A look ahead at UW-IT’s focus for 2021
Read about initiatives planned for FY 2021 and beyond to support the work of the University, organized by UW-IT’s strategic goals.
Enhance the Student Experience
Improve automated messages sent to students
Critical messages sent to students from the Student Data Base, Keynes, will be enhanced with rich text formatting options, UW branding and more. This will improve communications to students, provide identifying information about the sender, and allow for a better user experience.
Pronoun option in enterprise-wide applications
To cultivate a safer, more inclusive UW community, the Office of the University Registrar in partnership with UW-IT plans to integrate pronouns into UW applications used by instructors and advisors, including MyUW class rosters. Students can choose to display their pronouns so faculty don’t have to assume pronouns based on appearance or name.
New efforts to boost success of students with disabilities
Multi-year projects supporting the success of students with disabilities are underway and led by the Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking and Technology (DO-IT) Center. These include Developing and Testing Innovations: Neuroscience for Neurodiverse Learners; ERC INCLUDES and AccessERC (Engineering Research Centers); and AccessISL (informal STEM learning).
Advance World-Class Research
Performance improvements for UW’s supercomputer
An upgrade to the UW’s supercomputer, Hyak, will increase processing speed and bandwidth, while expanding storage and memory to better meet researchers’ evolving needs. Also, modernizing Hyak’s supporting equipment will allow better monitoring of power use for more energy-efficient computation.
Partnering to provide cloud training to support research
UW, along with other participating higher ed institutions and cloud providers, is partnering with Internet2 to create and launch a training program to fill a recognized gap in developing a skilled workforce across central, distributed and research IT groups to support research computing and data in the cloud.
Manage Enterprise Risk
IT policy to add enterprise architecture standards
To simplify and streamline decision-making across campus, the UW’s Information Technology, Telecommunications and Networking Projects and Acquisitions Policy (APS 2.3) is being updated to include IT enterprise architecture standards. The project will engage campus partners to help guide the standards.
Support for meeting federal grant security requirements
To help research projects meet federal information security requirements, units across campus are partnering with the office of the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) and relevant UW-IT service owners to develop a cybersecurity model that will guide the deployment of processes and tools to meet requirements.
Expanding use of two-factor authentication
To better protect sensitive UW data, UW-IT will expand use of two-factor authentication (2FA), and begin a phased-in, required adoption for staff in certain units, and eventually faculty and students too. 2FA adds a layer of security beyond the UW NetID password.
Enhancement to departmental VPN
An upgrade to the Husky OnNet – Department (HON-D) service, the UW’s virtual private network for departments, will provide security features, allowing HON-D to integrate with commercial cloud services.
Back-end improvements to Canvas
The Canvas learning management system will get several administrative enhancements, including an improved user authorization workflow and process for deleting expired courses, per UW’s data retention rules. For more security, two-factor authentication will be required for administrative users.
EDW tech refresh
The infrastructure for the Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW) is being replaced to provide a flexible and cost-effective hybrid of an on-premise and cloud environment.
Better safety with MyChem modernization
To better maintain chemical inventories used across campus, and help the University comply with federal, state and local regulations, Environmental Health & Safety is partnering with UW-IT to provide MyChem with a new cloud-based infrastructure, increased security and database improvements.
Improving support for smaller IT projects at the UW
UW-IT will develop a procurement support service to add rigor to current practices around smaller IT projects at the University. This service will include processes for procurement decision-making, cybersecurity and contract negotiation.
Expand IT accessibility consulting activities
UW-IT Accessible Technology Services will continue to support UW customers as they make high-impact purchasing decisions, including product accessibility testing and collaboration with vendors to help ensure their products and services meet federal and state accessibility requirements.
Modernize UW Business Administration
Reference KN for Workday Financials
UW Finance Transformation will leverage Knowledge Navigator (KN) to provide definitions for Workday Financials financial terminology and definitions for both UW and UW Medicine. KN is an institutional repository that publishes enterprise data definitions and their relationship with institutional reports that are used for decision-making.
New debt management system for UW Treasury
A new debt management system for the UW Treasury will eliminate several manual processes, improve accuracy and completeness of data, and provide on-demand information for stakeholders. The new system, implemented by UW-IT, will be integrated with Workday Financials.
