Message from the CIO
Message from the CIO
Over the past year, our team has continued to bring a high level of technological expertise to advance our campus community. Since joining the William & Mary community in June 2020, I have had the honor of watching our department flourish, despite significant challenges and confounding circumstances. The team and I are incredibly proud of the work we have accomplished this year and am grateful to share so many outstanding projects and achievements that the team has made. As we prepare for the coming year, we are happily reflecting on the progress that we have made in the past year and are excited for what lies ahead.
In this annual report, we share our team’s points of pride, highlight some of the projects that have made an impact on our students, faculty, and staff, and introduce our goals for the future.
This year we continued to work towards the goals outlined in the university’s Vision 2026 strategic plan by updating infrastructure throughout campus with the latest technology to help the campus community flourish. Our team began the process of evaluating our Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems and will continue to evaluate our options over the coming year. We also welcomed a new Deputy Chief Information Officer, Andrew Crawford in the spring after bidding farewell to longtime Deputy CIO Berni Kenney after 21 years with W&M IT.
In addition, many team members launched several projects to modernize the technology platforms at W&M Law School, including shifting their myLaw Learning Management System to the university LMS, Blackboard, implementing a new exam administration solution, and we are in the process of consolidating their file structure into modern cloud storage. Additionally, the team introduced Microsoft Teams Calls to maximize our investment in Microsoft Office 365 and to have a centralized hub for communication and collaboration at the university.
A team from IT and STLI completed a thorough review of the university’s Digital Learning Environment (DLE), and we look forward to taking the recommendations that came out of that review to elevate the digital tools and resources we have for our students and faculty. Additionally, we carried out many initiatives to secure our network and strengthen our protection from cyber-attacks.
Looking ahead, W&M IT is committed to bringing high quality technology to campus so that our faculty, staff, and students can be successful. We are excited to continue to develop ways for our community to use technology to enhance how we are connected on campus, and beyond. Our department looks back on this year fondly and is grateful to continue to support the university’s goal of providing an exceptional environment to learn, teach, and work.
University & Community Engagement
University & Community Engagement
- In partnership with the W&M Career Center, W&M IT hosted its first winter externship experience with Jack Hayes '24. Jack spent an entire day in IT during winter break and got to get a behind-the-scenes campus tour with Reggie Williams, learned about our support center and server room, sat in on a technology leadership meeting, talked data with the CDO, learned about HPC, had a 1:1 with the CIO and CISO and much more.
- W&M IT offered several internship experiences this year, including a communications intern, technology intern and data intern. Many thanks to Rachel Malla '25, Clayton Emge '25, Cameron Jones ‘25 and Namit Nallapaneni ‘26 for bringing a student perspective to the team and for helping IT achieve its mission!
Cybersecurity Awareness Month
During October, W&M IT celebrated Cybersecurity Awareness Month by quizzing our community on their cybersecurity knowledge. Tabling events were held on campus and as faculty, staff and students walked by they could take a quick quiz to see how cyber smart they are. We're happy to report we have a savvy and well-informed community! Most passerbys received a perfect score.
W&M IT Sustainability Efforts
- 12 laptops were donated to Literacy for Life for use in their Newport News classroom.
- 30 laptops were donated to HCDP Ghana, an organization that plans to set up a computer lab for a rural community in Ghana.
- Everything that IT is not able to donate, we sent to Recycle Virginia for placement in Virginia schools. In addition to laptops, we also recycle copper cables and phones by sending them to Recycle Virginia.
- Campus computers managed by W&M IT (i.e. computer labs) are equipped with screensavers that turn the computer off when it has been idle for a certain period of time, saving power.
- W&M IT is building automation to monitor temperatures in buildings and boilers.
Our team has seen a lot of change this past year, from celebrating well-earned retirements and welcoming new faces. We are made up more than 100 people and are proud to share that we were able to accomplish so many of our goals for this past year. Whether it was enhancing data governance, raising security awareness, or improving infrastructure, William & Mary Information Technology came together as a team to elevate our campus technology. This is an exciting time for IT as we look ahead to future projects in line with Vision 2026. Our campus is evolving, and our technology must evolve with it. Our department holds an integral piece of the puzzle when it comes to community advancement. That is why, now more than ever, our teamwork is incredibly important to our success.
As we look back on the year, it is truly our teamwork that shines through. Jones Hall is a hub for collaboration and communication. We are grateful for the team we have created and are thrilled to see what we can achieve together in the coming years.
