Task force issues final report; changes in University computing under way
The Provost's Task Force on Computing has released its final report on University computing services and operations. The complete report, which includes suggestions for improving the structure of campus computing in support of research and teaching, is printed in the University Record, included with this issue of the Chronicle.
The report deals with 10 basic issues: organization and governance; budget and finance; computing in the divisions and schools and in the College; networking and decentralized services; standards and platform support; site licenses and contracts; the Campus Computer Store; computer clusters serving all students; computing in the residence halls; and education and training.
President Sonnenschein and Provost Geoffrey Stone have asked Associate Provost Gene Mazenko to manage the initial implementation of the task force's recommendations. A first step in the transition will be to combine Networking, Telecommunications & Computing Services (now a part of Administrative Computing) and Academic Information Technologies into a new unit -- Networking Services -- that will report directly to Mazenko.
The President and Provost have also asked the Board of Computing Activities to serve as the search committee to identify a full-time Director of Information Technology Services. The person who fills the position will work collaboratively with faculty members, deans and computing staff throughout the University to plan, develop, and maintain computing services and operations to meet the research and instructional needs of the University. A national search will be conducted soon for an individual to fill this position.
The report also recommends that the University Library eventually assume responsibility for some campus-wide information systems and for the computing clusters in Usite, Regenstein and Crerar. This will begin only after the Library has made progress in implementing a new on-line catalog system.
"There is no single 'right' way to organize computing services and resources, and given the rapid pace of change in this area, an organization that may be right today may be obsolete in only a few years," Stone said. "With a full awareness of these factors, the President and I offer our full support to those faculty and staff members who will work with us in the coming months to bring to fruition the recommendations of the task force. We are confident that these changes will bring significant improvements in services."