it-cio

June CIO Updates

I hope everyone is able to enjoy these recent days full of sunshine. I admit this has been a tough month. We’ve leaned into the COVID situation and continue to work hard to ensure our colleagues are taken care of but, whew, the George Floyd news packed a punch mentally.

Disappointment. Anger. Frustration. And from my place of privilege, I recognize my thoughts and feelings are a fraction of those held by my friends, colleagues and peers that weren’t born with this shade of skin. Your IT team is engaged, supportive and we are with you. We are listening. We are here.

In the midst of this national unrest, IT is responding to current needs and preparing for our fall semester. We are planning for all scenarios and starting with the ‘worst case’ ones to guarantee we are ready.

The month of June includes:

  • Drafting a communication to send to our students to share technology needs for 2020/21. IT has not been so bold as to make technology recommendations in the past, however, if this is the role we can play in student success, we are all about it.
  • Finalizing our wifi/network path to dramatically improve connectivity on campus and access to campus while socially distanced and remote working/teaching/learning.
  • Cleaning up our back office systems to allow us to make better use of automated processes.
  • Upgrading classroom technology to empower a location-fluid environment that is capable of delivering our stellar TU education.
  • Reimagining our staff alignment and budget to be certain WE ARE READY.

We are here. We are working. We are thankful to be supporting such an amazing group of students, faculty and staff. Thank you for allowing us to serve you.

As always, if you need anything or would like to share concerns/ideas, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly. Thank you for everything you do!

 

Paige Francis
Vice President for Information Technology & Chief Information Officer
Email me: paige-francis@utulsa.edu

April CIO Updates

I hope everyone is safe, healthy and, like me, flattening the curve like a rockstar. These are certainly interesting times. In response, your IT team has focused diligently on improvement. Surprisingly each of our current tasks and projects were already present and accounted for on our roadmap and, while the roadmap hasn’t changed much, the timeline has certainly escalated.

To better empower our colleagues to work from home, since the first of April we:

  • Worked with HR to get orientation online
  • Significantly increased protections on the university border firewall, protecting people from attacks from the internet
  • Worked with Purchasing to move purchase orders to PDF
  • Supported Financial Aid through an Ellucian engagement resulting in immediate improvements and efficiencies to processes and implementation of automations
  • We provided 216 students with Adobe Creative Cloud licenses

Again, there’s so much on our ‘honey do’ list that marking a few as complete is fulfilling.

April plans? We are in the first month of a Colleague Refresh project. We are rapidly building out our network and systems to be better accessible and, most importantly, usable by our now-remote students. We, like the rest of the world, are noticing a palpable uptick in cyber attacks and phishing attempts. We are responding with increased communications and implementing additional layers of protection to help you distinguish the nefarious from the good. Our web environment is better than ever and we are trying to ensure all important communications are communicated and published online. Our Help Desk, though remote, is staying on top of tickets and currently evaluating a smarter tool to not only collect tickets, but provide usable metrics on them. Everything we do, we do for you TU.

For all those (zero?) down times in our new normal, here are a few reading materials. Would love your feedback:

  1. Newly published TU IT Governance Structure
  2. Review help.utulsa.edu – our new one-stop-shop for self-service help
  3. COVID19 IT starting points for Students, Student Supporters/Parents, Faculty, Staff

As always, if you need anything or would like to share concerns/ideas, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly. Thank you for everything you do!

 

Paige Francis
Vice President for Information Technology & Chief Information Officer
Email me: paige-francis@utulsa.edu

March CIO Updates

March has certainly thrown us all some curveballs, but please know your IT team is here for it! First and foremost, we have set up https://keepteaching.utulsa.edu as a go-to for faculty support with and direction on moving courses to the online environment. For coronavirus updates and university policies, visit https://utulsa.edu/coronavirus-updates/. Our most valuable asset is YOU. And since our primary role is to support and empower you, we are working hard to help you rapidly make any and all shifts.

