MSASS Information Technology Strategic Planning Goals and Objectives Prepared by the MSASS IT Committee 2/16/2015 DRAFT

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1 MSASS Information Technology Strategic Planning Goals and Objectives Prepared by the MSASS IT Committee 2/16/2015 DRAFT Actions: Endorsed by MSASS IT Committee 2/16/2015 Presented to MSASS Steering Committee 2/16/2015 Preface Article 4:10.1 of the By-laws of the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences established the Information Technology Committee in March The charge of the Information Technology Committee is to review and to make recommendations to the faculty concerning issues related to information technology at the Mandel School. The functions shall include, but not be limited to: making recommendations to the faculty on the mission and overall direction of IT; advising and consulting with the MSASS Director of IT on the IT budget and both short-range and long-range planning; reviewing current IT practices, priorities, and policies and making recommendations reflecting current and projected user needs and act as interface with the University level IT committee and appropriate sub-committees. (p.14). From May 2013 through December 2014, the Information Technology Committee completed the following activities in preparation for developing the School s first strategic plan in the area of information technology: bi-monthly visioning/planning meetings; Fall comprehensive SWOT analysis of IT needs with MSASS faculty (N=32), research staff (N=20), administrative staff (N=26), and doctoral students (N=6); Spring 2014 and ongoing - assessment of existing MSASS information technology budget, infrastructure; and work tasks; Spring assessment of information technology capacity at peer/reach institutions (N=22); Spring assessment of Harris Library Computer Lab usage; Spring on-campus visits to virtual computer lab facilities in Case School of Engineering and School of Nursing; Spring online search of EDUCAUSE website for technology innovations in higher education; Spring visioning meetings with the multidisciplinary ITS Customer Advocacy and Technology Adoption team; and Fall reviewed MSASS results from 2014 Faculty Climate Survey. 1

2 Based on the aforementioned activities, the MSASS IT Committee has identified six priority areas: (1) continuous renewal of information technology infrastructure and software; (2) secure and reliable storage for all data; (3) adequate technology for the full spectrum of technology enhanced/active learning and training environments; (4) virtual training laboratory and the potential expansion of virtualization to meet current and future information technology needs for research, teaching, service and business operations; (5) effective stewardship of MSASS budgetary investments to meet current and future information technology needs; and (6) strengthen internal MSASS information technology support services. Priority 1: Continuous renewal of information technology infrastructure and services Background: The School s IT infrastructure includes more than 200 workstations across four sites. Approximately 50% of MSASS technology infrastructure is 3+ years old (servers 5+ years old) and the School currently does not have a comprehensive and holistic plan to refresh this infrastructure across all programs and centers. Results from the Fall 2013 SWOT analysis note significant interest in standardization of core MSASS hardware and software as well as the need to proactively address issues of infrastructure obsolescence. Goal 1: Implement a comprehensive and systematic plan to refresh MSASS IT infrastructure and software Objective 1.1 Develop and maintain comprehensive database of IT infrastructure and software across all MSASS programs and centers. Objective 1.2 Develop comprehensive 5-year replacement schedule and budget for IT infrastructure across all MSASS programs and centers. Objective 1.3 Standardize a core set of operating systems and software applications on all MSASS computers. Objective 1.4 Develop and implement a regular, remote upgrade schedule for all MSASS computers. Objective 1.5 Provide access to specialized software via a virtual desktop system. Objective 1.6 Improve access to new, cutting edge software for research, teaching and operational applications. 2

3 Objective 1.7 Update and standardize all classroom technology. Objective 1.8 Ensure that adequate IT physical infrastructure upgrades (e.g., wiring, bandwidth) for current and future information technology needs are included in all MSASS building renovation plans. Priority 2: Secure and reliable storage for all data Background: The current data storage needs at MSASS total 15 Tb. The types of data currently stored include: secure/protected research data (6Tb); general data including non-protected research data (4Tb); classroom data (1Tb); financial, student services, admissions, and field secure data (2Tb); general data including non-secure materials, archives, etc. (1Tb); and video streaming data (1Tb). We believe that data storage needs will increase over the next five years with expanded use of data analytics (aka Big Data ) in the behavioral and applied social sciences. Our Fall 2013 SWOT analyses at MSASS underscored concerns about the loss of files, data, and/or contract information related to MSASS server failures as a major weakness and threat. Goal 2: Provide secure, reliable and cost effective storage for all data. Objective 2.1 Purchase and install new server(s) for research data to replace obsolete servers serving the Poverty Center, Begun Center, Center for Evidence-Based Practice, and MSASS faculty researchers. Objective 2.2 Migrate existing MSASS servers to the CWRU ITS Facility at the Kelvin Smith Library to provide enhanced backup/monitoring of data. Objective 2.3 Increase MSASS information technology capacity to engage in Big Data (data analytics, data informatics) projects through collaborations with other CWRU units. Objective 2.4 Conduct ongoing benefit-cost analysis related to purchase of replacement MSASS servers vs. costs of other secure data storage options at CWRU. Priority 3: Adequate technology for the full spectrum of technology enhanced/active learning and training environments Background: With the introduction of active learning classrooms at CWRU during the past two years and the development of teaching expertise in that area among several members of the MSASS faculty, the upcoming building renovation provides us with the opportunity to re-imagine as well as retool the learning and training environments we offer in order to provide students with advanced practice and research skills. Our Fall 2013 SWOT analyses see these initiatives 3

