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January 27, 1993

 

         Minutes of the University Communications Resources Committee

 

 

 

  Meeting held:            Wednesday, January 27, 1993 - 3:00-5:00 pm

  Location:                Board Room, Newman Library

 

  Present:                 Fred Bailey, David Bevan, Erv Blythe, George

                           Crofts (Chairman), Ron Daniel, Ed Fox, Carolyn

                           Furrow, Gail Gray, Marcia Harrington, Judith

                           Jones (for Tom McAnge), Judy Lilly, Charles

                           Litchfield, Mark Sanders, Arthur Snoke, Robert

                           Sumichrast, Matthew Swift (for K. Johnston)

 

  Guests:                  Phil (Theta) Bowden, Tom Head

 

 

  NOTE:     Two new items were added to the agenda:

 

            6)   Qualifications for Position of Vice-President of Informa-

                 tion Sytems

            7)   Inbound Modem Users Dial-out Capabilities Blocked

 

                                *  *  *  *  *

 

  1.   The December minutes were approved.

 

  2.   The proposed membership of the committee and proposed methods for

       appointment were approved.  The designation of "public service" was

       corrected to "university outreach and international programs."  The

       corrected list will go to the Commission on University Support.

 

  3.   Ed Fox spoke to the committee about Kodak's efforts to make an easy

       transition from storing images on paper (e.g., printed photographs)

       to storing them digitally on compact disks.  The product of the

       process is sold under the name Photo CD.  Images stored on Photo

       CDs may be retrieved for printing, for viewing on television

       screens, and for manipulating through computers.  The ability to

       pull image files into computers provides ways to insert pictures

       into computer generated documents.  The ability to display the

       images on television and through computer-driven devices means the

       technology can supplement lectures and other instructional tech-

       niques.  The Photo CD process provides an inexpensive way to get

       images into electronic form.  Some local commercial firms may begin

       offering the service.  Media services is investigating the feasi-

       bility of buying the processing equipment.  This could invite

       questions regarding inappropriate competition with commercial

       firms; plus, Kodak may be reluctant to enter such an arrangement.

       Robert Sumichrast suggested that equipment to display images from

       Photo CDs should be of a higher priority for university funds than

       processing equipment.

 

 

  4.   The faculty network access subcommittee had no report.

 

       Bernard LaBerge, chair of the mail regulations subcommittee, was

       unable to attend the meeting but did submit a report.  It reads:

 

            The subcommittee convened to consider the charge.

            Substantial progress was made on the matter of

            printed mail.

 

            Apparently, there are some special problems of con-

            fidential mail in the dormitories.  Since roommates

            share mail boxes, some confidential mail gets opened

            by roommates.

 

            Notes were sent to offices that deal with special

            types of mail--grades, financial matters, disciplin-

            ary actions, health records--to learn if confiden-

            tial mail gets special treatment.

 

            The issue of electronic mail was discussed and it

            was agreed that Kay Heidbreder should be invited to

            discuss these issues with the subcommittee.

 

       Carolyn Furrow reported that the subcommittee is separating campus

       and e-mail in their deliberations.

 

       Arthur Snoke suggested that the subcommittee expand its charge to

       include making a recommendation on a regulation for campus mail.

 

  5.   Earving Blythe reported on activities underway for Phase II re-

       structuring in information systems.  He and Mike Williams have made

       presentations on the implication of restructuring to central admin-

       istrators and deans.  They have proposed that funding and account-

       ing for computing be divided into instruction, research, adminis-

       tration, and outreach/extension.  A clear understanding is needed

       of the source of funds and how the moneys are used.  Initial plan-

       ning includes pilot projects in writing, mathematics, and humani-

       ties instruction.  These choices were influenced by a call for

       proposals from the State Senate Finance Committee for use of com-

       puters in writing instruction.  State funds would come in the form

       of facilities support.  The university should learn soon whether

       these funds will be available in the 1993-94 fiscal year.  Expecta-

       tions are high for some limited amount of new funds.

 

       In the longer range, all faculty should have access to computing

       and to user services.  The latter would help faculty take advantage

       of computing devices.  With distributed computing comes the need

       for continuous support, not just one-time outlays of money.  The

       models for the continuing support are based on a four-year cycle

       for equipment purchases and retraining of faculty; i.e., one-quar-

       ter of the faculty would be trained or retrained each year.  There

       is wide-spread university and state support (at least moral sup-

       port) for the plans.  Following restructuring of faculty computer

       support would be restructuring of administrative support.

 

       Buddy Litchfield asked if the university would cover the costs of

       equipment for faculty or would the departments be required to

       purchase the devices.  Erv responded that it may come from the

       university.  The pilot projects should indicate how the decision

       will go.  During this stage of "selling" the concept of distributed

       computing, it is too early to know.

       In response to several questions, Erv said that much thought is

       going into the transition from "mainframe thinking to thinking

       about distributed computing."  Daily communication occurs that will

       reduce problems with the transition, but some disruption is bound

       to occur.  The vision is for a richer, more diverse environment

       than now exists--albeit a more complex one.

 

       Ed Fox suggested that the UCRC should be actively involved in the

       restructuring of information systems because of the many constitu-

       encies represented by the members.  The committee should be review-

       ing the plans and have reactions and opinions of the members heard.

       Erv agreed and will present descriptions of the pilot projects at

       the February meeting, with progress reports planned for the March

       and April meetings.  Arthur Snoke requested that members be given

       brief written descriptions before the next meeting, so as to facil-

       itate more discussion and less presentation time during the meet-

       ing.

 

  6.   The search committee for the position of vice president for infor-

       mation systems is formulating a list of qualifications for viable

       candidates.  The UCRC was invited to propose qualifications.  The

       membership felt ill prepared to respond during the meeting.  Judy

       Lilly was asked to circulate, or bring to the next meeting, the

       qualifications the search committee has assembled.  Such a list

       should stimulate thinking by the UCRC membership.

 

  7.   Judy Lilly responded to a question of why faculty were blocked from

       dialing off-campus databases through the inbound modem from home

       computers.  Consultants on computing networks repeatedly advise

       against "dial-out" capabilities for inbound modem users.  With the

       "cracker codes" used by "hackers," fraud is too easy.  Examples are

       widely known to network professionals of organizations that have

       lost large amounts of money through dial-out systems.  Judy cited a

       case of losses in excess of $1,000,000.  The suggested approach for

       faculty needing access to electronic archives is to obtain a uni-

       versity credit card and make the calls directly from home phones,

       with the charges coming to departmental accounts.  Furthermore,

       many of the data-bases can be reached through the internet.  Al-

       though internet access may have some drawbacks, it is clearly the

       cheapest.

 

 

 

                                 NEXT MEETING

 

                       February 24, 1993 - 3:00-5:00 pm

                          Board Room, Newman Library

 

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