Dear fellow members of the SMC Community,

With the academic year in full swing, I want to provide a brief update on progress in the SMC IT world.  Though we still have a lot of work left to do, things are going well.

There have been a number of academic and operational enhancements to our “digital plant” while the focus is still on infrastructure repair and upgrade.  Among the highlights in the past year are the construction of a stable WiFi network in the residence halls; the creation of a fault-tolerant Internet gateway; the migration of faculty and staff email to Gmail; the removal and replacement of dozens of failing devices from our network; the resolution of a myriad of network routing problems that held up network traffic; and the replacement of some of the fiber optic cable that had caused an undue amount of gridlock.  Most exciting is the completion -- pending some fine tuning -- of an upgrade of Garaventa Hall with a new cable plant, new switching equipment, enhanced WiFi coverage and consistent classroom media/technology.  Our hope is that, once we have the fine tuning of classroom media/technology completed, faculty who teach in Garaventa will have increased confidence when considering innovative uses of technology.

The following itemization provides a peek at highlights for the intended progress in the coming year: 

  • Upgrades in Galileo and Dante similar to those in Garaventa
  • Establishment of a faculty-led, classroom design task force with a focus on technology standards and enhancements
  • Continued support of the vision and strategy of the Office of College Communications to upgrade and mobilize SMC web resources
  • Replacement of another 30% of our fiber optic cable plant
  • Completion of repairs/upgrades in the College’s network operation center to address availability and life safety
  • A focus on IT security policy and procedure to best address the risk associated with increased threat vectors
  • Further steps toward “the cloud” as local application services are retired and replaced by managed offsite hosting and software as a service provisioning

IT Services will also be working to improve service, support and communication through adoption of a structured practice called IT Service Management (ITSM). ITSM will involve creation of a formal, online catalog of our services, structured management of all changes in the SMC IT environment, measurement of services levels, and provisions for enhanced communication as to developments and service interruptions.  If all goes well, we will be able to announce our ITSM launch in early 2014.

It will be a busy and exciting year ahead.  Thank you all for continued patience and support as the SMC IT renaissance unfolds!

Peter Greco

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Saint Mary's College of California
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