Points of Pride
Total Support Tickets
Retired Alumni Google Accounts
Collected Data Points
Towards Conference Room Upgrades
Participation in Security Awareness Training
Law School Technology Modernization
This year, W&M IT's Application Administration team led the effort to modernize the W&M Law School's learning management system. They worked on a variety of projects, including shifting their LMS from myLaw to Blackboard as early adopters of Blackboard Ultra Courses. The new course design delivers a modern and intuitive experience for students.
In addition to Blackboard, they implemented Exam 4 as an anonymous grading tool, SeatGen as a seating chart and roster tool, and enhanced EMS functionality to meet specific needs for the law school’s LMS environment.
The team also worked with the Law School on a SharePoint website to enhance internal communications.
Points of Pride
Sponsored Programs and Research Compliance System (SPARCS)
SPARCS is an easy to use, configurable, electronic research administration solution to manage all research activities that replaces the homegrown grants and compliance management tools. SPARCS has already begun to reduce administrative burden for researchers and research administrators. When fully implemented, this platform will enable researchers to manage all research activities in one place. This year we went live with the Animal Oversight module and are actively working to implement the Sponsored Projects and Proposals S2S modules to support the W&M and VIMS Offices of Sponsored Programs and the Human Ethics module as the second module in the Research Compliance suite.
Policies & Procedures
W&M IT's Governance Risk and Compliance (GRC) team worked diligently this year to establish a mature set of IT policies and procedures. In order to improve compliance, the policies and procedures will be adhered to and reviewed regularly. In the coming years, the GRC will meet monthly to edit the policies and procedures to broaden their awareness and responsibility of increasing outreach with the information security working group program.
Infrastructure ProjectsThe Infrastructure Department has made significant strides in enhancing our campus technology this year. In line with the university’s Vision 2026, our team upgraded WIFI access points throughout campus to bring our students, faculty and staff newer wireless services and standards that support the latest mobile devices and laptops. We also finished the Science DMZ project which upgraded connectivity to research desktops in academic spaces. This allows for easier accessibility to data sharing at a higher bandwidth thanks to a grant from the National Science Foundation.
Student Health Insurance
At W&M, students are required to have health insurance as a condition of enrollment. This year, IT's Systems Integration & Automation team automated a process to determine student eligibility and created data integration between Banner and United Health to keep the student insurance status in sync between the two systems, greatly improving accuracy and reducing manual effort required. In addition, the team:
- Consolidated reunion class reporting so all reports and web feeds pull from one source of calculated data (total donors, total dollars raised) instead of each report recreating the calculations independently improving accuracy & simplifying maintenance.
- Replaced a decade old manual business process for the Reunion/Alumni Engagement Staff with an automated process that ensures consistent and accurate data tracking for all class years throughout their overlapping five-year reunion cycles.
Salesforce CRM Graduate & Undergraduate Non-Degree Seeking Admission Support
The total number of applications submitted in 2023 increased from 3,592 (2022) to 4,715, (31% increase). A contributing factor to this growth is the number of programs being offered as well as adding online programs over the past few years. The Systems Integration & Automation team assists with launching all new programs - collaborating with schools to create the application for new programs which provides the ability to receive applications, letters of recommendation, waivers and online payments. The application review process and decision letters are also created for each new program.
New programs launched
W&M IT assisted with the launch of six new programs
- Mason School Veteran Entrepreneur Scholars Program
- SOE Educational Policy, Planning & Leadership – Curriculum & Educational Leadership
- SOE Online MAEd – Literacy Leadership
- SOE Post Professional Certificate – Special Education
- Reves Center Whole of Government Center of Excellence
- Graduate Arts & Science Non-Degree Seeking
Timesheet Email Approval Process
This year IT implemented a Timesheet Email Approval process to provide supervisors an effortless way to approve timesheets. The process allows supervisors to approve timesheets from an email on their mobile device, laptop or desktop computer instead of having to log into Banner Self-Service. This process emails supervisors minutes after the timesheet submission deadline has passed, informing supervisors they have timesheets awaiting their approval. The email includes the supervisor’s timesheet responsibilities, the timesheet(s) awaiting approval, the deadline for approval & options for approving from the email. Each timesheet awaiting approval is listed with total hours taken and details on the time taken – date, leave type and hours taken.
Now about 50% or more of the timesheets awaiting approval after the submission deadline has passed are approved using the Timesheet Email Approval process.
Institutional Research & Analytics
The Institutional Research and Analytics teams completed over 300 projects this year.
- The Institutional Research (IR) team delivered W&M quality data via the self-service Qlik Factbooks, provided data analysis and supported decision-making to many university offices such as the Provost, COO/Finance/Budget, Admissions, Strategy & Innovation, Institutional Accreditation & Effectiveness, University Registrar, University Advancement, Charles Center, and Diversity & Inclusion.