A few brief updates:

  • In late February we successfully completed the Educause Student Technology Survey. Results should be received within the next month or two. We will share what we learned and ensure our technology direction runs in tandem with student needs and wants.
  • We have identified computer standards for primary desktops and laptops. The technology spending freeze resulted in approximately ten exception requests to date (manageable) so we will be lifting that freeze for desktop purchases within the month of March. We will communicate the standards, process, policy and path to exception requests. In addition to establishing standards, we will be making a recommendation for a University IT -led five-year refresh program for primary computers. More to come!
  • We are working on consolidating IT across the campus. We are certainly stronger together and will be finding those ‘best practice, best service’ providers and working together to deliver to the entire campus, together.
  • Today (March 9) we completed our 5th Spring Semester IT Open Forum – thank you to all that attended over the past few months! We will schedule more for the fall.

Again, thank you all for allowing us to serve this campus. We deeply appreciate it. I will leave you with some recent feedback:

Accolades – I have 2.
#1. Janet Cairns has been such a huge help to me getting up to speed this year. Now I am really wanting to embrace more technology into my classes, and she is giving me ideas and helping. Unfortunately, you have only one of her – but she is awesome.
#2. I really appreciate the energy, professionalism and cultural tone you have brought to your position. Very well done!

Thanks for all you and your team does.

Happy New Year,
Jennifer

Have a healthy March, TU – and don’t forget to wash those hands!

Paige Francis
Vice President for Information Technology & Chief Information Officer
Email me: paige-francis@utulsa.edu

February CIO Updates

What a month!

First and foremost, for those that showed up for our IT Open Forum on Friday, February 21, I need to extend all the apologies! We had competing obligations appear unexpectedly and didn’t get adequate communication out about the change. I own this entirely, am fully accountable and we have rescheduled the event for Monday, March 9th 11am-12noon in the Student Union, Chouteau Room. Come one, come all.

Secondly, STUDENTS, we need your input. Please look for flyers across campus to share with us YOUR feedback and insight on campus technology. The Educause Technology Survey is just for you and ends this Friday, February 28. Without your feedback, we make decisions on your behalf. No one needs that. We need YOUR voice. If you need a link to the survey, please email me – paige-francis@utulsa.edu

Now back to regular programming.

We’ve experienced a handful of outages this month and we are hoping that our communications met your expectations. We are a learning and living team, growing every day in knowledge and skills and we are investing our whole selves into deeply improving the technology experience at the University of Tulsa. We are not shooting for innovation quite yet. Our goals are security, stability, sustainability and value. Value meaning empowering our campus to do their job faster, smarter, with less manual paper shuffling. Hashtag goals. We will get there.

Earlier this month, we implemented a technology spending freeze while we establish basic standards. By the end of February, we hope to share policy, procedure and those specific standards for basic personal computer needs on campus. Next will come classroom standards, then print! But first things first. These standards will be established campus-wide within 30 days. TU, *YOU* empower this pace by supporting our efforts. We thank you.

Coming soon –

  • Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
  • Clarity surround our web environment and WordPress
  • Updates on backup/recovery
  • Introduction of a new branch on our IT governance tree
  • Investing in improving our system of record, Colleague

Again, what a month! We have approximately 20 weeks left in this fiscal year. We have Spring Break around the corner. Time is moving too fast. We are in Zink Hall. We are proud to serve this campus and we welcome you for a visit, a discussion, an introduction. We will also come to you. Name the time, TU! Thank you for everything you do. Happy February!


Next Open Forum:

Monday, March 9, 2020
11am-12pm
Student Union, Chouteau Room


Paige Francis
Vice President for Information Technology & Chief Information Officer
Email me: paige-francis@utulsa.edu

January CIO Updates

The holidays provided a wonderful break and I hope everyone took time to refresh, recharge and relax. Welcome back to campus, TU!

Your IT team is certainly raring to go this 2020. So much going on and, although we’re not leading all campus excitement, we are honored to be present to ensure that whatever is started has the resources and the technology support to get finished. We spent much of fall 2019 assessing the campus, investing in our people-plans and prioritizing next steps based on what we learned as we listened. And we love to listen!

A few key initiatives coming soon:

  • Student Technology Survey is Coming!

