Minutes for IT Task Force Meeting # 1

Date: July 24, 1997

Prepared by: Roger Lawson


Ray Lavigne, Jon Crystal , Keith Kennedy, Martha Cafferky, Lauck Parke, Carol Gilbert, Joe Patlak, Deborah Shenk, Mark Fitzsimmons, Geetha Ramanathan, David Punia & Roger Lawson

Ray Lavigne commenced the meeting by thanking the committee for agreeing to participate in this planning effort and giving the committee its charge:

Why are we undertaking another IT planning task force in view of the many well-intentioned and well-founded efforts?

"The intent is to build upon the efforts of previous efforts, which have not resulted in a concrete widely-accepted plan for IT at UVM, to develop a strategy for implementation and budgeting. In April President Ramaley asked me to develop a strategic and tactical IT plan, including a proposed expansion of the Library and the replacement of the Telecommunication system. President Ramaley believes that technology and specifically information technology is critical to UVM's future."


The IT vision and plan must include research, instruction, and administrative information technology applications.

Examples of issues to be addressed are:

These are just some of the questions and issues that should be included in the evaluation of IT and its development of an IT vision and plan.

"In terms of the timetable, I recommend that a draft report be ready for campus comments by the end of October. After review and comment by the campus, a final proposal should be delivered to the Provost and Vice President for Administration for their review and approval by January 15, 1998."

As members who were present introduced themselves, they described the improvements they would like to see initiated via this process. The ideas aired are paraphrased below. Although there are clearly differing viewpoints, there appears to be a gratifying level of congruence and a strong sense of teamwork among the membership. The ideas are posted roughly in the order presented, as recollected and without attribution. These are the thoughts of individuals and though there seems to be concurrence in most cases, these are not put forth as a committee consensus. Members (and others) are encouraged to post their visions and ideas directly to Plan-IT -- especially those who were unable to be at the meeting...



No points have been intentionally passed over. In some case I may have consolidated similar ideas under a single bullet and may have added my own "spin" to some of these ideas. If I have inadvertently (due to my faulty memory and marginal note-taking skills), left out or misunderstood/misrepresented important points, please post them to this list!

Following introductions the discussion turned to the tasks at hand. Considerable concern was raised about the magnitude of the planning effort and the prospect of delivering a draft document to the campus by November 1 with no more than weekly meetings (14 weeks through the end of October). Committee members offered several suggestions:


The meeting adjourned at 11AM. The next meeting will be on Thursday 1-3PM room TBA. Roger

David Punia's notes -

VP Lavigne and the group discussed the need for budget sustainability; that

a detailed implementation strategy necessarily must include budget issues.

Ray also noted, while there may be some one-time funding available, funding

for changes in base budget needs will have to come from reallocation.


It was noted that the Board of Trustees is very interested in the work of

the Task Force.


The members introduced themselves and each spoke briefly about their

backgrounds and specific ideas about the work that needs to be done. The

highlights, in no particular order, were;


Dealing with legacy systems in the new and changing IT environment

Integrating disparate information systems

Improving desktop support; treating desktop computers as telephones

The difficulty of cost/benefit analyses

Interfacing different units around campus

Getting a handle on what and how we spend our IT dollars

Remembering there are other forms of IT than computers, e.g. laserdisc

players and other classroom equipment

Focus on (pedagogical) content, not hardware.

Addressing the budget inequities across units

Establishing a minimum standard for IT in the classroom and on the desktop

Equipping classrooms appropriately

Centralized vs. Decentralized purchasing and control

The politics of IT around campus

Personal IT: Looking at people and how they use IT

"Anchors vs. Airplanes" Appropriate IT for whom?

Technical literacy and training

Pooling intellectual resources

Addressing the "technology gap" between units

Keeping up with current technologies to allow innovative teaching

Assessing IT use, and the progress of an implementation plan

How does this tie in to curriculum changes that are coming; Kellogg &


How ubiquitous should IT be? Who needs what, when, where, and how much?

Distributed learning environments

Information sharing across campus

Paper and paperwork reduction

Work flow analysis; not just moving the same processes onto computers

Establishing a common vision for IT, with campus consensus

Dealing with the productivity paradox

Establishing supportable standards, while providing leeway to exceed them.


There was further discussion about the volume of work that has already been

done, both at UVM and by other institutions, some of which is on the web

page, more to be added. The questions posed were;

What is applicable in today's environment?

What is still applicable to UVM?

What are the important questions to ask?

Can we tailor the work that's been done by other institutions to UVM's needs?


There was general agreement that the documents placed on the web pages need

to be reviewed and that a work plan would be an appropriate topic for the

next meeting. There was discussion, and general agreement, that one or more

intensive, retreat-like sessions might be a better approach than weekly,

hour-or-longer meetings. This will be explored further. It was also

suggested that the group invite in some of the authors of past reports to

speak about their efforts.


There was some discussion of moving the target date up to mid-December to

better coordinate with the Telecommunications project.