Priority Projects and Activities - August 2019

Assess the state of technology available to West Baltimore community residents where UMB is engaged

CITS Accountable Lead – Dr. Murray

Description: An assessment was undertaken and completed in 2018. In FY2019, CITS participated in the design and build-out of the new Community Engagement Center (CEC). CITS team activities include: designing the computing network in the renovated building and new CEC space; providing the specifications for the computers, audio-visual equipment, and the cameras that will be installed in the new CEC space; pulling fiber-optic cabling from the UMB Grid facility to the new CEC building; providing the network connectivity needed by the CEC operation; and purchasing and installing new audio-visual equipment in the existing CEC space.

Verizon partnership/Community Engagement

CITS Accountable Leads – Dr. Murray; Zia Mafaher

Description: A plan and strategy have been developed to address the most prominent deficiency(s) with technology to support educational and local community-based programs. We are working on establishing a partnership with Verizon for an agreement where the cumulative spend by UMB for Verizon goods and services has achievement thresholds that create grant pools to fund community engagement programs.

Assess the state of technology available to global communities where UMB is engaged

CITS Accountable Lead – Dr. Murray

Description: An assessment was undertaken and completed in 2018. In FY2019, during the UMB Global Health Summit, CITS met with the leaders of programs in Africa that have responsibility for information technology and the data collected for these program studies. UMB CITS arranged a discussion on the benefits of using the Microsoft Azure cloud infrastructure. Work is underway to re-architect the National Data Repository for the government of Nigeria and to use the Microsoft Azure cloud infrastructure. The initial work will include using Power BI embedded for an analytics reporting portal, and Azure Databricks for data ingestion. The Microsoft Azure infrastructure is being specifically provisioned for this program under the UMB Microsoft umbrella license.

New core networking equipment installation

CITS Accountable Lead – Zia Mafaher

Description: The main core network equipment that is the intersection of the internet and campus network, and which is the main equipment for the operation of the campus network, was implemented in March 2019 to replace the end-of-life equipment.  

Fiber and redundant network equipment in 620 West Lexington St. Building

CITS Accountable Lead – Zia Mafaher

Description: The completion of the fiber connection, room upgrade, and the move of one-half of the core networking equipment from Howard Hall to the 620 West Lexington St. building was completed. There will be redundancy of the network such that if there is a flood or fire in Howard Hall the University network will remain operational via the redundant equipment located in the 620 West Lexington St. Building. Howard Hall was a single point of network failure, which has been rectified by the completion of this project.

Data storage analysis for enterprise system data/new solution for aging infrastructure

CITS Accountable Lead – Vicky Hunter

Description: The on-premises enterprise data storage equipment is approaching end-of-life. An analysis and evaluation of the next data storage solution will occur, which will include exploring cloud-based data storage solutions. For instance, the Amazon AWS infrastructure services will be available to faculty researchers and staff in FY2020.

Amazon AWS network design and implementation

CITS Accountable Lead – Vicky Hunter

Description: The Amazon AWS cloud infrastructure will be available to faculty researchers and staff in FY2020. A review of the implementation requirements — e.g., network topology, infrastructure, security/compliance, account provisioning, costs — is helping us to define and establish how this cloud-based infrastructure service can be used by campus entities leveraging cloud deployment best practices.

Research data management program

CITS Accountable Lead – Dr. Murray

Description: A draft proposal for developing a research data management program at UMB was prepared and submitted to the executive vice president and provost for review. The proposal includes addressing important elements such as: governance; ownership; management; metadata standards; research data definition and data guidelines (using the “FAIR” principles of findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable); and computing resources.

Expanding resources for faculty teaching and learning with technology

CITS Accountable Lead – Dr. Murray

Description: A faculty committee (a subgroup of the UMB IT Stakeholder Committee) has prepared a report of recommendations identifying strategies for professional development and the promotion of innovative uses of technology in teaching and scholarship within and across schools and programs.

  1. The Teaching with Technology Faculty Group is willing to serve as an advisory group to Dr. Cestone as work on the centralized campus center starts and progresses in the capacity of an interprofessional, consultation resource for faculty and staff.
  2. The Annual Teaching with Technology Conference should be “housed” within the centralized campus center, with Dr. Cestone responsible for assuring resources from the budget of the centralized campus center.
  3. Establish a campus website dedicated to Teaching with Technology that would offer a platform for the better use of technology to disseminate both educational offerings and more efficient dissemination of numerous small initiatives taking place in individual UMB schools. This would include a library of “how-to” resources (e.g., videos and other media) that could allow for easy online-access when the centralized Campus Center is not available.
  4. At the level of UMB schools, we strongly encourage greater emphasis on faculty-IT staff interaction as well as visibility of scholarly work.
  5. UMB schools should include scholarly work related to teaching with technology into their APT criteria to allow these to be visible and valuable contributions within and across UMB.