    The survey will run from Monday, Feb. 17 through Friday, Feb. 28. This is a benchmarking experience. We need direct feedback from students to make sure we are making improvements where students see gaps and deficiencies. In IT, while we enjoy pontificating over what we think our students need and want, we are hyper-aware that we are not equipped to truly define the student technology experience without direct student feedback. Please participate. It’s entirely optional and your voice is needed and wanted.

  • Investing in the Foundation

    Student feedback. Faculty feedback. Staff feedback. All on the docket for spring 2020. In the meantime, we are refreshing the terribly outdated legacy tech environment at its very core. Without this refresh, even the basics aren’t doable – wifi, backups, recovery, storage, repositories, communication. All need a strong foundation. This is our early spring.

  • Pumping the Brakes on Spending to Establish Standards

    No one likes the word ‘freeze’ but our campus general technology spending needs some controls in place and some reasonable standards set. During this brief period, we will review historical spending, identify tech standards and convey those standards to vendors to negotiate the best price for the university. The result of this initiative should be clear standards or recommendations on items like desktop computers and similar devices, classroom technology, conference room technology and plans for campus printing. While known as ‘basics’, left centrally un-managed and un-negotiated, excess spending on basics becomes the norm. And, as we all know, technology in general is not inexpensive. We’re tackling in hopes of becoming a part of the solution.

  • …and more LISTENING!

    IT Leadership is making the rounds, meeting our schools and colleges in our schools and colleges! Please join us at one of our Open Forum sessions. Also please know we are ready, willing and able to meet with you – your department, your class, your team, your group – to discuss general IT, to hear concerns and feedback, to whiteboard ideas. You name it. We’ve also updated our website to include contact information for IT leadership. We are truly here to serve, please reach out!


Next Open Forums:

Monday, February 10, 2020
11am-12pm
Helmerich Hall, 219

Friday, February 21, 2020
11am-12pm
Student Union, Chouteau Room


We are excited to be an active part of this thriving campus. Thank you for allowing us to serve you TU!

Paige Francis
Vice President for Information Technology & Chief Information Officer
Email me: paige-francis@utulsa.edu

December CIO Updates

As 2019 slides through its final days, this IT Team sincerely hopes that each of you uses our upcoming holiday break to refresh, recharge, relax and live your #bestholidaylife. We continue to be so honored to serve the University of Tulsa and intend to dedicate ourselves to improving technology to best support teaching and learning. A few ‘finals-week-my-gosh-it’s-almost-break-time’ words:

TU IT is Coming to Town!

Spring 2020 is around the corner and our team is going to be even closer than that!

Your TU IT Leadership Team is excited to meet and hear from you. Over the course of the spring ’20 semester, we have several sessions across campus scheduled to meet faculty, students and staff. Why? Since we are asking for feedback, suggestions and ideas, we feel that it just makes sense to meet you where YOU are! Please join us on any date, in any location and share your thoughts on TU technology – positive-to-critical and everything in between. Our job is to SERVE this campus and build for you a connected environment that facilitates teaching and learning in the best way. If we don’t hear from you, we make the decisions ourselves. And no one needs that (smile). Thank you TU for all the hard work you do. We are honored to to be here and take our role – and your needs – seriously.

Dates and Locations:
  • Friday, January 24, 2020
    12pm-1pm
    Chapman Hall Lecture Hall (Auditorium)
  • Tuesday, January 28, 2020
    12pm-1pm
    Keplinger Hall, 2355
  • Monday, February 10, 2020
    11am-12pm
    Helmerich Hall, 219
  • Friday, February 21, 2020
    11am-12pm
    Student Union, Chouteau Room

Note: Planning to schedule for Oxley and Law as well. We’re excited to introduce ourselves as a leadership team and answer any and all questions!

Let’s (NOT) Go Phishing!

University holidays are prime target time for phishing and cyber intrusion attempts and, inevitably, events. Even off-campus, please stay diligent. If you see something, if you receive something, if your spidey senses go on high-alert, please forward ‘fishy’ nefarious emails or messages to phishing@utulsa.edu.

‘Tis the season for phishing and intrusion. Fa-la-la-la-la!