4 as unique opportunities to creatively infuse innovative information technology and corresponding services into MSASS learning environments. Goal 3: Create the full spectrum of technology enhanced, active learning and training environments at the Mandel School and the Mandel Center. Objective 3.1 Convert existing Mandel School classrooms into an array of active learning and training environments in the MSASS building renovation. Objective 3.2 Ensure adequate physical infrastructure upgrades that would facilitate the full spectrum of technology enhanced learning. Objective 3.3 Identify and obtain cost estimates for essential information technology infrastructure for all of the different types of learning and training environments at the Mandel School and the Mandel Center (e.g., library, huddle rooms, smaller classrooms, active classrooms, PhD Students Office, Research Commons). Objective 3.4 Provide flexible and accessible information technology resources (e.g., laptop carts, laptop kiosks) to support the advanced research and practice training needs of students in all MSASS programs. Objective 3.5 Identify and provide access to specialized software resources to support the advanced research and practice training needs of students in all MSASS programs. Priority 4: Virtual training laboratory and the potential expansion of virtualization to meet current and future information technology needs for research, teaching, service and business operations. Background: In a Spring 2014 scan of the top 22 Schools of Social Work across the country, MSASS is one of only four schools (and the top-ranked school) that do not have virtual desktop or virtual computer laboratory capabilities. The development of such capabilities, however, was identified by SWOT analysis participants as an opportunity associated with the Mandel School building renovations. Goal 4: Design and implement the MSASS Anywhere Virtual Training Laboratory as the initial phase of information technology virtualization at MSASS to meet the current and future advanced research and practice training needs of our students across all MSASS programs. Objective 4.1 Assess the feasibility of engaging in a collaboration with the Case School of Engineering (CSE), CWRU s leading unit in virtualization, to develop a virtual training laboratory. 4

5 Objective 4.2 Prepare and submit a Major Projects Initiative proposal to CWRU for initial program start-up costs to create virtual desktop laboratory environment. Objective 4.3 CSE and MSASS project team will complete all necessary start-up tasks during Summer and Fall Objective 4.4 Provide continuous training to faculty and students on the use of MSASS Anywhere beginning with those involved in the pilot application. Objective 4.5 Pilot test MSASS Anywhere during the Spring 2016 semester with selected master s and PhD courses. Objective 4.6 Ensure 24x7 access to MSASS advanced research and practice software applications for classroom, group or individual use across the full range of platforms (Windows/Mac OS). Objective 4.7 Create mobile thin client carts and kiosks to facilitate advanced research and practice training across the different MSASS learning environments. Objective 4.8 Evaluate utilization of MSASS Anywhere to plan for expanded use with students across all MSASS programs. Objective 4.9 Conduct ongoing benefit-cost analysis to assess feasibility of implementation of MSASS Anywhere to other stakeholders at the school (e.g., faculty, researchers, staff members). Objective 4.10 Identify CWRU and external funding sources that could support expanded implementation of MSASS Anywhere. Priority 5: Effective stewardship of MSASS budgetary investments to meet current and future information technology needs. Background: As part of the 2013 SWOT analyses, stakeholders underscored their concerns about the financial constraints associated with rising information technology costs. In conjunction with MSASS Finance and Administration staff members, the Director of IT, consultation with CWRU ITS staff members and the MSASS IT Committee, we have been developing a 5-year budget that projects current and future information technology needs and costs holistically across all MSASS programs, centers and operations. The purpose of this budgetary approach is to identify the actual costs to support these information technology needs; to examine current allocations and identify inefficiencies in stewardship of current budgetary investments, to identify budgetary gaps; and to identify potential sources of revenue to support current and future information technology needs. As Committee members have noted 5

