UW Information Technology

UW-IT Insights — Winter 2016

Husky OnNet: New service offers reliable, safe remote access to  UW resources

Young woman sitting with laptop on the pedestrian bridge.Are you traveling to a conference and need quick access to your research data or UW-licensed library materials? Or at a coffee shop and need to work on documents, spreadsheets and other resources on a UW server? This spring, UW-IT is launching Husky OnNet, a new application that will allow UW students, faculty and staff to access resources that typically require being connected on campus.

Once available, users will be instructed to download Husky OnNet from the IT Connect UWare page. Running the application will allow the UW Network to “see” the device as if it were connected directly on the campus network. This UW-IT service will offer a reliable and encrypted connection to UW resources, said Jan Eveleth, UW-IT Director of Network Design & Architecture.

Initially, the new service will support 20,000 simultaneous users, which should serve the needs of the University for the foreseeable future. Husky OnNet will replace a variety of self-supported applications currently in use, and it will allow for the eventual retirement of the UW-IT Nebula Virtual Private Network (VPN) service.

UW-IT will use multiple communications sources to let the UW community know when the service becomes available in mid- to late April.

Getting the right financial aid to students faster

UW studentsA new project to modernize UW financial aid will make the awards processes more efficient, getting the right financial aid to students faster.

By moving to a mostly paperless application process by the 2017-18 financial aid year, the UW Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA) will streamline financial aid operations, provide a foundation for continual improvement of services and make it easier for students and their families to apply for and receive financial aid.

Each year, OSFA receives more than 46,000 applications and supporting documents used to verify eligibility for aid, process appeals, and manage $650 million in financial aid for UW students. Much of that work is accomplished with paper documents, which is cumbersome and labor intensive, leaving less time for direct consultation with students.

The new online system will allow OSFA to manage documents and electronic workflows more effectively, while improving tools for communicating with students and their families. The first phase of this project is underway, in partnership with UW-IT.

HR/P Modernization update: Integrated Service Center seeks to enhance service across campus

HR/Payroll Modernization and Workday logoProviding better service to the UW community, including a single point of contact for support, is a key driver behind a new initiative to form an HR and Payroll Integrated Service Center to help students, faculty and staff transition to the new Workday HR/Payroll system.

The new center, an initiative launched by the Provost as part of the Transforming Administration Program (TAP), seeks to provide a single place to go for HR, Academic HR and payroll-related questions and service needs. The new center is being developed as part of the HR/Payroll Modernization program and is being informed by input from employees across the UW community.

Benefits include:

  • A single point of entry for most inquiries
  • A unified approach to support and training
  • Development of a comprehensive knowledge base to expand the level of accurate information accessible to all

UW employees are invited to attend an open forum to learn more about the HR and Payroll Integrated Service Center on March 2. Attendees will be encouraged to provide input on a series of facilitated questions about how they would most likely access the center. The forum will be held from 2:30-3:30 p.m., HUB 332.

For details regarding this important TAP initiative, please visit the HR/Payroll Integrated Service Center website. Use the link on the site to submit your ideas and feedback

New online process allows UW Seattle Admissions to keep pace with 18 percent increase in first-year applications

ellucianA new online admissions review process delivered by UW-IT, in collaboration with UW Seattle’s Office of Admissions, is enabling the University to efficiently process more than 43,000 first-year applications this year, an 18 percent increase over last year.

The new online process, designed as part of the Undergraduate Admissions Modernization project, has allowed the UW to handle more applications and maintain a competitive advantage in attracting and admitting high-achieving students.

The Office of Admissions reported being 32 percent ahead of last year’s application processing metrics—and on track to send decisions on time. Support for online review of international, transfer and post-baccalaureate applications is expected to follow in 2016.

Also in the coming year, the modernization project will support the UW in moving to a new national application system shared among a select group of more than 80 public and private colleges and universities, and enable fully paperless processing in UW Seattle Admissions.

Provost/UW-IT series focuses on online learning

Jody Early UW BothellBothell professor Jody Early explains how she integrated community-based service learning into an online class, the latest in a series of stories highlighting innovation in teaching and learning with technology on all three UW campuses.