Seeking Feedback Period Closes: NEVER

2020 will present numerous opportunities to be heard by IT. Surveys, on-campus events, and coming-soon initiatives. We are excited to be a part of conversations pertaining to university systems, online programs, faculty support and student success. Never question, while we take our ‘seat at the table’ seriously, we know and understand our place – to add value. If there are ever any questions or concerns about projects or plans, please reach out directly to us. Your feedback, counsel, insight, even criticism is so valuable. And we are open to and ready for it.

Have a wonderful holiday season, TU! From my ‘house’ to yours…

Paige Francis
Vice President for Information Technology & Chief Information Officer
Email me: paige-francis@utulsa.edu

 

Introducing Color Print and Wireless/Mobile Print Options for Students

Effective Monday, November 25, 2019

Your IT Department is excited to announce improvements in response to conversations prompted by the Student Senate:

  • A new color printer has been purchased and installed in the McFarlin Library computer lab, per initial request, that has been equipped with mobile/wireless print functionality.
  • We’ve also implemented mobile/wireless print on all printers in the McFarlin Library computer lab.
  • As a result of our recent ‘color printer testing’ time in the computer lab, we are moving forward with upgrading lab computers to help lessen their laggy response time.

One of Information Technology’s primary goals is to relentlessly pursue efficiency and effectiveness. In a recent Academic Computing Committee meeting a member asked, “Do we need to provide computer labs in 2019?” The answer is yes. What a ‘computer lab’ looks like will likely change over time. We hear from TU students today that they primarily use the lab computers to print. Empowering wireless print should allow us to get a better understanding of how the labs are used and where we should best invest our finite resources in the future. In many instances, streamlining how we do things provides insight into true need.

A Bit of Housekeeping

Currently of the 1000 print allotment for students, a black-white print is charged at one print per page. The color print will charge as seven prints per page. We will assess this fee annually as student printing charges are recovery-for-cost charges, not revenue generators.

How to Use Mobile Print?

  • Open a browser on any device – iPhone, laptop, tablet.
  • Visit: http://TUPRINT:9163/setup.
  • Your device operating system (OS) will be auto-detected.
  • Follow the instructions for installation of a new printer profile.
  • Once installed, you will simply select your preferred printer to print to.
  • Experiencing issues? Visit the IT Help Desk in McFarlin Library. Our staff will be happy to help get you connected!

In Closing

We thank The University of Tulsa Improvements Committee within the Student Association Senate. Specifically, Ben Butler who reached out initially in October 2019. We hope that we’ve met, and even possibly exceeded, your expectations. We do plan to expand these print options to the rest of campus. Supporting our students is a top priority.

As such, TU will be participating in the annual Educause Student Survey starting in January 2020. We are hoping to collect from you, the students, open and honest feedback on your technology expectations, insights, usage and needs. Please participate when sent out. And thank you for allowing us to serve you!

Ideas, questions, concerns? Don’t hesitate to contact Paige Francis at paige-francis@utulsa.edu.

November CIO Updates

This month, we focus on thankfulness. We are thankful for the campus we serve but, most importantly, the people across it. We are thankful for the confidence in this IT team to improve the technology presence here, to empower our users to support teaching and learning without worries of connectivity or accessibility and to ensure that we have the foundation to facilitate student success. We are thankful to get feedback after presentations, delivery of service, technology events. We are thankful. And we’re happy to be here. Know that this month of November, this team appreciates you.

Some favorite Thanksgiving season phrases:

Leftovers are for Quitters

From this point forward, the projects we embark on will not leave straggling, unfinished parts. Rather they will be fully communicated up front, thoroughly implemented at the mid-way and the campus users will be trained on how to use the ‘new and improved’ before we announce successful completion. Completion will include continuous improvement and training plans moving forward to make sure we leave no unfinished business on the table.

In early December we plan to get all power-users of Colleague together to share open dialogue with Colleague creators, Ellucian. What do we need? Why do we need it? Why does Colleague feel like such a clunky impediment to every report or data feed that we need to make better decisions? We are starting at Colleague baseline and requesting that Ellucian re-market their product to us. We have options, they respect this so, rather than embark on a disruptive ERP change right now, let’s see if we can fix the back-office system we have in place and make it work for us. We will do this deliberately for most of our systems, in prioritized fashion. No unfinished business. Use as much as we can of products we own, smartly.

