Appendix C: Work Session Meeting Recaps

Recaps are provided from each of the Strategic Technology Planning work sessions. These are intended to demonstrate the process that we undertook.

Creating the UNLV IT Master Plan and Setting Strategic Vision

Core Team Session “A” – March 19, 2013, 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM, HWB 102

Primary Objectives:
  • Current Environment Report and how it informs IT Master Plan development
  • Review input provided from College priority setting work done in February
  • Determine the scope of strategic IT planning for the University
  • Establish a mission and vision for technology at UNLV
  • Confirm strategic themes and discuss schedule for remainder of the planning process
  • Consider Peer Institution Research results
Session Summary

The March 19 meeting served as a “kickoff” to the planning process and defined the roles and responsibilities of the Core Team further. The group addressed several key questions that serve as planning questions for additional work sessions, including, but not limited to, how do we use our resources more effectively and efficiently at UNLV to improve productivity? Does UNLV have a 21st century IT “system”? How does UNLV consider how to better support IT for research that aligns with University priorities.

Other questions posed included, how does the IT Master Plan help build an IT community? Does UNLV need a new IT governance framework? If yes, then what is the impact on decision-making and current processes? In short, changing IT governance will create a cultural shift at UNLV and this current culture goes well beyond IT. The IT Master Plan must better define the roles and responsibilities for both “front end/back end” IT services. And IT needs to be part of the strategic planning of UNLV to improve IT priority setting and strengthen the allocation of limited resources.

Key outcomes identified to inform the IT Master Plan:

The session concluded by identifying key IT Core Values that should serve to inform and guide the planning process and help set the direction and tone of the IT Master Plan in general. The Core Values include:

  • Collaborate and build trust through improvised communications and delivery of quality services
  • Leverage IT to improve productivity
  • Intentional utilization of IT
    • Redundancy only when necessary
    • Improved resource allocation
    • Better defining of roles and responsibilities
  • Adaptive IT to meet changing University needs and competing IT priorities
  • Accountability through a culture of continuous improvement
  • User-centered evaluation, assessment, and feedback
  • Innovation of risk, discovery, creativity, and experiment

The Faculty Experience: Teaching and Learning – Supporting the Experts in their Delivery of Academic Excellence

Faculty Planning Work Session “B” – March 20, 2013, 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM, LLB 2281

Primary Objectives:
  • What technologies should characterize the UNLV learning environment?
  • What services will best support faculty? What tools will enhance pedagogy?
  • How can technology help UNLV be most competitive in attracting faculty?
  • How does UNLV define its eLearning in light of System initiatives such as the “Katz Report”?
Session Summary:

The session focused on key issues facing both faculty and students. Basic themes considered the current state of technology at the University and how the IT Master Plan would balance its approach to be visionary, but not reactionary, to the ever changing technology landscape. Much of the discussion was focused on how technology improvements and planning could impact another ongoing effort at UNLV: the “Excellence in Education Working Group.” To this end, participants considered the following areas: classroom experience; assessment of education; enhancing faculty role in program development and support for the faculty role in student persistence and success

Key outcomes identified to inform the IT Master Plan:
  • The trend is towards more collaborative workspaces for students and faculty
    • UNLV will need to consider how best to balance increasing demands for virtual/physical collaborative workspaces
  • Better data access for faculty and improvised system integration of existing UNLV data repositories
    • Examples of homegrown databases were provided, including a sophisticated FileMaker Pro system developed by a Department Chair that works well, but does not allow for easy integration with other databases
    • Data standards will continue to be addressed and data management will need to be a key component of the IT governance work session.
  • Technology needs to support productivity gains
    • Manual processes need to be automated wherever possible to increase productivity and leave more time for teaching and learning
    • Seek automation of basic tasks to allow for a “higher task order”/analytics through continuous improvement
  • Innovation and discovery in support of faculty development
    • How can UNLV provide a better “sandbox” for faculty to learn about new technologies and support pedagogical discovery?
    • Knowledge management/information sharing and coordination of resources. Is there a way to improve the communications and coordination of faculty usage of technology through some type of “Knowledge Management System”?
  • In general, UNLV needs improved communications around technology planning
    • IT governance is a “black hole” that needs to be addressed
    • Priority setting that focuses on completing initiatives and improving service delivery
    • Leveraging existing IT investments to improve productivity

Advancing and Supporting Research – Defining the Technology Resources of a Global Research Institution

Research Planning Work Session “C” – April 9, 2013, 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM, HWB 102

Primary Objectives:
  • What infrastructure and capabilities are needed to support the research environment?
  • What role will research computing play in growing the research capacity at UNLV in the next five years?
  • How can the IT environment be both flexible and adaptable?
  • How can research IT be made more sustainable?
  • What role should the central IT function have in supporting these objectives?
Summary of Session:

The Research work session brought together a variety of stakeholders representing a diverse set of research needs as well as staff from finance and IT services areas (both central and distributed) to discuss how the University can better coordinate and deliver IT services that will support UNLV’s strategic direction of growing its research presence and reputation.

