AVP & CTO update Mar 5, 2018
Good afternoon everyone
I am a bit late with my weekly update as a result of a flight cancellation. I am currently stuck in the Prairies after a weekend away, but hopefully flying out this afternoon for an evening arrival in TO. As we all know, travel is not always a predictable experience. I rarely have any issues, so just rolling with it. It sure looks nice despite the travel hijinks – winter IN winter is OK by me. Just a head’s up that I am writing this on an iPad and therefore there may be clunky bits in my delivery…apologies in advance for any errors or hyperlink issues. 🙂
What I learned last week
- I read The Prophet by Khalil Gibran – this was a gift from a UofG colleague upon my departure. It is poetry, life lessons, new age philosophy from an old age philosophy master, and whatever else you want to make it. The individual who gave it to me has a well worn copy that is often referred to for mindfulness and contemplation when she is problem solving life. It provides some thoughtful reflections on key life themes. It gets a thumbs up. Learn more here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Prophet_(book)
- Lynda.com for McMaster University is now live. You can read about this on the Daily News here:https://dailynews.mcmaster.ca/article/free-access-to-online-learning-platform-lynda-com-now-available-campus-wide/ and notices will be distributed to the campus as well. Share the news! Take a course!
- Our temporary Project Manager for the MacBill project, Babu James, has joined our team for the next few months. He started on Monday of last week and quickly settled in, already digging into the project and applying some of the key project management principles.
- The team from Combat Networks was on campus last week to meet with Paula, Richard and I. Combat Networks works with Paula’s team to deliver our telephony infrastructure and support. This was an introductory meeting for me and was focused on strategic directions and what services or capabilities Combat may be able to offer to us as we think about the future of integrated communications for McMaster. We have asked them to come back to us with an outline of their potential offerings.
- I provided a number of similar IT updates last week at a few of the meetings I attended – including an update on the Lynda.com launch, the fact that we will start to communicate about the IT Student Advisory Committee (ITSAC) across campus this month in order to get the students interested and committed, updates on IT Governance projects, the fact that I am moving forward with my IT Strategic Planning process (see more below) and awareness that I provided an IT Services Review update to Provost Council (see attached) and finally letting everyone know about the upcoming IT Town Hall on Friday, March 16. The meetings along with additional specific discussions include:d
- The Directors of Finance and Admins (affectionately known as the DOFAs) meeting on Monday afternoon: I try to attend this meeting on a regular basis as these individuals provide support for the Deans and set the operational directions for their areas – they are important clients and partners. Other than the above, Katrina Spotts joined me to introduce herself and talk about key internal communications activities she is involved in for the campus and to invite feedback and input from the DOFAs.
- The EATC meeting on Tuesday afternoon: Gord de Paas and Stacey Farkas presented to the committee on upcoming improvements they are planning for the Finance system, including longer term opportunities that will be made available when a TOOLS upgrade can be undertaken, sometime after the Campus Solutions 9.2 upgrade in the fall. Committee members were very interested in the new user interfaces that the FLUID environment can offer. We also introduced Babu to the committee members for their awareness.
- Provost Council: The main topic of discussion was the International Recruitment Process (undergraduate) that Paula Johnson and Jessica Griffiths from the AVP Students’ recruitment team presented to the council. Their presentation provided very interesting statistics about our current international student recruitment numbers along with the demographics and source countries. By far most of our international students come from China. The intent of the discussion was to validate a series of actions and data driven decisions on how to diversify recruitment activities to ensure we do not focus too heavily in one geographic area. The conversation was very robust and I am always impressed by the thoughtfulness of the participants around Provost’s Council as they share their varied viewpoints and provide excellent suggestions for consideration to enhance the initial proposals that come to their attention. I was also on the agenda, to provide an update on the IT services review implementation and other IT activities. I have attached the presentation for your awareness.
- Amanda and I met with Mike Webber, Executive Advisor, Marketing and Andrea Farquhar, AVP Communications and Public Affairs to discuss their needs for a Client Relationship Management CRM) system. This is the first in what I am expecting to be a series of conversations on this topic across campus. A few different areas have indicated interest in a CRM and therefore we will embark upon a discovery process so we can determine if there are alignments and enough interest to explore an enterprise solution. We will be discussing this at TRT and the other IT governance committees in the weeks ahead. Very early stages so please stay tuned.
- The Teaching and Learning Technology committee, 2nd tier, met for the first time in a few months. We have two new chairs on this committee: Anna Moro and Ken Coley, both faculty members and Associate Deans. The committee has been expanded to include students, additional faculty, along with representation from the Classroom Computing technology team ( formlery CAVS). Please see the full membership list in Confluence: https://collaborate.mcmaster.ca/display/IT/Teaching+and+Learning+Technology The team is going to be resetting its areas of focus over the next couple of meetings and I will provide updates as I do from the other IT Governance committees, and minutes from the meetings will also be available for review in Confluence:
What am I up to this week
- I was supposed to be with Roger Couldrey and his team at the Administration Strategies Retreat at MIP today, but unfortunately I have had to miss this due to my travel complications. Very unfortunate as it is always valuable to spend time on planning with key members of the administration. I will have to catch up!
- On Tuesday, along with participants from UTS, CCT (CAVS), Facilities and a few others, I will be heading into Toronto for a Cisco technology briefing. This opportunity came up through my colleagues at UofG who coordinated this with our Cisco account personnel. UofG are bringing a similar array of individuals so there will be a good opportunity for cross connections between the two institutions in addition to hearing some of the strategic directives that Cisco will share. I anticipate this will be the first of a few other similar opportunities and I will be happy to make these opportunities available to others when possible. I will follow up with key learnings next week!
- On Wednesday I am attending the TMG Retreat on Authentic Leadership. I will be speaking in the morning and then look forward to participating in the various sessions. Paula Brown-Hackett is one of the organizers and invited me to participate. I hope I can make her proud.
- On Thursday I have UTS meetings, TRT, and will be meeting with Meghan Kirwin, the facilitator I have engaged to assist me with my IT Strategic Planning process. I have my steering committee set now and the wheels are going to start moving forward. I am looking forward to sharing more on this soon.
- On Thursday, there is a luncheon celebrating International Women’s Day at the University Club over eth lunch hour that I will be attending.
- Friday I will chair the Infrastructure and Information Security 2nd tier committee and I have my update meeting with Roger and David amongst other activities
- And finally, this is national colorectal cancer awareness month. This is one of the most common cancers in Canada along with lung, prostate and breast cancers. As many of you know, my late husband, Jeff, had colorectal cancer and did not survive his experience. In his memory, I take the opportunity each March to encourage anyone in my circle who is forty and above , and who has not had a recent colonoscopy or other colorectal cancer screening in the last while, to think about doing so. Early awareness is the key to easy and routine treatments. Health first! More on this initiative here: http://www.colorectal-cancer.ca/en/advocacy/national-month/
Thanks for making time to read all of the above at your leisure. Have a great week!
From my western outpost,