Strategic Planning Process
With the support and engagement of the campus community, we launched an institution-wide strategic planning process for technology. Our planning goals were to assess campus technologies capabilities, engage and collaborate with the campus to identify opportunities for improvement, and to position the University for a future in which digital content and technology play an integral role in support of teaching, learning and research.
The evaluation process had four areas of focus:
- Teaching and Research Excellence
- Operational Excellence and Student Success
- Infrastructure and Support for Innovation
- Organizational Capabilities
High Performance Computing
The Distributed Environment for Academic Computing, DEAC for short, is the University’s High Performance Computing (HPC) cluster that is available for all faculty and students to use. Currently faculty members, students, and researchers across ten departments use DEAC, offloading their tasks to the cluster and running hundreds of problem instances in parallel. In addition to handling workloads, DEAC directly supports teaching and learning and student development.
In collaboration with the Computer Science department, an Independent Studies Course was offered to analyze and model the performance of different cluster hardware components, publishing graduate student results within an IEEE proceeding, and also submitting them to an IEEE International Symposium.
Within the Business Analytics Graduate Program, students are using the cluster to analyze real world data, provided by the program partners, to determine customer trends and patterns. DEAC support staff have also provided interactive lectures to undergraduate and graduate courses, introducing students to the concepts of High Performance Computing.
The DEAC cluster has also been making headlines nationally this past year, with a recently published Case study, a high-profile presentation at Educause, and an invitation to present at Cisco Live this summer.
Since transitioning to a ‘bring your own device’ campus last year, WakeWare, also known as the ‘official technical outfitter of the Forest,’ is the one stop shop for student laptops. WakeWare gives students the choice between Apple-based and Windows-based laptops, each configured to handle the software required during the student’s time at Wake Forest. Students are able to download academic software through our software distribution website, software @ WFU (software.wfu.edu), at no additional charge.
WakeWare provides educational pricing on Apple and Dell laptops, extended warranties, accidental damage protection and loaner laptops, if needed. Sixty-four percent of the Class of 2020 opted to purchase an Apple computer during the first year of WakeWare. The Service Desk reports that WakeWare laptops have experienced few known issues. For those students who choose not to purchase a WakeWare laptop, the program provides minimum requirements to ensure every student arrives on campus with a laptop configured to run all software needed as a student at Wake Forest.
In addition to Workday, IS implemented DegreeWorks, a real-time degree audit system, that allows students and advisors to see how each course fits into the student’s degree program and displays progress toward degree completion. Additionally, a mobile strategy using ModoLabs (a rapid deployment tool for mobile applications) is underway, allowing students to connect to Banner and Sakai, view grades, holds, etc., all with their mobile devices.
Information Systems recently added Adobe Creative Cloud to the list of software available for download at software @ WFU. All Wake Forest University faculty, staff and students now have access to this collection of software for presentation and graphic design, video editing, web development, photography, and more.
Prior to our upcoming Fall 2017 campus-wide rollout and promotion, our campus community is already actively using Adobe Creative Cloud.
- 50% staff
- 16% students
- 2% faculty
Our campus community can also access Lynda.com, the leading online creative and professional skills provider, which offers over 4,000 self-paced courses, ranging from Adobe Creative Cloud, WordPress, Microsoft Office, SPSS and many others.
These services provide our campus community with the ability to develop or enhance skills to ensure their success professionally and personally, on multiple devices. Departments are using the Adobe Creative Cloud programs to create presentations, email flyers, newsletters and annual reports.
With over 1,100 active users and more than 22,000 videos viewed, Lynda.com, is proving to be a valuable resource for our campus community.
Top ten videos:
- Programming Foundations: Fundamentals
- Access 2013 Essential Training
- Excel 2016 Essential Training
- Photoshop CC Essential Training (2015)
- Introduction to Graphic Design
- SQL Essential Training
- Public Speaking Fundamentals
- Test Prep: GRE
- SketchUp 2017 Essential Training
With the number of active users increasing every day since the recent availability of Adobe Creative Cloud and Lynda.com, Information Systems is confident that these tools are enhancing the skillset of the campus community, ensuring they have access to the most current tools and knowledge.
Lynda.com provides me with easy to access resources for the multitude of software I use on a daily basis. I especially enjoy when I’m able to combine this e-learning with inclassroom education through the Professional Development Center. Access to these tutorials is an essential component to my career growth at Wake Forest.
Elizabeth Dam-Regier, Manager
Human Resources Project Office
Outdoor Wireless Network
A major upgrade to the University wireless network provides outdoor access to the University network in Hearn and Manchester plazas. During the May 2017 graduation ceremony, nearly 3,000 concurrent wireless devices were on the outdoor wireless network.
With rising cybersecurity threats against personal and institutional information, Information Systems focused on several initiatives aimed at safeguarding data and mitigating disruption and data loss.
Google 2-Step Verification, often called 2-Factor authentication, helps protect a user’s privacy and data against hackers by adding another layer of protection to vital accounts. Information Systems staff hosted several “tent events” during which the campus community could come to a common area for assistance with installation and understanding of this security feature.
Code42 CrashPlan, a personal backup solution, was deployed to faculty and staff. CrashPlan is an automated, continuous, backup solution that protects data from hardware failures, malware and viruses, and can be used to restore individual files and folders. Data is stored in two locations and is encrypted twice. There is no storage limit, ensuring that faculty and staff can backup all their critical data.
In addition to the tent events, Information Systems created web pages, developed training videos and hosted one-on-one training sessions for each of these tools to ensure the campus community is thoroughly educated on the importance of cybersecurity and how they can most effectively protect themselves from an attack on their data and privacy.