IT plays a critical role as federal grant specifications increase, and includes new requirements on how researchers manage data security and meet minimum IT infrastructure work session scheduled for June 12, and the outcomes provided here should be considered again during that meeting.

Key outcomes identified to inform the IT Master Plan
  • The research community is expected to be entrepreneurial. How can this be balanced with the need for improvised coordination and collaboration to ensure that compliance and administration requirements are met?
  • Institutional awareness needs to increase across UNLV of what the needs of the research community are and how best to support a diverse and ever-changing portfolio of research efforts.
  • Primary issues that challenge the current research environment include, but are not limited to:
    • Capacity of technical staff to support and expand research portfolio
    • Software and applications specific to research that may not be supported by central OIT
    • Storage for increased data, the overall growth of storage demands, and how best to address this going forward
    • Advanced instrumentation requires special skill sets that most IT staff cannot support
  • Areas to address within the context of the IT Master Plan going forward should include:
    • Data management and governance (access to and integration of). Researchers have different needs than both administrative and academic groups. Data classification needs to include the research community.
    • Big data = big storage needs; what is the best approach to meeting this infrastructure need?
    • The lack of consistent refresh of computers/hardware is a potential security risk
    • Bandwidth, many buildings lack adequate bandwidth (ex. WHI). What is the baseline need for research going forward, a 100Gb network?
    • The nature of research makes funding inconsistent and less sustainable, but it is critical to plan for research needs and to provide maintenance to an IT infrastructure that is not typically funded long term.
    • UNLV needs a better definition of roles and responsibilities within the IT community.

The Student Experience: Access, Mobility, and Success

Student Planning Work Session “D” – April 10, 2013, 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM, LLB 2281

Primary Objectives:
  • What services will best support the student experience?
  • What technologies should characterize the UNLV environment?
  • How can technology help UNLV be most competitive in attracting students?
  • What student-centered processes can be strengthened through technology?
  • What are the key initiatives underway or planned that will strengthen student support?
Summary of Session:

The student session was the largest work session of the ones held to date, with over 20 participants. A large portion of the meeting focused on how the IT Master Plan could improve student-centered processes and identifying what tools would strengthen communications with students. In addition, we discussed the results of a meeting with members of the Student Technology Advisory Board (STAB) held the week prior that discussed a number of key concerns that students voiced.

Issues addressed in the April 3 meeting included, but were not limited to, the need for “single sign-on” and “fewer passwords” for students to manage; more mobile access to information and the need to create some type of student “dashboard” that could better personalized the UNLV experience. Students also voiced their desire to better understand the full scope of IT resources available to the campus community regardless of whether they are graduate, residential, or online students (or all of the above).

Students are seeking more online services and the following specifics were brought up: calendar-based registration; the ability to manage parking online; more advising services through better availability such as some type of 24/7 help line for student advisement. Finally, students need more collaborative workspaces beyond the library.

Key outcomes identified to inform the IT Master Plan:
  • What services are critical to students?
    • Help Desk—students want one-stop help and the “non-traditional” student is traditional at UNLV. This means that help desk support needs to reflect the 24/7 demands that some students have.
    • Wireless infrastructure needs to be reliable, consistent, and everywhere on campus.
    • UNLV needs to focus on communication tools that support student success. Better services for advisement and streamlined processes that make it clear what steps a student needs to complete to get the courses they are seeking. Many UNLV students are first generation and technology could be a tool to improve their retention if properly leveraged.
    • A specific frustration point for students is email. The email vehicle is fine, but an overall lack of coordination among UNLV departments and services (both academic and administrative) leads to what students consider an excessive amount of email that makes it difficult for them to identify what is important.
    • Developing more self-service applications will also help some students, but it should not always be expected that this will substitute face-to-face communications and guidance from staff and faculty.
  • How can technology help attract students to UNLV?
    • It needs to be reliable, consistent, and supported.
    • Mobile technologies are critical to students today. It is considered a basic must have.
  • What student-centered processes will be strengthened by technology?
    • Degree mapping
    • Creation of a degree database
    • Improved processes and infrastructure that support ID management

Another key point to remember is that although today’s student is technology dependent and expects to have access to mobile technologies and information on a 24/7 basis, the human factor remains central and paramount to the UNLV student experience.

