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Planning & Budget: Technology

Meeting of the UWM Council on Information Technology

August 16, 2006


  • Rita Cheng (Chair), Provost and Vice Chancellor
  • Sherwood Wilson, Vice Chancellor, Administrative Affairs
  • Jim Hill, Interim Vice Chancellor, Student Affairs
  • Stan Stojkovic, Academic Deans Council Representative
  • Stephen Pevnick, ITPC Representative
  • Ken Buelow, Graduate School Representative
  • Gwyn Wallandar, Academic Staff Committee Representative
  • Ex-officio Members:
    • Andy Richards, Director of Business & Financial Services
    • Bruce Maas, Interim CIO
    • Laura Pedrick, Assistant to the Provost
  • Guest:
    • David Stack, Information & Media Technologies (reporting)

The Provost opened the meeting by explaining that the Council on Information Technology (CIT) is a group that advises her and the campus on IT matters. It includes the vice chancellors from the major divisions, representatives from governance and a representative of the academic deans. Andy Richards represents UWS common systems and university finances. Laura Pedrick handles day-to-day IT issues in collaboration with I&MT when the Provost is unavailable.

Over the long term, the CIT will refer back to the IT Review Final Report of August 2005, and examine progress in addressing its recommendations. The CIT will also help with envisioning projects and long range planning.

Campus security planning

Bruce Maas explained that universities cannot put up firewalls at their borders because of their open nature. Instead, the UWM network is monitored to look for patterns of hacks and attacks.

Until about two years ago, there was no designated security function within I&MT, it was spread across the responsibilities of many people. At that time, two staff within I&MT, Steve Brukbacher and Mike Grypp, were reallocated to working on security issues full time. They are going through training to become Certified Information Systems Security Professional for Security Administration (CISSP). They work closely with staff from the UWM Police, Facility Services, Legal Affairs and Internal Audit.

The UWM network has over 6,500 access points. Every desktop or server on the network can potentially become a vehicle for a hacker. I&MT and division heads need to address security together, neither party can do it alone.

Bruce Maas distributed a news article that outlined the fiscal exposure of poor IT security based upon failures at Ohio State University. Decentralized servers were hacked, and they are investing $4M as a result of the subsequent bad publicity. Lawsuits have also been filed by alumni. Their overall vulnerability might be on the order of $14M.

Each dean and division head needs to work with I&MT to review all of the servers, desktops and some of the business processes in their areas. There are very competent IT staff in the schools and colleges, but security is only one piece of what they do. The two I&MT staff focus on security full time.

SoIS invited I&MT to help with a review of their potential risks, and both sides learned through the exercise. People processes have been changed as a result. I&MT would like to work with all other units sequentially in a discrete and sensitive fashion. It only takes a day to come up with a mutually agreeable action plan. In the event of a subsequent breach, the unit would be able to point to its pro-active approach.

The goal is to have initial contacts with each unit during the fall 2006 semester, with more thorough reviews completed by the end of the academic year. The Provost would like to see the ITPC support appropriate over-arching security policy, but not the details of procedures. A HIPAA committee has also been working in parallel on policy matters. Stan Stojkovic said his college would be willing to go through such a review ASAP. Andy Richards is also interested in being involved at the start of the process and receiving a checklist that could be exercised in advance of the review.

The Provost noted that I&MT will also be working through the Associate Deans and opportunities are presented by PAWS upgrade for working with DES and Student Affairs.

Bruce Maas noted the development of a campus data classification scheme to determine which data need to be protected, and to what level.

The Provost expressed concern about keeping authorizations up to date as people move between jobs and roles on campus. Bruce Maas confirmed that this is an issue across the UW System and each campus will document their processes for authorizing and de-authorizing people for the data warehouse, IADS and SFS. Student authorization procedures are more recent, and therefore more up to date.

I&MT's Steve Brukbacher is the chair of the Campus Security Committee which encompasses both physical and IT security. Ken Buelow mentioned that the UWM Police recently did a walk through of Graduate School space to look at both aspects. The university now has standards for building security systems, which are often required by federal grants.

