We are in a time of staggering change. New educational and business models are redefining the academy, and OSU is itself redefining the model of a 21st century land grant university. OSU must have a technology ecosystem that not only enables scholarship and learning, but creates an environment in which innovation and academic excellence thrives.
With our five year Strategic Plan, we envision a robust, scalable, and adaptable IT ecosystem that:
We invite you to learn more about the IT Strategic Plan and the high priority projects in development that will help us fulfill the University's core goals.
We are in a time of staggering change. New educational and business models are redefining the academy. Learners increasingly scrutinize the cost and value of education and employers increasingly scrutinize our graduates' capabilities. OSU is itself redefining the model of a land grant university.
Through innovation in education such as Ecampus, through scholarship in the atmosphere, under the ocean and in the forest canopies, from our Cascades campus strategy to our ambitious Asia strategy, and most importantly, in our widespread human engagement, we have grown beyond our Corvallis and Extension Service homes to become a University without boundaries. Technology makes this possible.
To solve the world's most pressing problems and to deliver a world-class education that prepares our learners to succeed in their careers, OSU must have a technology ecosystem that not only enables scholarship and learning, but creates an environment in which academic excellence thrives. The imagination and innovation of OSU's students, researchers, instructors and staff is unbounded, and we envision a virtual ecosystem that allows this creativity to flourish.
This multiyear plan is foundational to the technology building blocks essential for OSU to compete as a top tier land grant university, realistic in both our ability to execute and to the fiscal resources available, and relevant to the mission and goals of Oregon State University.
Technology, which permeates every aspect of learning, scholarship and community engagement, is undergoing staggering change as well. The rapidly evolving IT ecosystem beyond the campus – from massively scaled computers to mobile devices, as well as online experiences like Amazon and Google services – has changed the ease of use and functionality people expect from technology.
Here are four major expectations that must shape how we provide IT services. We expect our community to be able to...
To enable these new ways of working, we must change OSU's information technology practice. Rather than directly managing the end-user experience as we have done for the past 30 years, the University's responsibility is to provide the enabling technology framework that makes it possible for the learner, scholar and administrator to have the technology experience that best meets their needs.
To best serve its students, faculty and staff, support its education, research and outreach missions and position itself as a top-tier land grant university, Oregon State University will develop an IT ecosystem that is robust, scalable and adaptable as technology evolves. This IT ecosystem will be functional, easy to use and provide access from anywhere, at any time, on any device or platform.
To meet the goals presented in the strategic plan, Information Services, in collaboration with and in support of OSU partners, will complete a set of initiatives outlined below. These initiatives span foundational improvements to the technology infrastructure and progressive developments that further the University’s mission.
It is essential to OSU’s future success that the University’s money stay in its mission. Across all areas of progress, Oregon State must shift the value and innovation curve for technology, lowering costs and risks related to contract lock-in and local limitations, while simultaneously improving the services and functions offered. Hence, these initiatives are undertaken with a view to long-term sustainability and affordability.
The scope of these projects is defined and planning is underway to determine level of resources, timing and dependencies. The outcome of planning will lead to a final decision about whether to proceed with the project. In some cases, resource allocations, scope, and deliverables may be refined prior to project kickoff.
These projects are undergoing market evaluation, requirement gathering, and in some cases, technology prototypes, to understand our options and choices. The summary of investigation will lead to a decision about whether to proceed to a planning stage.
There are areas of technology enhancement that have the potential to bring value to OSU. We’re not actively working in these areas, but have our eyes and ears open toward marketplace developments and innovation at other institutions.
OSU's IT ecosystem must allow us to compete successfully as a top-tier teaching and research institution. Foundational improvements to this ecosystem will provide the essential technology components needed so that we can operate systems and services, connect people to each other, and enable them to succeed in their education and scholarship. We must achieve sustainable technology and funding for essential services, and assure they are delivered securely and reliably. read more »
In addition to foundational improvements, OSU must progress with technology in support of educational, research and community engagement priorities. Progressive projects provide an adaptable and evolving technology framework that enables our community to innovate in education, research, outreach and operational practices. read more »
University Partner Projects
Technology is a part of nearly everything that happens at OSU, and from time to time projects that are not specifically about technology improvements require an extraordinary investment of time and engagement from the technology staff, and commitment of resources toward technical progress.
Foundational initiatives are essential to OSU being able to compete successfully as a top tier teaching and research institution. At present, OSU has critical gaps in the necessary components of an effective information technology enterprise, as well as areas of instability. Closing these gaps requires that we institute substantial improvements by making some tough decisions to abandon some historic practices.
The first essential, foundational initiatives are to develop financial structures that reduce risk and support OSU priorities:
Second, data is a strategic asset of the University, but only to the extent it is available, true, and actionable. We will create a comprehensive set of management data reports and dashboards that speak to the overlapping contexts we must manage – financial, educational, space, research, people, etc. – and simplify system to system access. This strategy helps us answer the compelling and complex questions related to understanding our progress, and improves the University’s ability to manage its programs.