IT Security – Establishing a Sustainable Model for Protecting Data and Building Security Awareness Using a Campus-wide Approach that Supports Academic Freedom and Research Objectives at UNLV

IT Security Work Session “E” – April 11, 2013, 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM, CBC B117

Primary Objective:
  • Establishment of a security management structure with clearly assigned security responsibilities
  • Creation, implementation, and regular review of IT policies and procedures
  • Creation, implementation, and updates to plans to address identified risks
  • Implementation of effective security-related education and awareness programs
  • Provisions to monitor the security program’s effectiveness with mechanisms to make changes as necessary
Summary of Session:

The IT security session addressed current security issues and concerns as a starting point for developing a plan for changing how the University manages and addresses IT security across the enterprise. The meeting included representatives from System Computing Services (SCS), OIT, and distributed IT areas. A detailed update on progress made in addressing the NSHE UNLV Network Audit conducted in 2011 was also provided.

It was agreed that the minimum need for IT security is to reduce the number of data breaches as well as the cases of stolen technology that result in a compromise of sensitive information. The objective of the IT Master Plan should be to assist the University in moving in this direction through improved planning and coordination of resources, implementation of security best practices, and better education.

Key outcomes identified to inform the IT Master Plan:
  • Elevate the visibility of information security across the University
    • Consider establishing the role of a Chief Information Officer (CISO), considered a best practice for institutions as complex and large as UNLV, and consistent with NSHE policy
    • Secure Cabinet approval for the authority of the CISO and associated office
    • Define the responsibilities of the CISO office (e.g., Security Analysis, Investigations, Risk Assessment, Management of a UNLV Cyber Security Team, Security Politics and Procedures, Security Awareness, etc.)
  • Establish a Cyber Security Team at UNLV
    • Charge the team with supporting ongoing information security efforts in the context of accepted practices
    • Appoint Security Liaisons from across UNLV who would coordinate with the Cyber Security Team
  • Develop comprehensive education, awareness, and training programs
    • Emphasize that data security is everyone’s responsibility
    • Create a Security 101 training program (currently being worked on in OIT)
    • Work with HR to develop appropriate orientation materials for new employees
  • Create a sustainable risk assessment function that is based on industry standards and best practice
    • Consider using the NIST risk assessment framework
    • Establish risk-based decision-making factors in support of improved IT security practices
  • Strengthen the security posture of UNLV through the implementation of the Identity Management initiative
    • Determine practical methods for addressing security issues associated with the increasing presence of mobile devices on campus
  • Ensure data governance needs are addressed within the context of information security
    • Develop a tiered classification system for UNLV data (see SCS and Michigan Technology University Information Security Plan for examples)
      • Establish a baseline for data security around compliance requirements (e.g., FERPA, HIPPA, etc.)
      • Consider the need for data classification systems for different types of data (Academic, Administrative, Student, and Research)

Addressing IT Services – Defining the Roles and Responsibilities of UNLV’s IT Community

IT Services Work Session “F” – June 11, 2013, 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM, LLB 2281

Primary Objectives:
  • What services are needed? What aspects (type, location, etc.) need to be considered to effectively meet the needs?
  • How are IT services needs efficiently delivered?
  • Which core services need to be managed centrally?
  • Are there IT services currently provided that should be discontinued?
  • IT service delivery is responsive and adaptive – how is this accomplished?
  • How can UNLV maintain effective coordination between central and distributed IT services?
  • Is there a changing skill set needed to provide IT services today?
Summary of Session:

During the IT services session, participants considered the concept of IT services while identifying unique UNLV components that would remain relevant and significant over the next five years. The meeting included participants from administrative and academic departments, faculty, distributed IT, and OIT.

Participants took part in two exercises. The first exercise had participants identify the most important IT services for the next five years, considering both new and existing services. In the second exercise, participants were teamed up to consider and define elements of particular IT services that will be important to UNLV in the future. Each team then shared their findings and these are described under the heading “Future IT Services.”

