For some reason the end of summer has brought a slew of door knockers to my house. This is a real bummer when the baby has just finally drifted to sleep and then there is a loud doorbell followed by non-stop dog barking. I think the guy in this video has the right idea.
On September 5, I attended the first Information Technology Systems Design implementation (ITSD) team meeting for Charting the Future as the MAPE representative. The first meeting was much like the first day of a new job or a new class. We took attendance, talked about housekeeping details, reviewed the agenda, and participated in a group ice breaker.
To be candid, I’m generally not a huge fan of ice breakers. But this one actually was good and relevant to the conversation. The ice breaker was based on the book Zoom. The basic takeaway was that different people have different vantage points and that in order to communicate effectively understanding that is key. More on the ice breaker here and here.
After the ice breaker was over we moved on to define the team’s charter. As background we were provided a handout that emphasized the importance of stepping “out of the muck and weeds” (ex: attempting to “fix” ISRS) and instead to focus on high level strategies for effective IT System Design. We also noted that there is an implementation team dedicated to educational technology working alongside us, so our team would focus on the administrative technologies. We agreed that the best place to focus our efforts was on MNSCU policies that if modified would provide a better opportunity for IT System Design. Those thoughts framed our conversation for the wording of our charter, but we also acknowledged that our team would be weighing in on many technology recommendations from the other implementation teams.
We did not walk away with a written charter at the end of the meeting. We did discuss that there are 30+ institutions following unique workflows, business processes, and using disparate systems. We want to look at ways to streamline and standardize business processes, primarily via policy changes, to allow us to deal with the complexity of the system. Hopefully we’ll have a charter solidified by the end of the next meeting.
For those who were really hoping this team would take on ISRS, don’t fret! Addressing the many concerns with ISRS has been identified as a strategic priority by the MNSCU CIO (Ramon Padilla). Here is an excerpt from the presentation made to the MNSCU Board of Trustees:
“Begin preparation of an ISRS upgrade/replacement business case (Fall 2016) in order to be included in the FY18/19 biennial budget request.”
Prior to the meeting we had the following shared readings:
Gartner: Enterprise IT Maturity-2014-CIOs Are Seen but Not Heard
Battle Test Your Innovation Strategy
Business Process Re-engineering
Business process reengineering: critical success factors in higher education
Innovation and Commercialization-2010
The Eight Essentials of Innovation and Performance
My very quick summary is that Charting the Future seeks to get MNSCU to collaborate more, assure affordability, and provide new educational merit offerings. MPR has some good coverage and I encourage listening to their report below.
Dramatically increase the success of all learners, especially those in diverse populations traditionally underserved by higher education.
Develop a collaborative and coordinated academic planning process that advances affordability, transferability, and access to our programs and services across the state.
Certify student competencies and capabilities, expand pathways to accelerate degree completion through credit for prior learning, and foster the award of competency-based credit and degrees.
Expand the innovative use of technology to deliver high quality online courses, strengthen classroom instruction and student services, and provide more individualized learning and advising.
Work together under new models to be the preferred provider of comprehensive workplace solutions through programs and services that build employee skills and solve real-world problems for communities and businesses across the state.
Redesign our financial and administrative models to reward collaboration, drive efficiencies, and strengthen our ability to provide access to an extraordinary education for all Minnesotans.
The Charting the Future group will be holding Gallery Walks. The Gallery Walks are poster board sessions being held all over the state in order to share the work that has been done and to collect feedback. The teams have started in the spring will hold their Gallery Walks between October 16 and November 21. The fall teams will hold their Gallery Walks sometime around March. Read more here.
A huge thank you to Human Resources and all those involved in coordinating the Staff Development Days this fall. I had a blast helping Sara Grachek and Greg Jorgensen with a What’s New in Office 2013 presentation. Check out the slide deck below (be sure to read the notes for more details) and if you have any questions or thoughts let us know!
