Technology Fee Advisory Committee
Meeting notes: Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Memorial Union Rose Room
Members Present: Bonnie Neas, Cathy Hanson, Rian Nostrum, Janet Stringer, Nick Cilz, Andy Bristow, Brian Fier, Abram Jackson, Dr.Anne Denton, Dr. Jim Hammond, Gary Fisher, Jon Bronken, David Wittrock and Char Maas - recorder
Members Absent: Jace Beechler, Paul Gunderson, Shannon Kempenich
The minutes of the December 15, 2009 meeting were approved by Jim and seconded by Abram.
Bonnie introduced Rian Nostrum as the new TFAC chair and thanked Jeff Gerst for his past leadership.
Overview of Funding:
A budget has been created based on the By-Laws with the intent to live within this budget. Bonnie presented a handout of slides to review which will assist in understanding some issues which have arisen. Slide 1 illustrates the Division of IT’s total budget this year which is divided into 4 segments.
- NDSU appropriated funds before telecom was put into our division made up about 19% of budget.
- More money was received from the University System for the non telecom/telephone initiatives and projects and services.
- Local/Recharge Funds is mainly from telecom and not general IT services.
Student Technology Fee:
A second slide showed the estimated distribution of the tech fee based on this year’s revenues which will bring in about two million dollars. This is divided into five segments based on the by-laws. Because of the way the IT distribution percentages were defined, about $127,000 in student wages was lost this year and services such as check out equipment from the Help Desk had to be cut back. More of the budget is going into infrastructure.
A review of Blackboard is being proposed and the ITC of which Dr. Ed Deckard is a member will lead a group of faculty and students to evaluate this application over the coming months. Moodle and Sakaii are also being looked at since they are open source solutions, very popular and less expensive. If a decision is made to move to one of these, faculty will be given sufficient time to move course materials. The functionality of the Blackboard application needs to be reviewed. The University System is currently supplying Moodle to some of the smaller institutions. If Moodle is adopted by NDSU, the system will pay the a majority of the expense. The evaluation will determine whether to stay with Blackboard or go to another system.
On Going IT Support:
Instrumented classrooms, clusters, Novell, Help Desk along with student support/wages make up the 45% of ongoing IT support. Nick has been involved in discussions on the clusters and an evaluation is being conducted to determine priorities in updating /or adding new clusters/classrooms. Currently there is no money to take on additional new clusters or instrumented classrooms.
Tech Fee Increase:
Amber, Nick and Bonnie have been involved with a discussion to slightly increase the tech fee based on the CPI (Consumer Price Index). Approval on this is not being requested today, but students are asked to discuss this and determine if an increase could be supported. In summary a request is being made to tie an increase of the fee to the CPI each year.
This slide illustrates the appropriated dollars received from NDSU. The left side in blue is salary and budget; the red is operating for ECI, IT & VPIT. The right side is the telephone utility operating and salary budget that became part of the VPIT Division. This budget was part of Facilities until this year. This indicates that there is not a very big operating budget for IT. Recently we were asked to make a 10% cut in both operating areas. Since the tech fee is a restricted fund, it cannot be part of the requested cut.
Bonnie requested students and committee members to review the by-laws and how funds are divided. There is $400,000 available for new initiatives which we should encourage folks to come up with innovative requests.
- Dr. Denton referred to non-instrumented classrooms as a hiring nightmare for the future.
- Questions were raised on copyright rules when moving to a new media and a need was determined to follow up on this.
- Discussion is needed at the campus level – (faculty senate) with regard to the future of instrumented classrooms and clusters..Is it time to take a more critical look at clusters and how we can cut back and yet keep growing?
- A survey revealed that students are not aware of how many clusters are on campus.
- Virtual clustering is being looked at. This requires a substantial investment in server support and software licenseing expense.
- We are stuck in an old model of a classroom and what is considered as a classroom today has changed but the updating etc. is not built into the budget. It is time for the campus to look at a new viable model; perhaps this should be the function of the Teaching and Professional Services Committee.
- Can laptops be refreshed by providing a bank of recharge centers?
- Proposers who submit requests need to be sure IT is contacted before the request is submitted and IT staff agree/approve that such support can be given if the proposal is funded. A signature field should be provided within the proposal (faculty/staff sponsor) and/or an area to put the IT support contact. If not provided, then no award.
- IT has adjusted the purchasing and support cycles to meet the spring and fall proposals.
The notice to solicit request is out with a deadline of March 12. An electronic and a hard copy is to be submitted. The question is how to best debate, discuss and vote on a recommendation. The PRS system has been used in the past with success but not this last time. Most like face-to-face discussion, although a comment was made to be careful the person requesting is not in the room; others felt anonymity freed up people to speak their true feelings. The Group Decision Center was good for the shy person. The committee agreed that a quick summary should be presented, followed by dialogue and questions and concluding with a motion and vote.
Actions plans will be put on Blackboard and primary viewers identified. You are instructed to take a look at them and get in contact with project director ASAP. Everyone should make a strong commitment to provide comments on Blackboard when reviewing the requests.
Next meeting will be scheduled for sometime after spring break.
A future meeting will be set up after that to explore information gathered on clusters and where to take recommendations pertaining to initiatives on classrooms vs. clusters. This group needs to be the catalyst and discussion needs to be made to determine what your role should be.