IRC Regular Voting Members: Philip Turner, Associate Vice
President of Academic Affairs for Distance Education and Dean of
the School of Library and Information Resources (Chair); Jenny
Jopling, Instruction Program Group; Dennis Mueller, Research Program
Group; Don Grose, Libraries; Walter Bowen, Academic Administration;
John Todd, Faculty Senate; Kathleen Swigger, College of Arts and
Sciences; Bill Buntain, Communications Program Group; Cengiz Capan,
College of Business; Joneel Harris, Administrative Program Group;
Paul Dworak, College of Music; David Hartman, School of Community
Services; Paul Schlieve, College of Education; Chuck Fuller,
Fiscal Affairs; Carolyn Cunningham, Student Affairs; Steve Oeffner,
UNTHSC Information Technology Services; Steve Miller, Human Resources;
Clare Popejoy, Graduate Student Council; Steve Grant, UNT Health
Science Center; Allen Livingston, Student Association; Russ Pensyl,
School of Visual Arts; Virginia Wheeless, Chancellor. IRC Ex-officio
Nonvoting Members: Richard Harris, Computing Center; Coy Hoggard,
Computing Center; Maurice Leatherbury, Computing Center; Jim Curry,
Microcomputer Maintenance Shop; Rondel Stevens, Telecommunications;
Sue Ellen Richey, Computing Center (Recording Secretary)
Bill Buntain distributed copies of a Proposal to Develop a Plan for
an Integrated Directory Service, which he asked to have on the agenda
for the April IRC meeting.
Jenny Jopling reported having spoken with Linda Sheldon of the
Physical Plant about proceeding with the classroom renovation project
and said that Linda still needs to have someone tell her where to put
outlets and which windows to cover, etc. Dr. Brownell said that he has
asked Dr. David Kesterson to work with the Physical Plant on this
project. It was suggested that since the Auditorium Building will be
the first one to have classrooms improved, the English department
head should be asked to select three faculty members who teach their
courses in that building to work with Linda in making these decisions.
There was discussion about doing a survey of faculty members to
determine what features they believe are important to have in
Evidently there are already plans underway to conduct a physical
inventory of classrooms to determine how many chairs are in each room
as well as categorizing the rooms according to quality. It was
suggested that as long as there is going to be a survey, it should
encompass everything that should be known about a classroom in order
to schedule it for the appropriate faculty use. It was agreed that
time shouldn't be wasted conducting three different surveys by
three different groups of people. Jenny also suggested that while
they were surveying rooms, they could make a note of where current
electrical outlets and data jacks are located.
Dr. Turner asked if there should be restrictions placed on
classrooms that are equipped with high-end technology so that
they will only be used by faculty who will be making use of that
technology. It was agreed that people who would not need the
high-end technology should not be scheduled into rooms that
are so equipped. It was noted that the technology is in place
for appropriately scheduling classes based on the level of
technology in classrooms. It was mentioned that keeping the
scheduling codes current is a problem. Joneel pointed out that
only 110 classrooms are coded for scheduling, because 220
classrooms are scheduled by the units having responsibility for
In the discussion, Paul Schlieve commented that he believes that
even 220 classrooms should be maintained at a base-line level
by central funding, and that the specialized items for those
rooms should be funded by departmental funds.
Maurice also reported that Team Web hopes to turn over the new
design of the UNT Web page and have it up and running within the
Maurice reported that 15 proposals for Teaching with Technology
grants have been submitted and are under review. He also announced
that on May 12-15, 1997 there will be a Teaching with Technology
workshop for all faculty.
It was announced that the Standards & Cooperation Program Group proposal for a campus-wide faculty and staff workstation upgrade was approved by the IR Steering Committee, with a request for Paul Dworak to work with Phil Diebel on a funding proposal.
Dennis Mueller reported that 14 proposals have been submitted for
Innovative Projects grants totaling 1.1 million dollars; since there
is only $100,000 available, the review committee is having a difficult
time making the final approval decisions.
Joneel Harris reported that the Administrative Program Group has
met with Dr. Turner about distributed learning at UNT. Joneel said
she met with the Dean of the College of Business of the Univ. of
Texas at Brownsville, who is on the University of Texas System committee to develop a University of Texas virtual
university. Joneel discussed some of the administrative issues with her and apparently
UT is forging ahead and planning to work out the problems as they go.
In addition, Joneel attended a presentation by Dr. Kappleman of the
BCIS Department on Year 2000 issues. Joneel asked Coy Hoggard to speak to that issue.
Coy said that the Year 2000 has raised some serious challenges, however, his
programming teams believe they are prepared to make the operating systems and
language upgrades that will be required. They have been considering, for some time, the
replacement of the Student Information System; however, they do not believe they will be
able to replace it in time to avoid having to make changes necessary for the Year 2000.
