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UW Information Technology

UW-IT Insights — Fall 2015

Provost/UW-IT series highlights innovative teaching at UW

innovatorsA UW Bothell lecturer’s efforts to create a study abroad experience for her class without leaving home, using easily accessible technologies such as Skype and Facebook, is the first of several stories that highlight innovative approaches to teaching and learning with technology on all three UW campuses.

This Innovators Among Us series of stories features innovative faculty who share their experiences, tips, best practices and methods that can be adopted by others. The series is being produced through a collaboration of the Office of the Provost, the Center for Teaching and Learning, UW Information Technology and UW Libraries.

“With this series, we want to promote best practices and new approaches,” said Interim Provost Jerry Baldasty. “Our goal is to highlight and encourage a culture of innovation in teaching and learning, and inspire more faculty to try innovative approaches.”

The articles are being showcased on the Provost’s new Trends and Issues in Higher Education website, with a new story every six weeks. The entire series will be folded into a special Provost report in May 2016.


HR/Payroll Modernization project is now operating as a program

hrp-workday3To ensure a successful launch and to provide better coordination across all related Human Resources/Payroll projects, HR/Payroll Modernization is now operating as a program. This alignment delivers better support to the UW community in preparing for the transition to the new Workday system, and will enable the University to fully realize the benefits of this change.

The new HR/P Modernization program encompasses the full scope of efforts involved, including work underway in Human Resources, Finance & Facilities, UW Information Technology, Academic Personnel, UW Medicine and departments with downstream systems that will be affected by the new Workday system.

As HR/P Modernization now enters its Test phase, the program’s change management efforts kick into high gear, with a people-first approach that is designed to help units work effectively with the new system and business processes. This phase, which started in September and runs until the Deploy phase in late spring, provides opportunities for the UW community to understand the new system’s impact on their work, gain data critical to the new system and explore Workday’s look, feel and functionality. The Test phase activities are essential to meeting the June 2016 go-live date.

Over the summer, the program welcomed new leadership, with UW Information Technology Vice President and CIO Kelli Trosvig becoming the Lead Executive Sponsor, following the retirement of Senior Vice President V’Ella Warren. Two new Executive Sponsors joined the team: Paul Jenny, Senior Vice President for Planning & Management and Lead Executive Sponsor on the Finance Business Transformation project; and Dave Anderson, Executive Director for the Health Sciences Administration, who also has a reporting relationship with Finance & Facilities.

UW Interim President Ana Mari Cauce has recognized the HR/P Modernization program as the University’s highest administrative priority. She sees it as foundational to the University’s efforts to modernize its administrative infrastructure, and critical to supporting other important UW initiatives, now and into the future.


Seattle Undergraduate Admissions moves toward paperless application review

ellucianUW Seattle Undergraduate Admissions is going paperless, with a new online application review system that will increase the efficiency and agility of the admission review process and support the UW’s ability to attract and admit high-achieving students.

The first release of this new system will allow the University to tackle domestic freshmen applications, which account for about 73 percent of the 37,000 freshmen applications expected this fall for next autumn quarter. Support for online review of international, transfer and post-baccalaureate applications is expected to follow in 2016.

Until recently, all applications and materials were printed as part of a paper-intensive review process. The new system, built on Dynamics CRM and Ellucian Recruiter software, provides a streamlined process supported by online forms, electronic workflows and reporting dashboards, increasing efficiencies while reducing paper use. Undergraduate Admissions and UW-IT’s Student Program collaborated on the project.


Technology upgrades for Seattle’s classrooms bring improvements, with more to come

tech-upgradesIn the past 12 months, more than 50 UW Seattle general-use classrooms have undergone significant technology improvements as part of an ongoing eight-year technology refresh program started in 2013, with more upgrades underway.

“As classrooms are updated, instructors are benefiting from standardized teaching technologies and control systems that allow them to move from one classroom to another with comfort and ease,” said Roberta Hopkins, Director of UW-IT’s Classroom Technology & Events. As part of the refresh, 20 small teaching spaces have been updated with 65-inch flat panel, wall-mounted displays, opening up the rooms and making it easier for instructors and students to connect laptops and other digital equipment. In addition, a second satellite location for the STF technology loan program is opening this fall at the Student Resources Center Room 111B, Husky Union Building.

