IT security and collaboration were the dominant themes this week as chief technology officers from throughout the state and from each of California's higher education segments converged in Santa Clara.
The CISOA/SecureIT 2011 conference—which focused on the concerns of the IT professional in management, security, information systems and IT curriculum—was held April 4-6, 2011 in Santa Clara and included an opportunity to recognize exemplary technology leaders and projects. Subtitled "Sustaining and Strengthening Security Through Collaboration," this event was the first joint conference held by the California Community Colleges Chief Information Systems Officers Association (CISOA) and SecureIT.
The collaboration allowed the groups to leverage their resources and present an outstanding set of pre-conference and conference sessions at a reasonable price. The focus on collaboration was reinforced by the event's kick-off keynote address on April 4, which featured a panel of three chief technology officers from each of California's three higher education segments:
- Patrick Perry; Vice Chancellor of Technology, Research, and Information Systems; California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office
- Chuck Rowley; Associate Vice Chancellor, Computing and Communications and CIO; University of California, Riverside (UCR)
- A. Michael Berman, PhD; Chief Information Officer; California State University, Channel Islands
Each member of the panel was given an opportunity to speak about the internal and external collaborative efforts at their institutions surrounding technology initiatives. Then the panel moderator, Lorraine Frost, Interim Vice President and CIO at CSU, San Bernadino, led the speakers in a lively discussion of some key issues facing technology initiatives in higher education, including time for questions for the audience.
Patrick Perry said he thought it was a terrific pairing of conferences, CISOA and SecureIT. "The cross-segmental representation gave it a truly collaborative feel," he said. "Since there is such great commonality of interest among technologists in higher education, the conference provided yet another opportunity to lay out the ways in which technology will help meet California’s educational goals."
Micah Orloff, Educational Projects Coordinator for the state-wide technology training project @One, attended the April 4 address by the keynote panel and said the address set the tone for the event. "One of the best things about this conference was the opportunity to have great conversations about collaborating across the segments. The individual sessions followed the conference theme of sustaining and strengthening security through collaboration and enlightened the attendees to the opportunities ahead. I was excited to hear of the progress being made with the eTranscript California initiative, with increased adoption across the segments and a legislative bill proposal to pursue a system-wide conversion of transcripts."
Orloff also enjoyed the April 5 lunch and dinner keynote addresses, "Setting the Security Agenda," by Leslie Lambert, Vice President and Chief Information Security Officer, Juniper Networks, and "The Rise of Mobile Social Networking," by Darin Stewart, Research Director, Collaboration and Content Strategies at The Gartner Group.
"I found the keynote addresses engaging as they covered the convergence of mobile devices and social computing on campus and how that convergence presents unique challenges and opportunities to IT managers in terms of communication and security. We need to embrace the use of these devices and services, however, we must also educate, train and make aware to our constituencies the potential threats that accompany their use. I found myself changing privacy settings on social website posts and photo albums afterwards."
Of significant interest to the community college personnel in attendance were two presentations titled, "Managing Data Privacy and Security in Community Colleges, Part 1 and 2," from the state of California's Chief Officer of Privacy Protection, Joanne McNabb.
Paul Bishop, Vice President of IT at Santa Barbara City College said that the presentations on security were timely and educational. "I appreciate the vast amount of knowledge I will take back to my college after participating in this conference," Bishop said. "I was also glad to be on hand to speak face to face with other college officials and the Chancellor’s Office about the challenges we face."
Adrian Agundez, IT Director at Taft College, echoed Bishop's sentiment. "It was enlightening to hear other district and college perspectives, especially about the increasing need for security and cloud computing."
Three sessions were dedicated specifically to security concerns in the cloud. Donald Hester, instructor for the state-wide technology training project @One, led the session, "Cloud Computing Done Right."
Hester said he thought it was a great conference. "The sessions were well attended and the attendees added their insight during the sessions, leading to greater collaboration. Jon Good from the University of California Office of the President led a session on cloud computing right after mine, which worked out great. We covered some of the same topics but approached them from different angles."
Lee Krichmar, IT Director at Cerritos College, attended the conference and also led a session in which she demonstrated an institutional planning tool developed at Cerritos. She said this year's conference had a strong feeling of collaboration in the air.
"There are many of us that are looking to partner with others so that we can more efficiently meet our individual goals," Krichmar said. "The CISOA/SecureIT combo was a great fit in my opinion. Our future budget constraints will force us to redefine ourselves and to expand partnerships. I look forward to this exploration."
Michelle Kozlowski, Director of IT Services at West Hills Community College District, said she appreciated the breadth of the conference sessions and the value offered. "I bought several staff members with me this year so that we could take advantage of the many reasonably priced training opportunities that the conference offered," she said.
The CISOA/SecureIT conference also availed an opportunity to recognize exemplary technology leaders and projects within the California Community Colleges system. The Chancellor's Office Focus Awards and the CISOA Annual Awards were handed out at the annual CISOA business meeting at the conference on April 5.
The California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office Technology Awards Program honors regional and statewide projects and individual leaders that have identified and solved significant problems in a manner worthy of emulation. The program is offered by the Chancellor's Office in collaboration with the Telecommunication and Technology Advisory Committee (TTAC) and the Chief Information Systems Officers Association (CISOA).
The following projects were recognized with Technology Focus Awards this year:
EduStream, San Bernardino Community College District: EduStream was initially envisioned at San Bernardino Community College to serve as a central distribution platform for academic digital media such as videos, documents and pictures. The program picked up grant funding in 2009 from the California Community College Chancellor’s Office and became a statewide solution for all 112 California community colleges. The EduStream service is free for all California Community Colleges. Through EduStream, faculty and staff are able to upload and stream videos from their learning management systems to their online students. They are also able to choose from a wide variety of pre-licensed proprietary content on various subjects such as History, Math and Literature. EduStream also allows for live events such as board meetings and sport events in real time to an online audience. Institutions can also use EduStream as a digital repository to store their media library free of charge up to 100 gigabytes.
