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Computer Systems Update--November 1994 Seattle Pacific University Computer and Information Systems Computer Systems Update - November

1994 Technology, computers and information systems are strategic assets at Seattle Pacific University. We have made significant investments in technology resources that provide an excellent infrastructure for quality instruction, research and productivity. This memo outlines our current systems and configuration, details some of the current issues and problems facing us and points to areas for future planning and funding. 1.Asset/Purchase Values During the past seven years, Seattle Pacific has made significant investment in providing a high quality technology infrastructure for use in classroom instruction, faculty preparation, access to research materials and administrative productivity. The total purchase value of equipment, networking and software during this period of time exceeds $5.5 million. A large portion of this cost (nearly $2 million) has been provided from gifts to the University. This investment has been spread across all segments of campus. The campus network now serves almost every building, faculty are provided with state-of-the-art computing equipment, the University Library contains many new computers and technology resources and a large portion of our administrative software has been upgraded to improve efficiency and customer service. 2.Scope and Breadth of Resources Campus technology resources fall into the following categories: * Central Computer Servers - there are 10 "host/server" computer systems located in our central data center in Marston Hall. These systems support the academic and administrative data processing requirements for the campus. * Desktop Computer Systems - there are more than 1000 desktop PC's and terminals located in offices and student computer labs. * Software Applications - we have a diverse set of software tools to support our academic and administrative computing environments. Our purchase five years ago of the SCT/Banner System for student records and our recent upgrades to the Payroll System and Development System have significantly improved our administrative computing environment. Through donations by Microsoft and their employees, we have installed the current versions of the "Microsoft Office Suite" of software (Word, Excel and PowerPoint) on most campus PC's and Mac's.

* Campus Network - More than 80% of the computers on campus are connected to the campus network. Network applications such as email, access to the Internet, Gopher and World Wide Web (two Internet navigation tools) are heavily used by faculty, staff and students. The network includes fiber optic cable to 28 of 32 primary campus buildings, 810 network connections in staff offices and student labs, plus 1280 connections in the campus residence halls. * Campus Communications Systems - The campus telephone and voice mail systems support all faculty and staff, plus 680 campus residence hall rooms. A new cable television distribution system has also been installed into the residence halls. 3.Access to Content and Information Resources The resources provided for faculty, staff and students allow access to an incredible range of information resources and material. On-line access to the Seattle Pacific Library Catalog is available from any campus networked computer as well as remotely from modems. The rapid growth of libraries, databases, documents and corporations on the world-wide Internet are fully accessible from most campus locations. Future opportunities to provide electronic access to site specific information about SPU is just around the corner. We will not be replacing our printed publications with only electronic versions, but if we can expand the audience and speed in which we can provide SPU information we should strive toward that objective. 4.State-of-the-art "Infrastructure" is in Place and Operational We've been able to leverage our limited resources in gifts and funding to create a very robust and full featured campus technology infrastructure. While the implementation of new systems is not always as smooth as we desire, the level of connectivity, central resources and desktop computing is generally reliable and effective. The needs for greater access, more information, better decision making tools, improvements in ease-of-use, more powerful equipment and software will be easier to provide with the quality of our existing resources. 5.Current Issues and Challenges There are certainly concerns and challenges in our provision and support of these resources. * Keeping it all working - we have a small but highly skilled staff of information systems employees and students that work to keep the equipment, software and network operational. The rapid increase in resources has at times been completely overwhelming. * Data management - the need to closely manage and maintain

the databases that store campus-wide administrative information continues to present significant concerns. There is a delicate balance between access to information and privacy mandates; data integrity and timeliness; and central vs. distributed databases. * Security and access control - there are frequent newspaper articles about break-ins to even the most secure computer systems and networks. SPU is not immune to these problems (although we have never had a serious security breach). We must improve both our prevention and monitoring skills. * Rapid change in hardware and software - we have significant investments in current equipment and software that is rapidly evolving and changing. We are challenged to make the best purchase decisions as well as fund the requested upgrades and enhancements. This problem will most likely get worse. * Appropriate levels of support and training - there is a wide range of skill and understanding in the use of campus technologies. We must be wise stewards of our resources by providing timely and effective technical support and training. * Campus based content providers - with our recent expansions of network connectivity and desktop computer resources, the desire to increase the amount and level of access to common university publications in an electronic form is now possible. There are discussions to provide online access to the academic catalog and time schedule, handbooks, campus-wide policies and procedures and other publications. 6.Future Planning and Strategies Planning for the effective use of information technology is critical as we move into the future. There are many projects and needs that are seeking funding and implementation. We need to set clear priorities and objectives to guide our investments. * Take full advantage of our tremendous infrastructure - we are well positioned to maximize our current technology for instructional services, marketing and productivity. We are leaders among our peers in what we can offer today. * Remove "time and place" from the delivery of services there are many services provided by the University that currently require a customer to "come to campus" to transact that business. The technology tools are now in place to begin delivering some of those services electronically. This electronic transaction can take place at a "time and place" that is convenient for the customer, not just when they are on campus during our normal business hours. * Long range budgeting for equipment updates and replacement - this is becoming an essential activity that has

not been done very well in the past. * Outside gift funding - we must continue to expand our resource base for technology improvements by seeking donations, partnering with foundations and corporations and pursuing grant resources. * Improve levels of support and training - as the technology becomes more complex and more powerful, training and support efforts need to increase and improve. Plans need to be made to provide this skill development for faculty, staff and students. * Future projects - a few highlights from the current list of technology requests include: 1.Provide electronic classrooms for instruction. 2.Provide a computer based training center for faculty and staff. 3.Upgrade and create specialty student computer labs (Music, Design, Multimedia preparation, Visual Arts, Business administration and marketing). 4.Provide Internet access for parents and Alumni. 5.Upgrade the campus Finance/Budgeting/Purchasing System. 6.Upgrade the campus Human Resource System. 7.Improve the institutional decision support systems and analysis tools provided to campus leadership. 8.Expand access to CD-ROM databases and applications from across campus. 9.Expand use of computers for SPU students. Summary: To summarize the "state of computing" at Seattle Pacific, there are three key points: * We are currently in a leadership position in the use of information systems and technology. We need to expand the awareness of this leadership role to our campus communities and students. We must also leverage this position to take full advantage of the hardware and software to directly impact the instructional, teaching and learning objectives of the university. * Improve the overall support of information technologies to assure that equipment and resources can be fully utilized. We have been very effective at getting equipment, networks and software installed and operational. We must now focus greater efforts on training and teaching faculty, staff and students to be effective users. Long term budgeting for the repair and replacement of equipment and software needs greater attention.

* The next major growth area for Computer & Information Systems support, encouragement and evangelism; is to increase the amount and access to SPU specific content and the number of business transactions that take place electronically. We have already seen that connectivity and computerization will change the ways we interact with people, now we need to take the next step to use that style of communication to expand the quality and quantity of our services.