Northern Virginia Community College

Operations and Applications Committee
October 8, 1996 Minutes

     Operations and Applications Technology Committee Meeting
                          October 8, 1996

Members present:    George Bergeman, Eugene Brown, Thomas Butler,
                    Robert Bruce for Carmen Goodman, David
                    Karstens, Carmen Medina, Gilbert Mehrtens,
                    Jose Montero, Martin Olson, Vincent Pizzurro
                    (chair), Steven Sachs, John Sartorius, Jane
                    Townend, David Williams, Jeff Williamson

Also present:  Janet Zilczer

Guests:   Dennis Miller, Martin (Skip) Rademacher

Absent:   Daniel Riley, Deborah Rodgers

1.   Review of background and committee charters
     Mr. Pizzurro noted that the current committee structures are
     an outgrowth of recent information technology planning
     efforts.  Mr. Karstens reviewed the history of those efforts,
     starting with the 1994 VCCS Information Technology Task Force
     Report, the Twenty-First Century Group study commissioned
     last year by NVCC, and, most recently, NVCC's engagement of
     the Gartner Group's consulting services.  Copies of the final
     Gartner Group report were distributed.  Mr. Karstens
     explained that VCCS initiatives begun this spring prompted
     the College to refocus the Gartner study on the general
     technology plan and technology spending plan required of each
     community college.  These two plans, included as appendices
     to the the Gartner report, were approved by the VCCS this
     Fall.  Together with a general migration plan, also appended
     to the Gartner report, they form the blueprint for the IT
     initiatives the College has committed to undertake over the
     next two years.

     In response to questions, Mr. Pizzurro and Dr. Sachs
     elaborated on the roles of the new committees (ITC, OATC, and
     CITGs) formed in the restructuring of College information
     technology management.  The pivotal nature of the OATC as
     both a working group and a conduit for communications was

2.   Status of infrastructure survey
     Mr. Pizzurro explained the work currently underway to
     document, room-by-room, all existing data cabling (cable
     drops, active ports, and communications closet expansion
     capacity).  The goal of the present survey is not only to
     help quantify additional cabling requirements, but also to
     establish a mechanism to keep facilities documentation
     updated as infrastructure upgrades proceed.  Mr. Miller and
     Mr. Rademacher presented an interim report on the survey
     (attached), which they hope to complete by the end of next
     week.  It was noted that, with the exception of lab areas,
     the bulk of the infrastructure is in place College-wide, with
     excess capacity in most communications closets.  Decisions on
     classroom connectivity (numbers of drops per classroom) and
     priorities for lab spaces will have to be addressed, once
     final survey data are available.

3.   Priority topics discussed
     Before continuing with agenda items, Mr. Pizzurro brought to
     the group's attention the "Hot Issues"  article in the most
     recent EDUTECH Report.  The article noted:

          The crisis in support services ... is an issue we have
          been hearing consistently for years, and appears to be
          getting worse and worse.  Regardless of the size of the
          institution, the size of the IT department, the
          resources available, or the state of technology, one
          clear fact remains:  the demands for IT services
          continue to overwhelm the supply ...  The nature of the
          crisis seems to have much more to do with unlimited
          demand than with limited supply.  [EDUTECH, vol. 12, no.
          6, September 1996, p. 5]

     The article went on to stress the importance of setting
     priorities.  In keeping with this approach, Mr. Pizzurro
     indicated that the OATC would start by concentrating on the
     highest priority topics.

     a.   Internet Service Providers (ISP)
          Internet access, e-mail, and dial-in are among the
          services that can be provided by an ISP.  The College
          historically has not been able to provide such services
          universally (to students, faculty, and staff) through
          in-house support.  At the same time, VCCS initiatives
          and the newly-adopted NVCC general technology plan make
          provision of such services a goal within the next two
          years.  Given these factors, the examination of ISP
          services must be a high priority.

          Dr. Zilczer reviewed some of the types of services
          available and distributed an outline (copy attached) of
          the types of policy questions that must also be
          addressed in planning for use of such services.

          Dr. Williams agreed to chair a working group to analyze
          alternatives and to develop recommendations on these
          matters.  Members of the working group include:  Robert
          Bruce, Carmen Medina, Jose Montero, Steve Sachs, Jane

     b.   General Distribution Software
          Discussion moved to the second priority topic:  whether
          the College should select a group of software products
          (i.e., an office suite) for general distribution with
          new microcomputers and/or for standardization/upgrade of
          existing stations.

          Mr. Karstens expressed some concern about the need to
          study this issue, since the Gartner report had already
          recommended adoption of Microsoft Office as a standard
          office suite.  However, it was pointed out that the ITC
          had referred this matter to the OATC for further
          consideration and that many of the Gartner report's
          recommendations were statements of general direction
          without full detail on all implementation issues.  Dr.
          Sachs noted that some concerns about current investments
          in WordPerfect software have been raised, and training
          and support issues could also be more fully considered.

          Mr. Mehrtens agreed to chair a working group on this
          subject.  He will be joined in these efforts by Robert
          Bruce, Carmen Medina, Steve Sachs, and Jane Townend.

     c.   Other Topics
          It was generally agreed that the directions and goals
          stated in the Gartner Group report and summarized in the
          College General Technology plan need not be re-studied
          by this committee, but that many topics will need
          additional analysis as the College moves from a planning
          to an implementation phase.  VCCS System-wide
          information technology initiatives create a broader
          context within which we shall implement our own College
          IT plan.  For example, the VCCS is actively
          participating in ACCESS Virginia, the Virginia Broadband
          Educational Network currently under construction in
          cooperation with Virginia Tech, Bell Atlantic, and
          Sprint.  This initiative has a goal of bringing high-speed
          ATM (Asynchronous Transport Mode) communications
          to the desktop.  This change in the VCCS wide area
          network environment will materially affect the
          technology NVCC uses to maintain the College network
          backbone.  In these and other instances, it can be
          anticipated we shall have to respond to ever-changing
          technology, finances, and competing priorities as we
          move forward.

4.   Working group reports
     Dr. Williams and Mr. Mehrtens will attempt to make interim
     reports to the chair, Mr. Pizzurro, in early November.

     The next meeting of the OATC is scheduled for Tuesday,
     November 19 at 1:30 p.m., Large Board Room, Brault Building

OATC Minutes Index

This page maintained by Steven G. Sachs, Associate Dean for Information Technology
Last update: 10/18/96