Meeting Minutes

January 16, 1998 Meeting

Members present: Chris Strauss, Rich Anderson, Kelly Wood, Ginger Boone, Craig Berry, Allen Bradley, Paul Hons, Robert Pierce, Tim Christian, Maurice Leatherbury

Members absent: Abraham John, Bill Buntain, Bruce Pollak, Eric DuChemin, Mike Hatch

Guests present: Mike Wright, John Booth, Wil Clark, Jan Brothers, Sue Smith, Amin Benneftah, Sharon Jenkins, Cengiz Capan, Paul Schlieve, Charles Andrews, Chris Copeland

The meeting was called to order at 2:00 PM. 

Tim Christian reported on the status of the call tracking implementation.   Chris Strauss had been spending his time getting the server set up and configuring backups so they worked reliably.  He thought that the hardware issues were very close to being resolved and hoped that Chris would be able to start modifying the software in order to bring up a basic tracking system soon.

Maurice reported that the draft of the desktop application software guidelines had been revised to make the document more "user friendly" and that he'd be taking the revision to the IRC for its consideration at the next IRC meeting.   He had sent a copy of the revised draft to the DCSMT members prior to the meeting and there were no suggested changes to that draft.

Maurice introduced the topic of the general access computer labs and their relationship to the DCSMT, saying that the issue had arisen because of a concern that Kathe Swigger had expressed at the last IRC meeting.  The IRC directed Maurice to discuss the perceived problems in the labs with the DCSMT and to bring recommendations about any needed changes back to the IRC in the future.  Maurice then introduced Cengiz Capan, Chair of the General Access Lab Committee ("GALC",) who then outlined a short history of the labs.

The original plan for computer labs on campus called for a single, centralized facility on campus but after much discussion, a distributed model was agreed upon and continues to serve the campus today.  Cengiz then said that there is an opportunity now to re-think the labs and their management structure since the DCSMT included most of the persons who oversee the labs.  Cengiz proposed a three-point revision to the structure of the lab system's management:

  1. The General Access Labs Managers Committee ("GALMAC") would fall under the DCSMT instead of the GALC.

  2. The Chair of the GALMAC would meet as a member of the IRC.

  3. College representatives who had formerly been members of GALC would serve as somewhat of  policy/budget makers in their individual colleges.

Maurice then stated that the lab system was one of UNT's greatest strengths in service to students:  it wasn't broken but with changes in teaching methodologies on campus (the prime example being the kinesiology course) we have the opportunity to put the labs in even a more central role in instruction at the university.

Paul Schlieve, a GALC member, stated that any change in the management structure of the labs should include an academic/faculty perspective and that he didn't see many faculty members on the DCSMT.

Maurice stated that he agreed with the need to include the academic perspective and that he thought that the labs had not been as responsive to university-wide instruction needs as they could have been.  Jan Brothers disagreed, pointing to the examples of the kinesiology project, testing software, and Dr. Swiggers project which show that the labs had responded when needs were brought to them.  Tim Christian said that the problem with the seeming lack of responsiveness may just be a lack of communications between the labs and persons needing their services.

Sue Smith from the Willis Lab said that the feelings of the lab managers had been hurt by the statement that GALMAC hadn't been responsive.  Craig Berry said that the labs may have become detached from campus-wide needs because of the extra layer of bureaucracy that the GALC had imposed on the lab system. Cengiz then said the we need to decide whether the DCSMT should send the issue back to the GALMAC and GALC or decide the issue here today.

Phil Baczewski said that one reason for the success of the GALC was that it consisted of associated deans or high-level persons in colleges who were looking out for the interests of the labs.  Paul Schlieve stated that strategic interests need to be addressed in a venue that has a global perspective and GALC used to be that group.

Cengiz agreed that GALC had a strategic perspective, but GALMAC had the technical expertise and we need to keep both perspectives in mind.  He asked if there were some other ways to work on both pictures together.

Maurice concluded the discussion by saying that the lab system isn't "broken," but that the labs are becoming integral parts of direct instruction at UNT and we have the opportunity to strengthen the lab system.  He asked GALMAC and GALC to discuss the various proposals to reorganize the lab management structure and to return to the DCSMT at its next regularly scheduled meeting on February 6th to continue the search for a solution.

Tim Christian brought up the topic of virus protection software, saying that F-Prot isn't working well in catching viruses, particularly Word macro viruses.   He thought that Norton's product works better but costs significantly more (about $8.00 a copy vs. about $1.85 a copy for F-Prot.) Tim wanted to know if any other support area was interested in looking at other anti-virus software packages, and several persons responded affirmatively.  Phil Baczewski said that Eriq Neale used to handle virus protection on campus but since he's left, we're in a transition stage and said that we shouldn't be reactionary yet.  He welcomed a reasoned discussion of alternatives and stated that if the campus is looking to Academic Computing Services for assistance with virus protection, ACS would need to be involved in the search for those alternatives.   It was suggested that the Desktop Applications Standardization subcommittee of the DCSMT was the logical place to discuss alternatives, and Maurice said that he'd call the group together to do so.  Cengiz expressed the need to be sure to include costs in the evaluation.

Bill Buntain reported that the CBT Systems software is now available.   He also said that the DNS/DHCP project is coming along and he expects to have the new servers up and running soon.  Bill also said that his group was looking at the adequacy of our Internet T1 connections with the possibility being that we might expand our connections.  He asked that anyone with an upcoming project that would require significant bandwidth expansion let him know about their project. Finally, Bill stated that he was also exploring ADSL as an alternative access method for Internet connectivity to campus.

The meeting was then turned over to representatives from Compaq Computer Corp. who gave a presentation on their laptop computers.

The meeting adjourned at 4:00 PM.


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