I recently had the privilege of being a speaker on Career Day at Fox Elementary School in Richmond. I presented to my daughters’ second and third grade classes on what my job is and how technology is used at VCU. What a wonderful and humbling experience! How do you explain what we do to 7, 8, and 9 year-olds and make it sound interesting? I think I did a reasonable job of explaining many of the different kinds of work IT people do and how that work enables people at VCU to learn, teach, conduct research, provide patient care, and do all of the other things needed to support those activities (at least my kids said they weren’t embarrassed). In addition to reminding me how awesome teachers are (I barely kept these kids’ attention for 25 minutes and they have to do it all day every day), it reminded me what a great job I have and how much fun it is to be here at VCU. Thanks to those in Technology Services who helped me with props and handouts for the students (whose thank you notes were a lot of fun).
I would also like to provide some updates on some of the projects that Technology Services is supporting:
Course Leaf Project
With the assistance of Technology Services, VCU will be implementing CourseLeaf, a state-of-the art web-based Academic Catalog Management software used at many schools including University of Texas, Stanford, West Virginia University, and Yale. Managing program, course, and catalog updates is currently a complicated process, involving lots of paper, back and forth, and inconsistent information. CourseLeaf will streamline our catalog update process from proposing new courses through the entire process ending with final publishing. This product also has ready integration with Banner and DegreeWorks. The business case was reviewed and prioritized by representatives of the Office of the Provost and Technology Services, and the investment proposal was approved by the University Academic and Administrative IT Steering Committee. Project definition and planning is now underway. Process analyses are being performed to discover issues with the current business model that will be targeted for improvement in the CourseLeaf implementation, and then a coordinated project planning effort with the vendor’s implementation services can begin.
LANDesk Service Replaces Remedy
The new IT service request system, VCU Service Desk, became available beginning October 15th as the replacement for the previous support ticketing system. This new system offers much of the same functionality as the prior ticketing system with additional features including the ability to separate tickets based on service disruption issues versus request for new service as well as full functionality through a web client. VCU Service Desk has already logged over 5,200 request for support or new services since the coming online. A total of 188 departmental partners utilize the the new Service Desk system to provide support for the VCU community. Resources for IT analyst use of VCU Service Desk are available via the askIT Knowledge Base. Resources for customer use of VCU Service Desk are also available via the askIT Knowledge Base. VCU Service Desk is available atservicedesk.vcu.edu. Please send any questions or comments concerning VCU Service Desk to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The RADAR project (the new constituency relationship management system) in Development and Alumni Relations (DAR) is moving forward on schedule and remains in line with budget projections. We are undertaking a prescriptive approach to implementation to ensure that best practices are implemented along with the new system. Representatives from across VCU recently completed a survey indicating that they are excited about the new system and strongly committed to making the project a success. In the near future DAR will begin a series of Show and Learn sessions to expose staff to the aspects of the application that have been designed, which include biographical records, Revenue Operations, Direct Marketing & Communications, Stewardship, Prospect Management and Major Gifts.
During December, the team will design Event Management, Membership and Alumni Relations, and the Blackbaud Internet Services that will power giving and registration forms, email, websites and alumni community. Mapping and converting data into RADAR is well underway, with the second of five planned extracts from Millennium to the RADAR test database completed on November 13.
The above projects are just a sampling of the work going on in Technology Services. As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, I am reminded that I am truly thankful for the privilege of working with so many great colleagues at an institution where we really make a difference every day.