Coy has assigned Earl Jackson, who was the Admissions Team, to coordinate the Year
2000 solutions within SIMS. It is hoped to have the Admissions module converted by this
Fall with the other modules converted in time to have them run through one complete
cycle before the change of century occurs.
Joneel said that, regarding the coding of classrooms, they would like
to be able to prioritize the criteria for matching teaching needs to available classrooms,
and work on updating the coding when time permits.
Richard Harris noted that possible problems at the PC level with the
Year 2000 are being considered by the Distributed Computing Support Team.
Since no official business could be conducted without a quorum, and
there being no other items for discussion, the meeting was adjourned at 3:00 p.m.
The Chair recognized and welcomed the new Student Association
representative, Allen Livingston, who is a PH.D student in the School of Library &
In view of recent difficulties in having a quorum at IRC meetings, the
Chair announced that he would review the attendance of this year's meetings and arrange
for new members to replace those who are not attending regularly. There was no quorum
at this meeting, therefore, minutes of previous meetings were not approved.
Dr. Turner distributed a diagram of the UNT Video Conferencing
Network. He explained that he recently received the capital outlay budget for this
network. The two goals of the network are:
The power of the system is that it is scalable, with no limits to the
number of connections. The time frame for the network to be operable is Fall, 1997, with
Spring 98 semester being the first time it will be available for classes. Turner stated that
UNT has received gifts from VTEL and from Codec to make this a very good deal for
UNT. The first sites at UNT will be the video-conference room in Chilton Hall, ISB 201
and 204, College of Education, and College of Music.
Dr. Turner stated that this network design is the best in Texas a
quality, state-of-the-art design. The important issue now is how the network is operated,
and who UNT connects to. Discussion followed.
There will be a distributed learning team that will provide support to
faculty. Joneel Harris mentioned that the large classroom in the new Student Learning
Center should be considered for hook-up to the video-conferencing network. Turner said
that any room that is currently hooked up to the broadband network can be hooked up to
Richard Harris reported that at the last Strategic Planning Committee
meeting members gave feedback to Susan Pierce on security issues. Jenny Jopling
pointed out that the remaining unfunded action items from the Strategic Plan were
prioritized, with the classrooms remaining a top priority. Dennis Mueller interjected that
at the Research Program Group meeting, it was recommended that another of the action
items, programming support for college and departmental functions, be moved to High
priority. Richard said he would take the RPG's recommendation back to the SPC.
Maurice Leatherbury reported that the Distributed Support
Management Team meets regularly. Jim Curry is chair of a sub-committee that is looking
at "call-tracking and help desk" software packages. There are many products to evaluate,
so a decision on that will be a long time in coming. It is hoped that a software package
that is used by all distributed support areas will make trouble call resolution much more
efficient. Maurice said he has taken on chairmanship of a subcommittee that will look at
standardization of desktop applications, with their first issue being to look at file format
standards common to the most frequently-used software applications to facilitate sharing
of files via E-mail, etc.
Maurice also reported that Team Web enabled the roll-out of UNT's
new Home Page Monday, April 7th and they are working out a few problems. The
committee has also been working on a draft of Web Publishing guidelines which they
hope to bring to the next IRC meeting.
Paul Schlieve asked if progress has been made on making
mainframe data on student records, open class sections, etc., accessible to faculty across
the Web. Joneel responded by saying that is an action item in the Strategic Plan that needs
ownership to make it happen. Joneel said they are close to bringing ASSIST into
production on the Web. Because there is a credit-card transaction in that, they are facing
some security issues. They will proceed with testing during Spring registration, and again
during Summer I.
Paul Schlieve reported that the Communications Program Group has
been collaborating with Bill on the Directory Services project. Philip Baczewski added
that they will be dealing with placement of students on the NDS tree, which has
implications for the enterprise-wide directory system. They have developed a set of
specifications for an enterprise-wide directory service used primarily to establish an
electronic identity for any individual on campus. Part of those specifications have been
implemented allowing students to apply for access on the UNIX system. What is lacking
is a central directory component that will act as a central repository for electronic
Jenny Jopling reported for the Instruction Program Group that the
group has met and discussed classroom upgrades, and how to accomplish a room survey
in conjunction with the Provost's survey. It was reported that the previously allotted
$29,500 is currently on hold pending receipt of further information on what
improvements are needed in classrooms. Dr. Turner suggested that the presenting group
needs to take one further step after making a recommendation, and that is to follow up to
see that things get done, thereby building accountability into IRC recommendations.
Discussion continued. The Chair urged Jenny to try and pull this all together so that one
survey is made in which all pertinent information is collected, then follow through with
Linda Sheldon when the information finally reaches her.