Upcoming improvements include:

  • Upgrade another 40+ general-use classrooms in the next 12 months
  • Open a new sandbox Active Learning Classroom in Mary Gates Hall this autumn, designed to support minimal technology while allowing instructors to customize the space with easily movable furniture
  • Renovate and open new classrooms in historic Denny Hall during 2015-16, including a new 100-seat Active Learning Classroom
  • Do a major renovation of Bagley Hall Room 131 and refresh several small classrooms on the first floor of Loew Hall during 2016, using $2 million from UW’s Capital Budget for 2015-17 program renewal projects

Pilot shows value of new tool in streamlining course review and approvals

bookstack-tabletA pilot that introduced electronic workflows to replace an intensive paper-based process for UW faculty and staff who create, submit and approve course applications has been well-received so far.

“This is better than the paper form,” said one participant who tested the UW Curriculum Management tool last spring. Other participants said navigation was easy and workflows were intuitive. The new tool allows users to easily search for and view courses, compare course versions, propose new courses and modifications, and track proposals, improving the efficiency and transparency of the course review and approval process.

For the pilot, participants from several schools at all three campuses created and submitted proposals for new courses, and the UW Curriculum Committee approved them. UW-IT and the UW Curriculum Office are conducting a second pilot to understand how well other aspects of the tool work.


A new MyUW offers latest improvements for students

MyUWThrive_75x75The new MyUW responsive design, with views for both desktops and mobile devices, is now available to students with plenty of new features, including #ThriveUW messaging for first-year students to support the Husky Experience Initiative. Thrive messages raise awareness of key resources to help students transition to the UW and get the most out of their experience here.

Rollout of the MyUW desktop view will be phased in order to ensure a good user experience for students. Since September 15, all first-year students logging in to MyUW see the new desktop version. By winter quarter, all students will have access. Key information for students will change by the week on both the desktop and mobile versions, offering what is most relevant as the quarter progresses. Learn more about the desktop rollout and watch a short video about the new MyUW.


In brief:

  • The UW-IT 2015 Customer Experience Survey Report is now available. The May 2015 survey gathered feedback from 1,016 UW students, faculty and staff on all three campuses about their awareness, usage and experience with key services and support provided by UW-IT. To ensure confidentiality, the Office of Educational Assessment administered the survey.
  • Get your head in the cloud at the first Cloud Day @ UW event, November 12, showcasing new cloud-based computing products, with professionals sharing success stories and best practices. Bruce Vincent, Chief IT Architect and Technology Strategist at Stanford University, will give the keynote address. This event is designed for IT staff, researchers, computing professionals associated with research groups, and cloud vendors. RSVP.
  • UW-IT Amazon Web Services are now available for UW researchers and technical staff in need of easy-to-deploy, cost-effective computing and related services, including virtualized servers, cloud storage, databases and more. These new cloud-based services provide appropriate security, privacy and compliance terms for use with UW sensitive and confidential data (protected by FERPA, FISMA, and later HIPAA). They also qualify for the UW’s new Indirect Cost (F&A) Waiver, resulting in significantly better rates for use of cloud services by research grants, and offers a waiver for data egress fees.
  • The technology support community at the UW is invited to attend the Campus Tech Talks December 3. Also, save the date for the UW TechConnect Conference on March 24, 2016.
  • A new High Performance Computing website within IT Connect helps UW researchers understand and access UW-IT’s breadth of research computing services and tools.
  • A new Mobile UW website makes it easier for students, faculty and staff to find UW mobile-friendly resources.
  • Two new research dashboards in UW Profiles make it as simple as clicking a mouse to explore information on UW research awards and proposals at an overall summary or individual unit level to answer specific questions.
  • The UW Profiles Portal has been recognized with the business intelligence industry’s most prestigious international honor—The Data Warehousing Institute (TDWI) Best Practices Award, which honors organizations that demonstrate excellence and innovation in developing, deploying and maintaining business intelligence, data warehousing and related data management applications. The UW Profiles Portal and dashboards also have been recognized with an honorable mention in the 2015 Campus Technology Innovators Awards, which honors projects around the globe that are making a positive impact on teaching, learning and administration.