Stan Stojkovic asked about potential vulnerabilities from students and staff dialing into the UWM modem pool. Bruce Maas explained that there are three ways of connecting to the campus network:

  1. ProwlNet wireless network, which was designed to be fully secure
  2. Dial-up modems, which are being largely phased out and will serve only those students who have no other options
  3. 6,500 network jacks on campus

The use of Microsoft Remote Desktop over broadband or dial-up connections can be very insecure. Technical procedures and personnel processes are about to be released. There will be a balance between security and freedom.

The Provost recalled the long timeline that was required for drafting the Acceptable Use Policy such that everyone would have time to understand it. She noted that there have been good discussions with the Chemistry Department and the protection of the intellectual property of Prof. James Cook. The Chemistry Building is being largely rewired. There were also concerns about monitoring behavior through physical security systems. These issues need to be discussed and worked through.

The Provost mentioned an L&S pilot to create 3 terabytes of secure research data storage in the Data Center in EMS. Campus units that have data covered by HIPAA are being contacted to confirm the appointment of local privacy officers. The UTR network is important as well.

Website redesign and content management update

The Provost stressed that the redesign of the website and implementation of the content management system (CMS) are high priorities. Laura Pedrick and Tom Luljak have been working on the website design and many people have been working on the CMS back end

Bruce Maas reported that the redesign will be delayed until mid-November due to the process-oriented nature of UWM and the need to get campuswide consensus on a website design that will be satisfying for the long term.

Laura Pedrick explained that two designs have been shown to many groups. There is a clear favorite, but there are also aspects from the other design that people would like consolidated into the first. The new web presence will not only look better, but be more function. It will include a new event calendar for use by all campus entities. The CMS separates the content from the presentation, so a news story could be tagged as relating to diversity, Engineering, breaking news, etc. At some point in the process, there will be discussions about the appropriate taxonomy for different types of news, images, and other media to create a more dynamic website. Students have been asking for a stronger sense of the campus, what happens here, and the opportunities that are available to them.

The CMS will provide a unified way of managing the website's content. Every school/college/division has a representative that will receive professional training next week. Ultimately, training will be available for all through the I&MT shortcourse program. Workflow procedures can be implemented in the CMS for units that want to put approval processes in place for their web content.

Laura Pedrick explained that a large university needs a fair amount of website diversity, but there is also the need to have a university wide brand. There will be templates and design components that units can pick and choose from.

The Provost noted the parallel marketing effort that is about to be begin for the myUWM portal. Laura Pedrick mentioned that discussions are underway way with Dennis Kohlmeier, I&MT's new Portal Administrator, regarding the next round of updates that will take place after the PAWS development freeze. The Student Technology Fund has helped pay for the portal project, so it is important to listen closely to student needs. The CMS will allow every student to develop their own personal web pages.

Status of Collaboration Suite

The Provost remarked that discussions regarding email have been underway for many years. Serious effort began two years ago with the formation of a campuswide Core Service Team led first by Denise Babin of the UWM Libraries and subsequently by Prof. Jacques Du Plessis of SoIS. Given some of the political tensions surrounding state government IT projects, an RFP was held back until April 2006, and options will be publicly reviewed in September.

Bruce Maas explained that the team was not comprised of primarily I&MT staff, but rather volunteers from around campus. The first team led by Denise Babin recommended the close integration of email and calendaring, which formed the basis for the RFP issued by the second team after they sent surveys to all students and staff.

There were six responses to the RFP which had tough criteria that included Microsoft Outlook at the desktop as well as Mac and Linux compatibilities as is fitting for a research university. Support for handheld devices like Treos, Blackberries and smart phones will also be included.

Coming to consensus on a new email system, will probably be one of the most challenging efforts on campus. Most people feel strongly about how they like to process their email. Stan Stojkovic reminded the committee of the overarching goals of creating economies of scale and having an integrated email/calendaring/anti-spam system that meets the needs of the vast majority of people. The CIT expressed consensus regarding the need for enterprise level solutions to save costs and free up the time of IT staff in the schools, colleges and divisions. Steve Pevnick reinforced the need for training and Gwyn Wallandar reported that some students won't use the current email system because of the amount of spam.