Dennis Mueller reported that at the last Research Program Group
meeting, they discussed the 14 proposals that had been submitted and the specific ones
that were recommended to be funded. He suggested that because of the low amount of
money allocated for this program, there were more competitive proposals submitted,
rather than cooperative ones. The RPG would like to request an increase in the allocation
for next year, $600,000 total, with half of that being used to fund proposals for advanced
technological upgrades of classrooms. Dennis added that he would like to see the
allocation of funds made in October 1997. Dennis reported that the funded projects are:
Dr. Turner commented that Jenny Jopling has developed a Web site
for distributed learning at UNT (www.unt.edu/dlearn) where abstracts for these funded
projects could be posted.
Maurice Leatherbury announced that Teaching with Technology
grant recommendations have been made to the Provost, approved, and funds awarded.
There were 15 proposals, out of which 9 were funded. Not all of the money allocated was
awarded, so the remaining amount was given to the Innovative Project proposal for the
College of Business classroom project.
Joneel Harris reported that the Administrative Program Group has
not met, but that they are following up on their Strategic Plan action items. As an
information item, Joneel stated that two large laser printers that have been provided by
the Computing Center to meet centralized printing needs are about to be replaced,
because they have become obsolete and will not be supported after this year. She said that
she welcomed input on this situation from members.
The Chair announced that the Provost has signed the
recommendation from the Standards & Cooperation Program Group regarding the
campus-wide pc upgrade plan. Paul Dworak is working with Phil Diebel, V.P. Finance &
Business Affairs, on procedural issues.
Mike Maner announced that the Computing Center has made some
changes to the campus connection to the internet through negotiations with D.I.R.
Following those changes, the contract was turned over to the General Services
Commission, and UNT has experienced severe performance problems, and routers have
been heavily loaded. Mike understands that, at some point, GTE plans to move their
installation to UTD. This means UNT will have to negotiate with someone else. This will
definitely affect premium dial-ups. At a minimum, four T1's will have to be moved. He
warned members to expect some problems.
Richard Harris reported that a DCSMT subcommittee, headed by Jim
Curry, is working on selecting a help-desk software package. They have narrowed the
selection down to one or two packages which will then be considered against an in-house
program. This will be a program that will be used university-wide by distributed support
groups to manage trouble calls. In addition, Maurice is chairing a sub-committee that is
dealing with the issue of a standard word processing, spreadsheet, and database formats
that can be interchanged among common application packages. Currently, there is an
incompatibility between the latest versions of Microsoft Word and WordPerfect.
Paul Dworak reported for the Standards & Cooperation Program
Group that when Paul Diebel reviewed the recommendation for the workstation upgrade
plan, Mr. Diebel felt that the process was confusing. The committee is drafting a
document which describes the process in detail and includes sample spreadsheets. In
essence they created a calendar that begins in the fall of each fiscal year, when department
heads would project ahead to include new needs. With that information, Jim Curry will
distribute to department heads their inventory and a recommendation of what should be
upgraded or replaced. The department would review the recommendation, make
appropriate changes, and request budgets to accommodate the upgrades and acquisitions.
The Program Group is nearly ready to show the process document to Mr. Diebel. The
next issue will be questions raised by department heads which will bring the S&C
Committee into the process again to refine and clarify the plan.
In addition, the S&C Program Group began looking at the Supported
Computing Items List (SCIL) and its correlating policy. The first change was to the name
of the list; it will now be titled Recommended Computing Items List, and its contents
determined by the Distributed Computing Support Management Team based on user
needs. The role of the S&C Program Group will be to review the impact of DCSMT's
recommendations and hear any objections and comments from users, reporting on these
to the IRC. It was pointed out that the spirit of the Recommended Computing Items List
is parallel to the old SCIL.
The Chair asked Mike Maner if ISDN is ready to sell. Mike replied
that the Bookstore may not be ready to sell it yet, but they do have a few users. The
subscription rate will be the same as premium service, for one line; however, additional
pieces are necessary to make ISDN work. Richard Harris reminded the group that the
Communications Program Group has presented a proposal for a project to develop a plan
for an integrated directory service. The proposal was tabled at the last IRC meeting.
Richard asked the group to consider that proposal today. The recommendation was that:
"The Computing Center be charged with developing a project plan
for implementing a unified directory service to be used to populate various electronic
systems, including the University's electronic messaging systems, and present this plan to
the IRC general meeting in the month following the adoption of this proposal;
The Enterprise-wide User-ID (EUID) initiative: Design Specifications prepared by Academic Computing Services be endorsed by the IRC as a basis for assigning electronic identities (i.e., User IDs) for use in populating such a directory service."
It was suggested that the proposal be changed to state that the
Computing Center take the plan to the Communications Program Group, rather than to
the IRC, and delete the time constraint. A motion was passed to that effect.
There was some discussion about the problems recently encountered
in internet access, as well as the changes that have been made to improve the reliability.
