The University Record, January 11, 1993

ITPC represents entire University community

The nine-member Information Technology Policy Committee (ITPC) has been in existence since 1987, succeeding the 110--120-member Computing Policy Committee.

Advisory to the vice provost for information technology, the group develops recommendations for Universitywide policies and strategic directions in the area of information technology. Members of the group represent the campus as a whole, rather than their individual units.

Virginia E. Rezmierski, assistant to the vice provost for information technology who provides staff support for the committee, says the group "looks at 'big picture' issues, such as central vs. distributed computing, and if distributed, how it is managed."

She notes that a number of goals and principles are the driving force for the group's development of policies. These include:

---Ensuring that policies address all information handling.

---Ensuring that policies accommodate the variety, diversity and individuality of computing environments on campus.

---Promoting information technology in a connected and coherent form campuswide.

---Encouraging investment in a "band of coherence." That is, encouraging units to procure hardware and software that can work with current equipment. "Individuals' equipment must be able to communicate with what we already have," Rezmierski notes, "even if we don't support the particular hardware or software."

---Addressing responsibilities in a distributed computing environment.

---Addressing the relationships between units that have high levels of funding and resources and those that do not, making sure that those with fewer resources receive appropriate support without infringing on the status of those with greater resources.

Positioning the University to take advantage of the market economy in information technology rather than promoting single-vendor dependence.

Among issues recently reviewed by the group are the financing of administrative computing; customer reactions to ITD budget cuts; Freedom of Information Act/electronic mail issues; and guidelines issues related to USEnet, a nationwide news service that is like a conference but not interactive.

The group also continues to discuss policies for institutional data resources---such as databases maintained by the Payroll Office, the Registrar and the Office of Undergraduate Admissions---as the University moves to a more distributed environment. These include such things as who has/should have access to the resources, who controls access, and various privacy, confidentiality and sensitivity issues.

Among the issues suggested for future discussion are policy issues regarding transfer of funds to schools and colleges; a plan for use of ITD resources in the future; whether different functions, such as research and teaching, affect what is centralized and what is not and whether the balance between centralized and decentralized varies from unit to unit; services ITD might consider dropping; use of multimedia technology for instruction; and the importance of providing support for learning to use the technology; and how the University can develop partnerships with corporations for acquisition of resources.

Specifically, the group:

---Focuses on Universitywide strategic issues related to information technology.

---Analyzes those issues and identifies alternative solutions, courses of action and priorities.

---Discusses and debates strategic issues in conjunction with Information Technology Division (ITD) senior management personnel.

---Formulates recommendations for ITD directions, priorities and major projects.

---Recommends operational policies for ITD.

---Formulates and recommends policies that should be incorporated in the University's Standard Practice Guide or as Universitywide policy.