Operations and Applications Technology Committee
Meeting Minutes
March 13, 1997

Members present: Eugene Brown, Jose Chavez, Carmen Goodman, Carmen Medina, David Karstens, Jose Montero, Vincent Pizzurro (chair), Deborah Rodgers, John Sartorius, Steven Sachs, David Williams
Also present: Robert Bruce, Dan Wells, Janet Zilczer
Absent: George Bergeman, Thomas Butler, Martin Olson, Daniel Riley, Jane Townend, Jeff Williamson

1. There were no comments or questions on the minutes of the last meeting, which had been distributed in February. Mr. Pizzurro explained that, to accommodate Dr. Sachs' schedule, the sequence of agenda items for today's meeting would be altered.

2. PC "roll-out" logistics
Dr. Sachs announced that the initial order for 109 WIN 166 MHz pentiums has been processed through inventory procedures, and installations will proceed next week, during Spring break. The next batch of hardware orders is being finalized. It will be placed with Gateway and will not be influenced by the recent renewal of the WIN contract. (Copies of the latter, showing updated specifications and price reductions, were distributed, however.)

Someone (a consultant or P-14 staff member) will probably be hired to assist in the larger-scale roll-out that will ensue when 800 to 950 additional PCs are ordered. The exact number of units to be purchased remains to be determined, since some funds must be reserved to pay for installation.

As currently planned, as much software as possible will be ordered pre-installed. Most PCs will be stand-alone, at least initially; network installations will follow thereafter.

3. Recruitment of new IT positions
With advertisements scheduled for this Sunday's Washington Post, Dr. Sachs hopes the first round of recruitments can be completed by mid-April. He explained that some positions are being restricted to agency-only applicants; therefore, at least one additional round of recruitments can be expected to back-fill other vacancies that may be created. It is also possible that not all of the new positions will be filled on this first attempt. Of the ten new positions, two are administrative faculty rank, five (one per campus) are classified state grade 12 (+ 8 steps, Northern differential) and three (one each for Alexandria, Annandale, and College Staff) are state grade 10 (+ 4 steps, Northern differential).

The reporting structure for these positions is still under discussion. The relative merits of campus-based versus centralized College Staff and/or dual/shared/dotted-line organizational schemes were actively discussed, and will be further considered at the next Administrative Council meeting.

4. Status of infrastructure upgrades / Facilities aspects
Mr. Pizzurro welcomed and thanked Mr. Wells for joining today's meeting. Mr. Pizzurro explained that an Ad Hoc IT Task Force formed in the wake of Dean Floyd's departure, before the OATC and ITC began to meet, had initially begun to look at the facilities-related aspects infrastructure upgrades. Consisting of Mr. Duffy, Mr. Karstens, Mr. Pizzurro, Dr. Sachs, and Mr. Larry Harrison (who then represented Facilities) this group had endorsed a set of standard facilities considerations to accompany cabling installation plans. However, after Mr. Harrison's departure from the College, much of the emphasis for the infrastructure upgrades was placed on the cabling, alone, often to the exclusion of other facilities elements that are equally crucial to the successful planning and implementation of these technology upgrades.

Mr. Wells explained that Facilities is attempting now to re- enter the support planning picture. In fact, since broader facilities considerations in many cases must guide the ultimate choices of cable plant design, he is trying to see that infrastructure planning proceeds in a more comprehensive and orderly fashion. It is his intention to stay ahead of campus/CIS cable installation, so that necessary construction and building renovation are done first; cabling and equipment installation can then follow more smoothly. In new construction (such as Phase II of Manassas and Phase V of Annandale), it has been somewhat easier to achieve some level of advance planning. In retrofitting older buildings, however, Mr. Wells needs campus cooperation to assure that he and his staff know where large concentrations of computers are going to be placed, so that local communications closets can be constructed and adequate electrical power, isolation of circuits, proper grounding, and sufficient HVAC systems can be designed and installed in advance of cable placement.

Mr. Wells will be contacting the Provosts to insure that they all understand the role the Facilities organization is to play, and that they keep these broader facilities considerations in mind when making choices about room utilization. He also asked for the assistance of OATC members in communicating the same message to the CITGs and the campus communities, as a whole. He will be working with the Dean of Finance and Administrative Services and the ITC as funding for these requirements becomes an issue. As he and Mr. Pizzurro noted, it has been a major accomplishment to have this aspect of infrastructure needs properly recognized by all parties.

5. Virus protection guidelines
Jose Chavez reported that the CIRAs are working on a set of instructions that can be posted on college/campus web sites for user reference. He noted that it would be helpful to have a college-wide resource from which all campuses could have access to updates of signature files and notification of new releases. He and Robert Bruce explained that they currently download and make these updates available separately for each campus, but there are no college-wide, central applications servers/resources accessible to all users without CIRA assistance/intervention. [NOTE: College network plans call for placement and use of such resources, but current emphasis is being placed on development and initial deployment of Windows NT servers. Once the migration to NT is complete, additional applications services may be activated, but there are no plans to add new services to the IBM LAN Server environment.]

6. Microcomputer repair outsourcing
Provosts' feedback/preferences on various outsourcing options has not yet been received, but, in the meantime, Dr. Zilczer distributed copies of a Request for Information that has been forwarded for issuance through the Purchasing office. This request is intended to provide information from the vendor community on the range of pricing and types of services available. CIS also made inquiries and learned that Telos (the contractor currently used by VCCS/NVCC for mainframe peripheral maintenance) holds a state-wide contract for time-and-materials PC repairs. DPS had failed to send copies of this contract to the VCCS constituent colleges, but is now sending a set to the NVCC Purchasing office. Terms are reported to be: $30 per hour, parts at cost, 4-hour response time. Telos also indicated a willingness to add PC coverage to the VCCS maintenance contract (structured with monthly per-device fees, rather than time-and-materials charges), should the College or selected campuses wish to pursue that option.

7. Consultant services
Dr. Zilczer explained that DPS will be circulating a survey about "Body Shop" and similar service contracts to determine whether or how such vehicles may be made more useful for state agencies. In view of recent interest in consulting services, she asked Dr. Williams to review the contract, so that a user perspective could be added to the College response to DPS. Dr. Williams will also be making a few inquiries with VCCS colleagues to learn what, if any, consulting resources they may know. Dr. Montero raised the possibility that the committee could still proceed with its own inquiries and information-gathering from Internet service providers, rather than engaging a consultant to study and recommend alternatives.

The next session of the OATC is scheduled for Thursday, April 17, 1997, at 1:30 p.m. in the Ernst Community Cultural Center Seminar Room.

Minutes Prepared by: Janet Zilcher

Distribution: OATC members (and others present)
ITC members
Dr. Ernst


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