ITS central to monthly faculty meeting

Roughly 45 professors gathered in Connecticut Hall on Thursday to continue an ongoing conversation about Yale’s Information Technology services.

At the monthly Yale College Faculty meeting, University Chief Information Officer Len Peters and political science professor and ITS advisory committee chair Gregory Huber spoke about Yale’s current information technology presence and future goals. Yale College Dean Mary Miller said the presenters stressed the importance of clear lines of communication between professors and ITS, and discussed innovations that will enhance Yale’s technological services in the future.

“The chief information officer and professor Huber presented two very interesting reports on ITS and the management of information in general at Yale,” Miller said. “The meeting before spring break is one which in some years gets cancelled, but we had these important matters to discuss.”

At the meeting, Peters, who is also the director of Information Technology Services, presented a report to the faculty regarding the Information Technology Strategic Plan, a University-wide initiative designed to bolster Yale’s technological resources. Though Peters and ITS are leading the initiative, the project of drafting a three-year plan for Yale’s IT services incorporates departments involved in IT work throughout the University, including the libraries and professional schools.

In February, Peters released a draft of the IT strategic plan — which addresses topics including technology in the classroom, email strategy and digital storage in an online forum — that allows faculty, students and staff to contribute comments and feedback. Peters said ITS plans to publish a finalized proposal in May.

Faculty and staff involved in Yale IT said they were pleased to see Yale make an effort to solicit feedback from across Yale, as there is generally little communication on IT practices between different areas of the University.

Huber said his presentation addressed how professors can use the ITS faculty advisory committee as a tool of faculty governance. Huber said his committee, which is composed of professors from across the disciplines, seeks to integrate faculty feedback in ITS decisions and advise ITS on areas of interest or concern.

“I think the big questions about IT as far as faculty are concerned are how can it support faculty as teachers, researchers and academic administrators,” Huber said. “In all of those roles you interact with computers all the time and the question really is, ‘What can we do with IT to make it so that we can be a better university?’”

Huber added that the ITS faculty advisory committee will review the IT strategic plan before it is published in May.

Miller said the faculty also approved minor changes to the linguistics major at the meeting, eliminating the major-specific language requirements since Yale College graduation requirements now include foreign language.

At the next Yale College faculty meeting on April 4, professors will discuss Yale College’s grading policies, including proposed changes to the A-scale grading system.

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