Feast Mode

Our doors are unlocked and timely response is a basic expectation within IT. If you have needs, wants or concerns, lay them on us. As we finalize first steps of a multi-year tech improvement plan, we welcome your input. We have restructured our team to best service the TU campus today and we’ll likely continuously morph our structure as future needs change. All of this relies on open, authentic feedback from you. Include us, invite us, involve us, lean on us. We are your support system. It feels like we’ve been dieting for a year to get to where we are today. Let’s do this!

I’m Just Here for the Pie

Ah the fun stuff. We promise as the next few years involve significant baseline technology upgrades – read: virtually invisible to the campus aside from random ups and downs that we’ll thoroughly communicate – we are dedicated to sprinkle the seemingly boring infrastructure builds with systems and services that you will be excited to see and experience.

Examples:

  • Ability to use your mobile devices for more on campus (Students, wireless printing is coming!)
  • Less manual tracking of non-undergrad admissions data
  • Easier access and support for faculty and research websites
  • More robust options in the student app and Colleague self-service
  • Training on all that we offer!

The dessert, the pie, the fun stuff. If you see or hear about cool offerings on other campuses or have students needing app development projects to work on, contact me. I’ll make sure it gets where it needs to be. This IT department will not work in a vacuum. It takes all of us to come up with the best ideas.

In Closing

Thank you University of Tulsa. My email is paige-francis@utulsa.edu. If I can help in any way, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Have a relaxing and blessed Thanksgiving season TU,
Paige Francis
Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer

October CIO Updates

It’s fall, y’all! Cooler temps (finally) and turning leaves, what a beautiful time to collaborate across The University of Tulsa campus.

In the September update to TU, we requested and received feedback on our departmental mission statement – thank you! Mission and vision statements oftentimes feel silly however they are truly the first step in defining our next many steps to excellent service. Service, for which, we want to be held accountable.

‘Tis the Season

…for putting ourselves out there! The IT Department is excited to announce the re-introduction of routine technology knowledge-sharing sessions! Bring your own lunch and learn about cybersecurity initiatives, current campus technologies and IT strategies ranging from high-level to high-tech (you’ll understand it all, we guarantee). The official series starts in November, so look for upcoming announcements with dates, locations and topics. If you have topic suggestions, please email them to paige-francis@utulsa.edu.

“Strategery”

We are honored to support the University of Tulsa. In order to make sure our ideas match campus need, we will be using this fall/winter season to finalize a new 2019/20 TU IT Strategic Plan. We plan to refine the draft collaboratively with the Academic Computing Committee of the Faculty Senate. Once finalized, the TU IT Strategic Plan will serve as a solid base for future planning.

We Put the TU IT in OpporTUnITy

So much opportunity, so little time. Improving WiFi, watching eSports develop, supporting online courses and programs, making cybersecurity (dare I say) fun, presenting to Arts & Sciences department chairs, discussing a future involving a data and digital repository, laughing and commiserating with Dr. Mandy Moore in Student Success – there is more opportunity and energy on this campus than I ever imagined. We are ALL dedicated to improvement. We are ALL dedicated to exceeding expectations. We are ALL IN on TU.

Recent Feedback

IT is on a roll for my college. Great customer service focused employees!!!

(Smiles!)  Please know we are proud of positive feedback, however we recognize this is long game territory – and we are in it to win it.

My Favorite Thing for October

It’s an annual thing. I am off to Educause in Chicago, IL next week. I look forward to seeing my CIO people each and every October. It revitalizes me. If you have any needs or wants, please let me know as soon as possible as every technology, solution and system under the sun will be well represented on the vendor floor. I will be presenting on Thursday so if you find yourself in the area, come on by! Be warned – I will come home with all kinds of unattainable ideas 🙂

Have a wonderful month,
Paige Francis
Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer

September CIO Updates

pop-up help deskThe University of Tulsa’s 2019-20 school year is in full-swing and your IT team is thankful to play even the smallest role in serving and supporting our vibrant campus. Thank you!

We increased our visibility as the semester start ramped up and, soon after, we identified ways we might continuously improve in these areas for our students, faculty and staff.

