Center for Information Technology Services
UM Information Technology
2002-2003 Accomplishments, Strategic and Tactical Plans
During this past year, the University of Maryland has focused on completing initiatives under the goals in the Regents' Information Technology Strategic Plan, as well as completing additional UM information technology priorities. Also during this past year, a university-wide strategic and tactical information technology plan was developed which identifies IT priorities and a course of action. Due to the dynamic nature of technology, the priorities in the plan will be reviewed quarterly by the University IT Steering Committee. The action items listed under the priorities will be dynamic and change often (e.g., when they are completed or when needs or technology changes). It is a "living" document which will be used to advance information technology and raise the prominence and visibility of UM and its schools.
The following are some highlights of 2002-2003 information technology accomplishments at the University of Maryland.
- The PeopleSoft Human Resources and Payroll system was implemented and is in production. The "go live" date for Phase 1 (Human Resources and Position management modules) was October 14, 2002. Payroll, including the Time and Labor and Commitment Accounting modules of the PeopleSoft system, along with a new interface to the State Central Payroll Bureau went "live" on March 24, 2003. UM now has a state-of-the-art Human Resources Information System that will make it easier to add employees to the payroll and to make changes electronically to employee data.
- A research data warehouse was created to provide easier access to information currently in the Office of Research and Development Grants and Contracts System to principal investigators, department heads, and dean's offices via the web and via contemporary reporting tools.
- The student information management system was upgraded to provide self-service web registration for students as well as providing student web access to personal financial and personal academic information.
- A comprehensive security strategy was successfully implemented, which included appointing an IT Security Officer, installing a campus-wide firewall, school firewalls, implementing intrusion detection software, software for analyzing network traffic, software for "shaping" network traffic, and proactively providing security related communications to the University community.
- Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA)
- UM has used a comprehensive approach to comply with HIPAA regulations. Sophisticated technologies were implemented in the two specifically covered schools, i.e., School of Medicine and Dental School, and technology security upgrades were made centrally and in the other schools as well. In addition to the technologies, a tremendous amount of time and effort was devoted to the development of HIPAA policies and a comprehensive training and education program. Every UM faculty, staff and student received at least the basic HIPAA training, while many others in the School of Medicine and Dental School received more in-depth HIPAA training.
- A complex project was completed this past year that connected eighteen disparate University and Hospital e-mail systems with little or no impact on the user community. These "back-end" connections have made it appear as one UM/Hospital system to the user population. The successful outcome is that now the UM and Hospital user communities have contemporary messaging and scheduling features and functionality across the disparate systems, i.e., there is now a global address list; university-wide distribution lists; electronic appointment scheduling capability across the university; and the reliability of sending and receiving attachments.
- A new service delivery operation was built this past year. An Assistance and Service Center (new Help Desk and Enterprise-wide Training operation) was created to support the new HR, Payroll, Student, E-mail, and other enterprise-wide systems. The grand opening of the Assistance and Service Center (ASC) was on October 14, 2002.
- UM became a primary member of the Internet2 Consortium in July, 2002. UM has been using the Abilene high-speed network to enhance collaboration with other Internet2 research institutions.
- UM held an "Internet2 Day" on March 10, 2003, which had several prominent researchers and faculty demonstrating the uses and benefits of this high-speed network. UM also held many school Internet2 "show and tell" sessions for faculty so that they could learn specifically how to send large files and use video-conferencing technologies.
- Established a university web development team in order to enhance the web presence of the university and the schools by building dynamic and interactive environments for sharing and collecting information. Prior to this year, there was a dearth of web specialists and a variety of web tools spread across the schools and administrative units of the campus. The Web Team has had numerous accomplishments this past year, including the development of the Web page for the University Budget presentation to the State legislators.
Information Technology Policies
- A new "Information Technology Acceptable Use Policy" was developed and went into effect on April 1, 2003. It was an inclusive process of collecting information from numerous individuals in the schools and administrative areas about the acceptable uses (and misuses) of contemporary information technology. Additionally, new HIPAA polices and IT Security and IT Privacy policies have been created.
Technology for e-Teaching and Learning
- During this past year, significant efforts have been made to implement and support e-teaching and e-learning at UM. The Blackboard course management system is being extensively used by faculty in each school, for both the traditional as well as continuing education programs.
- Additional classroom technologies as well as web, audio, and video technologies were used by faculty to facilitate the building of online learning communities and the delivery of education to students anytime and anywhere.
Faculty Support for Research and Teaching
- In addition to Internet2 awareness and use sessions geared for faculty and the creation of a research data warehouse, the University has enhanced support for research activity through an improved IT infrastructure, back-end systems support, and increased availability of IT personnel to support principal investigators and their research projects.
