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Planning & Budget: Technology

Meeting of the UWM Council on Information Technology

February 17, 2003


John Wanat, Joe Douglas, Susan Kelly, Tom Luljak, Bruce Maas, Don Melkus, Mary Roggeman, Erika Sander, Leslie Schulz and guest David Stack (reporting)

The meeting was called to order at 8:00 am by John Wanat.

The minutes of the December 20, 2002 meeting were distributed in paper for review and approval at the next CIT meeting.

ePantherID Policy

The previous draft of a universal electronic ID policy was too complicated. The new proposal merely requires everyone on campus to have an ePantherID, that will also function as their email address, and an associated password. Sona Andrews has been talking with unions and employee groups about the ramifications of automatically giving electronic IDs to all staff. The current practice is to assign ePantherIDs automatically to all incoming students, but not to faculty or staff.

Universal IDs will enable the building of a portal, and foster the ability of the campus to interact with members of its community from their first contact throughout their lives. Erika Sander recommends that everyone have their ID before their first contractual day which, for faculty, is in August.

IT Ombudsman

Erika Sander inquired about the status of the IT Ombudsman proposal vis-a-vis faculty governance. Joe Douglas said it was put on indefinite hold at the previous CIT meeting.

IT Project Status Reports

The IMTP has a monthly meeting schedule. A set of one-page IT project status reports are targeted to be current on the day the ITMP meets, then subsequently shared with the other IT governance groups.

OASIS Security Audit

A few pieces of work remain that would not have been appropriate to undertake when OASIS was being implemented. They are planned for Monday, February 24th.


Bruce Maas reported that the upcoming UW System appointment, payroll and benefit system (APBS) is a replacment for the IADS personnel system. It is vended by Lawson, and the go-live date is January 1, 2005. The two key institutional contacts for UWM are ShaRon Williams and Karen Gundrum. The UWM technical contacts are Bruce Maas and David Stack. Representatives from all of the UWS institutions meet bieweekly via the Wisline Placeware system.

Computer Lab Software Standards

The UTRs have reached consensus on campuswide hardware and software standards and the associated support expectations. They have also started a project to identify the core software needs of computer labs, starting with CCLs and expanding to departmental labs, which may have additional discipline-specific layers.


Bruce Mass reported that he has been in contact with Dave Haseman regarding the SAP initiative SBA is providing an SAP environment for SBA faculty so that they can prepare students to use SAP after they graduate. SBA also provides a hosting service for 10 other universities that use SAP in their teaching. A better sense of the project's financial situation will be presented at the next meeting. Joe Douglas noted that as other non-I&MT projects are identified on campus, they will be incorporated into the project status reports.

Grant Management System

Currently the ESIS system is used to manage grant accounting. The links between ESIS and the legacy financial system didn't carry forward into the PeopleSoft Shared Financial System. UW-Madison is looking to create a new service that will, in addition, provide pre-award services. Jim Ryan from the Graduate School has been asked to participate in UW-Madison's selection process. Presumably, UWM will be able to use a new system with no additional cost. Karen Gundrum and Jim Ryan are also developing improvements to SFS to better serve grant recipients.

In response to a question from Erika Sander, Bruce Maas said that the data from a new system would probably be available in near real time. The development will be drivien by the intense demands on the UW-Madison campus.


The Kronos timekeeping system is being implemented for student employees within DES and the UWM Libraries. All student and classified employees will be using Kronos by the end of the year. It's a web based system that can be either integrated with timeclocks or driven by manual entry via the web. It will be used across the UW System. It decentralizes some of the timekeeping data entry tasks closer to the source of the information.


Today is the first day the campus is live with SEVIS, which has been difficult to implement due to lack of resopnsiveness from the INS who made numerous mistakes. UWM is ahead of most every other campus in terms of implmentation. The CIE has done a great job with help from DES and I&MT.

There has been a successful disbursement of financial aid for the spring semester. The issues from the fall were addressed, and even the historical timelines for awarding aid were beaten.

OASIS technical updates have been frozen in preparation for the upgrade to version 8.

OASIS Version 8

The upgrade team is currently going through its second practice round for updating the data to the new version. The second practice will be completed in March. In addition, there is the need to ensure that the customizations will move forward. OASIS will be shut down for two weeks in June to accomplish the upgrade. At this time, it is not clear if it will be possible to simultaneously implement a portal given that a FASTAR server will not be available.


The PeopleSoft portal product is brand new. Only two other unviersiites are live, and they are pleased with it. Bringing up PAWS through a portal would give students and faculty a nicer interface with fewer clicks. The PeopleSoft portal is similar to UW-Madison's portal, but their's is not from PeopleSoft. The situation is still being assessed.