- IR partnered on a dozen research projects that focused on enrollment, degree projection models, and more. Besides Federal and State Compliance reporting on the university data, IR also provided data to the major guidebooks and ranking surveys like Princeton Review, U.S. News & World Report, etc. They also partnered with University Marketing and University Communications on investigating, vetting and communicating W&M Rankings.
- The Data Analytics Team delivered newly created Qlik apps and enhancements to majority of the 98 published Qlik apps and 500 published Qlik sheets. The Discoverer replacement project has successfully replaced all but a few remaining reports out of the 23,000 initial reports. Project completion is planned for fall 2023.
- Both teams worked closely together to improve business data fluency by holding Data Office Hours to provide a forum to answer data questions and identify new features and training opportunities. The office of CDO provided data leadership to the Huron Research Study as well as the W&M Economic Study.
IT partnered with departments from across campus to continue the effort to increase efficiency and security for form submission, routing and storage. Over 485 forms were moved this past year from paper to Docusign electronic format, eliminating the need for paper forms to be mailed or dropped off at one office and then routed through mail or hand delivered to approvers working in various other offices and buildings. Forms with required retention periods are programmatically routed to the Banner Document Management imaging system where they are securely stored and are accessible from Banner Admin.
This year, Research Computing offered three new tutorials: Introductory Linux and Command-line, HPC resources at W&M and VIMS and Linux in HPC. In February 2023, all three tutorials were recorded and are available on the RC website. RC plans to host three more learning sessions in the Fall 2023 semester.
In October of 2022, Research Computing teamed up with Professor Cristiano Fanelli (Data Science) to provision resources for a Hackathon. This event was part of the "2nd workshop on AI4EIC - Artificial Intelligence for the Electron-Ion Collider" which was held at W&M. Twenty servers, each with four NVIDIA A10G GPUs were deployed for the event and included about 40 participants.
The CDO and Registrar continued to lead the monthly Data Governance Advisory Council (DGAC), which has made significant strides to improve W&M data capabilities. The W&M data objective is to improve organizational decision making and excellence through a laser focus on data fluency, governance and management.
The DGAC discusses active data programs, prioritizes efforts across the university and supports a broader understanding of data concepts, data usage and governing needs. Expanding W&M Data Fluency was a primary focus this year with the introduction of a single site for data - Data@W&M - that contains data sources, tools and functional data training. In addition, the CDO team established Data Office Hours, meeting twice a month as a forum to answer any data questions across W&M. The learnings resulted in improvements to Qlik Apps as well as expanded training. Also, data self-service was enhanced with new Finance and OSP applications as well as refinement of seven comprehensive interactive Fact Book Apps and externally focused pdfs. The CDO team supported multiple consulting engagements in the evaluation of W&M Research Capabilities, W&M Economic Survey and faculty reporting for the Board of Visitors.
Accelerating to the Cloud
Throughout 2022 and 2023, W&M IT has made significant strides in embracing cloud-based technology and maximizing the university's investment in Microsoft Office 365 and Amazon Web Services.
Systems Design & Architecture moved Banner (including Axiom and ePrint), Degreeworks, Cascade (and associated websites), H: Drives, and VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) to the Cloud. Cloud moves included significant architecture changes to ensure systems are resilient and ready for future growth and modernization.
New RSO O365 Accounts
H: drives moved to OneDrive
Phone lines moved to Teams Calls
Workloads powered by renewable energy
Information security has greatly improved since moving students from Google to Microsoft O365. The application of Microsoft Defender tools across the enterprise environment allows us to monitor, detect and prevent threats to our Microsoft O365 applications, users, and endpoints.
In addition to Defender, Microsoft Sentinel has helped us modernize and centralize information security logs in a sophisticated security incident and event management system (SIEM). Using data provided by the Microsoft Defender logs, we are able to correlate and analyze information security threats from multiple vectors simultaneously in real-time and create alerts to respond to before an incident occurs.
Security Awareness Training
We are proud that we were able to have 100% participation in Security Awareness Training. By raising the awareness and knowledge about information security threats for our faculty, staff and students we not only help them protect their own personal data but also help protect the institution against reputation, legal and financial damages.
What's next for 2023?
What's next for IT?
- Making a decision and beginning planning for what lies ahead for our Enterprise Resource Planning system.
- Exploring Blackboard Ultra further with faculty and student feedback.
- Modernizing the university's technology infrastructure to allow for students, faculty and staff to maximize human potential and efficiency of operations.
- Adopting technology and automation to increase efficiency, enhance decision-making and improve agility.