Sciences Advisory Group – Notes from Nov 2009 meeting

Categories: Advisory Groups, Sciences

The Sciences Advisory Group met on November 16, 2009

Attending: Carrie Macfarlane, Matt Landis, Bill Peterson, Bryan Carson, Pete Ryan, Jason Arndt, Bill Hegman, Bob Cluss, Matt Dickerson, Steve Sontum, Shel Sax, Hans Raum, Carol Peddie, Carrie Macfarlane, Dave Dorman, Roger Sandwick

The topics of this meeting were:

  1. Announcements
  2. Impacts of budget reductions on LIS
  3. Updates from previous meetings
  4. Follow-up on discussion about research and technology instruction for students
  5. Feedback on our meetings

1. Announcements:

  • LIS and the CTLR are looking for examples of  innovative uses of technology to feature on the new Teaching with Technology Blog (see some of your BiHall colleagues in the Interviews section) and in next year’s Pedagogy and Technology Fair.  If you or any of your colleagues might be interested in sharing how you’ve been using technology in the classroom, please let Carrie or Matt know.

2. Impacts of budget reductions on LIS (Carol Peddie)
Operating budget reduced by 9.5% or $340,000

  • This includes library resources, software, professional development funds – everything but computers and network equipment.  Many cuts were made behind the scenes.
  • LIS pays over $1 million in software contracts for existing software, and inflation rate 5% – 15%, so the reduction hits hard.
  • Faculty software ranges from $100 for site license to $1500 per seat.
  • The library resource budget was cut by over $100,000.

Some reductions in LIS so far:

  • library resources cut by $100K:  bought fewer books, put money toward increasing costs of electronic resources and journal subscriptions
  • maintenance contracts reduced from 24/7 to Monday-Friday 9:00-5:00
  • going through software packages on a case by case basis
  • eliminated Novell service contract
  • changes in telephone services including eliminating phones in student rooms
  • Comment from Matt Dickerson:  a lot of journals are bundled and therefore we can’t save money by canceling a specific journal, but getting print journals is no longer critical.  Matt sometimes gets papers that he needs by going to the web site of the author or requesting the paper directly from the author.
  • Question from Bob Cluss:  Should sciences departments/heads meet to determine if there are any journals that can be cut?
  • Answer from Carrie and Bryan:  That could be helpful.  Carrie will follow up on this in the spring.  Keep in mind that savings might not be huge since we reviewed all science journal subscriptions just a few years ago. Also, students may need access to journals that faculty don’t need.  For electronic journals, we can assess use stats.

Capital budget (classroom equipment, projectors, computer labs, network infrastructure):

  • cut by 35% — $650,000 — a major hit — almost a 50% reduction in 2 years ( $1.3 million in 2 years)
  • desktop replacement will have to be reduced
  • looking at computer virtualization
  • looking at data on all public stations to identify the lowest-utilization machines, and retire them from service, eg 18 computers in CFA with very low utilization
  • Comment from Bob Cluss has instruments budget that supports equipment for teaching and is replacing computers that are tethered to scientific equipment. This budget also purchased some laptops for Biology.   LIS cannot replace existing stock of computers on a one-for-one basis
  • Comment from Bob Cluss:  teaching labs are a priority, as is maintaining the quality of our classes

Changes to services (some still under consideration):

  • one impact for everyone will be reduced services; LIS has lost 23 people and probably will lose another 5 for about a 30% reduction in staff.  Our staffing is at about the same level that it was 10 years ago but demands for support are increasing.
  • reduced support for showing of DVD’s in class; still support 16 and 35 mm showings
  • restrictions in printing –  print release in library and public labs, started charging guests for printing
  • reducing student telephone services – phones in common areas but mostly relying on student use of their own cellphones
  • possibly a different process for requesting new equipment (still in process)
  • we don’t have funds to buy multiple software packages that do roughly the same thing, so we might have to standardize
  • film rental – change in process
  • reduction in inter-library loans or some delay in service, e.g. no ILL over the weekend, etc.
  • videotaping of campus events – needs to be reduced since media services has lost a number of staff.   Requests for taping lectures, special events, etc. are increasing but staff has been reduced.
  • Comment from David Dorman:  it is difficult to find the events that have been taped.  Carol asked for examples which Dave will forward.
  • Help Desk – temporary coverage plan to shore up for staff losses but we may have to reduce hours in evenings and weekends.  We will keep in mind that Monterey folks, in a different time zone, still need help
  • Question from Steve Sontum:  Are there any possibilities for consortial contracts?
  • Answer from Carol:  We generally don’t try Vermont consortia because there are too few schools; some of our contracts are with Educause, NITLE, etc
  • Question from Matt Landis: any way to minimize the number of licenses by using a key server?
  • Answer from Carol:  yes, we are implementing a key server to accomplish just this but some applications don’t work with key server technology.  There’s also the possibility of virtualization.  We look at each software package and ask how it is licensed, how it is paid for and are there any potential savings to be realized
  • LIS has been supporting language schools and schools abroad for years – our staffing is at about the same level that it was 10 years ago but demands for support are increasing

3. Updates from previous meetings:

Some users found that Tigercat was slow.  Answer was that things should be faster DFS.

  • Comment from Bill Hegman:  getting rid of Novell is a big improvement.  much smoother, faster now.

Software updates and license expirations happen unannounced and at inopportune times.

  • LIS will work on calendar for software expiration dates – and will try to make this public?
  • Another issue is the changing of versions in the middle of semester – DON’T DO THIS – we need to advise and consult before upgrading

Network registration problems for fixed-IP computers

  • Problem is that sometimes a fixed-IP computer is bumped off the network and because it needs to be re-registered
  • Solution is that Howie McCausland invites faculty who have this issue to contact him so that they can find a solution together.

Web makeover

  • Question was whether the CMS data will be archived.  Answer is that there is no fixed date as to when the old website will be mothballed; depends in part on how the work progresses in the next month.  Will be archived, but not indefinitely.
  • Question was about intellectual property issues – does LIS check websites for illegal content?  Answer is that LIS doesn’t go to that level of detail; College handbook covers these issues.
  • Steve Sontum asked about the content of new web site.   Do faculty need to check the new website to review any associated intellectual property?  Answer is that whatever an individual faculty member puts up on his/her page is his/her responsibility.

Segue transition

  • Visit the Segue from Segue blog for updates on our move to a new course management system

4. Follow-up on discussion about research and technology instruction

  • Summary of our May discussion is here (orientation-summary)
  • Based on the May discussion, Carrie asked if faculty would like to recommend that their colleagues teaching first year seminars incorporate research and technology instruction.  This part of the meeting was hurried, but a “recommendation” didn’t seem controversial.   Pete Ryan spoke in favor or having tech and lib. instruction as part of the  course.  He thinks that it is beneficial and ultimately a time saver.

5. Feedback on our meetings

We ran out of time for this but Carrie really does want to know:  Are these meetings useful?  Attendance seems to indicate that they are.  But still, there’s always room for improvement.

When we started these groups, we promised that meeting agendas would be set by the groups.   We tried to vote on discussion topics early on, with minimal response.  How about we ask you for agenda items before each meeting?  LIS will probably have agenda items too, but it would be great if discussion topics were determined at least in part by you.  I’ve started a list of requested agenda items.  I’ll send you all a reminder to add to it in the spring.

How else could these meetings be improved? Please send your thoughts to Carrie or Matt, or post them as a response here (anonymous is fine!).

About Carrie Macfarlane

Director of Research & Instruction.

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