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  OIT Home > Committees > ITPG > Meetings > ITPG Meeting Minutes 04/12/00
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ITPG Meeting Minutes April 12, 2000


Present: Arlene Allen, Debbie Anglin, Eric Brody, Glenn Davis, Bill Doering, George Gregg, Chuck Haines, Phil Handley, Rick Johnson, Bill Koseluk, Tom Lawton, Tom Marazita, Elise Meyer, Alan Moses, Joan Murdoch, Kevin Schmidt, Jamie Sonsini, Bob Sugar

Not Present: Kevin Barron, Art Battson, Ken Bowers, Gail Johnson, Ed Mehlschau, Larry Murdock, Stan Nicholson, Deborah Scott, Vince Sefcik, John Vasi

Bob started the meeting with a progress report on the formation of the OIT. In short, personnel searches are underway, space planning is in progress, the transition team has completed a mission and services document and projects are proceeding. Memos describing the NGB and intrabuilding wiring have gone to deans and department heads telling them that projects are starting. Recruiting for the Director, Associate Director and Security positions are items on the critical path.

BEG reported that the NGB group is working on a draft of the equipment RFP and the wiring group is working through issues of appropriate port density. The latter goal is to provide a baseline (a "line in the sand") for the value engineering phase of projects. Another goal is to get wiring considered early in a planned building project. Gartner will be consulted for advice.

CalREN-2 reported that CREATE was awaiting connection at any moment and that the Computer Science group was also now prepared and waiting.

It was noted that we need a definition of the Cox cable modem service. For example we need to know if Cox is filtering "windows file sharing" traffic. We also need a definition of Cox commercial service to know how to tunnel IP. Some have heard that Cox is looking at bandwidth usage patterns in an attempt to find those who are in violation of the Cox use policy.

It was reported that ResNet has had a 10Mb/s full duplex connection in place since February. Estimates of costs for the ISP Drain have risen from the $72K to $125K for FY 99/00.

Campus modem pool equipment is in and tested. We are now waiting until the PRI is tariffed and operational. Communication Services estimates that the upgrade will be complete by July 1, 2000.

The Survey Group distributed packets of completed student survey forms along with directions for keying. Instructional Consultation will arrange for data entry for the faculty survey.

The Security Group reported that recruiting for the new position is in progress. Ted Smith and Shea Lovan made a presentation to about fifty system administrators. A presentation appropriate for Management Services Officers (MSOs) is also in planning.

The Authentication/Directory Group reported that the LDAP server with faculty and staff entries is up and running on NT 4.11, backed up by a replication server. A discussion of the trend toward bundling LDAP costs with operating systems ensued. ( A subsequent check on the Sun Netscape offer revealed that the LDAP software is only free if one buys a new Sun computer to dedicate to running the directory. There are also some limits on the number of entries that can be used for free.) IS&C has ordered and paid for licenses and maintenance for 11,000 entries. Consequently, additional funding will be required to add student entries. Next step is to plan the schema for inclusion of student records. A publicly accessible LDAP is also in the works. A subcommittee has created a document describing departments’ management of email addresses in the directory. This document will be a source for articles in "93106" and other publications as coordination with the campus progresses.

The Personal Computing standards workgroup met and discussed needs for specifications in the following areas: Macintosh access to emerging systems that are based on current browsers, network cards appropriate for connecting to ResNet, wireless networks, common software products, minimum vs. recommended guidelines, and publicity for standards, including a web page with links to departmental pages for discipline-specific recommendatons. Next step is to investigate what other "wired" campuses are doing.

The Wireless Scouting Party is busy investigating 802.11 umbrella systems and services available via cellular telephone. A report is planned for this summer. A preview with participation of vendors is under consideration. GTE is interested; are there other vendors that might wish to participate?

The campus web presence was a major discussion topic. The campus webmaster has encouraged ITPG to consider the topic and make recommendations. The Chancellor and the EVC have both heard that our pages need some additional work. It was suggested that keeping our web pages current needs to be someone’s specific assignment. It is uncertain whether the problems stem from lack of person-power or from organizational placement. Need for a definition of the current baseline of staff responsibilities was expressed.

The current process was outlined as follows: hardware/software is maintained by CNP, graphic design is coordinated by Public Affairs, although the group has met only once since Ernesto Lopez’s retirement. Design is then passed to Instructional Resources where images are created. The web page images are then emailed to CNP staff who install them on the web server, test results and clean up linkages as required. Staff in Public Affairs also read email messages directed to the campus webmaster and respond.