Tom Luljak asked if the individualized web experience would preclude a shared web experience. He maintained that it needs to be possible to imprint students with general announcements instead of isolating them in individual experiences. Bruce Maas says that PeopleSoft came on campus for a week to help guide UWM's planning, and one outcome is that a facility will be put in place that will replace email as a vehicle for time sensitive communications to everyone, or to subsets of the community.

Tom Luljak wants to be kept in the loop on the early design process because he is looking for savings in communication tools. Joe Douglas noted that whereas a web site allows people to find information, the purpose of the portal is to define a community. There will different categories for different types of data. When someone identifies themself to the portal, the information in the categories that either they have selected, or that the Universtity has selected for them, will be presented.

Tom Luljak is concerned that the portal will continue the UWM branding in a consistent manner without isolating people.Bruce Maas reported that it will be along the lines of a "my-UWM", with a branded frame or template. UW-Madison and the University of Minnesota are good examples of higher education portals, and those links will be disseminated as the project draws closer. The portal will have roles for faculty, advisors, etc.

John Wanat inquired about service to the community outside of UWM. Bruce replied that there will still be a conventional UWM home page because the two serve different functions.

Technology Plan

IT data is currenly being gathered from schools/colleges/divisions for two purposes:

  1. development of a technology plan
  2. identification of areas for short term savings

An example of the survey instrument that was sent to L&S was distributed.

The goal is to have the data assembled by the end of February, and to begin working on cost saving alternatives through the governance structure. Proposals will reach the CIT in the April timeframe.

Erika Sander asked if it is cheaper to centralize technology support if UWM can still take care of the enduser needs. Joe Douglas replied that in terms of general desktop support, there is no question that centralization is cheaper if there are not over-riding special needs. It is easy to assume that this would result in the saving of staff, but Joe feels that the university doesn't need fewer IT staff. However, there are distributed staff that are doing duplicate support. Instead they should be working with faculty on pedagogy and grants instead of upgrading software and swapping out disk drives. It should be possible to increase services and avoid future costs if existing people are repurposed. He is working with Physical Plant to identify other savings, e.g., a number of computer rooms are spread across campus which have hidden costs. Physical Plant gets trouble calls for air conditioning, electrical capacity, etc.

Special work is underway with L&S, which is thinking of forming a technology department within the College. They have about 20 people within the College to support some 36 departments which is less than one per department. Rather than hiring more people, they are working with Joe Douglas to define an organization using the exisitng people that will be responsive to the needs of the College without being redundant with the central infrastructure and without relying on a few individuals who have everything in their heads.


PantherCal is now available for everyone who wants to use it. All students automatically have access and the feedback from them has been very positive. If someone has an assistant who manages their calendar, that person will need an extra piece of desktop client software. PantherCal is compatible with Palm Pilots.


Students generally like PantherMail. A new version is in testing, which will be sufficiently robust to replace just about any mailer on campus within the next few months.

The trend with PantherCal, PantherMail, OASIS, etc., is to move towards the web and away from desktop software.


An online survey of 2,000 randomly selected students was closed last Friday.

Microsoft Contract

The situation is still very much up in the air. Microsoft may be softening on a couple of points.

Email Virus and Spam Scanning

Email and virus scanning will be operational by the end of March. People should continue to keep virus checking sofware on their desktop computers because not all viruses come through the central email system.

The anti-spam system will not be guaranteed to identify all spam, but it will hopefully categorize the spam in such a form that it will be easier for people to sort out the valid messages from the junk.


John Wanat asked about the test of the revised CAP program with L&S. Joe Douglas said that information will be presented in the spring, along with recommendations for the next fiscal year, based upon their experiences.

Non Credit Course Administration System

Dean Kelly asked about the new timeline, given the current budget environment. Bruce Maas has been working with the School of Continuing Education regarding the next logical step, which would be for OASIS to be used for non-credit enrollments. However, the staff in DES and Student Affairs that need to be involved are already committed to the OASIS upgrade. Meanwhile, steps are being taken with the two more pressing issues: identifying duplicate records and improving the reporting.

Other Issues

Accessibility of e-Learning

A group has been meeting to address the accessibility issues associated with e-learning. This effort is potentially very expensive and Dean Kelly would like an update on the progress of their discussions as part of these status reports.

Erika Sander asked if the four finalists in the UW System e-learning RFP will have functionality that will enable UWM to push the culture of accessibility as each module is built. The University ADA advisory committee is championing this approach and has worked with dotedu and the LTC. In her experience, accessibility is not emphasized in the LTC's training.