are running into capacity issues.

Moodle Council (Eric Alborn) – Eric has stepped down as Moodle chair. Paul Oliphant is the new chair. There is a new event – April 21 , 11:30 am – 1 pm, Teaching with Moodle in the Idea room at Bascom. Instructors and faculty will show how they used Moodle. Moodle 2.0 is being looked at, and a refocus of the Moodle council, common template and skin, best practices on the web site and better integration with teaching and learning campus tools.

Other updates:

A new PI Tool is available in My UW that provides access to grant budget info for principle investigators:

ITC has openings for two faculty members. Recommendations are requested for faculty from the Social Sciences division to serve (4-year terms).

UW-Madison provided a short summary of our cyberinfrastructure status to an NSF CI report. The network services were called out as a crucial and successful component of our CI. An email was received asking why we don’t get rid of landlines completely? We will address this topic in a future meeting.

Presentation on Healthscapes (Jonathan Patz, and Nico Preston Healthscapes is a global environmental health research platform

Healthscapes– is a suite of web tools for studying global environmental health with applications in ecology, computing, health, spatial analysis, emergency management, and international development. The mission of Healthscapes is to build a web platform for global environmental health research that fosters collaboration across disciplines and national boundaries–accelerating discovery, advancing outbreak detection, and improving prevention. Collaborators are an international community with low or no budgets so open source and interdisciplinary collaboration are key.Version (0.3) was released in February 2011 to showcase the potential of these tools.

Healthscapes, and the app demo are under active development. We are developing the framework in public (on Launchpad) to encourage the global environmental health and open source communities to join us in the development of a new cyberinfrastructure.

More information is available through HealthScapes Google Group and the Healthscapes wiki

In progress are:

Research detector and analysis detector GHI researcher detector Map detector Content mashup

Upload SAGE maps

Next: Geocode researchers & articles Network UW websites Identify research gaps Connect collaborators Recommendation engines (maps, seminars, articles, etc….) Automate map gathering Discussion and questions: Joanne: This is phenomena l, and fits in with how researchers can share and collaborate, how to make it happen.

Q. How scalable is this to outside of health world?
A. Jonathan – with the new global health initiative, our mission is to be campus wide. This was a center for global health (in Medical Campus) and now by definition it is to be campus wide that has connections to global health (energy, agriculture, ecology, computing, health, spatial analysis, emergency management, and international development).

Phil: Regarding the researcher detector – create new databases for researchers to feed in, rather than going to tag clouds – the automation option feature is needed .

Katrina : How to create simpler easier ways to scour what is out there, rather than redundancy of typing and re-typing information has been identified in many instances.

Q. Are you working with the library? – there is interest in working with new applications.
A. We have talked with the library and will continue that dialog. The Library Bibliographic Database Application is about mining data, building clouds and network, and we are looking for partners. Contact Eric Larson in the Library

Jon: We need to come up with a way to have ongoing research computing events on a regular basis to keep up with all that is happening.

Alan: There are two other audiences in IT – The public wants to be able to scan campus resources and Vince Sweeny’s office addressing legislature and politicians requesting data on what is being done with tax dollars.

Rebecca Holz, and Allan Barclay of Ebling library: We are implementing profiles and will do collaboration.

Jim Muehlenberg: Digital Humanities also is working in this area with project Bamboo. There is some similar functionality using the Hub Zero platform. Next steps? How to interact with this committee?

Katrina: It’s most useful to link people on campus who should know each other and don’t. Building a system where anyone can go in and put in key words and come up with people we should be in touch with. Also needed, but less defined, is a clearinghouse for seminar recommendations:

  1. Enter information into seminar system
  2. Go out and pull from wherever seminar information is posted This is an idea that was put forward in the reseach computing recommendations White Paper.

Research computing survey results and white paper discussion (Katrina Forest, and committee)

After research computing – a compilation of themes emerged, and Paul DeLuca asked for whitepaper. A draft went out to many. See “Research Computing White Paper . Ongoing edits to this draft are being solicited. A research computing survey also went out, and has ~140 responses. Results indicate that network and storage are ranked high. Network work is underway through DoIT and Libraries. Now storage management is needed. Responses to the survey were 2/3 faculty and 1/3 research staff. When asked how much research computing they were doing – many responses indicated they did not know or were not generating huge amounts of data (less than 1GB) The human interaction needs were also identified at seminar and this is included in draft. Leadership structure -someone who is paying attention daily to research computing daily is included, as is where to get funding to do research computing. Discussion and Questions Jon: The efficiency study could benefit from this document.

Q. Can you break down the responses (data) by college or discipline?
A. Yes, with some manual effort because we did not ask for department location. We will need to identify and pull out keyword to make sense of data . Academic Technology research consultants may be able to help. Jon: Another seminar for social scientists is needed. We could plug in to research centers here to identify top researchers and get people to think about their interaction with data. When to do this? Joanne: It would be good to do something before next fall, as the momentum is now, even if it is the planning aspects. Meeting adjourned at noon.

Next Meeting: April 15 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Location: 2188 Mechanical Engineering


  • Faculty Craig Benson, Civil & Environmental Engineering Ivy Corfis, Spanish and Portuguese; Arts and Humanities
  • Katrina Forest (Chair), Bacteriology; Biological Sciences
  • Mathew Jones, Physiology; Biological Sciences
  • Jon McKenzie, English; Art and Humanities Academic Staff
  • Eric Alborn, Business
  • Paul Oliphant, Wendt Commons
  • Michael Pflieger, L&S Student
  • Sharad Brahma
  • Akshar Elliott Rezny, Undergraduate Non-Voting Members
  • Ex Officio:
    • Joanne Berg, Interim CIO and Vice Provost for Information Technology
    • Provost Appointments Don Miner, Business Services,
    • Rep VC for Administration Campus Liaison, Group Lisa Jansen (LSS), ComETS
    • Rob Kohlhepp (CAE), CTIG
    • Richard Kunert, Biotechnology Center, Network Advisory Group
    • Mike Pitterle (Pharmacy), ComETS

Others Attending

  • Jim Muehlenberg, DoIT AT
  • Steve Krogull, DoIT
  • Chris Hopp, DoIT
  • Rebecca Holz, Ebling Library for the Health Sciences
  • Allan Barclay, Ebling Library for the Health Sciences
  • Brian Rust, DoIT
  • Linda Jorn, DoIT AT
  • Bruno Browning
  • LSS Jeanne Blochwitz, DoIT
  • Phil Barak, CALS/Soils
  • Hideko Mills, CIO Ofc.
  • Duncan Carlsmith, Physics
  • Alice Anderson, DoIT, Minutes