AVP & CTO Update, December 3, 2018
Good Monday Morning
We have an astronaut on his way to the Space Station this morning! The Soyuz rocket with David Saint-Jacques on board is in flight! What a great way to start the week.
What I learned last week:
- I attended two MacBuy project related activities last week:
- 1) the MacBuy Town Hall which provided an opportunity to update the community on this project and the capabilities that the Jaggaer (SciQuest) spend management system will provide. It was a full house, so definitely of interest to many. This project has been underway for a few months and details are in Confluence, just as they are for all IT Governance endorsed projects.
- 2) a demo of the Oracle BI procurement analytics module as a comparison to the Jaggaer (SciQuest) Spend Analytics (Spend Radar) tool. The AVP IRA, Jacy Lee, and her team presented the Oracle tool’s reporting capabilities for purchases made through Mosaic and what will be possible when the Jaggaer solution has been integrated. It is quite robust and will provide excellent information for departments on their purchases and also expenses. It has not yet been determined which of the two tools will be developed – however that will be determined as part of the project. Either way, more information into the hands of departments.
- Tanya, Amanda and I sat down to work on plans for the McMaster IT Strategic Plan Town Hall – scheduled for January 23. There are lots of activities in preparation for that date: the website, the strategic plan document, guest speakers, etc. I feel very grateful to my team for all their efforts to date and also want to extend my thanks and appreciation to others, like our creative community who are going to develop a video for the launch, individuals who have taken time to provide their feedback, individuals who have already agreed to speak at the Town Hall, and many others. It is always fun to plan a celebration and this will be an exciting milestone for all of us.
- I attended one of the Campus Solutions 9.2 upgrade features sessions to see what is available to us with this new version. It was a very interesting session for someone like me, without any familiarity with the system, and no doubt even more interesting to those who are familiar and had a chance to see what may be coming to improve their workflows and experience. Thanks to the organizers! We will all be excited to see what we can incorporate as part of the Campus Solutions roadmap.
- The Teaching and Learning Technology Committee met last week and discussed a few activities, including discussions to streamline and create a standard Course Outline on campus as well as a group of individuals who are interested in bringing together those on campus who are interested in e-Learning practices. This led into a discussion about working groups and the way they are both initiated and affiliated with second tier committees. As part of our continuous improvement practices for IT Governance, we will be providing more clarity on how working groups tie into the McMaster IT Strategic Plan and IT Governance and what level of engagement may be helpful from the second tier committees. I was also able to provide an update from the IT Executive meeting on the new Grad Admissions project and the endorsement for the McMaster IT Strategic Plan.
- I visited the Thode Library Maker Space on Friday AM! Tanya and Amanda joined me and we had a wonderful tour guide, Andrew Colgoni, the Services Librarian for Thode. What a great resource for the campus! There is an array of great equipment available for use, including a 3D printer, a laser cutter, a button maker, a sewing machine, and various soldering tools as well as others. This space is open Monday to Friday from 9 to 5 and is solely managed by Nour-Eddin Issa, an engineering coop student, who says it has been a fascinating position. Like me, some of you may have heard about the Maker Space at the IT Forum speed learning sessions. Check it out for yourself in the basement of Thode. By the way, the fastest way to Thode is through ABB – there is a lot of construction going on all around those buildings which makes almost every other route impossible right now.
What I read last week:
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. I was positive I read this back in high school, and certainly have read a number of other Atwood books, however, once I started, it really didn’t seem familiar – maybe I saw the movie? In any case, 33 years after it was published in 1985, and now a well known series on Hulu, it seemed like a good time to reacquaint myself with the book. There isn’t much I can say about it that hasn’t already been said. It’s definitely thought provoking.
What I am focused on in the week ahead:
- Many questions were submitted during the IT Forum, related to the draft McMaster IT Strategic Plan and my presentation. With Tanya Reid’s help, as well as our coop student, Kate Robles (and thanks to Greg Atkinson who lent us his super duper camera), I have recorded videos in which I answer those questions! These are now posted on our Microsoft Stream environment, and I invite you to watch! They are behind a login, so for the eyes and ears of our McMaster community only. They also provide captioning, so please look for the caption option on the bottom right of the screen. The Q and A is split up across a number of videos so you can digest them in smaller chunks. Enjoy – and please feel free to provide your feedback.
- I am visiting Mohawk College on Monday AM. I will meet with Alison Horton, the VP Corporate Services (similar responsibilities to our VP Admin). They recently confirmed their new CIO, Sinisa Aleksa, so he may be participating in this meeting. Their President, Ron McKerlie, and I sit on the ORION Board together.
- There are a number of IT Governance committee meetings this week: EATC, the All Chairs meeting, and IISC all meet this week.
- We have our Digital Spaces meeting on Tuesday am.
- Provost’s Council meets on Wednesday morning and will include President Patrick Deane this week.
- I have a meeting with our AVP Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Arig al Shaibah.
- Rocco Piro and Jennifer McKinnell, the FHS Librarian, and I will meet this week.
- I have my regular meeting with the VP Admin and the Provost this week.
- I will meet with the Registrar, Melissa Pool.
- I have a number of regular meetings with teams and individuals within UTS as well.
I hope everyone has a great week and I will look forward to seeing many of you in meetings and around the campus.
Thanks for taking time to read this update.