Review of Proposals
Technology Fee Advisory Committee
Meeting Notes – Fall 2008 Proposal Review Session
Wednesday, Oct. 29, noon – 2:30 p.m.
Mandan Room – lunch, Group Decision Center, FLC 320
Jeff Gerst-chair- Chair, Andrew Brown (alternate); Anne Denton, Ben Dotzenrod; Brian Fier, Gary Fisher, Peter Gregory, Jim Hammond, Cathy Hanson, Chris Hart, Abram Jackson, Britt McAlister, Chris McEwen (Alternate); Nathan Nerenz, Michael Thrasher, Arun Yadav. (The names of non-voting members are presented in italics type.)
Absent: Rian Nostrum, David Wittrock
Guests: Linda Charlton & Gerry Olson, facilitators from the Group Decision Center
A Request from Bonnie Neas
Prior to the review session Bonnie addressed the committee and explained that she had just been informed of the BIN (Bison Information Network) intentions to locate in the Bison One Block building. She asked the committee to support her action to take $50K from the reserve fund and put it into escrow to support the infrastructure services needed in the Bison Block One. The network infrastructure had not been part of the original building costs. The contractor estimated $50K would be needed to appropriately equip and install cable/wiring specifically for the requirements of the BIN project. Bonnie did indicate that in anticipation of the BIN project going into the Library, the IT infrastructure was updated in that building. In response to questions on the lifetime of infrastructure—it typically lasts around 20 years. Other discussion involved the Bison Block Two building and infrastructure needs and funding sources? After discussion, the committee agreed that for this project to be implemented, these services have to be in place and agreed to support this request.
Review Session Key Points:
Jeff welcomed all the TFAC members to the GDC. He thanked everyone for submitting comments into the online GDC ThinkTank software prior to this meeting as part of an effort help facilitate and expedite discussion. A total of seven proposals were submitted, requesting funding in the amount of $1,279,024.80.
The designated primary and secondary reviewers of each proposal gave summary statements to the committee regarding their assigned proposal, citing any issues or concerns or general feeling about recommendations for or against funding. The GDC tools were used to capture some of the concerns of the committee; however open discussion facilitated more robust conversations. Motions were made to fund, partially fund or not fund the various proposals with discussion as follows.
Jeff indicated he had received a request from Peter Gregory to allocate funds before we prioritize and make recommendations.
0901 New Classroom Technology – Request $223,460: Considerable discussion focused on concerns related whether this was the best use of tech fee dollars. Issues of equipment costs also arose (we are paying too much). Students wanted to know why VCR’s are still needed? Additionally, the funding of “furniture” or cabinets was questioned as not a good use of tech fee dollars. There was a recommendation to fund the first three rooms listed. Comments indicated that some classrooms were just too small to fund or the request for need is limited. Should there be some criteria that classrooms with 15 seats or less just not be funded? What constitutes need? A single faculty may be charged to request a classroom upgrade for an entire department or unit –that’s only one person requesting, but perhaps numerous instructors really support that need. Motion to fund CIE 205 & 207 and EE 213 at $33,480 carried. One nay.
0902 Expanded Main Library Computer Cluster - Request $15,990: General concerns were that this proposal was asking for funds to cover primarily the cost of furniture, desks, and chairs. Even though the furniture that’s requested integrates the electrical and wiring for safety purposes, the consensus of the students felt this should be a departmental cost. A motion was made to NOT fund ($223,460) this proposal and amended to fund $1,800 which is mainly computer infrastructure support.
0903 Develop a Pilot Project for NDSU Institutional Digital Repository – Request $44,780.80: Although this is may be a good idea, questions were raised about duplication of services. Does not the BlackBoard serve as a similar repository? Students can have portfolio’s on Bb. Primary reviewer comments talk about long-term accessibility, comparison of wiki or Web-sites, issues with preventing copyright and plagiarism, where does library fee fit into this, and can the system be appropriately developed and administered long-term. Other issues question whether this is just money to fund salaries? Maybe the Alumni Center could fund this if indeed, graduating students want a resource to “store” their works. A motion was made to NOT fund this proposal, carried.
0904 Implement an Improved Interlibrary Loan System – Request $13,498: Because this project impacts many students, and would definitely improve and streamline the interlibrary loan process at NDSU, the proposal has merits. The current system is extremely slow, inefficient and antiquated. Students need access to materials and the current process is very cumbersome and needs to be simplified. Should this be funded by partnering with the University System because of the broad usage and non-affiliated NDSU people using it? An explanation indicating that not only does this system process request for materials to be sent out to students from other universities, but allows for our students/faculty to obtain publications and research materials from almost anywhere as well, helped clarify the concerns. This is an NDSU endeavor. A motion was made to fully fund, amended to reduce by $1,250 (which appears to be an administrative overhead cost). Motion carried - $12,248.
0905 Ongoing Funding for Student Technology Support Services – Request $950,696: Comments regarding this proposal were very controversial. Progress reports are missing and/or they don’t provide much depth, hence no further money until reports are adequate. Students are also looking for greater details in the progress reports being submitted. Student members wish to see specific line items matches with what is being requested. There were questions related to computer prices—they question was raised as to why they are so expensive? Could money be saved by going to a 4 year refresh cycle? There were questions about the old computers being sold to the departments, and if that money comes back to the tech fee and yes, it does. If the computers were purchased by tech fee money shouldn’t students be offered an opportunity to buy them first? Once the Tech Fee money is collected it officially becomes state money and cannot be sold to individuals until they are processed through the surplus program. Overall, students are not seeing the value of having their money fund computer clusters as this is not “innovative” technology, and believe it is equipment/systems that should be funded by appropriated dollars. Motion to fund at half ($475,384). Amended to reduce by additional $132,300 related to computer costs ($462,084) 3-favor, 7-opposed; Original motion question called – 6-favor, 5-opposed. Additional recommendation is to obtain more detail report, and justification of expenditures.
0906 Meteorological Daily Observation Form – Request $600: Although this proposal fund primarily “programming” time for a student develop the form, it is a relatively straight forward proposal and gives an opportunity and experience to a computer science student to use his/her programming skills as part of a this project. Funding is minimal. Motion to fund passes unanimously.
0907 Transaction System Annual License Fees – Request $30,000: Many issues were raised concerning this project. There was discussion regarding why tech fee dollars should be the source of funds for a campus system that is used by students, faculty and staff alike as part of daily financial/operational function. Aren’t the students already being charged fees to cover some of this cost? Could funds from the Bison Card cover the cost? No, not unless folks would be willing to pay $46 per card. Is the request of $30K for three years in total – or $90K? The question was raised as whether this software wasn’t just part of the BlackBoard system? This funding is for the Bb transaction server, which is totally different project than the Bb Academic suite, it just happens that one company (for now) provides both. A motion was made to “O” fund. Motion amended to fully fund. The motion to amend fails for lack of a second and main motion carries. (7-favor, 3-opposed).
NOTE: The GDC online ThinkTank software was used by the TFAC committee members to capture greater detailed discussion involving the proposal review session. A full copy of this report will be placed on the TFAC Blackboard site. Any non-committee member wishing to view this report may request a copy from Dr. Jeffery Gerst, Associate VP for Information Technology Services and CIO, Jeffery.Gerst@ndsu.edu
Respectfully submitted,Cathy Hanson, recorder