Information Technology Focus Area

June 24, 2020

Zia Mafaher
Associate Vice President
Network and Communication Systems
Center for Information Technology Services

Sharon Bowser
Associate Dean and CIO 
University of Maryland
School of Medicine

The Main Point(s)

  1. Continue to provide IT virtual resources for working and learning off-site
  2. Ensure IT security requirements are met for on-site hardware and software as well as for personal devices being used off-site
  3. Coordinate the return of technical support staff to campus in numbers that meet the needs of students, staff, and faculty
  4. Expand on the availability of virtual training

Main Point #1 – IT Virtual Resources

  • For many years now, UMB has been migrating systems to the cloud, where they are available any time and from anywhere, e.g., Office365, Kuali, WebEx, Blackboard, Quantum, Zoom, etc.
  • The future will include additional cloud-based virtual resources, e.g.
    • Electronic Fax solution
    • Conversion of paper documents/processes to an electronic format e.g., DocuSign
    • Expanding availability of virtual resources in MS Azure and AWS cloud infrastructures
    • WebEx Teams (Hybrid Calling): UMB phone numbers will be capable of being answered from a computer at a remote site, or from a mobile phone
    • Virtual simulation: virtual rooms will be enhanced, e.g., integration of Learning Space and Zoom
    • Tele-Education: learning management systems will be enhanced e.g., integration of Blackboard and WebEx, etc.
    • Virtual proctoring software: will investigate value and cost
    • Virtual event platform: will be implemented and used for student orientation/schools and university events, etc.

Main Point #2 – IT Security

  • Provide additional security awareness training
  • Identify and address vulnerabilities, e.g., outdated anti-virus and operating systems, on personal computers used for tele-work and tele-education
  • Identify and implement new IT security tools to strengthen UMB network and system security
  • Continue to invest in virtual network and desktop cloud infrastructures as a means of ensuring secure remote access to IT resources

Main Point #3 – IT Support

  • Ensure that technical support staff practice safe distancing, have access to PPE, and participate in health checks
  • Continue to effectively support tele-work and tele-education and expand and enhance teaching and learning systems as needed
  • Provide IT support resources to faculty and students as they prepare for a blended approach of virtual didactic teaching/learning and in-person clinical instruction
  • Consider IT Support shift work to accommodate the needs of remote workers not working traditional business hours
  • Maintain awareness of the State’s, the USM’s, and major vendor initiatives pertaining to contact tracing and proximity tracing in order that UMB can implement appropriate technology to support efforts in this area
  • Respond to faculty/staff/student survey results and mapping of the Internet coverage across the State of Maryland to locate areas that need an alternative solution for internet access

Main Point #4 – Virtual Training

  • Expand virtual training opportunities for the UMB community to learn more about web conferencing platforms for events (WebEx events, MS Teams and Zoom Webinar); highlighting the benefits of using one over the other
  • Prepare and deliver virtual training for all new software
  • Prepare virtual “Job shadowing” for new hires/ transfers

Considerations and Assumptions

  • Required resources are available (dollars and staff) for these IT projects; as well as for the IT projects identified in the other Focus Group Areas
    • If shortcomings are identified, further discussions regarding priorities will be needed
  • With necessary precautions, IT staff will be able to return to campus to perform on-site work
    • Social distancing guidelines and accommodations will be followed


  • To proceed with the projects and activities pertaining to the main points in this presentation by working collaboratively with the IT leaders in CITS and in each School and Department


  • Further discussions regarding priority projects and activities may be needed

Focus Area Members

  • Zia Mafaher (Primary Lead)
  • Sharon Bowser (Deputy Lead)
  • Keith T Brooks
  • Kent Buckingham
  • Amir Chamsaz
  • Mike Green
  • Tim Munn
  • David Pitts
  • Matt Rietschel
  • Patricia A. Scott
  • James Stephens

Legal Support

  • Deepa Bhattacharyya