By the completion of the session, it was agreed that the University needs a sustainable process for making decisions about which IT services to provide, how those services should be provided, and how those services will be communicated and rolled out to the campus community. Accordingly, an initiative of the IT Master Plan should be to assist the University in establishing a process for proactively managing the “IT Service Portfolio.”

Key outcomes identified to inform the IT Master Plan:
  • Ongoing support and training are important elements for every service
  • UNLV needs services that will support greater use of data
  • A research support service will be to better enable lifecycle management of research data (particularly, with respect to sharing and protecting research data)
  • Simplifying, collaborating, and communicating more often
  • The UNLV community needs continuous involvement and assessment of services from the campus IT community
Future IT Services:

Participants were assembled into four groups which were given a previously identified priority service unique to UNLV that would remain relevant over the next five years. They were asked to consider this service in the context of delivery, design, management, communication, and development.

  • Identity management
    • Delivered through centralized resources, management, security, and analysis
    • Value to collecting, managing, and maintaining constituent identification
    • Designed centrally in a secure manner which allows for “opt-in” registration and consistent documentation
    • Managed through a centralized IT approach with prioritized governance and assessment procedures
  • Reporting and decision-making tools
    • Data matrix needed to identify procedures, behaviors, frequency, elements
    • All in one place, coordinate, deliver it up
    • Need to recommend appropriate staffing levels
  • Desktop virtualization
    • Delivered by a third party – supports virtualized access to applications and data
    • Value in running applications and data through the “Cloud” where there is increased file synchronization and accessibility is granted anytime, anyplace, anywhere
    • Development and implementation entails a phased approach with voluntary options, beginning with files, then allowing others to opt-in for fully virtualized applications
    • Communicated through decision-making processes and sharing results
  • Expertise sharing across the campus community
    • Entails tapping key IT leaders and staff to establish and manage a community that works to define its structure and service
    • Includes web pages, IT forums, University Listservs, and other communication mechanisms
    • Need to establish relationships between experts and users by reinforcing, encouraging, and requiring participation

Future IT Services (Full List):

  • Expertise and resource sharing (across the UNLV community)
  • Secure and protected file backup and storage
  • Desktop connected conferencing
  • Application development services to solve an application need
  • Organization approach/service that can solve a function need application of technology
  • Integration and interoperability planning
  • Web usability service
  • Identity management service
  • Analytic services
  • Support for reporting and decision-making tools
  • Managing big data in support of operational purposes
  • Digital signage and way finding services
  • Providing tools and services to help/enable document management and associated workflow
  • Business process services
  • Life cycle management of data
  • Providing desktop virtualization – enabling anytime/anywhere access
  • Routing and tying-in information that comes into campus
  • Data and information governance self-service
  • Computer hardware, infrastructure, and refresh services
  • Local support people who know the functions and technology that support those functions
  • Warm hand off services for requestors
  • Centralization, ownership, generation, and integration of email address
IT Service Portfolio Management Initiative:
  • The University needs a process for making decisions about which IT services to provide, how those services should be provided, and how those services will be communicated and rolled out to the campus community.
  • This process should be sustainable, ensuring that existing services and service needs are periodically evaluated and revised as needed, taking into account changing environmental factors such as technology changes, service delivery options, service demand, and resource availability.
  • At a high level, this process should be considered in the context of IT governance. This helps clarify who is responsible for making decisions about IT services and how best to engage stakeholders in planning and gaining buy-in for new service delivery models.
A Process Relevant to Considering IT Services:
  1. Assess need and impact
  2. Define the service
  3. Decide on the scope
  4. Identify delivery methods
  5. Decide upon centralized or decentralized structure
  6. Maintain communication throughout the process
  7. Monitor and proactively manage
  8. Consider third party delivery
  9. Identify inefficiencies and determine suitable exclusions

Creating a Robust Infrastructure – Building the Technology Foundation for a 21st Century Academic and Research Institution

IT Infrastructure Work Session “G” – June 12, 2013, 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM, LLB 2281

Primary Objectives:
  • Identity infrastructure for the future
  • Connections needed
  • Capacity (storage, bandwidth, etc.)
  • What will be required in terms of personnel and finances to maintain and refresh infrastructure?
  • Leveraging the “Cloud”
Summary of Session:

During the IT infrastructure session, participants considered future infrastructure needs and how subsequent distribution and implementation of these needs impacts personnel and resource needs. The meeting included participants from administrative and academic departments, faculty, distributed IT and OIT.