- In addition, the central organization and the schools have developed programs where IT professionals and members of the faculty are working together to build effective support structures, including: introducing faculty to new on-line, as well as classroom technologies; assisting faculty with designing courses delivered on-line; ensuring that both the web and classroom technologies are easy to use and intuitive; and ensuring that the technologies available to faculty (equipment, network, software, etc.) work reliably well.
- Student access to computers and computing resources is now a given at UM. With enhanced web-based systems and web environments for teaching and learning, UM students have access to a great many information resources. Funds generated from a student technology fee are providing access to additional contemporary technologies in each school as well as for providing enhanced support of these technologies.
- An IT Working Group has been formed with representatives from the schools and administrative areas to work together toward the goal of achieving cost reductions for information technology. Already some savings have been achieved by having this group collect and share information regarding technology costs, needs and anticipated purchases. A couple of the objectives, which are being accomplished, are: to consolidate, where possible, hardware maintenance and software licensing costs; and, to identify common hardware and software procurements and coordinate the purchases through volume discount vehicles.
- We have made great strides this past year to advance technology as well as to support the computing needs of campus constituencies. Information technology leaders throughout the University community, Hospital and University Physicians, Inc. (UPI) are communicating and collaborating on IT projects, identifying additional collaborative IT opportunities and striving to share knowledge and resources.
Current Information Technology Priorities and Selected Highlights of Action Items in the University of Maryland "Information Technologies Strategic and Tactical Plan":
- To continue applying effective and reasonable technology security for the safety and protection of personal, medical, confidential and otherwise legally protected information which is maintained in, or available through the use of, UM IT resources.
- To implement extraordinary security technologies where necessary.
- To heighten security awareness and education through on-going communications to the entire UM community.
- To continue to provide technology solutions, as well as coordinated procedures, that support contemporary functionality and electronic access to individuals across the campus, schools, UPI and hospital.
- To update the current student e-mail system to a more contemporary solution.
- To finish the assessment phase of the PeopleSoft financials and grants system in spring 2003 and begin software implementation activities in summer 2003.
- To further develop and enhance the PeopleSoft human resources and payroll system for the purpose of introducing additional electronic processes and more efficient administrative practices.
- To develop and implement the Admissions module of the SCT student information management system.
- To communicate often and develop service and support procedures with the help desk personnel in central offices, schools, UPI, and the hospital.
- To continue to build service relationships with members of the University community, UPI, and hospital through frequent communication and interaction.
Directory Services: Identity Management, Sign-on, Portal
- To implement a directory service solution that would address authentication and authorization issues for the purpose of gaining access to university, hospital, and UPI applications, databases, and electronic resources.
- To implement a more streamlined sign-on procedure for users to get access to applications and information resources.
- To implement a web portal that will give users simple, quick, secure access to needed information and services, both from internal and external sources.
Technology for e-Teaching and Learning
- To continue to implement easy to use, intuitive, and state-of-the-art e-teaching and e-learning technologies.
- To support faculty instructional and research initiatives that transmit and receive voice, video, and data across the campus network and the Internet.
- To create a support structure for faculty such that teaching with technology is an exciting, easy transition and not a burden fraught with difficulties.
Facilitate Off-Campus Access
- To implement a program, in partnership with a company, that would offer UM faculty, staff, and students discounted rates for Internet service and provide reliable remote access to campus computing services.
Internet2 Awareness, Education, and Use
- To promote the capability of this high-speed network for collaborating with colleagues at other institutions and research agencies.
- To educate faculty, researchers, and staff on the use and benefits of video-conferencing as well as transmitting large files of data and/or images across the Internet2 Abilene network.
- To build and connect to a Baltimore network infrastructure in Baltimore City which is faster than the current Internet network used by UM. The connection would be supported by the Baltimore Consortium, which would include such entities as UM, USM, Johns Hopkins, Morgan State, SAILOR libraries, the City of Baltimore and the State of Maryland.
- To increase research and educational activity through the use of the Internet2 network, and as a result of this increased activity, additional revenues would be generated for UM.
- To enhance economic development in the area through the use of the high-speed network connection in Baltimore City, in conjunction with the developing UM Technology Park.
- To further expand educational opportunities and information resources to primary and secondary education and other educational organizations in Baltimore.
- To prepare, review, and finalize categorical appendices to the new "University of Maryland Information Technology Acceptable Use Policy" that would address such areas as: server and workstation security, wireless and network standards, and web and e-mail policies.
Mobile, Wireless Computing
- To finalize and disseminate wireless security standards
- To implement a wireless solution that provides for interoperability throughout the university community.
Web Development, web environments
- To enhance the web presence for the schools and the university as a whole by building dynamic and interactive environments for sharing and collecting information.
- To stretch and grow resources by proactively and collectively identifying strategies for reducing future costs, saving on currently budgeted expenditures, and finding additional funding opportunities.