LSAIT Monthly Status Report - August 2013


By David Sweetman
Aug 30, 2013

Welcome to the beginning of a new school year!  Below is this month's status report for significant projects which LSA IT is leading or other Michigan IT initiatives that may be of interest to you.  Feedback and questions are always welcome.

Seeking nominations for the LSA IT Innovation and Collaboration Award. The IT Innovation and Collaboration Award is a $1,000 monetary award to recognize the IT development that has the greatest overall impact on LSA over the previous year.  This could be something that impacts a lot of people by a small amount or something that has a large effect on a small number of people.  Criteria for the greatest impact will include, but not be limited to the following:  automation of workflow, cost savings, adoption beyond the local unit, and overall benefit to the unit and/or College.  All LSA staff in good standing are eligible to be nominated. Nomination deadline is September 27, 2013 and award recipient(s) are honored in December.  A change to the process this year: reference letters are not needed as part of the initial nomination, but may be subsequently requested.  Click here for more information or to nominate. (Contact: lsa.it.council@umich.edu)

Qualtrics survey tool updates.  Qualtrics is a comprehensive suite of tools for conducting and managing survey-based research.  If you are a current LSA Qualtrics user, earlier this month you should have received an e-mail describing the consolidation of all current U-M Qualtrics usage to a single U-M account.  Just a friendly reminder to migrate your existing surveys to your new account. If you are not a current Qualtrics user and are interested in learning more, click here. (Contact: Gloria Love)

MiWorkspace Design Recommendations Complete for Academic Units. The MiWorkspace project team recently completed the proposed redesign of MiWorkspace for use in Academic & Research units.  Over 100 technical experts from across campus contributed to this effort, including many from LSA.  In addition to refining some existing features, in-depth recommendations were provided for new functionality that is relatively unique to academic units when compared to administrative units of the University: student computing support, classroom computing support, Linux-based services, and support for personally-owned devices. Click here for additional information.  Planning continues for MiWorkspace LSA pilots with Comm Studies, DMC, and other Dean’s Office areas. (Contacts: Moni Dressler, Greg Beyer, Eric Pinaud, David Sweetman)

New IT Technical Training.  The university recently signed strategic training contracts with two well-known technical training vendors, Webucator and New Horizons. The new IT training resources are the result of a collaborative effort across campus. Both in-person and computer-based training options are available on a wide range of topics.  For training for foundational productivity software such as Microsoft Word, Excel, or PowerPoint, funding is available from the professional development budget provided by the LSA Dean’s Office. (Contact: David Sweetman)

IT in LSA implemented cohesive service management - Earlier this month, in collaboration with ITS and AST, we introduced ServiceLink, a tool for managing support and other requests.  This tool is enabling greater continuity and collaboration in IT providing support across the College and the University.  We thank you for your continued patience as we work through some fixes and enhancements to the system.  We are working to ensure that IT support staff and the tool can efficiently and effectively respond to users in preparation for the start of term.  For more information about the ServiceLink project, visit the project site or read the FAQ. (Contact: Erin Dietrich, Reid Paxton)

Welcome to LSA IT. This month five individuals either transitioned to LSA IT from another unit or were hired to replace previous staff.  We welcome Fei Ding to the East Hall Technical Services team.  Fei comes to us from the UM Molecular & Behavioral Neuroscience Institute, where she was a technical services engineer.  We also welcome Michelle Jacques from LSA Student Academic Affairs, who will now be joining the new Angell Hall location to provide IT support to SAA as well as other LSA units.  Finally, we welcome three new staff in the process of joining the team supporting Biophysics, Chemistry, Earth, EEB, and MCDB: Mark Champe joins us from LSA Complex Systems, where he has provided systems administration for 4 years.  Greg Allen comes to us from GM Financial and is also familiar with the University, having provided IT support to researchers in the Medical School.  Johnathon Gallias joins us from Non-Profit Enterprises at Work, where he provided systems administration for diverse organizations across southeast Michigan. (Contacts: Eric Pinaud, Phil Bonam, Dan St. Pierre)

New Angell Hall support location. In order to more fully serve the large concentration of LSA units located in the Angell, Mason, Tisch, and Haven Halls, we have recently opened a new CSG desktop support location in Angell Hall.  Support staff stationed in this location include Phil Bonam, Michelle Jacques, Gloria Love, Sheri Thornton, Andrew Overholt, and Keon Ray. (Contact: Phil Bonam)

IT Advocacy Pilot - We continue to roll-out the IT Advocacy role to additional units across LSA.  We are now participating with 12 units across the College.  Invitations to departments to join Phase 2 of the pilot have been sent.  Phase 2  has begun and will continue through the Fall term. For up-to-date information on the assignments and participating units, click here (Contact: Erin Dietrich, Nancy Herlocher).

Monthly update and tech tip survey results. Earlier this month we surveyed the lsa.it.interest email group to help us understand what’s going well and what could be improved regarding our monthly updates and tech tips.  Thank you to the 95 people who took the time to respond!  Overall, responses indicated the community finds these monthly updates useful, with response also positive for the tech tips. Based on feedback received, we will be transitioning the tech tips from twice monthly to once monthly and providing those tips in a more consistent format.  We’ll also focus largely on tips to leverage the Google Collaboration Suite, as the vast majority of survey comments indicated interest in learning more in this area.  As for the monthly updates, we will plan to include more links for those interested in more detail on specific topics and are also exploring additional features to include.  Thank you again to everyone who provided input to help ensure IT communications are meeting your needs. (Contact: David Sweetman)