Office of Learning and Information Technology

UW System CIO Council

June 16, 2005
Madison, WI

Learn@UW update
Joint Finance actions (budget & delegation)
Procurement update
Network update
Report on Common Systems Review Group meeting
Continued use of SSNs as identifiers
LAB password survey
WHEPSUG conference
Campus IT updates (round robin)
CIO retreat
Next meetings


CIOs and their Representatives


Mark Anderson
John Berens
Joe Brown
Dick Cleek
Nancy Crabb
David Dumke
Ann Marie Durso
Jack Duwe
John Krogman
Jim Lowe
Ed Meachen
Bill Meyer
Kathy Pletcher
Elena Pokot
Carrie Regenstein
Gary Smith
David Stack
Annie Stunden
John Tillman

Barb Baruth
Kathleen Christoph
Ken Ebbe
David Hart
Doug Hendrix
Ellen James
Brian Remer
Ken Splittgerber
Lori Voss
Doug Wahl
David Wirth


Ken Splittgerber is the Interim CIO designee for UW-Oshkosh. He will take over when John Berens retires in August.

Today is Joe Brown's last day before retirement.

Learn@UW Update – David Wirth & Kathy Christoph

An online survey of faculty using Desire2Learn (D2L) was conduct a couple months ago through the campus site administrators and Learning Technology Development Centers (LTDCs). There were 833 responses. The goals were to determine if D2L was meeting pedagogical needs and which tools were in use. An executive summary is being drafted by Peter Mann. The site administrators already have specific data from their respective campuses. Overall, 65% of the respondents said they had positive experiences with D2L. There will be a presentation of the results at the D2L User Conference in August (

Questions about synchronous tools were included in the survey. Over 50% of those who answered the question said they were not interested in synchronous tools. Those that were interested wanted a wide variety. The UW-Stout pilot of the Breeze Live! tool will continue to run through the summer.

A student survey is planned for the future.

All of the UW-Milwaukee courses have been moved from their local D2L environment to Learn@UW. It took a year to realize this vision of Kathy Christoph and Bruce Maas. By the end of the process, there was a marked transformation in the ability of people from UW-Madison, UWM and Learn@UW to work together. A lot of good people relationships have been built. The transition went smoothly, and technical staff at UWM are being redeployed to other activities, which is welcome relief during this time of budget cuts.

Learn@UW will go through another version upgrade this summer. The UWS institutions want the upgrade to happen during off hours, which the D2L company will charge for.

The e-grading pilot at UW-Green Bay and UW-Madison is moving toward production. The remaining UWS institutions will pick up 50% of the costs for developing their local interfaces. The other 50% of the costs will be paid by MILER. The six campuses that are interested in going live for fall 2005 are:

  • UW-Stevens Point
  • UW-River Falls>
  • UW Colleges
  • UW-Whitewater
  • UW-Oshkosh
  • UW-Milwaukee

It is not yet clear if all six campuses can be accommodated in the summer timeframe. Brian Busby is leading the effort.

Collaborations are underway with other large institutions that are using D2L to share problems and present a common voice to the company.

Performance testing is underway in conjunction with Microsoft in Redmond and IBM.

D2L service announcements are being provided every week via email. Instructions for joining the email list will be sent to the CIOs.

WebCT and Blackboard are shut down at Learn@UW. If necessary, old courses can still be recovered.

An upgrade is planned for the end of July, which will be challenging to implement before the fall. The UWM instance needs an additional upgrade to catch up to the other UWS institutions.

There are pressures for various integrations from Common Systems and CSIAWG, but the D2L product is not ready for a web services architecture. The alternatives are costly and cumbersome. D2L will be lobbied at the user conference in August.

Currently, there is no way to archive courses, so disk space is being filled at an alarming rate. Courses must be kept live forever. The D2L company doesn't expect to resolve this issue the next major release, which means it would not likely be in production at Learn@UW until fall 2006.

The D2L company is working on improving reporting capabilities. Learn@UW is pressing for data so that reports can be created locally. The existing standard reports don't work for the organizational structure that Learn@UW has built using D2L.

UW-Whitewater is interested in getting quiz responses out of D2L so the quiz feature can be used for conducting surveys.

Joint Finance actions – Ed Meachen

The Joint Finance Committee approved language by a vote of 16 to 0 in regard to telecommunications and networking that allows WiscNet to continue providing services as it has in the past. It also covers ICS at UW Extension. It allows "...that the Board of Regents may use telecommunications data and voice over Internet services that it procures only for the University's own purposes to full its mission." The Governor could still veto parts of the language.