I also sat in on a great session by Missy Northenscold and Greg Jorgensen titled “Got Mobile? 20 apps in 20 minutes”. Check out their presentation below.
Over lunch I learned about Girlfriends’ Mystery Tours. Apparently one of the previous mystery tours took a trip to visit the lunch keynote/comedian C Willi Myles. After hearing about their tour adventures I kind of want to find a wig and join the ladies!
Next it was time to hear C. Willi Myles. I’d had an opportunity to see Willi perform once before and he’s awesome. A graduate of SCSU and a former SCSU basketball coach Willi has so many great and funny stories that are easy to connect with. Check out one of his promotional videos below and read my notes from his talk here.
After the keynote I attended the Great Place to Work Conversation with President Potter. I found the session to be a very sincere effort to listen and discuss how to make SCSU an even better place to work. The conversation was very open and honest and there was a common desire to find some next steps to build a more trusting, empowered and open culture. See my notes here.
The English language has never been my forte. I was recently listening to a terrific article on this very topic on Umano, one of my favorite mobile apps. The article was titled 25 Common Words That You’ve Got Wrong and indeed I often use all 25 of those words incorrectly. I guess I can take solace in the fact that I am not alone in my abuse of the English language. Too bad these common misuses had not been pointed out to me earlier, but I am grateful for those out there that can help me out from time to time. And apparently I can now add “Weird Al” Yankovic to my list of those to thank. Hey Write Place I think we found you a new theme song!
Friday evening SCSU renamed users’ accounts and began syncing users’ StarID from MnSCU. Let’s cover some of the frequently asked questions.
What is StarID?
Everyone has a username and passwords in the MnSCU system dubbed their StarID. The StarID is a random username using two letters, four numbers, and two more numbers (i.e. ab1234cd). At SCSU we’ve renamed our accounts to match the username assigned by MnSCU and then sync’d the password. Moving forward we’ll leverage the MnSCU system as our source of truth.
I was able to spend a day at in the HuskTech support area at the beginning of the school year. I can tell you that for folks new to SCSU it is very confusing to need several IDs. The most confusing part is the activation. For many just remembering their Social Security number is a chore. Add to that the various ID’s, pin numbers, passwords, etc. and things start to compound. The StarID is a common username that will be used across the MnSCU system. It will also be activated via the MnSCU website. Moving to the StarID will cut out an entire layer of complexity both for our users and for our support staff and that is a huge win for everyone. For faculty, staff, and students that have spent time at other institutions they’ll experience an even greater benefit being able to leverage a centralized account.
There is not a perfect time to make the transition. In the summer there are very few people on campus and we want to be sure that we can provide in-person support to as many as possible. The beginning and end of the semesters are usually very busy and we didn’t want to make a big change during an already busy and stressful time. That led us to the Spring Break timeframe.
This was a huge project for ITS. We had a great team of people focused on making the transition as easy as possible for our customers. We had terrific support from other institutions in MnSCU (Mankato in particular), as well as our early adopter faculty, staff and students. The process is far from complete as we still need to work with our users as they return to campus, but we’ve already learned a lot through this process and we’ve made some significant leaps as an IT organization. This project has forced us to come together, focus, challenge each other, and learn to move quickly. This will help ITS become an even better resource for our community. Thank you to all who worked so hard to make this project successful, and thank you to our users for your support and patience as we rollout StarID – change is never easy.
October is Connected Educator Month! This exciting initiative is driven by the Office of Educational Technology at the U.S. Department of Education and is focused on K-12, but has great applicability to Higher Education too. Interestingly, due to the government shutdown they’ve already had to postpone some of their scheduled events. The goal of the initiative is to connect educators across the United States via online communities and social networks. The hope is that educators will compare best practices, engage in conversation, become mentors, find mentors, and more. Here are my suggestions for getting started participating in the Connected Educator community. I encourage you to watch the video below to get inspired!
And finally, here are my suggestions for getting engaged in the Connected Educator community.