One could not have asked for a better day to discus Information Technology (IT) initiatives than a Friday, especially when cookies and punch were served to boost alertness from the beginning till the end. The meeting was held March 30th with over thirty staff and faculty members in attendance.
An ACANS Attitude!
The meeting kicked-off with an introduction from Michael Hites, Vice President for Planning and Information Technology / Chief Information Officer, who briefly discussed some of the follow-up IT initiatives from 2005; the following are just a few of the issues that have since undergone a series of positive change.
• A new email policy for New Mexico State University: All students, staff, and faculty will now be highly encouraged to use their NMSU email (as opposed to outside providers, i.e: Hotmail, Gmail, Zianet, etc.), because important information sent/re-routed to these outside providers often (for various reasons) fails to reach its intended recipient. Though this issue will not be forced, NMSU will be mandating that students and staff be aware that potentially important information may fail to reach them if they choose/continue to use an outside provider to receive NMSU related information.
• Pay-for-Print: Starting this semester (Spring 2007), ICT implemented a Pay-for-Print program in order to cut down on the costs of much wasted paper in the computer labs. Each student is now allocated a certain amount of money ($20.00 for full-time students/ $10.00 for part-time students) which they can use to print in any of the ICT labs; all they have to do is swipe their NMSU ID card. It has received much praise, and has significantly cut down on the amount of paper being thrown in the waste bins. For more details on Pay-for-Print, read “Phil ‘er Up!”
• IDEAL-NM: NMSU, ICT, New Mexico Learning Network (NMLN), and Governor Richardson have been a positive force backing the IDEAL-NM team in order to create an eLearning curriculum geared towards K-12 students. There has been much progress with this mission as legislation recently divvied $7.57 million to begin this statewide Cyber Academy, and a yearly $1.1 million to ensure its sustainability. The dream of creating a cyber curriculum throughout New Mexico that is capable of preparing K-12 students for a 21st century higher education has arrived! For more details on the Cyber Academy, read “Gov. Richardson Announces Statewide eLearning Plan.”
“Adding value to the university.”
Following Hite’s recap of the above initiatives, Diana Hidalgo, NMUS ’s IT auditor gave a concise talk on the new IT Risk Assessment project. She is currently working on gathering technical information:
-Who is using the technology?
-How are they using it?
-Where is it being used?
-Is the technology secure?
With this information, Hidalgo will be compiling a report that will address the priority of campus technology: who or which department is in the greatest need of a technology upgrade? It is a way of “adding value to the university,” as she continues to explain that her report will highlight the most important issues in order to maintain smooth management of the university.
Next on the agenda was Mike Zimmerman, from the NMSU Registrar’s office. He touched on the “do’s and don’ts” of the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and how they relate to the IT community of NMSU. Though FERPA is quite intricate, as it delves into multifaceted realms of privacy, Zimmerman was sure to cover the main issues. According to Zimmerman, in lieu of FERPA, privacy issues are directly related to the IT departments, because they receive funding from the U.S. Secretary of Education. More details on the FERPA guidelines, you will be directed to the U.S. Department of Education’s website.
Shaun Cooper, ICT Director of Security and Research, gave a demonstration of Cognos. Cognos is a campus-wide reporting tool that manages data, and can give reports based on desired criteria. For example, if somebody wanted to compile a report that showed how/if a Hispanic woman’s grade point average (GPA) has changed over the past 20 years, they could get that information. Or let’s say you needed to find out the what the increase of nursing students from 1988 to present day has been; that too could be found out by using Cognos.
Remember to periodically check the ACANS Information Site under the “Events of Interest” section for a list of upcoming events and meetings!!
ACANS Newscenter is published by the Association of Computing and Networking Services at New Mexico State University. If you would like to subscribe to the ACANS Newscenter, request further information, or to submit articles of interest contact ICT Strategic Relations, 646-4857 email: firstname.lastname@example.org