Area Directors Notes from April 30, 2009

Present: Mary Backus, Doreen Bernier, Tom Cutter, Carol Peddie, Mike Roy, Shel Sax, Terry Simpkins
Guest: Chris Norris1. Google applications for education – Chris Norris discussed Google applications for education, a collection of widgets and appliances provided by Google for free to higher ed. institutions.  A number of other schools are currently using Google apps, and most appear pleased with the service; there are currently about 90 people at Middlebury using some element of this, which actually complicates matters from a testing and development standpoint. 

We also spent considerable time talking specifically about migrating student (only) email from Exchange to Gmail, and talking about various scenarios by which this might be accomplished.

Other features of the package include:

*       Customizable home pages
*       Calendaring
*       Document storage and collaboration
*       Website creation
*       Online chat.

Currently, we have done some preliminary testing on the migration of mail and other functionality. We also reviewed and edited the Google contract and returned it to Google for review.  The ADs expressed interested in seeing the contract when it is returned.  At this point we should be ready to move to the next phase of technical issues, but there are policy implications that need more discussion: support, administration of it, privacy, etc. On the last issue, the instance for higher ed partners is somewhat different than for public Gmail in that there is no advertising or data mining, and so is a presumably more secure environment.  But Google may reserve the right to change this unilaterally, so that needs investigation as well.

Other issues to consider:

*       We could enable dual email delivery as long as single sign-on is in place.
*       Should we focus on new student accounts with Gmail and worry about everyone else at a later date?
*       Concern about the calendaring piece on campus; how would we synchronize Google and Outlook calendars?
*       We need to develop strategies for single sign-on programming, tech support and documentation, as well as email migration tools.

Timing the potential migration of student email was also a discussed at length.  Several folks expressed concern that we don’t have the capacity to do this for fall semester, and there was some sentiment to wait until December to allow us time to create a responsible a project plan and prepare.

Action item: Create project team with the charge of investigating these issues, including timing, in a responsible fashion.  Project Team: Chris/Tom (one would be project manager), Mark Pyfrom, Alex Chapin, Adam Franco, Jim Beauchemin, Joe Antonioli, Rick James.

2. Goals – ADs agreed to review and update 0809 Goals in Google Docs. This document will help to create the LIS Annual report.  Mike would like to share goals info with FLAC

3. End of year report – Mike is shooting for a completion date of July 1, 4–5 pages long.  Auditors noted that we did not have a report for last year.  Much hanging of heads and looking abashed.

4. NITLE membership + DSpace annual fee – In our ongoing efforts to reduce spending, we wondered whether the NITLE/DSpace expense was useful and whether or not we should consider alternatives, perhaps support for this functionality in Drupal.  No resolution thus far.

5. Tech Fair – Support considerations, preparations & requirements.  – Shel will talk to Mary and Jeff after meeting – June 4th event date – requiring 15 computer stations

6. Changes to admin org structure for college – Mike will still be reporting to Tim and the administrative change should not have much impact on our organization

7. Idea: technology resource committee (like SRC or space committee) – Mike proposed establishing a committee to assist with major programming decisions.  Attendees will most likely be from the College Administration.

8. Budget meeting discussion – Comptroller’s Office would like to model for budget reductions ranging from 2-20%.  We all wept and gnashed our teeth at the prospect of a 20% cut.  Area budgets need to be reviewed again for the upcoming AD retreat on 5/15.

9. Academic Advisory Groups – We talked about defining mutual expectations regarding issues that surface in the Academic Advisory group meetings.  Items coming out of these meetings imply, at a minimum, consideration of the issue by LIS even if outright resolution is not feasible.  Since Shel attends all of these meetings, he agreed to bring concerns to ADs for discussion.



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