AVP & CTO Update June 4, 2018
June … I love the way the spring/summer semester feels so long at the beginning with all its promise of productivity and activity, and then it just goes by so quickly!
What I learned last week
- Picking up my aforementioned internal tensions between the gift of time and the fact that there never feels like there is enough time, I thought I would share this lovely essay by Maria Popova in her Brain Pickings newsletter about a book called Be Still, Life by Ohara Hale. The key contemplation is “how to live with presence in a culture of busyness” and seems to resonate well at this juncture in the spring/summer semester. I hope it brings a smile and a nod for some of you, as it did for me.
- The Project Management Framework sub committee, led by Carmalita, held its successful Open House sessions last week. I want to thank Carmalita, all of the members of PMCC, Babu, and the other contributors to the open house sessions for creating this opportunity. Thank you also to those of you within UTS who attended to learn more about the Project Management Framework, its templates and uses, and the PM Community of Practice. An informative series of sessions. This is an important competency for all of us with so many Projects in play at one time. Thank you all for moving this forward.
- The IT Executive committee met on Monday afternoon and three initiatives are moving forward with the committee’s support – you can find updates in Confluence but a brief recap:
- A Mobile Application initiative that will provide McMaster with insights into the needs and potential direction for a Mobile App.
- A short term Grad Admissions project to improve some of the processes and system components related to the grad admissions activities in SGS and in the faculties
- A wireless site survey for the campus – referred to as the Wireless Phase 3 project – the proposal has support from IT Executive although it requires some revisions and clarifications to finalize the details. Once finalized, we will move ahead with a campus wide site survey so we can evaluate and plan for campus wide wireless network enhancements.
- I attended the Strategic Leaders Program delivered by HR at OJN on Tuesday afternoon. I had been invited to be a Case Clinic Facilitator – posing a challenge to a working group of attendees for consideration and feedback towards a solution or direction. My topic was the campus engagement process for the McMaster IT Strategic Plan. I received excellent feedback from the 5 individuals who were in my case clinic group. Participants in the program come from across campus and Asma and Gerry are participating from UTS.
- I attended the Cubane Uniforum kickoff presentation on Wednesday. The session provided participants with an overview of the process, including some demos of the input process and gave people a chance to ask questions. We are beginning the new round of surveys this month and will finish up mid summer. I want to thank all of you for your participation should you be asked to support your Managers as they fulfill their surveys – and special thanks to Joanie who has been completing all of the lead up efforts to get our data ready to go as part of the pre-survey activities.
- I held a McMaster IT Strategic Plan Steering Committee meeting on Thursday. We revealed and fine tuned our IT vision – which we will be presenting at this week’s IT Community engagement sessions (have you signed up?!) and we worked on other input activities to help us build the strategic framework. It was another invigorating session and I am very grateful for the time and commitment of the Steering Committee: Susan Denburg, Jerry Hurley, Sue Becker, Michael Curwin, Andrea Thyrett-Kidd, Selene Dominguez, Jodie Lobana, Kevin Beatty, Dee Henne, along with my project team: Tanya Reid, Amanda Baldwin and Meghan Kirwin. This has been such a rewarding process so far and I am really excited to work with the IT community this week and next as we expand our input processes to include your great ideas. A reminder that I provide McMaster IT Strategic Planning updates on my website.
- I attended a workshop for eCampusOntario in Toronto on Friday morning, along with three university CIOs, and four College CIOs. This was an opportunity for David Porter, the CEO of eCampusOntario, and his team to tell us about current activities and to gather our input towards a new framework they are developing for evaluating and implementing new educational technologies and shared services in partnership with the Ontario government. It was an engaging workshop with a lot of cross sector discovery and sharing with all of the CIOs present. eCampusOntario recently met with AVPs Teaching and Learning also. They will use input from both sessions, and other discussions, to develop a survey that they will be distributing to our campuses sometime later this month to gain a deeper understanding of needs and focus areas to help fuel their activities. More to come on this front. If you have time you can take a look at the slide deck that was used to guide our conversation to get a deeper understanding of what eCampusOntario is exploring.
What I read last week
I finished reading Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. As it turns out, this is another science fiction, post-apocalyptic story line. I really didn’t intend to focus on that theme and it is a great juxtaposition to some of the futuristic, non fiction I have been reading. The book’s setting is in and around Toronto and region, for the most part, which adds a level of interest – although the author is from the US. I really enjoyed it – weaving us in and out of the before and after of a catastrophic flu pandemic. The characters are intriguing, and the whole ‘what if’ aspect of the story hooks you. I definitely recommend it as a summer read. I am still working on Exponential Organizations…almost there!
What I am up to this week
- We have four IT Community engagement sessions towards the IT Strategic Planning process – there is still room to sign up to a session if anyone is interested in participating. There are over 120 people signed up so far! That is fantastic!
- I am having a farewell and thank you lunch with Dale Askey before he departs from McMaster. We are going to Saigon Asian.
- I will be attending Roger Couldrey’s Admin Strategies meeting on Monday afternoon.
- I have a few Graduate Admissions project activities to focus on this week – this project is moving ahead with a short time frame – wrapping up in late August. I will be sitting on the Steering Committee with Doug Welch, Dean of the School of Graduate Studies, along with Mike Thompson, who will be covering for Doug during his sabbatical, and Melissa Poole.
- The Client Relationship Management software (CRM) discovery sessions kick off this week and I will be in attendance to welcome the participants and set the direction for these meetings. Thanks to Diana MacPherson for her organizing efforts.
- I have a number of planning meetings with Richard and Kevin this week.
- I also have a number of planning for CanHEIT – I am presenting three times, with three different groups of people, and have to put some work in on that. I am also involved with our aspiring IT Leaders professional development program which has a full day of activities on Monday June 18 at SFU.
- I have a number of stakeholder meetings this week, with David Farrar, Mary Williams, Vivian Lewis, Andrea Farquhar, Linda Coslovi and Ranil Sonnadara
- I have a conference call with UNB Fredericton to learn more about their Data Governance model
- I am meeting with Lori Goff, Zafar Syed and our colleagues at D2L to discuss our campus D2L contract renewal
- I will be Voting in the Ontario elections on Thursday – don’t forget to add this to your agenda, too!
- Richard, Kevin and I have a call with personnel from the Microsoft Technology Centre – I met one of their representatives at the Gartner CIO Summit and made arrangements for this follow up call to learn what they offer and to explore how or if we might engage them in our technology journey. A very early exploration.
I hope you all enjoy this first full week in June!
Take good care,