Procurement update – Lori Voss & Ellen James

Silver Oak RFPs for products

The peripherals RFP is close to being awarded, as is the copier RFP. The printer RFP negotiations are still focused on target pricing. The likely result will be going from having hundreds of printers available to perhaps ten models. A TCO analysis, including maintenance, is being done on the award. Because of anticipated lower savings on printers, it may be possible to contact out maintenance.

There will likely be one award for Microsoft, but multiple resellers for other publishers. Academic versus government pricing is being reviewed for various resellers. The mandatory contracts will not apply to manufacturers who only have one reseller. Potential impacts on UW-Madison's Tech Store are still unknown.

Although the awards in all categories were targeted for June 1, none have yet been completed.

IT Services RFP

The first hurdle in the evaluation was a qualitative scoring. There are concerns that this exercise was not sufficiently rigorous and some vendors' responses are driving down the rates to a ridiculous level that would be unsustainable by local vendors. The existing IT Services contract cannot be used beyond June 30 in most cases.

Information on the verification of waivers for existing contracts are due tomorrow.

Contracting for outside services

In March 2004, state agency heads were informed that additional information, including a cost benefit analysis, would be given to the unions when contracting for outside services. For contracts over $25,000, the justification of need will have to be signed by a chancellor or vice chancellor. When the new Vendor Management Service and the new IT Services contract are in place, this step will not be necessary.

When an annual total of $200,000 for one contracted service is reached, a more detailed cost benefit analysis will be required. The template has not yet been distributed, but it will require input from HR and other offices for calculation of rates, fringe benefits, etc.

These requirements apply to every kind of service contracting by all agencies, e.g., bus services and halfway houses.

Travel Arrangements

A memo from Marc Marotta to the UW Chancellors and agency heads announcing new procedures for making travel arrangements was distributed. There will be a number of challenges for implementing and enforcing the procedures. Presumably, the use of three approved travel agencies or Orbitz for Business will be mandatory.

Doug Hendrix explained that the UWS has tried to actively manage travel for a long time to ensure best business practices. A state report on travel best business practices worked its way to the surface several months ago and an RFP was let rather quickly that differed quite a bit from the best practices report. Two of the travel agencies selected serve niche markets: team travel and student travel. The general travel agency will be Adelman in Milwaukee. They will charge a $24 fee on each out-of-state travel arrangement.

A copy of Doug Hendrix's point by point response to Marc Marotta's letter will be circulated this afternoon.


Negotiations for student core cals have been on going. Microsoft has offered declining discounts for three years.


Tom Scott and representatives from other institutions within and outside the UWS will look at strategies to get deeper discounts from ORACLE.

Network update – Ed & Brian Remer

Since last month's CIO Council, a couple informational sessions were held with Bob Stussey and others to discuss challenges and opportunities. They discussed a draft agreement on the role and configuration of the WiscNet POPs on the four year campuses.

As the first K12 customers move to BCN, WiscNet will need to have connections to the four major POPs.

The finished charter of the BadgerNet Converged Network Advisory Council was distributed. It will provide a framework for triaging problems that arise in the transition to BCN. It is a large group with 18 members representing:

  • state agencies - 2
  • school districts - 2
  • the UWS - 2
  • Technical Colleges - 1
  • public libraries - 1
  • CESAs - 1
  • WAICU - 1
  • DPI - 1
  • WADEN - 1
  • municipal/county government - 1
  • DOA - 2 non-voting
  • vendor -1 non-voting
  • ICS - 1 non-voting
  • INS - 1 non-voting

Report on Common Systems Review Group Meeting

The CSRG heard a presentation and proposal regarding Service Oriented Architecture. It was well received and they requested additional information.

Don Mash spoke to the CSRG about the status of APBS including the UW-Madison/Lawson gap study. He also talked about potential new roles and responsibilities for the CSRG. Additional stakeholders are being consulted before any action is taken.

Ed Meachen has discussed with Don Mash the notion of creating a project management office. It might be feasible if no new resources, especially positions, are needed. Given the current resource environment, the creation of any kind of a new office must be undertaken carefully.

David Ernst, the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Information Technology Services at the California State University, will address the CSRG on July 27th regarding the Cal State implementation of PeopleSoft HR. Bob Kvavik may also be invited. Bruce Maas emphasized the value of turning to EDUCAUSE research.