New CRM for UW Advancement
To improve constituent outreach and communications, UW Advancement is partnering with UW-IT to implement a modern customer relationship management (CRM) system that will leverage UW-IT’s existing Microsoft infrastructure. The new CRM will replace Advancement’s legacy system.
Integrate UW Neighborhood Clinics staff into Workday
UW-IT is onboarding employees at more than 400 UW Neighborhood Clinics into the UW’s Workday HR and payroll system. The effort includes rigorous testing of the new configuration and integration of all UW Neighborhood Clinics functions.
Enable Academic Administration
New online curriculum catalog for UWCM
A streamlined, easy-to-update and user-friendly online curriculum catalog for all campuses will be part of enhanced functionality for the UW Curriculum Management (UWCM) system.
Support the Workforce
Continuous patient monitoring during transport
Nurses and other health care staff at Harborview Medical Center will be able to track patients’ health data remotely, including when patients are being transported, with new mobile monitors that link to wireless access points reconfigured by UW-IT with expanded broadcast signal functionality.
New sensor-based Wi-Fi enhancements
UW-IT will improve Wi-Fi monitoring capability across all campuses by deploying a sensor-based system to spot issues and address them fast.
Supporting collaboration, professional development
To promote collaboration, information sharing and professional growth among the University’s IT professionals, UW-IT will continue to support the Leadership Development Program, IT communities of practice, UW TechConnect Conference and quarterly Tech Talks.
DEI-based evaluation of key UW-IT websites
UW-IT is developing a new inclusive language guide to use to evaluate its major websites and replace problematic words rooted in historical social structures that reflect racism, ableism or other prejudice. The project reflects UW-IT’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.
Build Technology Foundations
UW Tower data center improvements
To provide maximum power capacity and improved energy efficiency, the UW Tower data center colocation service is being restructured and equipment is being replaced. The work includes setting targets for service utilization and helping customers plan for power use appropriate to their future system needs.
2021 Customer Experience Survey
UW-IT will survey students, faculty and staff to understand customer perceptions of UW-IT services and support interactions. The results will be shared with the UW community, and will form the basis of service improvement plans and an improvement plan scorecard.
Faster, more efficient Managed Firewall service with self-service portal
Customers of UW-IT’s Managed Firewall will get faster, more efficient service via a self-serve web portal. Administrative IT users will no longer have to contact the UW-IT Service Center to add, change and delete firewall policies.
Improved security, lower maintenance costs for UW network
For greater reliability and security of the UW wired network, critical network hardware will be replaced in campus buildings. As a result of this upgrade, ongoing maintenance costs will decrease, thanks to the network’s reduced operational complexity and configuration automation.
Tech infrastructure in new and remodeled buildings
UW-IT will provide the infrastructure for cutting-edge technology in many facilities being constructed or remodeled. These include Oak Hall residence, Friday Harbor Labs, Foster School of Business expansion, Kincaid Hall, the Autism Center, ICA Women’s Softball Performance Center, Eagleson Hall and UW Tower.
COVID-19 Pandemic Response in 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic caused unprecedented changes to the University’s academic and business operations, and the sudden pivot to respond to the University’s needs shaped UW-IT’s strategy in 2020. UW-IT will continue to collaborate with partners across the University to ensure the continued operations of the University. Many of the strategic decisions made during the pandemic in 2020 will remain in place into 2021, and have been focused in these areas:
- Ensure academic continuity by leveraging proven technologies that support a wide range of courses delivered online and that faculty and students are familiar with, including the Canvas learning management system, Panopto lecture capture, Zoom video conferencing, and collaboration tools like UW Office 365 and UW Google Suite.
- Enable online instruction and remote work and redeploy resources to meet increased demand at both the Technology Service Center and Teaching and Learning Technology Help Desk.
- Support students, faculty and staff by developing and refining online guides and resources for students to be successful in using technology for online classes, providing training and technical and pedagogical tools for online course development and delivery, and providing online training guides and resources for staff working remotely to ensure the continued operations of the University.
- Ensure business continuity by leveraging existing systems like UW Connect, our central help email and phone number, and UW-IT’s incident management process to quickly and adequately respond to and communicate about technology issues as they arise, and by refining services and offerings to better support a remote workforce and minimize the need for staff on site.
- Support COVID-19 research by designating Hyak, the UW’s supercomputer, an essential service and offering resources and consultation for cloud computing so researchers can advance our understanding of COVID-19 and how to fight the disease.