Third, we must provide a technology framework that enables the innovation in the University’s administrative, instructional and research practices. We must put in place the necessary architectural underpinnings to manage identity and access to data and systems.
Fourth, we must shift the value and innovation curve for technology, lowering costs and risks related to contract lock-in and local limitations while improving services and functions offered.
These changes can lift OSU’s technology profile to the level, quality and sustainability needed to compete successfully against our aspirational peers. Successfully implementing these changes will require substantial shifts in technology programs, staff skills, and funding models.
Data is a strategic asset of the university. OSU's success requires that we track progress and understand outcomes. Our ability to do this requires that data be available, true, and actionable. This initiative applies to all business systems and data at OSU, whether managed in IS, business units, or colleges. Hence, this endeavor supports all aspects of the enterprise: research growth, student success and financial stability.
To become a data-enabled university, we will provide access to data to inform work decisions for every level of University employee, to support business operations, and to inform us about our progress on strategic initiatives.
The risk to OSU for not doing this project is that we continue to do "business as usual" -- our current laborious efforts to accurately report and assess progress are inefficient and insufficient.
The risks to success include: ongoing funding for project components; data quality and the associated need to revise business processes; community acceptance of openness in data availability; and a common commitment amongst colleges and business units to the success of the endeavor. Support from the Provost Sabah Randhawa and VP for Finance and Administration Mark McCambridge is in place and lowers the risk of failure, but true success will require wide support from the OSU community to treating data as a strategic asset, assuring its quality, and assuring it is appropriately protected.
Standardizing training and administrative tools will allow IS to maintain continuity in our overall approach to supporting any OSU-owned computing desktop, including Community Network customer devices, shared computer lab workstations, and laptops and tablets available via our equipment checkout. While the use cases of these environments vary, the common factor remains that they all involve the management and support of OSU-owned computers that require the same operating systems and deployment of a specific set of software packages.
Student Computing Facilities, Community Network, and equipment checkout merged under the same divisional umbrella in late Fall 2013. This realignment aligns our desktop computing strategy and allows us to coordinate desktop and tablet management. We will develop and implement standardized platforms and processes based on operating systems for imaging and maintaining these computing environments for our users. Standardizing our approach, including the tools we use to administer service and the training necessary to support our clients, helps to ensure that IS maintains continuity in our overall approach to supporting any OSU-owned computing desktop.
Identity and Access Management is a critical underpinning to all initiatives, as it provides secure personal and role-based access to systems, services and data. It supports student success by allowing easy access to innovative tools for classes and for tracking student progress, supports research growth through fostering collaborative work, and reduces the risk of data loss through security breaches, adding to our financial stability.
Provide a robust and well integrated infrastructure to identify people and allow access to systems, services and data. This includes both University-wide access rights as well as services to allow colleges, departments and groups to easily and securely create privileges. Join InCommon to allow inter-institutional access for students and researchers.
Please visit the IAM project management page for updates and details.
The University is impeded in its research growth, student success projects and business efficiency by not having an adequate identity and access management system in place. Competing priorities could pose a particular risk.
Jon Dolan, Director, IT Infrastructure Services
Data is a strategic asset to the university, and our IT infrastructure must support the secure processing, transmission, and storage of our data. Private data must be protected from inadvertent exposure. Data quality is tantamount for our research mission as well as our desire to enhance business efficiencies. Our reliance on data to accomplish our work requires that it be available when needed.
To fulfill this mandate, Oregon State University established an Office of Information Security charged with the development of an information security program. The OIS is conducting a security risk assessment as a first step toward formalizing an information security program. A risk assessment will provide us with the information to ensure that our security initiatives are addressing the largest security risks to the organization.
The framework chosen by the OIS for our security efforts is the Consortium for Cybersecurity Action's (CCA) 20 Critical Controls for Effective Cyber Defense. The 20 Critical Controls enable us to build upon the combined knowledge of actual attacks and effective defenses from top experts within the Information Security community and has proven its worth as a practical, cost-effective way to reduce security risk.
Using the 20 Critical Controls as the program framework, the risk assessment process is simplified; a gap analysis will be performed, beginning with the OIS itself, eventually moving on to other university systems based on criticality and risk profile.
With foundational improvements underway, we are well positioned to work on progressive initiatives that will allow substantial progress toward achieving OSU’s goals for excellence in learning and scholarship.
Technology can be transformative in the University’s success. OSU has extensive technology resources and expertise, but the degree to which these resources actually enable progress toward the University’s Strategic Plan depends on how well we choose priorities and effectively use the technology. There are two key factors for success:
The technology strategy at OSU must be embraced by the University as a part of its overall strategy. Everyone has a role in achieving success.