Problems seem to arise from a lack of staff time, rather than a lack of ideas for improvement. Broken linkages, timeliness of updates and perceived weakness in the search engine were noted as problems. Issues regarding the inclusion of a campus mailing address, the organization of content and the diversity of perspectives contending for prominence surfaced. The possibility of outsourcing responsibility for web maintenance was mentioned. It was agreed that the campus web presence needs an active "champion." Some believe that it is becoming mission critical for recruiting new faculty and students. Others suggested that support needs to be dedicated to the task and funded.

Instructional Consultation reported that a recent call for proposals resulted in 43 responses of which 95% involved the development of web pages. Results of efforts in this area have been uneven. Some have gained global recognition while others have not been as successful. Some offsite services (EZ-college/MetaCollege) are being used by faculty.

It was agreed that the first step is to ask Vice Chancellor Wiemann (campus webmaster) if anyone is chairing the web committee now that Ernesto has retired. If there is no chair, we recommend that one be appointed and that they report on the current status and process. We should also ask VC Wiemann if there are issues he would like ITPG to review.

Anti-virus software was discussed briefly, with nothing new to report. Laurice Kennel from Software Depot plans to attend our next meeting.

In response to a request for guidance from Communications Services, the issue of renewing the GTE agreement for discounted ISP service was discussed. There is more interest in high speed services such as cox@home and DSL than in basic 56K ISP service. However, some felt it would be nice to preserve the ability to have home service billed to UC accounts. Filtering done by providers and attempts to encourage use of their portal services were discussed. At the end of the discussion it was agreed that Communications Services should ask GTE if they wish to extend the current arrangement. If not, do they have an alternative to propose? If GTE is not responsive, we should allow the agreement to expire and publish its demise.

The pilot proxy service is up and running for the Library. Many IP restricted resources are now accessible and several faculty are testing the service from home.

Bill K. reviewed facts gathered regarding staffing, IT salaries and equipment purchases and Alan reported discussions at a recent UC meeting on recruiting and retention of IT staff. Over the past several months UCSB has typically had eight to nine CNT positions open, three or four of which have been reopened due to inability to attract applicants. In all, there are currently at least 14 technical positions unfilled. Problems with ability to retain staff, quality of applicants in the pools and inability to close the deal at the end of recruitment were reported. UCSB seems to be worse off than other UC campus which are, in turn, worse off than industry and .com startups. A paper from Sun describing its concerns over losing intellectual capital was distributed. The fundamental issues seem to be salary and workload.

The idea of "growing our own" by fast-tracking interested students was discussed. However, with shortages of staff due to the problems we are experiencing, it is difficult to find people to do the training and mentoring required. Some campuses have done campus-funded equity increases. Some campuses are going to narrowly funded ranges while others have just two wide ranges. Campuses also choose different points within the range for initial salaries. Some start at 25% while others start at 50%. It was agreed that one must go at least 25% into the range to hire successfully. Hiring bonuses or "stipends" for both the recruit and the staff member providing a referral are also possible. These are typically done at the department level. There is no UC policy against this practice, although generating the funding is always an issue. It was also observed that the diversity of job duties required of our IT staff does not compare favorably with the more narrowly defined duties typical of industry.

Some expressed the feeling that recruiting and retention are becoming mission-critical issues. If we cannot recruit people to support services on which vital campus processes depend, we will be in deep trouble. It was suggested that we take a two-pronged approach to the problem by articulating it both at the ITB and in the colleges and departments. If the message arrives at the EVC from both sources, we have a better chance of success. Other ideas such as the use of web page links to job openings and the use of head hunters were also discussed. Some thought that demand is so great that we have to go looking at posted resumes, rather than waiting for applicants to find us.

Another possibility is to emphasize the availability of training in UC positions. One campus is reported to be budgeting 10% of each IT salary for training. The industry standard appears to be 2-8% of salary. Other ideas included compilation of statistics from exit interviews to see why we are losing people (some think we know), introduction of portable benefits (some think that would exacerbate the problem), extension of the Mortgage Origination Program (MOP) to junior faculty and staff, spot incentive awards, and sponsored RecCen memberships. A significant problem is deciding who owns the issue at UCSB.

In conclusion, it was agreed that Bill Koseluk would present the staffing and salary data at the next ITB meeting.

The next ITPG meeting will be Wednesday, May 10, at 10:00 a.m. in North Hall 1131. The meeting after that will be on June 7. The group suggested that we schedule meetings in July, August and September to reserve times on our calendars. Consequently, meetings have been scheduled for 10:30 to noon on Monday, July 17, and Thursday, August 17, and 10:00 to noon on Thursday, September 14. Please mark your calendars (unless, of course, CT does that for you).

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