Folsom Lake College Online Educators Group, Folsom College: The Folsom Lake College Online Educators Group meets twice a month throughout the academic year, and communicates via social media in an effort to share experiences and discuss issues of technology-enhanced teaching and learning. The group hosted two successful technology "unconferences," bringing together adjunct and full-time faculty from across the Los Rios Community College District to discuss and explore innovative teaching techniques. The group explores emerging educational technologies, from social networking to mobile applications, develops prototypes of activities and assignments which serve as a examples for the larger college community, and focuses on best practices for technology use in
online and face-to-face education.
Open Source Human Presence Learning Environment, Santa Barbara City College (SBCC): SBCC developed an open-source next generation learning content management system (LCMS) intended to address the primary shortcomings of all extant LCMS by designing into it Web 2.0 "human presence" communication technologies including streaming media, synchronous and asynchronous voice and video communication, multi-mode collaboration spaces, instant polling and student rating systems, integrated student services, learner analytics and numerous other features currently missing from other technology-enabled solutions. The project has been featured through @One, has been demonstrated to the US Department of Education, and has been the subject of articles in USA Today, Inside Higher Ed and TechEDge.
The following individuals received the CISOA Award at this year's conference:
Mojdeh Mehdizadeh, Associate Vice Chancellor and Chief Information Officer for the Contra Costa Community College District: Mehdizadeh has 20 years of experience in higher education, including diverse experience in institutional research and planning. She began her career at Diablo Valley College in the area of student services, then institutional research, and has been serving in a district-wide capacity for 11 years, with the most recent eight as Chief of Information Technology and Research. Mehdizadeh is recognized as an experienced, well-rounded leader with excellent communication skills and a proven track record. Her IT experience includes implementation of large Enterprise Resource Planning systems; leading the development and implementation of a large-scale technology plan; overseeing a multi-million dollar technology budget; and providing exemplary technology services including a full array of student online services.
Satish Warrier, Assistant Director of IT Services: Warrier has worked at El Camino Community College for 25 years. He started as a part time systems analyst and later became a network support supervisor. Currently he serves as the assistant director of Information Technology Services. Warrier was recognized for his exceptional leadership and organizational skills in the successful deployment of three major projects over a sustained four year period of time. Migration to Datatel Colleague Release 18. (2006-2007); Voice over IP (2006-2007); and SharePoint Portal (2008 – 2010). According to his nomination, "Any one of these projects warrant an award for technology excellence, but to have accomplished all three within budget, on time and without any discernible service disruption is a truly remarkable achievement."
In addition, Susan Guarino received this year's CISOA Board award, which recognizes excellence in service to CISOA. Guarino has been with Mt. San Jacinto College (MSJC) since 1993. She worked as a programmer in Information Services until 1995 when she became the Dean of IT. Guarino is known for always being prepared, and her dedication and type A personality has made the Information Technology Department a role model and beacon of professionalism at our college for efficiency, documentation and preparedness. Guarino advocates for her department and employees, and she champions needs that better serve the college community for student success. Guarino has also been conference coordinator for CISOA for the last two conferences and has been a regional representative several times.
"As a conference planning person, I can say that the conference went smoothly this year and I am pleased that our partnership with SecureIT is a benefit to the organization and our conference," Guarino said. "SecureIT brings security officers and chief information systems officers from the CSU and UC systems, and the 2011 conference laid some groundwork for continued and increasing partnership between the three higher education segments."
Attendance was very good this year, a testament to the strong program CISOA built in collaboration with SecureIT. And the vendor hall had about 50 booths and was always buzzing. Our vendors were once again very good to us, sponsoring equipment, supplementing our room costs, providing refreshments, and hosting the ever-popular late night hospitality."
Fred Sherman, Chief Technology Officer for the Foothill-De Anza Community College District and past President of CISOA, said that he also appreciated the strong vendor support, especially during the current budget crisis. "It is clear that the vendors that support CISOA are committed to maintaining strong partnerships with our colleges, and sticking with us through cyclical budget times," he said.
CISOA/SecureIT 2011 was expressly designed for anyone who is responsible for the security and privacy of information, including: CEOs, CIOs, CTOs, VPs of technology and network systems, directors of IT, directors of technology, systems architects, network administrators, network security officers, ISOs, financial managers, system administrators, health records administrators, admissions and student records administrators, and software and Web developers.
Gary Moser, Chief Technology Officer at Sierra College and CISOA president, did a great job of summing up the 2011 conference experience when he said, "This conference provided an amazing opportunity to collaborate with our colleagues in the UC and CSU systems when we asked Secure IT to partner with us. For me one of the most important aspects of this conference is the opportunity to meet with the other CTO’s in the system. This conference is a great value allowing us to share ideas, concerns, and successes with each other. I already look forward to next year."
The CISOA/Secure IT 2011 conference is made possible through support from the California State University, the California Community Colleges, the University of California, and the vendor community. It is hosted by California State University, San Bernardino and the California Community Colleges Chief Information Systems Officers Association collaborative.<>
Sandoval Chagoya is the TechEDge Managing Editor and a Project Manager
for the California Community Colleges Technology Center and the California Virtual Campus.
With thanks to the California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office,
the CISOA board of directors and its association members,
Doug Hersh at Santa Barbara City College,
@One, and SunGard Higher Education for contributing to this story.