6 in these more austere times, we need to be strategic as to how we utilize financial resources to meet these needs. Goal 5: Ensure the short- and long-term sustainability of information technology in all MSASS programs and centers. Objective 5.1 Assess utilization of ITS services for which we pay annual fees to CWRU and eliminate unnecessary redundancy of effort at MSASS. Objective 5.2 Conduct ongoing benefit-cost analysis of internal MSASS information technology infrastructure and services to ensure effective stewardship of MSASS budgetary investments. Objective 5.3 Estimate the actual costs of providing information technology services for research, teaching, service, and business operations in order to develop an appropriate fee structure or line items for F & A costs for grants and contracts. Objective 5.4 Identify internal CWRU and external sources of funding for innovative information technology projects. Objective 5.5 Explore the pros and cons of adopting a technology fee that is assessed to students on a per credit hour basis which will be used to reinvest in MSASS IT infrastructure. Objective 5.6 Require that all MSASS students have the appropriate equipment (e.g., laptop, tablet, etc.) and bandwidth/connectivity as part of the tools needed for their training. Objective 5.7 Facilitate access to MSASS Anywhere for students in all MSASS programs. Objective 5.8 Secure ongoing instructional design support and consultation on the use of information technology in advanced research and practice training. Priority 6: Strengthen internal MSASS information support services. Background: According to the results of our 2013 SWOT analysis, having an internal, on-site IT Department at MSASS was considered a strength as was having more personalized services/attention from IT staff members. At the same time, however, SWOT stakeholders identified a wide range of concerns about staffing and technical expertise, hardware/software support, procedures, responsiveness and communication. Some of these concerns were reiterated in the Spring 2014 Faculty Climate Survey where 37% of the faculty expressed dissatisfaction with computing resources and 52% were dissatisfied with computing support staff 6

7 (as compared to the CWRU average of 27% and 33%, respectively). While the sources of faculty concerns might be varied and may include information technology support at both the University and School levels, they do suggest a number of areas in which operational changes at the School level could strengthen internal support services. Goal 6: To provide efficient and effective information technology support services to all MSASS programs, centers, faculty, students and staff members. Objective 6.1 Implement by the end of the Spring 2015 semester an online work order system to address issues with hardware, software, connectivity, etc. using the Footprints system used by the ITS Help Desk. Objective 6.2 Use online work order system to assign tasks to MSASS IT or ITS staff members as appropriate. Objective 6.3 Use existing ITS Help Desk tools to regularly track response and time and customer satisfaction with MSASS IT support services. Objective 6.4 Evaluate current allocations of staff resources against current and projected information technology support service needs and in relation to CWRU ITS services provided under the provisions of the annually assessed University IT tax. Objective 6.5 Identify gaps in current and/or projected information technology support services and potential ways in which these can be addressed. Objective 6.6. Standardize core MSASS hardware/software and execute regular upgrades when feasible using existing contract with CWRU ITS services. Objective 6.7 Establish standard protocol for data setup, storage and computer backups for incoming faculty, researchers, and staff members. Objective 6.8 Develop MSASS documents so all are paperless and archived electronically. Digitize all records that do not require retention in paper format. 7

8 Spring 2014 Environmental Scan of Information Technology at Peer/Reach Institutions Each of the schools listed below were identified as being top schools of social work. However, some differences emerged in their rankings depending on the source information. The following is a rank order list of school and the access they have to virtual desktops, virtual computer laboratories, both or none. With the exception of four schools including MSASS who identified having VPN only, all of the remaining schools of social work have virtual computer labs (VCL) and many of the top schools have virtual desktops as well. University of Michigan (both) University of Chicago (both) Washington University (St. Louis) (desktop) Columbia University (desktop) University of Washington (desktop) University of California-Berkeley (desktop) University of Texas at Austin (VCL) Case Western Reserve University (MSASS) Limited VPN University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (both) University of Pittsburgh (both) Fordham University (VCL) University of Southern California (have virtual academy) University of Wisconsin-Madison (VCL) Boston College VPN Virginia Commonwealth University VPN University of Pennsylvania (both) University of California-Los Angeles (desktop) City University of New York - Hunter College (VCL) University of Maryland (VCL) Smith College VPN Boston University (VCL) New York University (VCL) 8

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