Increase University knowledge of contemporary productivity tools

CITS Accountable Lead – Brian Coats

Description: After the successful launch of Microsoft Office 365, CITS began a campaign to train individuals in central administration departments and in UMB schools. Formal training sessions include: Introduction to OneDrive; Microsoft Teams/and being a Microsoft Teams Owner; SharePoint; Office 365 File Management and the Modern Workplace; and Microsoft Skype. There were numerous other personal training sessions held during the year. CITS prepared and posted a wealth of Office 365 instructional resources on the following webpage:

Cybersecurity awareness program

CITS Accountable Lead – Fred Smith

Description: An increased attention to cybersecurity awareness has occurred this year. A cybersecurity program in support of USM’s IT Security Standards was launched and achieved an 82 percent training participation compliance rate across UMB.

Promote knowledge, expertise, and career development in CITS

CITS Accountable Lead – Dr. Murray

Description: The completed annual report of CITS staff professional development activities indicated that 95 of the 102 CITS staff (93 percent) participated in at least one professional development activity in FY2019. We will continue to promote the acquisition of new knowledge, additional expertise, and career development in FY2020 so that every staff member has the opportunity to attend at least one professional development opportunity during the year.

Expand and promote cultural competence in CITS

CITS Accountable Lead – Dr. Murray

Description: At a CITS-all organization meeting on May 15, 2019, a member of the Diversity Advisory Council (DAC) gave a presentation to CITS staff that provided information about the DAC, its mission, goals, accomplishments, and events. It also addressed the topic of understanding culture as well as providing a statement on cultural competence. This and other information and conversations about cultural competence have helped expand and promote cultural competence in CITS. A presentation by a member of the DAC will be an annual event and will occur again at an all CITS organization meeting in FY2020.

Collaborate with colleagues at USM institutions and other Maryland education institutions to leverage collective buying power

CITS Accountable Lead – Dr. Murray

Description: In FY2019, UMB collaborated extensively with USM institutions and other education institutions and leveraged the buying power of the Maryland Education Enterprise Consortium (MEEC).

Examples of IT savings include:

  • Reduced cost access to the internet via Maryland Research and Education Network (MDREN) USM-wide Cisco contract for network hardware maintenance
  • USM-wide Palo Alto contract for network security equipment
  • Waived egress fees for Microsoft Azure, Oracle Cloud, Amazon Web Services, and for Duo multi-factor authentication, and other Internet 2 services through Internet 2
  • Significant volume discounts for Microsoft licenses, Apple hardware, Dell computers and servers, and other software including through MEEC.
  • Reduced consulting services via the use of MEEC resellers that deploy and support enterprise applications — instructional technology systems, student system, IT security-related systems, etc.
  • UMB facilitated the consolidation of the Statistical Analysis System (SAS) contracts from all USM schools to a single contract that UMB administers.
  • UMB collaborated with UMCP to maximize the volume discount and the purchase of Mathematica and ArcGIS.

Kuali Research application and infrastructure consolidation with UMCP

CITS Accountable Lead – Doug Bowser

Description: UMB has consolidated the Kuali Research application for use by both UMB and UMCP. There is now one database instance and common access to the application from both universities, with combined reporting of research proposals and awards.

Collaborative projects with UMCP

CITS Accountable Leads – Dr. Murray; Brian Coats

Description: A Strategic Partnership Plan was developed, and the initial focus for technology unification between the two campuses was placed on the Identity Management project. This is the technology by which faculty, staff, students, etc., gain access to IT systems and resources by using their respective university’s ID and password. The technology framework that allows the respective university’s ID and password to be used was built in FY2018. The seed grant program application was the first to be added to this technology framework. During this year, the Kuali Research application was added to this framework.  

Quantum Financials and Analytics Project

CITS Accountable Lead – Diane Faranetta

Description: CITS is partnering with Administration and Finance, and working with UMB schools and departments, to develop and implement Oracle’s Cloud Financials, Planning and Budgeting, and Analytics solutions. These modern cloud applications are based on best practices that will provide a platform for improving business processes and introduce an analytics solution that will enhance our ability to make data-driven decisions. The project consists of four iterative design, configuration, and validation phases to incrementally develop a final solution that will be rolled out to the campus in October 2019.