Richard Harris stated that D.I.R. is working on a long-term re-engineered solution to
recent problems. He explained that the Computing Center was able to work around the
problems by setting up a more direct connection.
Mike Maner explained the current configuration of the Internet set-up
and diagrammed it for the group. He stated that the General Services Commission has
bids out and is in the process of awarding contracts to build an installation that will be an
MAE that belongs to the GSC. There will be one in Houston, Austin and Dallas. The one
in Dallas will be located at UT Dallas. UNT will be swinging its two T1's over to that
installation. There is no time line for the completion of this, but it is hoped to have it
completed in two months. Richard mentioned that this project is one of the Computing
Center's highest priorities.
In further discussion, Paul Dworak reported some slow-down
problems on the university's Intranet as well. Mike commented that problems aren't
always attributable to the network, but in some cases have been due to wiring.
Neal Brand reported for the Instruction Program Group that the
committee has met with David Kesterson, Rollie Schaffer and Fred Pole to discuss the
classroom survey that Kesterson is doing. The committee made some additions to his
survey and hopefully by early summer the committee will have some results from it on
which to base a minimum classroom standard proposal.
Dennis Mueller reported for the Research Program Group that they
had met and discussed the action items regarding programming support for college and
department functions, from the Strategic Plan. The group agreed that it is essential that
this strategy (8.4) be moved from a low to a high priority. He shared an example of the
needs in this area; that being the Sponsored Projects Office having to submit all future
proposals for federal grants electronically. That office is hoping to buy a software
product that will provide the vehicle for these submissions, but even the commercial
product will need tweaking for their specific purposes, as well as technical support on site
for a while. Currently, there is no resource for this type of assistance for administrative or
There was some discussion about the Sponsored Projects Office
needs. There was consensus that the IRC should not approve or disapprove how
Sponsored Projects handles their needs, but that the IRC could and should recommend
that addressing this issue needs to be a high priority. Paul Dworak moved that the IRC
support the needs of any university department in being able to communicate
electronically with federal and government agencies for presentation and management of
grant proposals. Discussion continued, and following that, the motion passed.
[Philip Turner turned over Chairmanship of the meeting to Richard Harris, since he had to leave early to speak at the Teaching with Technology Workshop.]
Richard Harris stated that he had put a request in his budget for a
distributed programming team that could handle this sort of programming need. He
explained that the current programming teams in the Computing Center are user-driven
(specifically, Vice President-driven). The teams are organized around the V-P areas to
avoid conflicts between vice presidents. There are heavy demands placed on those teams
because of mandates at the state and federal levels.
Dennis also mentioned that another need along these lines is the
design of forms that are used university-wide. Richard said this team could address that
also; so he asked that the IRC support the Computing Center's budget request.
Joneel Harris reported for the Administrative Program Group that
they have had a meeting with the Bradshaw Group regarding the replacement of the
Computing Center's two, large Hewlett-Packard printers. The conclusion that has been
reached is that a high-volume, continuous form printer will be maintained, possibly
supplemented by smaller printers.
Dennis Mueller made a presentation on the Innovative Projects
Program which was funded this year by Academic Affairs. The original idea of this
program was that additional funds be appropriated to the academic budget for the
innovative projects program for the purpose of providing a mechanism to implement
innovative concepts that do not qualify for funding under any other programs. The
committee created a procedure, or process, that has worked well this year, the intent of
which is to help meet current and future research needs. This year, all of the funds were
awarded to instruction proposals. This program is also seen as a way to fund IRC
strategies; to provide funding for projects that are too large for a single department or
college/school to implement; or to provide seed money for pilot programs that have high
potential to attract external funding.
Dennis explained the process, the program's advantages, and
outlined the evaluation guidelines used to determine awards. Dennis stressed that this
program should be funded with additional monies not already in the academic budget;
that it should not take from funds traditionally in college and departmental allocations;
and that funding should not be in lieu of proposal matches, hiring start-up funds, or other
initiatives in place. Dennis stated that he believes that the low amount of the awards this
year prohibited inter-departmental cooperation on grant proposals, and that a larger
amount of money would encourage that cooperation. He reiterated that this program will
optimize enrollment while maintaining quality and avoiding the need for additional
faculty or staff; it will enhance the quality of undergraduate and graduate instruction; it
will make more efficient and productive use of University human, physical, financial, and
informational resources; as well as enhance external funding in support of University
Dennis listed the proposals that were funded this year:
The total amount awarded this year was a little less than $250,000,
between this program and the Teaching with Technology Grant program. There was some
discussion, during which a comment was made that some faculty were not aware that this
grant program could be used for a pure research project. Funds have not yet been
earmarked for this program in the 1997-98 fiscal year so Dennis moved that the IRC
approve the allocation of $600,000 for the Innovative Projects Program in FY97-98. No
one objected to taking a vote at this meeting, and the motion.
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