The Provost noted that the students are supplying some $300,000 in support through the Educational Technology Fund.

Information from UW System

Everyone knows there was a major disappointment with the APBS HR project. For all other agencies, the state has moved forward with PeopleSoft/Oracle for major systems. The UW System has been exempted from these efforts. Nevertheless, the UWS has invested in PeopleSoft/Oracle licenses for HR.

There is a mandate from the state to be able to interface to their systems for e-procurement. There will be another SFS upgrade to prepare for a new grants management system.

Andy Richards pointed out that the e-procurement and grants management efforts are being largely funded and driven by UW-Madison, which may require some flexibility on the part of UWM in terms of local business practices. He noted that Bruce Maas has created good partnerships with the staff at UW–Madison.

Bruce Maas reminded the committee that all of these tasks are going on simultaneously, so staff from across the campus will have to be engaged judiciously as they continue to work on their day to day tasks.

The migration of the Library system to a shared environment at UW–Madison has obviated a $300,000 hardware upgrade and improved the technical support. The arrangement is similar to that for D2L, and allows UWM staff to focus on local needs.

Andy Richards noted that the UWS Common Systems have been run at a deficit that was largely due to APBS. The Common System Review Group has decided to balance the budget every year and pay down the debt, so UWM's bill will increase next year to $600,000 and then to about $1M in the following year. Despite the costs, common systems are good overall for the UWS. UWM has thus far been able to pay for these projects centrally, but that might not be possible in the future given that there are so many other initiatives as well.

2006-07 I&MT Work Plan

The Provost asked I&MT to share the scope of the IT efforts that are underway to support the campus goals.

  • Access to Success
    • Early Warning System Phase 1 – done
    • Early Warning System – subsequent phases – beginning January 2007
    • UWM podcasting infrastructure planning and deployment – underway
    • Classroom support for the one standard Student Response System (Clickers)
    • Apple Store
    • Milwaukee Wireless support
    • Panther Track System
    • PAWS Upgrade
  • Diversity in faculty/staff
    • Gender diversity among CIO Team and CIO Operations Leaders
    • Racial/ethnic diversity efforts from STS to permanent employment
    • Opportunities for female leadership development
    • Training and development commitment
    • Making progress with diversity hires-STS link
    • SoIS relationship
  • Research
    • Support for RGI recipients – mixed results
    • Engagement of Graduate School – mixed results
    • Success with Chemistry Department
    • Success with Physics Department
    • Progress with L&S
    • Space and connectivity to networking intra and inter building
    • Cultural readiness – very costly
  • Extramural Resources and Fund Raising
    • Apple Store
    • Licensed spectrum
    • UWS site licenses – reduce costs
    • Homeland Security involvement to bring in funds for security
    • Partnerships with vendors such as Xythos and Xerox to hold down costs
    • Options for lower cost business continuity, such as Library space (WB17/WB19)
  • Infrastructure listing the Data Center
    • Fire suppression upgrade - scheduled in 2006-07
    • Second Data Center for $1.175M to address business continuity risks

Bruce Maas noted that the Apple Store is on a very tight timeline thanks to the efforts of Scott Gore and the people in the UWM Bookstore. The goal is to have discounted hardware and software on hand when students move in at the end of the month. I&MT will be running a repair facility on campus, which will obviate the need to haul broken equipment out to Mayfair.

The Provost explained that Panther Track monitors and assesses student use of mentoring services. I&MT's hiring and promotion practices have had been successful in promoting diversity. I&MT has been supporting both rounds of the RGI and is looking for revenue that might be available through leasing of UWM's radio spectrum.

Bruce Maas highlighted the need for a second data center to ensure business continuity and the opportunity presented by the facilities available at the USB Building on Capitol Drive. State funding is being pursued.

Project prioritization process

The Provost explained that the overall purpose of the CIT is to help with prioritizing and gaining campus support for projects. The IT Review Final Report talked about the importance of project prioritization, which will be addressed in future meetings. She and Bruce Maas refer to the report frequently in their conversations and decisions.