Assessment of IT Services

CITS Accountable Lead – Dr. Murray

Description: An IT satisfaction survey was administered in March 2019. The following two items provide an important benchmark of IT satisfaction, as recorded by faculty, staff, and students. The goal was to achieve a mean score of 4.00 or better for each item on the survey. For example, for satisfaction that IT personnel take a “customer-oriented” approach to providing help, the Faculty/Staff mean score was 4.12 and the Student mean score was 4.22. For overall satisfaction with IT services received, the Faculty/Staff mean score was 4.07 and the Student mean score was 4.14.

Information security collaborative, addressing vulnerabilities

CITS Accountable Lead – Fred Smith

Description: The Information Security Collaborative (ISC) initiative continued this year. Participants shared operational policies, practices, and procedures that resulted in effective information security and the protection of information assets, protected health information, and patient and employee personal information. The ISC working group coordinated activities that responded to information security vulnerabilities that cross operational intersections.   

Instructional technology infrastructure

CITS Accountable Lead – Dr. Murray

Description: This past year, an instructional technology/audio visual UMB Working Group established guidelines for podium controls format and design. With the introduction of the Webex Training and Webex Events modules, UMB faculty have learned new ways to improve their online teaching and ability to enhance the online classroom experience for students. The Webex training module offers faculty the option to extend online classroom sessions for up to 1,000 participants, and it includes a hands-on lab, online training, and instant breakout sessions, including a test library for creating questions and grading exams. The Webex Events module adds great value by providing the capability of hosting events for up to 1,000 participants/students.

Addressing State Office of Legislative IT audit items

CITS Accountable Lead – Fred Smith

Description: The Maryland State Office of Legislative Audit (OLA) completed an IT audit at UMB. After spending nearly five months at UMB, and hundreds of hours checking applications and systems, collecting data, reviewing documentation and asking questions, they gave us just one IT/IS discussion note (DN). The one Discussion Note was not deemed worthy to be included in the final University of Maryland, Baltimore Audit Report that was published in July 2019 and has been made available to the public. There weren’t any IT/IS finding(s) in the final legislative audit report for UMB.

IT Help Desks

CITS Accountable Lead – Brian Coats

Description: Weekday coverage has been extended from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., and some of the other IT support units’ operations in the schools have been supplemented. The campus IT Help Desk is now handling incoming calls for the School of Pharmacy. It also is analyzing how to develop similar integrations with the other schools.

Cisco Collaboration/Communication solution, Phase I

CITS Accountable Lead – Zia Mafaher

Description: Enhancements will be made to UMB telephony and voice/video conferencing capabilities with the implementation of the Cisco collaboration/communication solution. Webex Meetings and Webex Teams were officially launched on April 2, 2019. Webex Events and Webex Training modules also are available and being used by faculty, students, and staff.

Telephony VoIP upgrade (call manager)

CITS Accountable Lead – Zia Mafaher

Description: Corresponding to the Cisco telephony upgrade, there will be upgrades made to the Cisco call manager servers and corresponding infrastructure. This upgrade will provide additional VoIP features and functionality, including introducing the “soft client” where telephone calls can be made directly from computing devices.

Identity management infrastructure build-out

CITS Accountable Lead – Brian Coats

Description: Implementation and use of a common ID across the University has been achieved. Today, UMB faculty, staff, and affiliates, as well as students are using a common ID, such that their User IDs and Passwords are linked and automatically synchronizing across the University. Only one UserID/Password is needed for faculty, staff, and students to get access to UMID applications, email, and computer workstations.

Microsoft Office 365 and student email

CITS Accountable Lead – Vicky Hunter

Description: Transitioning current student and future alumni email to Microsoft Office 365. Implementation is in progress and will continue on a school-by-school basis. We have transitioned the student gmail accounts for the School of Dentistry to Microsoft Office 365 Outlook. We are currently working with the School of Nursing.

Transitioning IronPort to Microsoft Exchange Online Protection (EOP)

CITS Accountable Lead – Vicky Hunter

Description: The migration from using the Cisco IronPort solution for anti-spam/anti-virus and email delivery to the Microsoft solution will occur this year. The Microsoft solution provides the same capabilities as the Cisco solution, and it is included in the Microsoft license agreement. There will be a cost savings in moving to the Microsoft EOP. We will retire the Cisco IronPort appliances in November 2019.

Payment Card Industry (PCI)

CITS Accountable Lead – Fred Smith

Description: We have contracted with CampusGuard to assist UMB in becoming PCI compliant, which is a requirement of Bank of America in which all of UMB’s merchant accounts are linked. The first step was completed last fall when CampusGuard and Security & Compliance visited campus merchant locations to get an understanding of UMB business processes pertaining to the handling of credit card data. CampusGuard is assisting UMB in checking PCI compliance and recommending any needed action(s).

