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Washington and Lee University

Washington and Lee University
Information Technology Services

Needs survey and ITS response

Here are the top 10 information technology needs, in priority order, expressed by 102 W&L faculty in a online survey completed in February 2008. The ITS response to date is shown in parentheses:

  1. File storage: Increase e-mail and file storage quotas (Action: File storage more than doubled, summer 2008. New extended storage options provided, and ITS has stopped charge-backs for extended storage. Faculty and staff e-mail quotas to be lifted following switch from GroupWise to Outlook in early 2009)
  2. Computer replacement: Replace your computer more often than 4 years for portable computers or 5 years for desktop computers (Action: New procedures implemented in fall 2008 offering more choices and shortened replacement cycles).
  3. Digital collections: Provide secure, long-term storage for collections (such as digital images, video, audio and documents) that have instructional or other institutional value, and providing a searchable, Web interface to these collections. (Action: Tools such as Sakai and SharePoint are helping to address this challenge, but ITS does not have a comprehensive solution. See  list of tools and solutions)
  4. Streamline sign-on: Use a single user name and password to access all W&L services requiring authentication, such as e-mail, network storage and Web services (Action: Many W&L tools, such as Sakai, Outlook, GroupWise, SharePoint and WebAdvisor use standard W&L username and password, but some still use separate user name and password schemes)
  5. Service agreement: Identify and articulate, in consultation with faculty, staff and students, the services that University Computing will provide (Action: Progress on this goal includes documents describing computer replacement procedures and file storage options). 
  6. Consulting: Provide more information technology consulting to better understand needs of departments and help them learn and implement appropriate information technologies (Action: TS is seeking to meet with all academic departments in 2008-2009, and has already met with more than a dozen).
  7. Applications: Provide remote access to any application (e.g. office productivity or discipline-specific academic applications), by running them within a Web browser
  8. Computation: Enhance resources to meet the instructional and research needs of computationally-oriented disciplines and individuals.
  9. Course management system: Enhance W&L's course management system (currently Blackboard) so that it uses the same username and password as other W&L resources, and is automatically synchronized with course registration information, reflecting adds and drops (Action: These goals have been met with the implementation of the Sakai course management system in fall 2008).
  10. Security: Educate W&L community about IT security concerns (Action:  poster campaign in fall 2008, recommendations through ITS Website, Campus Notices and Broadcast e-mails, other actions)

See complete results of faculty survey.

Here are the top 10 information technology needs, in priority order, expressed by 165 W&L staff in a online survey completed in November 2007:

  1. Consulting: Consult with departments to better understand their needs and help them implement information technologies to meet those needs (Action: Consultation with administrative departments has resulted in implementation of new tools such as Raiser's Edge for fund-raising. Implementation of specialized tools for Admissions, Student Affairs and other departments is in progress),
  2. Streamline sign-on: Use a single user name and password to access all W&L services requiring authentication, such as e-mail, network storage and Web services (Action: Many W&L tools, such as Sakai, Outlook, GroupWise, SharePoint and WebAdvisor use standard W&L username and password, but some still use separate user name and password schemes)
  3. File storage: Increase e-mail and file storage quotas (Action: File storage more than doubled, summer 2008. New extended storage options provided, and ITS has stopped charge-backs for extended storage. Faculty and staff e-mail quotas to be lifted following switch from GroupWise to Outlook in early 2009)
  4. Long-term storage: Provide secure, long-term storage for important documents, in electronic form (Action: New extended storage options are addressing this need, to some extent).
  5. Databases: Support your needs for specialized databases (Action: Raiser's Edge, implemented in fall 2008, is a specialized database for fund-raising. Additional databases are being evaluated and implemented).
  6. Searchable documents: Provide capability to easily search for documents in long-term storage
  7. Computer replacement: Replace your computer more often than 4 years for portable computers or 5 years for desktop computers (Action: New Procedures implemented in fall 2008 offering more choices and shortened replacement cycles).
  8. E-mail: Consider moving from GroupWise e-mail/collaboration services to a different solution such as Outlook/Exchange (Action: Faculty and staff will begin using Outlook, with significantly enhanced storage, in early 2009)
  9. Timely response: Provide timeline for responding to each request for assistance with information technology (Action: Web Help Desk, a Web-based system for requesting IT and other assistance, allows clients to specify when assistance is needed.)
  10. Services agreement: Identify and articulate, in consultation with faculty, staff and students, the services that University Computing will provide  (Action: Progress on this goal includes documents describing computer replacement procedures and file storage options

See complete results of staff survey