Early’s work is being showcased on the Provost’s new Innovators website. The entire series will be folded into a special Provost report this spring. The series is being produced through a collaboration of the Office of the Provost, the Center for Teaching and Learning, UW-IT and UW Libraries.

Weekly MyUW messages to freshmen aim to improve the student experience

MyUWThrive_75x75As part of a major effort to improve the student experience, weekly messages are being posted to first-year students via MyUW to help them succeed.

The #ThriveUW messages support the Husky Experience Initiative and are intended to be quick reminders for busy first-year students. Each highlights a theme, such as making friends, exploring majors, improving study skills and doing better at time and money management.

The messages, written by the Office of the Provost in collaboration with UW-IT’s Academic & Collaborative Applications staff, suggest a course of action and a URL for more information, with reinforcement by first-year interest groups and in residence halls.

FY 2017 Technology Recharge Fee rates rise slightly to address costs of IT operations

Technology Recharge FeeThe Technology Recharge Fee (TRF) rates for FY 2017 will increase by 1.1 percent for all academic and administrative units and by 0.8 percent for the medical centers, under a recommendation by the University’s IT Service Investment Board and approved by the Provost.

This increase is necessary to help address the rising costs of delivering IT services to the University community. The FY 2017 TRF rates, effective July 1, 2016, will be:

  • $56.13 per month per capita for all academic and administrative units
  • $51.34 per month per capita for the medical centers

The TRF provides support for essential information technology services delivered by UW-IT.

Telecommunications upgrade work continues throughout the University

voip3A major upgrade to the UW telecommunications system continues to make progress, with UW-IT staff currently working on replacing older phones with newer equipment, including software so faculty, staff and other users can make calls from their desktop computers.

The multi-year project, which started in 2011, is replacing an aging telephone service with emerging and more responsive technologies. The effort includes integration of voice communications with other forms of communications, including voicemail and email. New infrastructure in UW-IT data centers is already in place, and more than 8,450 older phones have been replaced.

Another 3,150 phones are expected to be replaced by June 30. When completed, the project will have upgraded approximately 20,000 phones across the three UW campuses. For more information, visit the Telecommunications Upgrade Project website.

In brief:

  • A new Cloud and Data Solutions initiative provides support for UW research programs in moving to cloud computing. The initiative, launched by the UW eScience Institute and UW-IT, also will document successes and challenges as UW broadens its support for cloud services.
  • The IT Connect website sports a clean new look and easier navigation to useful content, and easy-to-find topics and resources under a redesign that launched in January. The site also offers news, tweets and upcoming events, and is now better aligned with the UW branding colors and design.
  • The UW Tower Data Center earned ENERGY STAR certification for the third year in a row, the only university data center to earn it for 2015. This EPA voluntary certification recognizes data centers that have achieved superior energy efficiency.
  • UW Profiles now allows comparison of the UW with U.S. public, private and Research 1 institutions in four key areas: graduation rates, retention rates, fall enrollment and awards granted. These new Peer Dashboards, a joint effort of the Office of Planning & Budgeting and UW-IT, are available on the UW Profiles portal, along with recently added Research Awards and Proposals. UW Profiles, a suite of interactive dashboards that provide easy access to data from the UW Enterprise Data Warehouse, recently received the business intelligence industry’s most prestigious honor—The Data Warehousing Institute (TDWI) Best Practices Award.
  • Resetting a forgotten UW NetID password is now faster, easier and more secure—with no need to contact UW-IT or the Registrar’s office. Learn how.
  • Save the date: Third Annual UW TechConnect Conference, March 24, UW Seattle HUB. This year’s focus is on exploring Future-Proofing in Information Technology at the University. The all-day conference provides a unique opportunity to learn about emerging technology changes, explore a wide range of IT communities of practice and make personal connections. Details on the TechConnect Conference website.
  • Internships are among the top priorities in students’ academic lives, according to ongoing research by UW-IT’s Academic & Collaborative Applications (ACA). Students see them as a highly valuable experience, but have trouble locating opportunities and landing internships. ACA is helping the Undergraduate UW Internship Advisory Council to determine the best way to educate and market internship opportunities to students, and to track participation.