Information Technology Committee


February 7, 2000

Present: Teresa Janifer for Lowell Ballard, Jon Wiggs for Max Bassett, Sue Hintz, Tom Butler, Gen Chu, Kevin Kelley, Alison Baker (chair), Dan Riley, Steven Sachs, Dave Williams for Judd Sage, John Sartorius, John Sener, Lionel Sylvas, Peter Tharp, Charlotte Wilhelmi, Barbara Wyles   Absent: Gail Kettlewell, Charlotte Wilhelmi   Visitors: Stacy Pendleton, Sushama Rath, Dale Seward, Carol Turner  
  1. Minutes Approved

  2. Minutes of the November 1, 1999, ITC Meeting were approved.

  3. Web Issues

  4. Dr. Sachs presented issues from the Web Steering Committee since Mrs. Simpson was unable to attend.

    Issue 1: Advertising personal businesses on faculty web pages on the College server. The ITC approved the recommendation of the committee that the College call the Faculty/Staff Web sites Professional Pages rather than personal pages and then write a statement about what is acceptable on Faculty/Staff Professional Pages. The ITC directed the Web Steering Committee to draft the policy statement and submit it to the ITC for approval.

    Dr. Sachs brought up a related item concerning commercial web tracking. It has been reported that some students connecting College computers to commercial web sites that track that individual student's use of the web and then pays the student a very minimal amount for each web site visited. The questions raised were whether this violated the College's Acceptable Use Policy and whether these sites should be blocked so students could not connect to them. After a discussion the ITC that the College would not limit access to these sites or prohibit students from connecting to them at this time. If students are monopolizing computers, staff can ask that they leave and let someone else have access to the computer.

    Issue 2: Defining the electronic environment and developing a College Web Style Sheet. The ITC decided to defer defining the electronic environment until Virginia Department of Personnel and Training has completed its work on a policy dealing with the Internet use of electronic communication systems. The ITC also decided to wait for the report from the Marketing Firm that will be hired this Spring before developing a style sheet.

    Issue 3: Revising the bottom of the current College home page to be ADA compliant. The ITC approved this recommendation and assigned responsibility to the College Webmaster.

    Issue 4: Allowing faculty/staff to host professional associate web sites on the College Web servers. After discussion the ITC directed the Web Steering Committee to draft a policy for ITC consideration that would set guidelines for reviewing and approving when an association can use the College Web servers. The policy should provide for a review of applications by an appropriate College office or committee.

    Dr. Sylvas requested that Dr. Sachs provide a list of members of the Web Steering Committee and information on how they were selected at the next meeting. (Note: The Web Steering Committee was originally established at the December 8, 1997 ITC meeting, and it was reviewed and revised at the April 26, 1999 ITC meeting. Details can be found in the minutes of those meetings and in the NVCC WORLD WIDE WEB POLICY on the ITC Committee Web site.)

  5. Voice Mail

  6. Originally, the ITC approved implementation of an interim voice mail system. The interim system was necessary due to the long lead-time and high expense of purchasing a full-featured voice mail system. The interim system was relatively inexpensive but had some limitations. The interim system requires that the caller re-enter the last 4-digits of the phone number to enter the voice mailbox. It also requires that the owner of the voice mailbox delete each message twice if the choice is made to retrieve messages by phone rather than PC (it has to be deleted from both the phone and PC). Initially, there were several additional limitations that have now been resolved including: inability to retrieve messages by phone, extremely long message files making it impossible to use at home, lack of privacy in retrieving messages from PCs in public spaces. Annandale and Alexandria are still without voice mail. The purchase of the full-featured voice mail system is now at DIT for bidding. The ITC needs to review the plans for voice mail to determine whether the current plans should be put on hold, continued or whether a new plan should be developed.

    Options to be considered individually or in combination:

    Finish implementation of the current interim system to Annandale, Alexandria and College Staff. Limit implementation to personal voice mailboxes for individual faculty and staff. Do not attempt to use voice mail for general (shared) information numbers.

    Abandon interim system and purchase voice mail services from state contract. Approximate cost is $5-6 per voice mailbox per month. Messages do not show up on the PC so the only way to know if there is a message is by phone. Approximate annual cost for 1,000 full-time faculty and staff mailboxes is $60,000.

    Continue with purchase of fully featured voice mail system. Estimated cost is $150,000 plus annual maintenance. Purchase order expected to be issued in April with implementation by sometime next Fall. Additional or improved features over the interim system include not having to redial the last 4-digits of the phone number to enter the voice-mail box.

    Annandale and Alexandria have decided not to complete implementation of the interim voice mail system on those campuses.