After listening to input from the university community and Central Web Services managers and commissioning an external evaluation, Lois Brooks, Vice Provost for Information Systems and Steve Clark, Vice President for University Relations and Marketing convened a Web Strategy Task Force made up of experts from within IS and from colleges and divisions. The team was asked to assess the way we deliver technology layers of the university web presence.
The Web Strategy Task Force will assess the way we deliver technology layers of the university web presence and develop a set of recommendations while focusing on the ways we can:
The Web Strategy Task Force developed a Digital Platform Strategy in January/February 2015. Through the course of this work, they identified the overlap with previous work on development of a University-wide Mobile Strategy.
In March of 2015, investigations were conducted around possible mobile platform solutions and the team is looking at potential vendor solutions.
The team is also investigating a cloud hosting solution for Drupal and Wordpress.
Members of the taskforce are also staffing a search for a new Director of Web and Mobile Services role within IS to coordinate with ongoing web and mobile strategy efforts.
Complete this form to submit feedback or questions to the task force.
High speed network connectivity is essential for OSU researchers to share very large data sets and collaborate with both on campus and national research partners. Work in all scientific disciplines is more and more dependent on large data sets and research areas such as Genomics, Climate Science, and general Biological Science are now regularly working with data at the Terabyte and Petabyte scale. In order to effectively share this data and participate in these fields of study, the capacity of our underlying network must grow by orders of magnitude.
OSU will create a dedicated research network designed to fulfill the architecture and performance requirements for integrating with federal research networks, with a 100 Gbps connection between OSU Corvallis and Internet2, 10 Gbps connections at a minimum to major off-campus research sites, and 40 Gbps between campus data centers and major laboratories. As the national vision for research network architectures has been aligned with the emerging network technologies being adopted for computing clouds--OpenFlow and Software Defined Networking--the research network will be a testbed and model for the University's Data Center and Enterprise networks.
Please visit the Research Network project management page for updates and details.
Plans for the research network need to take into account plans for the overall OSU Network including upgrades and re-architectures planned to better meet the University’s needs, along with potential to incorporate Software Defined Networking technologies into the Data Center in support of Virtual Server and Storage systems.
As Oregon State University redefines the model of the 21st century land grant university, we are actively assessing our methods of instructional delivery and the tools needed to help faculty deliver quality instruction and to help students meet desired learning outcomes. Following a faculty and administration survey and investigation of educational technology trends at peer institutions nationwide, Information Services is embarking on a comprehensive review process of learning technology platforms that will engage the OSU teaching and learning community. Such a process will enable us to select a system or build a portfolio of applications that best serves OSU's needs for innovation, flexibility and performance.
OSU will create an RFP and evaluation process that will solicit broad vendor and community participation. At the end of the process, OSU will have developed a transition plan to the selected Learning Management System. That system will align with teaching and learning expectations, have the power and flexibility to meet diverse needs, and leave our communities well positioned to adopt and integrate innovative solutions to support communication and collaboration.
|Evaluate Vendor Proposals|
|"Live" Sandbox Evaluations|
|Publish Transition Plan|
Failure to provide OSU faculty and students access to rich learning environments.
Students and faculty are best served by being able to access OSU software for teaching and homework from their own computers, as well as from multiple OSU-managed computers on campus, by leveraging the use of an OSU-owned software license from either device. IS aims to provide for this ability while remaining in compliance with vendor licensing agreements, and to evaluate software license usage university-wide in order to make decisions that are fiscally sound and support our curricular needs.
IS will take a leadership role in evaluating software license usage across the university. A crucial component of this role is reaching out to both academic and business units to investigate where consolidation of software is feasible. The purpose of this work is to take advantage of any potential reductions in software licensing.
IS will also work with our software vendors to ensure our licensing agreements are in compliance. We will investigate how we can offer our software licenses through virtual means to support a user's ability to access an OSU-owned software license through either a personally-owned or an OSU-owned computer.
|Gather Software Usage Metrics|
|Evaluate Licensing Options|
OSU students, faculty, and staff expect to be able to use cloud-based productivity services and tools, such as Google Apps and Office 365, for academic and research collaborations. These tools and other cloud-based services align with IS’s strategic direction to provide students, faculty, and staff with the ability to access their information, share their files, and collaborate with others from any device, anywhere they can access the Internet.
In alignment with the 2013-18 IS strategic plan, our intention is to offer cloud-based tools and services in a thoughtful way that is driven by business analysis and product research. Our intention is to create a professional faculty position that can be dedicated toward performing the necessary work to own the management of these tools and services, as well as perform the necessary work that will ensure the appropriate tools are available to meet the specific needs of OSU's students, faculty, and staff.
The introduction of each new cloud-based service requires its own project. While we continue to investigate many options, Office 365 is the service we are currently implementing. Please visit the Office 365 project management page for updates and timelines.
Failure to make these services available in the cloud and appropriately support them presents several risks for OSU: