ICC Home  /  Members  /  Meetings  /  Peer Support  /  Documentation  /  Projects

Notes from May 3, 2005 ITPAC Meeting:

back to ITPAC notes index

    notes by Steve Lasley

    Streaming Audio from the meeting.

    ITPAC chairman, Jim Syvertsen, participated remotely from Lake Alfred, so the meeting was chaired by Joe Joyce, our Executive Associate Vice President. Joe began by describing two taskforces, one that has already been formed, and another that will be initiated today.

    The first is the IFAS Videoconferencing Committee being chaired by Jane Luzar, ASO Dean for CALS, and which has already had two meetings. This committee is tasked with refining our videoconferencing system with the intent of reaching its full potential.

    The second is a new Information Technology Task Force, chaired by Pete Vergot, District Extension Director for the Northwest District, which is being tasked to broadly evaluate the current state and future needs of our IT infrastructure as they relate to the mission of our administrative, extension, teaching and research staff. The committee was specifically tasked with recommending a structure and process for the management and coordination of the IFAS Web presence centrally and at the unit level.

    ICC members on this taskforce include: Joe Spooner (chairman of the ICC IT Charter Sub-committee), Ben Beach (IFAS IT/Northeast District Support), David McKinney (Animal Science) and Chris Fooshee (Mid-Florida REC). Mike Kanofsky (UFAD) has also been requested to participate.

    Joe Joyce mentioned that IFAS plans to submit a special non-reoccurring budget request to the Florida Legislature this next session, hopefully to fund improvements in our IT infrastructure.

    Next, Steve Lasley presented the ICC Recommendation for requiring confirmation on all IFAS lists for consideration by ITPAC. Dwight Jesseman, IT/SA Network Systems Engineer responsible for our e-mail system, expressed his concern in getting the word out prior to implementation. There was some discussion relating to the need to develop a list of acceptable uses for the IFAS-ALL list as part of that notice. The committee supported the recommendation unanimously and it has been drafted into a policy recommendation. Implementation is expected to occur during a Sunday maintenance window once end-user notification details have been drafted and distributed to all. The notice will come from Joe Joyce after review by ITPAC via e-mail.

    Dan Cromer, Acting Director of IFAS IT, then presented several IT topic updates. The first gave details of implementation planning for standardizing on "gatorlink@ufl.edu" e-mail addresses. This is in response to ICC and ITPAC recommendations for e-mail address standardization.

    Dan reported that Dwight Jesseman has developed a detailed plan of the various steps that need to take place for IFAS to make this change (detailed in part here). The final draft of that is not yet ready, but once it is, Dan will forward that to the VP's office for approval. This move will require some coordination with UF, which makes the exact dates difficult to determine at this time. Currently, we hope the change can be made over Christmas break.

    Ashley Wood, Director IFAS Information/Publications Services, said that he had investigated making standard e-mail signature templates, but that the needs vary too greatly for this to be very successful. Russ Rouseff, Professor, Citrus REC asked if a suggested signature template could be made available in MS Word format. Dan Cromer indicated that this was a possibility. Ashley said that suggestions could be made available and stored on the ICS server.

    Joe Joyce mentioned that we need to give multiple notices at various times prior to the change so that everyone is informed and will know what to expect. In that notice we can give suggestions on how to handle the signature block--including pointing them to instructions on how to set that within Outlook.

    Dwight asked if administration would be willing to be a "guinea pig" in trying the change-over process early. Joe said, yes--as long as it works.

    Dan then revisited the issue of the e-mail display name format. UF seems unwilling to implement this in the fashion that IFAS would recommend. They have corrected the all upper-case issue, but have not been willing to consider building this field from its constituent parts so that the overall format can be controlled and so that users cannot introduce internal inconsistencies among the various fields. Currently a person can change the component name fields (last, first, etc.) and it is not reflected in the display name. Chris Hughes mentioned that IFAS is not the only organization within UFAD that is unhappy with how this is being done. The only real alternative would be to make our own directory coordinators responsible for assuring that a "last, first" format was used. Again, that is problematic because the end user can make these changes as well.

    Chris Hughes, IT/SA Active Directory Lead, asked about the status of our license count within the Microsoft Campus Agreement. Master Gardeners and other volunteers, such as 4H, who need to use computers to access our network resources must be included in this count for IFAS to be in license compliance. Joe asked Dale McPherson, Coordinator of Administrative Services in the office of the Dean for Extension to investigate this further and to generate a plan for handling this. There is concern that the cost is too great to supply this service to those folks. It was mentioned that certain forms of access (EDIS for example) would not necessarily require such licensing. The other issue there, however, is that UF security policy requires authentication for all users of networked UF computers.

    Dan asked about whether we are on track for removing all Windows 98 machines by July. While the ICCers have indicated this is in-hand for their units, there is a concern about units whose only support is the HelpDesk. Chris Hughes mentioned that getting participation with the ICC for all units (for coordination of such issues) is a continuing issue. He received poor response on multiple requests to departmental chairs for a technical contact.

    Jim Selph, County Extension Director, DeSoto County, expressed the need for having a catalog of centrally stored content (specifically presentations, but not limited to that) appropriate for use by agents that is linked to some central repository. Ashley Wood thought this should be raised initially to the IFAS Publications Steering Committee. It was discussed as well whether that might be an issue for consideration by the new IT Infostructure Taskforce.

    Dan mentioned that the ITAC Video Advisory Subcommittee is developing a certification process for infrastructure, endpoints and support. Joe Joyce was concerned about creating more bureaucracy that might hinder rather than advance the system's ease of use.

    Joe asked about the unit IFAS Directory Liaisons and the UF Directory Coordinators. He wanted Dan to make sure that every unit had one clearly identified. There was a discussion on whether these should be the same person. Dawn Mendoza, Administrative Assistant for Ag Bio Engineering expressed concern that, in her department, this involved too much work for one person.

    The next ITPAC meeting is planned for the first week in August 2005.

last edited 5 May 2005 by Steve Lasley