AVP & CTO Update, April 23, 2018
Spring at last! Crocuses, birds (including a mallard duck pair), a slow moving fly (just one), people wearing shorts(!), the first BBQ hamburgers of the season, my stepdaughter Kate moving back in, and other signs of spring were noticed around my home this weekend. I hope you had your own spring awakening.
What I learned last week
- The Dean of Social Sciences, Jerry Hurley, and I, have received funding from the Provost’s Strategic Alignment Fund (SAF) for a shared position. This will allow us to hire someone to assist with a number of data related activities – both within the Faculty of Social Sciences and also to support a Data Governance initiative that the AVP of Institutional Analysis and Research (IAR), Jacy Lee, and I have partnered on. We are working on the job description and I will share more information when the position is posted.
- I attended the welcome reception for the Socrates Project Director, Rina Fraticelli. This is the first time I have attended a reception in the atrium of the Wilson building. It is a great venue for such an event. There was a lovely display of student art in addition to a live guitar solo. The building’s name sake and key financial supporter, and past Chancellor, Lynton “Red” Wilson, was in attendance, amongst many others. By the way, if you are not aware, the sliding doors that you may have been using to access the Wilson Building are no longer accessible except for emergency use. You will need to enter the building using the west or south facing doors now.
- The Mosaic system, and specifically elements in the Campus Solutions system were the topic of discussion at the Provost Council on Wednesday. The Dean of Science, Maureen MacDonald, has championed a focused effort to address some key components of the system and the Campus Solutions team are already working on a number of these in addition to the 9.2 upgrade. I was also able to update the Deans on the communications and activities currently underway to map out a Graduate Applications enhancement project. There are a number of individuals working outline the requirements necessary to enhance the Oracle PeopleSoft environment, as well as the Admin Tools software, which work together to support the graduate student application processes. There is a deadline of April 30 to determine how we will move this initiative forward.
- Richard, Paula, Mike and I met with our partners from Facilities Services, specifically Mohamed Attala (AVP and Chief Facilities Officer), Elliot Jeyaseelan and Ehab Kamarah, to discuss areas of shared interested related to Facilities projects (new and renovated buildings). It was a great discussion and will be the first of an ongoing series of meetings that will allow us to stay connected and informed on technology implementations within Facilities managed projects. There will be opportunities for other important stakeholders to participate – we will be working out a proposed model for standing meetings and will distribute more information once this has been worked through.
- Amanda and I met with Said Zazai, a data analyst working with Roger’s team and involved in efforts to collate and provide the various information catalogues related to the Cubane Uniforum data results. We had a chance to look through the various reports and screens and choose the ones we feel will best support the McMaster IT Strategic Plan. There is so much detail to draw on. Although we are not intending to use this first year of data to formulate any concrete decisions, it will provide a useful correlation with our planning process.
- Dee Henne, Chief Financial Officer, and I presented the Mosaic Post Implementation Review Report to the President and Vice Presidents Team (PVP) on Tuesday morning. This is a close-out document that reflects on the original goals of the Mosaic project and its subsequent outcomes. We received feedback from PVP and will be making some revisions and then it will go forward through the IT Governance committees and IT Executive for awareness, as well as to the Planning Resource Committee. I will be happy to share with all of you once we have a final version.
- I loved this Daily News item about a McMaster PhD student’s win at the 3 minute thesis competition – very cool – be sure to check out Matthew Berry’s actual presentation too!
- The McMaster Strategic Research Plan I mentioned in last week’s posting is now on the McMaster website.
What I am up to this coming week
- I have a number of IT Governance committee meetings: The Research Technology Committee, IT Executive Governance Committee, the Monthly Chairs committee, The Infrastructure and Information Security Committee meeting and the Teaching and Learning Technology – essentially every committee but Enterprise Applications Technology!
- The McMaster IT Strategic Planning Committee has its kick off meeting on Tuesday AM! I am very excited to be moving this initiative forward and will provide regular updates.
- I have a number of regular update meetings
- I have my update meeting with Roger Couldrey and David Farrar
- I will be attending the UTS monthly staff meeting
- I am having the winter tires removed from my cars! Ah, spring…
Book of the week
“When you read a book, you hold another’s mind in your hands.” James Burke (Thanks to Marzena Kielar) for sharing this great quote!) This quote definitely resonated as I consumed this week’s book: Fierce Conversations – Achieving Success at Work & in Life, One Conversation at a Time by Susan Scott. I read this many years ago and have often recommended Susan Scott to others. I think she truly is a great mind and her guidance for connecting with the people in our lives is so powerful. It seems so simple – have open honest conversations, and yet, in so many ways and at so many key moments, we avoid the important fierce conversations that we need to have with others’ in our lives. Digesting her book again reminded me just how much potential her suggestions can unleash in all of us. Scott inspires and challenges us to have REAL conversations; honest, authentic, focused and courageous. The ability to tap into the wisdom of this book will be work and life altering and a continuous practice. If you have not been exposed to Susan Scott and want to get a quick understanding of her wisdom, please check out these worthwhile videos:
Have a great week everyone!