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The Connect IT
THE OFFICE OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
August, 2016 utdallas.edu/oit/newsletter/
Cepica takes the Helm for Technology Customer Services

Shannon Cepica, Director of Financial Services and Technology Customer Services Shannon Cepica, Director of Financial Services, is now taking on additional duties as the Director of Technology Customer Services. TCS provides Desktop Support, Software licensing and distribution, Help Desk, and computer lab environments for the UT Dallas. The new ATLAS system will also tie in with the new direction for TCS.

Before arriving at UTD, Shannon oversaw the Technology support operations for Texas Tech University in Lubbock which won numerous awards for providing a high touch model for end user support.

“I am incredibly excited about this opportunity”, said Cepica. “Throughout my career, I have always held myself and our teams to the highest standards. The staff that I now get the chance to lead is incredibly talented and dedicated to excellence at every level.”

Cepica has several key initiatives that he will be implementing over the next few months with his new team. Stay tuned for more updates.



Blackboard Contract Renewal Creates More Savings and Better Support

Blackboard In partnership with Educational Technology Services, OIT has successfully re-negotiated UT Dallas’ (UTD) Blackboard contract saving the university approximately $100,000 per year while expanding the offering and securing a dedicated Service Delivery Manager assigned to UTD.

Blackboard is the Learning Management Solution used at UTD.

Shannon Cepica, Director of Business Services and Technical Customer Support for OIT, says “Strategic Partnerships are very important to us. IT vendors are often measured on their contribution to the University. Building strong relationships with our vendors help us keep our vendors accountable for reliable and effective delivery at the best possible cost.”

Darren Crone, Assistant Provost, Educational Technology Services says, “We look forward to continuing our partnership with Blackboard. This is a win for the campus community from both a fiscal and added value standpoint.”



Scott Willett Keynote Speaker at Tech Titans Meeting

Tech Titans - The Technology Association of North Texas

On Thursday, July 28, AVP Scott Willet spoke on “IoT and Digitization of UT Dallas”. Here are some highlights from his presentation:

Since joining the Office of Information Technology at UT Dallas just over a year ago, the transformation of the Department has been on a fast track. Working with VP/CIO David Crain, Scott Willett and his colleagues have brought together an entirely new leadership team, and established new offices of Project Management, Financial Services, and Research Computing Shared Services.

One of the key projects being undertaken is the development of a complete digital campus experience incorporating the Internet of Things utilizing sensors, mobile technologies, digital signage, smart learning, and navigation all enhancing the campus experience.

This a joint project with the Department of Student Affairs, the Student Council, and the student workforce, as they contribute their input to the success of the project. The range of smart IoT devices found at UT Dallas today includes e-books and tablets; sensors in hallways, entrances, classroom spaces, and campus vehicles; all sorts of fitness bands and wearables; virtual and augmented reality headsets; robots; video sensors; and smart displays, lights, and locks. Our goal is to leverage all of these to provide the most robust experience possible the Comets of UTD!

The IoT benefits can be huge. If higher education fails to provide students with the advances and benefits of the IoT, students will look elsewhere. The key is to design student, faculty, and administrator experience that will have the highest value for all parties involved.



Leveraging Research Computing at UTD to Accelerate Science

XSEDE - Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment

The Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) is an NSF-sponsored virtual system that University researchers around the world use to leverage High Performance Computing (HPC) resources, data, and expertise. It was established in 2011, to help accelerate scientific discovery. This past year alone, XSEDE assisted over 8000 researchers participating in more than 2700 projects, producing over 3500 publications.

The XSEDE environment includes several supercomputers from across the U.S. Three systems at the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) are part of that environment, as are systems at the San Diego Supercomputing Center (SDSC), University of Illinois, Louisiana State, and the University of Indiana.

XSEDE also provides expertise to help researchers make the most of supercomputers and tools. This expertise is rooted in around 500 Campus Champions – representatives at various research institutions that collaborate on topics and issues, and share best practices, so that researchers have the knowledge of the community at their disposal to assist them in advancing their science.

XSEDE hosts an annual conference to bring all the Campus Champions together under one roof. Your XSEDE Campus Champions at UTD, Frank Feagans and Gi Vania, attended this conference over July 17-21. The big themes were around advancing student learning, and preparing tomorrow’s cyber-infrastructure leaders today. Frank and Gi came back from this conference energized about the various ways researchers at UTD have to accelerate computational science.

For more information:
Frank Feagans, AVP of Enterprise Application Services and Research Computing
[email protected]



Red Light, Green Light……What Does It Mean? Wise Words from Melinda Colby

Have you ever wondered why projects don’t celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? Just for one day, every project could be green. Unfortunately, that’s not the real world. The reality is some projects are yellow, even worse red. So what do all these color references mean?

We all understand these three colors to be synonymous with red lights. The same concept applies to projects. Green means go, all is well, work is progressing as planned and you can keep moving forward. Everything is fine, on track and in control. Yellow means slow down, beware of some issues, and proceed with caution. In other words, your project is not totally on track and in control, but it is not in the ditch yet. Red, well we all know what red means. Red means stop, issues have snowballed and you are currently not able to move past them. The project is in the ditch and will not meet its commitments for cost, schedule or scope. Projects in the red will need their budget and schedule increased, or their scope of work increased, to get back on track.

Project planning and preparedness is critical to the success of a project and keeping a project in the green.

Let the Project Management Office help you stay green. Project managers, Casey Foulds and Ansel Chetty, can provide overall management, oversight, and tracking of projects. Process analysts, Melissa Stokely and Jack Pitney, can work with project teams to document current-state and future-state processes. We are here to help you keep your projects green!

Dilbert Comic Strip
Adams, S. (1995, February 17) Dilbert. [Comic strip] Retrieved from: http://dilbert.com/strip/1995-02-17


Key Request moving to eCAT

The Office of Information Technology, working with Facilities Management, is excited to transition key requests to an online process in eCAT, thus eliminating the paper key request forms. This initiative aims to increase reliability while reducing processing time.

Starting August 9th, the Key Request Form link will direct you to eCAT. The submission and approval process will be the same as you experience for your other eCAT requests today.

For questions or feedback please contact [email protected].



OIT Welcomes New Employees

  • Gilbert Escobedo, Network Engineer
  • Jeremy Scyrba, Network Engineer
  • Pedro Morales, Web Developer

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