Ann Marie Durso stressed the need for criteria and metrics so that everyone can tell the same story in regards to common systems with conviction. IT professionals tend to focus on products and tools instead of looking at repeatable processes and standardization with a larger vision. The dangers of focusing on systemwide standardization for its own sake, instead of for creating value, were also discussed. One possibility is to move toward a service oriented architecture. The possibility of creating a small number of instances for common systems projects was broached, e.g., one instance for UW-Madison and one for everyone else,

Continued use of SSNs as identifiers – John Krogman

John Krogman reported that UW-Platteville administered math and english placement exams online. UW System Legal Affairs said it was acceptable to collect SSNs as identifiers in this process. OPAR also requested that the UW-Platteville alumni database be submitted and sorted by SSN, which Legal Affairs approved. He raised the question of whether overall progress is being made toward moving away from the use of SSN as identifiers.

UW-Milwaukee has an initiative underway to determine where SSNs are exposed. Most vulnerabilities are papers lying on desktops. At UW-Whitewater, a campus ID is used instead of SSN for official business practices. Their ID card is also being used as a proximity access card for doors, as well as a debit card. Perhaps the ID number should not be printed on the ID card.

UW-Parkside has an ID card that is also a debit card. Students see their debit number printed on the card. However, it is a number that can change. Students need a number to enter when accessing library resources from home.

At UW-Madison, the registrar is fielding requests from students and faculty regarding use of the ID photos that are stored in PeopleSoft. UW-Colleges produces photo rosters that include FERPA statements. At UW-Superior, faculty will be able to see student photos when they log in to PeopleSoft.

LAB Password Survey

The Legislative Audit Bureau has sent a request through the UW System auditors for a survey of password procedures on campuses in regards to IAA and SFS. The auditors are concerned that weak passwords on one campus will create systemwide vulnerabilities. The IAA project has held educational sessions for the UW System auditors in the past, and more will be scheduled in the future.

The standard protocol is for LAB to formally request information from UW System Administration, not each campus individually. Doug Hendrix will look into the issue and advise the institutions.

The UW System auditors group did not answer Kim Milford's response to their previous recommendations regarding password practices.

WHEPSUG Conference - Kathy Pletcher

Typically UWSA, the Technical Colleges and PeopleSoft cover the infrastructural expenses of the Wisconsin Higher Ed Peoplesoft User Group conference. The UWSA contribution was cut out of the budget this year. Instead, the ten UWS PeopleSoft campuses will each contribute $300.

Campus IT updates (round robin)

UW Colleges has lost one IT position that probably won't be filled. About 10% of the S&E budget for the central administration has been cut. Most of their campuses have only one network person and one instructional person.

UW Extension has lost about 10% of its S&E budget and will likely be doing more chargebacks. Two open positions will probably remain vacant for awhile. A new continuing education registration and marketing system is being investigated. UW-Madison departments will share in the cost and expect to have a greater say in the breadth of CRM features that are acquired.

The UW Colleges and UW Extension have formed an IT integration sub committee. Principles for evaluating common features have been outlined. UW Colleges is heavily centralized and UW Extension is heavily decentralized - both for valid reasons. A report is due to the main committee at the end of the summer. The recruitment of a single chancellor for the "two institutions" is getting underway.

UW-La Crosse will replace their SAN during the summer. Backup and restore systems will be replaced. Email servers will also be replaced, although their email administrator has passed away. Three open positions have been held since mid year with no prospects for recruiting. The database system is being re-architected. A couple key database staff members have left for significant salary improvements. Wireless rollouts and video over IP work is underway. The IT budget was cut over $100,000 last year and flexibility for special projects is lost.

UW-Madison - About a dozen or so vacancies will likely be affected. The PeopleSoft student upgrade will occur this fall. An SFS upgrade is in the works. The APBS gap project is also in the works. Upgrades to the campus network are on schedule. Ubiquitous wireless is being added on a building by building basis. A campus-wide group is looking at network security planning and the products that are available. The U-Portal implementation is nearing completion. Leadership retreats are looking at plans for the next couple years, including what is centralized and decentralized. Directory issues and policies are achieving high level visibility. Xythos is being used to give students accounts for web storage.

UW-Milwaukee's central IT budget was cut $137,000 out of $8M, but there has been a total of about $1M in cuts over the last year due to a number factors. Approval has been given for only four of ten open positions. Business units are increasing their demands without accountability for the drain on resources. A major reorganization in client services and student technology services will be announced on Tuesday. There will be an STS poster session at the 2005 EDUCAUSE conference that focuses on changes that have occurred since the program received an innovative practices award in 2001. An IT Review report is due out in about two weeks. It should provide the backing for making needed changes. The portal is experiencing load balancing issues and is only deployed for about a third of the campus. Strategic planning for several years into the future has been introduced in the annual budget progress to mixed reactions from the administration because of the size of the numbers. Xythos was purchased through a DOA approved reseller that has gone bankrupt. The Xythos company hasn't received the full payment made by UW-Milwaukee. Annie Stunden has helped to smooth the relationships between Milwaukee and Xythos.