During this session, participants took part in two exercises. The first exercise had participants define the purpose and role of IT infrastructure while highlighting key components unique to UNLV as a whole. In the second exercise, participants were teamed up to consider the main components of IT infrastructure. Each team shared its findings.

Many components of IT infrastructure were discussed, including hardware, software, network, facilities, refresh, etc., that are needed to support and maintain the campus technology environment. In conclusion of the session, it was agreed that the most important components of infrastructure for UNLV future technology planning will be connectivity, resources and trust.

Key outcomes identified to inform the IT Master Plan:
  • Connectivity
    • Includes traditional, wireless, cellular, ISPs, encryption, authentication, and protocols
    • Seeking ways for students, faculty and staff to connect anything, anytime, anywhere
    • Need methods of quantifying, translating, and communicating needs
    • Plan for the thoughtful phase out of outdated technology (e.g., Cable TV)
  • Resources
    • Includes both internal and external, data center and enterprise services, staffing shifts to SMEs who manage programs and develop solutions, and a catalog of services by function ability
    • Seeking ways to be more collaborative, integrative and concentrated on program development as opposed to task-focused
    • Consider reducing local infrastructure and overlapping functions (e.g. web masters)
    • Consider options for focusing IT staff resources on the community they serve and leverage hosted services to strengthen effectiveness.
  • Trust
    • Includes security, reliability, planning, compliance, capacity, planning and program information office
    • Seeking ways to implement ID management, enforce governance policies, simplify and improve customer experience, and increase staff while avoiding duplication of efforts
    • Need satellite systems for ID management

Defining the Governance of IT – The Value of IT Governance and How to Sustain the Process

IT Governance Work Session “H” – June 13, 2013, 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM, CBC B117

​Primary Objectives:
  • What does IT governance entail? What is it, and what is it not?
  • Maintaining commitment and support
  • Sustaining and institutionalizing the process
  • Establishing transparency and communication mechanisms
  • A governance charter
  • Connecting with the Cabinet
  • Creating an annual planning calendar (align with the business cycle of UNLV)
Summary of Session:

During the IT governance session, participants considered the purpose and role of IT governance and identified a potential model going forward. The meeting included participants from administrative and academic departments, faculty, distributed IT and OIT.

The session entailed defining the purpose and role of IT governance in light of the UNLV environment. Participants were then teamed up and asked to consider aspects of the proposed model in context of criteria for effective IT governance, considering values, vision, procedure, scope and overall structure. Each team then shared its findings.

The consensus was that the University IT governance process needs to focus on supporting the University Mission and overall strategic plan. Guided by the IT Master Plan and building upon a structure that facilitates informed decision-making with limited bureaucracy, governance needs to foster stakeholder engagement, include cross-functional participation, and gain executive buy-in and support. The governance structure needs a consistent framework that is transparent to the University Community and supports sustained communication and effective IT decision-making.

Key outcomes identified to inform the IT Master Plan:
  • University-wide collaboration that aligns resource allocation with institutional priorities and maintains stakeholder engagement
  • Governance is distinct from IT management. The function and process should enable entrepreneurship while acting as a facilitator more than a gatekeeper
  • Effective engagement and communication are important in sustaining a governance structure that is adaptive, accountable, innovative, inclusive, sponsored by executives, understandable and transparent
  • Crafting and implementing buy-in, a strategic composition, and allowing for flexibility on the onset will help establish governance authority and credibility, developing a culture that benefits people who follow the process
Specific elements brought forth during the exercise:
  • A Project Proposal process
    • Cyclical and interactive
    • Prioritizes meaningful IT projects and initiatives while enabling decision makers to gain broad input and make informed decisions
  • Effective use of resources
    • Minimal complication and competition
    • Not bureaucratic
  • Continued updates of the latest issues in higher education
Proposed governance model structure:
  • Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) – Functions at a high level
    • Focuses on operational, academic, and business priorities at a high level
    • Institution wide perspective
    • May be chaired by CIO
    • CTO, faculty senate chair, CSUN president, GPSA president
    • Core group connected to Cabinet, advancement, decision support and the general counsel’s office – significant overlap with Cabinet groups
  • Technology Review Board (TRB)
    • More technical focus
    • Chaired by CIO
    • Includes College-level technology officers
    • Ad hoc teams
    • Proposals are delegated from TAC to TRB if they are deemed “small” projects (<$50,000)
  • Second-tier groups with specific technical focus
    • Application development
    • Security
    • Data governance
    • Services, operations, and infrastructure