2011-2012 Annual Report

Private Cloud

The Columbian College Office of Technology Services (OTS) continues to implement its multi-year strategic technology infrastructure plan.  Approved in the spring of 2010, the College’s plan is designed to build essential technology infrastructure in order to support the unique instructional, research, and administrative needs of the Columbian College.  The project, named “Cloud,” gained tremendous momentum during the 2011-2012 academic year as the new services were deployed to all academic and administrative departments within Columbian College.  At the conclusion of the academic year, the Columbian College Cloud had more than 1,000 active users, 140 terabytes of data, 100 virtual desktops, and 80 published virtual applications.  OTS began outreach efforts to several departments with significant research efforts in order to replace or enhance the existing technologies with new services from the College’s private cloud.  Of particular focus are departments with unique security/privacy (FISMA, HIPAA), and high performance computing needs.  During the 2012-2013 academic year, OTS will continue to deliver customized Cloud services to faculty and research staff, and plans to implement a secondary Cloud disaster recovery site at the University’s Virginia Science and Technology Campus data center.

Software Licensing

In conjunction with the College’s private cloud effort, the College funded central site licenses for the most popular software used by faculty and staff.  Some of the most notable are AutoCAD, IBM SPSS Statistics, IBM SPSS Amos, MATLAB, Mathematica, Scientific Workplace, and Stata.  This centrally funded investment will greatly reduce the financial burden on departments and individual faculty members.  Moreover, OTS initiated cost-sharing partnerships for both software licenses and CCAS-provided Cloud services, with GW’s School of Business, Graduate School of Education and Human Development, College of Professional Studies, and the Elliott School of International Affairs.  The College’s new approach to centralized software licensing and cross-school cost sharing is estimated to save more than $150,000.

Self-Service

One of the key components of the College’s Cloud initiative is self-service for users, empowering faculty, students, and staff access to the right resources, at the right time, from any place.  Because faculty and students complete academic work around the clock, providing self-service tools for managing user accounts and resources is critical.  In January 2012, OTS implemented Quest Active Roles.  Active Roles allows several key user and resource management tasks to be delegated to faculty and staff.  This is essential, and in some cases required, for researchers managing access to sensitive data resources, delegating such management directly to the faculty member instead of IT staff.

Support

While OTS continued to expand its portfolio of services, the OTS Help Desk responded to a record 2,808 support and 250 procurement requests.  In November of 2011, OTS opened its newly renovated walk-in support center located on the lower level of Rome Hall.  The support center has experienced heavy traffic from faculty and staff choosing to take advantage of in-person, walk-in support.


Notable Projects

In addition to the key initiatives outlined above, OTS completed the following notable projects during the 2011-2012 academic year:

  • CCAS/OTS was awarded a $12,000 grant from Extron Electronics for implementation of Extron GlobalViewer Enterprise – a remote monitoring and control system for audio visual systems.  GlobalViewer enables OTS to remotely monitor the system health and security status of AV systems.  Additionally, OTS can instantly remotely control AV systems to assist faculty calling for support.
  • OTS life-cycled the digital video observation equipment at the Alexandria Graduate Education Center Counseling Center, providing significant enhancements for students in the Art Therapy and GSEHD School Counseling programs.
  • In partnership with the doctoral psychology program, OTS deployed Titanium Schedule for centralized patient management and scheduling of the program’s clinic.
  • OTS staff were invited to a higher education classroom technologies summit in Anaheim, CA, resulting in new audio/visual technology standards for the College.  The new standards accommodate legacy analog technologies, and posture the College for the new industry standard digital signal and high definition technologies.

The College’s technology initiatives, as well as its commitment to providing high quality support, continue to position it as a leader at GW.