UW-Oshkosh is reacting to the governor's budget with a 4% across the board cut. Three of six vacant IT positions were lost. Instead of mid-year salary increases being rolled into the base for the following year, those are now budgeted as ongoing costs to the unit. All campus-wide desktop replacement cycles have been abandoned and replacement is on a department by department basis. Planning is underway for the cuts proposed by the Joint Finance Committee. The SAN was replaced and database servers are being upgraded. Preparations for PeopleSoft 8.9 should be completed before September. Work is underway to provide dorm students with adequate bandwidth and yet still control abuse. A VPN concentrator for Roadrunner to an off campus clinic is being deployed. Darwin will come up in the fall for online degree audit and enabling students to play what-if scenarios for transfers to other campuses. The Novell network is moving away from departmental servers to a cluster to implement single IDs.

UW-Parkside expects to address FTE reductions through attrition. The IT base budget has stayed flat. In some cases, multiple vacancies have been combined into a single recruitment at a higher level. There have been difficulties in getting good candidate pools despite market pricing and extensive advertising. The legacy SIS system is still running as bolt-ons to the new PeopleSoft system are being finished. One time funds have been found for customized, onsite PeopleSoft training via a third party. One time funds are also being invested in the network, firewalls, backup and SAN. A task force is building requirements for a collaboration toolset, similar to UW-Milwaukee. Room management and imaging are on the horizon.

At UW-Platteville, the Blackbaud donor tracking and accounting software will be going live shortly. The Ad Astra system for facilities management will be first used by auxiliaries, and later by academic affairs. ImageNow will come up in the fall. Until a few weeks ago, only one FTE reduction was anticipated. Lately, it looks like the total will be two.

UW-River Falls will not replace their associate director, but will instead hire a less expensive network technician. Combined with S&E give backs, their budget flexibility is essentially gone. The CIO is now directly supervising virtually all of the IT staff. The summer will be used to prepare for PeopleSoft 8.9, especially through increases in disk space. Apache will not work for PeopleSoft's new web tools, so it will be replaced. Commercial firewalls and intrusion detection systems will replace the homegrown systems. Wireless and QoS for video over IP are being implemented. Account creation processes are being improved.

UW-Stevens Point decided to go with focused cuts instead of across the board. Three positions were lost in non-instructional TV production services in the second year of the biennium. An order is going out for an upgrade to the telephone switch, including a voice mail upgrade. Wireless is being added to res halls and outside spaces. A laptop checkout is being started in the fall in partnership with the library. A remote lab will let people connect remotely and run computers that are sitting idle in general access labs. Students will be able to run software they don't own on their home computers. Organizational changes are underway.

UW-Stout has not had IT budget hits. Datatel release 18 will have a distributed architecture and switch from Unix to Windows. Every student will have a laptop: 7,300 HPs and 200 Macs. It is difficult to make the Macs work with the campus systems. The SAN is being replaced with HP. The entire wireless network is being replaced to ensure 802.11a,b and g compliance.

UW System Administration (OIS) had a staff member get called up to the National Guard. Projects for storage consolidation and distribution of electronic statements are underway. The Delaware project, which is a different way of looking at IPEDS data and the cost of delivering instruction, is getting underway. The 2003 IPEDS numbers have been cleaned up.

UW-Whitewater lost positions in the budget reduction. IT is funded from several sources. One of the previous chancellor's last decisions cut a significant funding source very seriously. The second phase of the wireless rollout is underway this summer. A SAN infrastructure is being deployed. Multiple services will use the same netID.

CIO retreat

The Council suggested possible themes for a CIO retreat, including:

  • Overall systemwide strategy for ERP systems: vision and measurement
  • New technologies that are on the horizon
  • EDUCAUSE recommended strategies for efficiencies and cost reductions
  • Hosting a visionary speaker, e.g., Richard Katz or Brian Hawkins
  • Benchmarking UW System IT versus other institutions

The November timeframe was recommended.

Next meetings

  • Thursday, July 14, 2005 at UW-Oshkosh
  • Thursday, August 11, 2005 in Madison