Conversion to Baltimore City 911 service

CITS Accountable Lead – Zia Mafaher

Description: UMB is working with Verizon on systems design and security to establish a sync between the UMB database and Verizon’s. The sync will be transmitting required fields of information (e.g., location information) to their system. This is one of the systems that the Baltimore City 911 service accesses when informing city police officers the location of the 911 call. 

Single sign-on launching page

CITS Accountable Lead – Brian Coats

Description: There are over 200 applications that support single sign-on via a common UMB ID. This initiative will focus on creating a single web “launching” site to applications that support a single sign-on.

Web accessibility

CITS Accountable Lead – Brian Coats

Description: The University needs to adopt a web accessibility policy and associated procedures in order to comply with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). In this year, a policy and procedures for web accessibility will be developed.

OneCard building access

CITS Accountable Lead – Brian Coats

Description: Building access will be removed when no longer appropriate in an automatic, timely manner. We also are implementing a more dynamic, automated building access request eForm with built-in workflows.

UMB Alerts system

CITS Accountable Lead – Brian Coats

Description: The e2campus service was upgraded in fall 2018. During winter 2018, a re-evaluation of the current vendors in this space was conducted to determine the best and most appropriate solution. As a result of that evaluation, EverBridge was selected as the new alerts system and a migration from e2campus, which was completed at the end of April 2019.

Unified Directories @ UMB

CITS Accountable Lead – Brian Coats

Description: Phase 4 = Active Directory account provisioning — Building on the framework and infrastructure established as part of the Federated Identity Management Stakeholder Initiative, Active Directory accounts will be provisioned automatically based on information obtained from eUMB HRMS as part of the normal hiring procedures. This will eliminate the need for these accounts to be manually created and linked by IT staff. It also will improve the data integrity of these accounts as they will be created automatically using HRMS data. Finally, it will improve and streamline the process by which HRMS is then provided a university email address for every employee.


Migrating Blackboard to the cloud, SaaS application

CITS Accountable Lead – Doug Bowser

Description: A review of the Blackboard SaaS application has occurred and a contract has been signed to migrate this application to the cloud. A project has been established with an anticipated go-live in December 2019.

ImageNow upgrade

CITS Accountable Lead – Doug Bowser

Description: A newer version of ImageNow was implemented in July 2019.

CRM application re-implementation, support, implementation

CITS Accountable Lead – Deno Tufares

Description: The Ferrilli consulting firm has been hired to review the application implementation in the Graduate School and to make recommendations for how the software might be reconfigured to more fully use the delivered functionality and enhance current processes. The School of Nursing has implemented the CRM Recruit application. The School of Social Work is currently implementing the CRM Recruit application.

DegreeWorks reporting

CITS Accountable Leads – Deno Tufares; Vicky Hunter

Description: A reporting solution is being developed that will provide the needed data for decision-making. The first school requesting and needing the report/data is the School of Nursing.

Touchnet implementation

CITS Accountable Lead – Deno Tufares

Description: The implementation has been completed, and it provides an interface to the Banner student system.

Electronic signatures

CITS Accountable Lead – Doug Bowser

Description: UMB has a contract with DocuSign to implement an electronic signature solution. The A project plan will be developed for deploying DocuSign.

Academic Works

CITS Accountable Lead – Roger Pedersen

Description: AcademicWorks is a scholarship management system that is designed to make applying for scholarships easier, improve the scholarship review process, and assist in providing information to the original donors so they feel more connected with scholarship recipients and more inclined to make further gifts. The system matches potential recipients with scholarships based on the requirements of the scholarship and information extracted from campus systems. The system does not completely automate the scholarship process, but it does facilitate the reviewing process by scholarship reviewers. The system is available only as a SaaS solution. UMB implemented AcademicWorks in May 2019.

Technology support for global initiatives

CITS Accountable Lead – Dr. Murray

Description: Discussions and reviews of the technology being used for global initiatives will occur this year so that any deficiency(s) can be addressed.    

Internal Firewall Upgrade

CITS Accountable Lead – Zia Mafaher

Description: The internal firewall was upgraded in February 2019 to a higher capacity with advanced security features to support additional connections, including Public Safety and the School of Law.

Network Maryland connection for MView (public safety cameras)

CITS Accountable Lead – Zia Mafaher

Description: Completed in April 2019, UMB provided a network connection point to participate in the statewide collaboration effort to share CCTVs (closed circuit television/video) from some University cameras including Public Safety. This will leverage a connection with nwMD (Network MD) or identify another mechanism. MView is a centralized portal that provides statewide video surveillance to first responders and Emergency Operation Centers (EOCs) fostering Homeland Security efforts.