Information Technology Committee Minutes
February 21, 1997

Present: Max Bassett (chair), Alison Baker, Tom Butler, Yitna Firdywik, Fran Emory, Dan Himes, Gail Kettlewell, Laura McCullough, Paul McVeigh, Vince Pizzurro, Neil Reynolds, Steven Sachs, John Sener, Lionel Sylvas
Others Present:George Duffy,
Absent: Arnold Bradford, , Charlotte Wilhelmi
1. Minutes Approved
Minutes from the January 17, 1997 meeting were approved with the notation that software was to be purchased with software protection.

2. Reports from tasks assigned at last ITC meeting
a. Year 1 computer order - Dr. Sachs reported that the College would be able to purchase either WIN or GATEWAY computers. The Gateway computers that meet the minimum specifications are only $17 each more expensive and have the new MMX technology for multimedia use. The Gateway computers will be fully loaded with Windows 95 and MS Office Pro, will have a Token Ring card installed by Gateway, and have a three-year on-site warranty. Since the price for each computer will be almost $300 less than originally budgeted and there has been significant salary savings because the 10 new positions have not yet been filled, it will be possible to order many additional Pentium computers. The result is that the College will have to retrofit fewer of the old 486 computers.

Dr. Sachs proposed a new computer distribution model to account for the additional computers. In the original allocation model, Annandale and Alexandria got the bulk of the new computers since they did not have enough 486 computers to meet their total required by the Technology Plan, and the ITC decided not to transfer 486 computers among campuses. With the ability to purchase additional Pentium computers, Annandale and Alexandria will each have enough of their own 486 computers to allow a more equitable distribution of new computers. It was also decided by the ITC to split the new Pentium computers between P-166 and P-133 computers. Purchasing P-133s is cheaper and will allow the total number of new computers to increase. The goal is to upgrade as few of the old-486s as possible since they will be expensive to upgrade and not have warranties.

The ITC formally approved the purchase of Gateway computers for Year 1, and to split the order between P-166 and P-133 computers. The initial allocation will be 30% of the total allocation for each campus/Dean in P-166s, with the rest being P-133s. By the end of the Year 2 purchases, it is estimated that each campus/Dean will receive approximately 38% of their total allocation in P=133s, but the final total will depend on exact costs and available funds. The remainder of the distribution under the Technology Plan will be made up by upgrading existing 486s with CD ROM, soundcards, Token Ring cards and software. Overall, each campus will receive more computers under this new distribution plan and have a proportionate share of all new computers. The Provosts will review the allocation model and let Dr. Sachs know if they want fewer P-166 computers than specified.

b. Windows 95 and MS Office orders for existing computers - Dr. Sachs reported that orders for the new software are currently on-hold. Since the Gateway computers will come fully loaded, and the College already has a large number of licenses for the software, it is unclear exactly how many new licenses will be needed. In addition, computers converted to the new software prior to this Summer will require an additional $200+ worth of software to connect with the mainframe. By this Summer, changes to the mainframe will eliminate the need for the additional software. Funds remain in the Technology Plan budget for Year 1 for purchasing this software to make sure it can be installed on all computers. It was also announced that vendors were not recommending purchasing software upgrade protection. It costs about the same amount as a single upgrade, and with the new computers having pre-installed software, so many licenses already having been purchased by the College, and the decision not to upgrade to MS Office 97, it does not appear prudent to spend the money on a limited number of licenses with the upgrade protection.

c. Comment/Planning for computer repair outsourcing - Mr. Pizzurro reported that he has received several memos from campuses on how this function might be set up. Among several possibilities is to have it run by an outside company with space on campus or having a special contract with a local computer store off-campus. The plan might even be set up to allow faculty and students to make use of the service for a fee. Computer repair will continue to be an issue, even though all the new computers will have warranties, since many old computers will remain on the campuses. All campuses may not have the same strategy. Mr. Pizzurro will provide each Provost with whatever data he has on the number of emergency repair visits were made to each campus. The Provosts were asked to continue to send idea and comments to Mr. Pizzurro so he can draft a plan for the ITC to consider at a future meeting.

d. Year 2 Printer Plan - Dr. Sachs reported that there is no standard to use in determining the appropriate number of printers to be purchased, and that printers could be shared across the network. After considerable discussion it was decided that the campuses would each develop a printer plan. In the meantime, each campus will be allocated their share of the Year 1 printer budget based on the number of divisions at each campus. Campuses can choose to buy whatever kind(s) of printers they want with those funds. It is possible to buy several relatively inexpensive ink jet printers instead of one expensive laser jet printer. A decision on Year 2 funding will be considered at a later meeting.

e. Nomination of SIS Committee - The following individuals were appointed to the SIS Steering Committee based on the categories of membership established at the last ITC meeting.
Dr. Bassett will ask Provosts and Dean Baker for nominations to each of the following subcommittees: Registration Issues, Counseling and Advising, Financial Aid, and Records Management. A meeting of the Steering Committee will be called in the near future. (It was noted that Mrs. Rath's programming division is no longer part of CIS, but the ITC felt she was the appropriate person to appoint to the SIS Steering Committee.)

Dean Baker reported that the RFP for a new VCCS SIS is likely to be issued soon, so the new NVCC SIS Committees will be needed to help guide development of the new system, as well as provide guidance for the current SIS until it is replaced. No meetings on the new SIS have been held with campus representatives as of this meeting.

f. Report on the server plan, cabling and NT network - Mr. Pizzurro reported on the status of cabling and server deployment. Three vendors have been chosen to begin completion of the network cabling. It does not appear that they will be able to complete the job by late-Spring as originally planned, so it will be necessary to hire additional firms to meet the timetable. Dean Baker and Mr. Pizzurro will pursue this. The same staff that is responsible for getting the cabling plan under way will be working on the server plan. Some initial work on NT server configuration has been done, but the bulk of the work is on-hold while cabling contracts are being initiated. It appears likely that the server plan will be based on MS Back Office since the College has selected MS Office, MS Windows 95, and Windows NT already.

Planning to accommodate additional power requirements created by the new computers was underway by Larry Harrison before he resigned to take a new position. Dean Baker will revive this project to assess the needs and plan for the necessary upgrades. Campus electricians can begin the assessment now.

3. Report from the Operations and Applications Technology Committee - Mr. Pizzurro
a. E-mail - The OATC recommends that the College adopt MS Exchange/MS Internet Mail as its standard e-mail client. If individuals need the features of other e- mail clients, they can install it; however, it will be the responsibility of the individual using another package to be sure they can send and receive messages and attachments to others using the College standard e-mail package. This recommendation was approved by the ITC.

b. Dial-up e-mail, remote access and selection of an ISP - The OATC recommends that a consultant be hired to identify alternatives and costs, and to recommend a strategy and vendor for these services since they involve more technical expertise and time than the Committee could provide. It is also recommended that the VCCS Information Systems Office be contacted to insure coordination with the network and to seek cooperation and possible financial support for the consultant. Dean Baker, Mr. Pizzurro and Dr. Sachs will work on this project.

4. Organizational Structure for Information Technology at NVCC
Dr. Butler proposed that the two Deans review the current organization structure, staffing, responsibilities, budgets and Committees to determine what the College needs in order to meet its goals. They are to report back to the ITC. Dean Baker noted that extensive VCCS changes are underway that will affect what services the College will need to provide for itself and how it needs to organize. The final details of the VCCS changes are still unknown. The ITC approved Dr. Butler's recommendation and asked for periodic reports from the Deans. A due date for final recommendations was not set since the VCCS changes are not complete.

5. Miscellaneous Funding Issues
Discussion of the issues focusing on additional costs beyond the purchase of new computers raised in Dr. McVeigh's memo of January 9, 1997, was postponed to the next meeting of the ITC. In the meantime, Dr. Sachs will attempt to provide some details, alternatives and tentative costs for the items described in the memo.

6. Status Report on College Plan activities
Dr. Sachs provided a report on progress toward meeting the timeline specified in the College's General Technology Plan.

The plan calls for cabling to be finished by mid-February. As noted in Mr. Pizzurro's report, additional contractors will be needed if the cabling is to be completed by late Spring.

The plan calls for new-PCs scheduled for Year 1 to be assigned by this time, the final configuration to be determined by February 3, and the orders placed by March 17. This task is one to two weeks behind schedule with the orders due to go out by early March. Gateway has said delivery will only take 3-4 weeks. This will put the project back on schedule.

The plan calls for the allocation plan for new servers in Year 1 to be completed by this time, locations to be determined by February 3 and final configuration determined by mid-January. The network infrastructure (hubs and routers) to accommodate the new servers was anticipated to be ready by mid-March and the servers to be ordered by mid-April. As noted in Mr. Pizzurro's report, this project is behind schedule since the staff that is responsible is currently involved in the cabling project. However, the current network is in place and additional users can be added prior to changing over to the NT servers.

The plan calls for the training curriculum to have been determined by mid-January. An initial training plan was discussed at this meeting of the ITC, and Dr. Sachs is still in process of calling a meeting of CITG representatives to discuss training curriculum. The heaviest demand for training is being designed to coincide with the delivery and set-up of Year 1 computers, which is now scheduled for late-Spring. The training plan will be discussed in depth at the next ITC meeting.

The plan calls for migration to MS Office and NT-networks to take place in June/July 1997, with training in the new applications to take place in mid-July. A specific plan and timetable for the conversion to NT-networks has not yet been developed. MS Office will be installed on the new computers to be delivered later in the Spring, and many existing computers already have the necessary software. Additional copies will be ordered as soon as a firm count on needs can be completed. Migration can still take place this Summer. A date for conversion to the NT-network has not been established.

7. Summary of Pending Items
8. Next Meeting of the ITC
Friday, March 14, 9:30 a.m., Board Room, Brault Building, Annandale. There will be three items on the agenda: an update on the cabling project, discussion of the issues in Dr. McVeigh's memo, and the Technology Training Plan.
cc: Dr. Ernst

Notes prepared by:

Steven G. Sachs
Associate Dean for Information Technology

Committee Chair:

Max L. Bassett
Dean of Academic and Student Services


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This page maintained by Steven G. Sachs, Associate Dean for Information Technology
Last update: 3/3/97
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