    Purchase new phone system with voice mail included. The purchase-price is unknown. Implementation date unknown, but probably in late Spring 2001 or Fall 2001. The College needs to replace the existing phone systems at Manassas and Woodbridge. If the choice is to use Centrex like that in use at the other campuses, the cost and type of voice mail will be the same as in option #2 above. If the College chooses to purchase a new college-wide phone system, full-featured voice mail could be included in the purchase. The full-featured voice mail described in option #3 above could be used with most new phone systems if it is purchased separately. Currently, DIT has told us that they will provide telephone system consultants and will either assist us to design and purchase a new system or will determine that an outside consultant is needed. They are in the process of bidding PBX contracts that should make it much easier to purchase a new system for the College. They have indicated it will be at least March or April before they can begin to work with us on this project.

    After discussion, the ITC decided to hire a consultant to advise the College on its phone system. The current voice mail bid can continue to be reviewed at DIT pending a recommendation by the ITC prior to purchase. The goal is to provide the College with a sophisticated and advanced telephone system. Dr. Sachs will pursue the hiring of a consultant.

  7. Technology Project Priority List

  8. Dr. Sachs presented the following list of priority projects currently being worked on by Technical Support Services and Programming Support Services. The ITC asked that these be put in priority order with a timeline for completion and indication of who is working on each one for the next meeting.

    Technical Infrastructure Projects

    1. System Reliability Upgrade

    2. Blackboard Planning and Installation

    3. Web Server Upgrade

    4. Help Desk Upgrade

    5. Planning of Digital Signature Implementation

    6. Voicemail Rollout

    7. Home Mainframe Access Plan

    8. Voice over IP Installation

    9. PeopleSoft Server Installation

    10. MS Terminal Server Planning

    11. SNA Printer Replacement

    12. Network Upgrade Plan (Ethernet)

    13. College-wide Document Mgmt/Workflow/Imaging Projects

    14. Active Directory Implementation Plan (automatic account/group generation)

    15. Security Upgrade Plan (firewalls, security monitoring)

    Programming Support Projects

    1. Resource 25

    2. ELI System Conversion

    3. Compass Score Posting

  9. Reports/Updates

  10. Since Mrs. Simpson and Mr. Ballard could not attend, Dr. Sachs gave updates for TAC and TSS.

    TAC: The Winter Faculty Training Institute was very successful. The new software for Blackboard has been loaded and TAC is in process of developing on-line training that should be available in late February or early March. The compressed video network is still experiencing significant problems statewide but the Utility is making progress identifying the problems and resolving them.

    TSS: The staff has taken a number of steps to improve system reliability and prevent the times the networks, servers and email are unavailable. These include adding redundancy to the servers, and installing a new uninterruptible power supply. Additional monitoring software is also being purchased. Plans are underway to upgrade the College Token Ring Network to High-speed switched Ethernet. The total cost will exceed $3 million and have to be done over a number of years. The initial phase will provide a limited amount of Ethernet access on all campuses to support the PeopleSoft implementation. This should be completed by the end of Summer 2000. The project will then finish the conversion of one campus at a time, as funds allow. The VCCS will be using Voice over IP (Internet telephony) to connect the new Novanet required by the PeopleSoft system. They also are establishing a statewide telephone-dialing plan that will allow any college phone to connect anywhere in the state as a local call. This will require NVCC to purchase additional equipment, to upgrade existing PBXs at Manassas and Woodbridge, and pay for additional T-1 lines. Plans to do this are currently under development at TSS.

    Programming Support Services - Mrs. Rath reported on the Resource 25 scheduling software. Implementation is expected later this Spring. Dr. Sylvas asked for a demo and pilot. Mrs. Rath indicated that this would be part of the implementation process. She also indicated that finding a way to automatically post COMPASS test scores to student records is a high priority, but a reliable and stable process has not yet been found. They are testing several approaches.

    Training - Mrs. Pendleton reported on the Technology Plan Training budget. She distributed a budget summary. The ITC decided not to purchase Office 2000 manuals now and will wait until implementation and training is underway next year. The ITC decided that the CCS&T contract should be continued. The ITC decided that New Horizons costs may be paid from Technology Plan training funds as approved by the Provost or Dean if other technology training or human resources funds are not available on the campus. The amount of funding for each person should be consistent with the funding provided by other sources of funds on that campus. Mrs. Pendleton indicated that there are training funds available for IT staff training.

  11. Baseline Classroom Technology

  12. Dean Baker requested that the TLTRs submit recommendations to her for reporting to the ITC on what the College should establish as the baseline classroom technology. The Facilities office needs this information to plan new buildings and renovations of existing classrooms.

  13. Next Meetings

  14. The ITC reviewed the schedule for the next several meetings due to potential conflicts. The next meeting will be March 6, but will not start until 2:30 pm. The meeting originally scheduled for April 3 will be moved to April 10.

  15. New Business
There was a brief discussion of HR's IT position study, in the context of the new Technology Classification System. It is expected that changes will not go into effect until July 1, but this issue is still pending at ACOP and the VCCS, and awaiting General Assembly action. Notes prepared by:

Steven G. Sachs
Dean of Information Technology

Alison Baker
Dean of Financial and Administrative Services

pc: Dr. Wheelan