Examples:

  • Action: Opened Help Desk in McFarlin Library
    Learned: Keep an eye on hours of service, expansion likely
  • Action: IT presence during move-in
    Learned: Target specific, most useful hours next year

We will continue to find ways to make a positive impact and improve as we experience and re-envision ‘the next time’. That’s right – we’re keeping score!


Realigning for YOU

One of the biggest challenges of any IT organization is staying abreast of our user needs and ensuring our structure is aligned to best meet those needs. The University of Tulsa’s IT team will keep moving in line with the pace of technology, campus need and overarching strategy. Please keep an eye on the jobs page of the TU website and recommend IT openings to peers, colleagues, friends and family.


Feedback Please!

Please click this link to participate in a brief one question, two text field survey sharing your feedback on our department’s proposed Mission Statement. In order for our folks to know where we’re going (and why), we need to make sure that we’ve set clear expectations and a strong declaration on our basic departmental mission will help.

Proposed Mission Statement:

The Division of Information Technology is driven to achieve excellence through the design, development, and application of information technology in support of learning, teaching, research, service, and the facilitation of University business consistent with TU’s mission.

Again, please share feedback here: https://utulsa.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_20h5dJxHOn9NT3n


My Favorite Thing for September

Never underestimate the tools and apps that we have at our fingertips within the TU Office 365 suite of products. I never thought I would become a Microsoft evangelist, but the Bookings app met a legitimate, crucial need this week and we had no idea it existed. Watch this video and see how the Bookings application might help in your meetings-heavy office environment:

TU owns the Office 365 suite – find out what’s there and use it all!


Each month I will share progress we’ve made, roadblocks we’ve encountered, integrations we’ve built and everything in between. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly at paige-francis@utulsa.edu.

Current CIO Initiatives:

  • In search of: Room scheduling tool, ‘data warehouse’ future strategy, digital repository
  • In pilot: Panic button trial
  • How can we help: ConnectTU app, Slate expansion, engage with academic areas
  • Developing in IT: Governance structure, improved policy/procedure environment, strategic plan, hiring of key personnel, audit requirements

To all I’ve met on the University of Tulsa campus, thank you for the warm welcome. For those I’ve yet to meet, I can’t wait to learn how we in Information Technology can best support you. This is only the beginning of our IT transformation journey and I’m excited to see what the future holds.

Have a wonderful fall,
Paige Francis
Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer

New Academic Year, New IT Leadership

Information Technology (IT) at the University of Tulsa is truly foundational, impacting the impression and experience of all that traverse our beautiful and enriching campus.

As the University of Tulsa’s new Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer, I’ve spent my first thirty days on a TU listening tour, meeting with campus constituents, assessing our current technology landscape, analyzing our historical support presence, and collecting feedback on interactions, ideas and issues. Now the compilation begins, which will result in the development of a vision outlining where we need to be and the strategic roadmap that will get us there. End goal? The re-introduction of a stronger IT unit, poised and ready to partner with our faculty, students, staff and guests. This is coming soon and will be well-communicated.

What do I know now? Here is what I know. Your TU Information Technology team will:

  • Be gracious, helpful, supportive and kind;
  • Learn the University of Tulsa, its people, its needs, its wants;
  • Embrace and learn campus technologies, embodying ‘expert-level’ engagement toward each unique solution and system;
  • Investigate what’s outside of TU – (1) what are our strive to emulate partners doing? (2) who are the experts and what are they forecasting? (3) how can we not only improve but lead in our respective areas of expertise?
  • Study the TU Mission, Strategic Plan, Commitment and ensure that our work embodies and exemplifies the over-arching goals of the University in all that we do.

Each month I will share progress we’ve made, roadblocks we’ve encountered, integrations we’ve built and everything in between. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly at paige-francis@utulsa.edu.

To all I’ve met on the University of Tulsa campus, thank you for the warm welcome. For those I’ve yet to meet, I can’t wait to learn how we in Information Technology can best support you. This is only the beginning of our IT transformation journey and I’m excited to see what the future holds.

Have a wonderful semester start,
Paige Francis
Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer