We’ve moved!

14 02 2013

We’ve moved the TAG website from its hosted location on WordPress (uofstechadvisory.wordpress.com) to the University’s new local WordPress instance. You can find us there at blogs.scranton.edu/tag.

We won’t be posting new content here, so if you’re subscribed to this site via email or RSS feed, please re-subscribe to the new site. Here’s how –


1) Go to http://blogs.scranton.edu/tag/wp-admin/admin.php?page=s2
2) Log in using your R number and my.scranton password
3) Hit Subscribe to all Categories (or whichever categories you want to follow)
4) Update Preferences


Our new feed is http://blogs.scranton.edu/tag/feed/

Let us know if you have any trouble resubscribing – and thanks for keeping up with TAG :)

Acceptable Use Policy – Early Draft for Review

11 02 2013

At our (very brief) TAG meeting last week, Dave Dzurec shared a draft of the Acceptable Use Policy and asked for early feedback. Dave and Jim Franceschelli are chairing a committee charged with updating the old Code of Responsible Computing.  The committee includes representatives from the Faculty Senate (Dave, Wesley Wang, and Bob Spinelli) and from the Staff and Student Senates.

Dave would like your feedback on what they’ve come up with so far, so please take a look at let him know what you think!

University of Scranton Acceptable Use Policy DRAFT 01-15-2013 (.docx)

Website Proposal Group – 1/30/2013 Minutes

31 01 2013

The third meeting of the Website Proposal Group was on January 30th at 9AM. In attendance were Lori Nidoh, Eugeniu Grigorescu, Sandy Pesavento, and Jeremy Sepinsky.

There were three items on the agenda to discuss.

  • Peer/Aspirant Universities – Sandy Pesavento and Teresa Conte looked into website management of the schools on the Peer/Aspirant list for The University of Scranton. Reaching out to each school on the list, they received only one response, which was from Loyola University Maryland. It seems that they have a similar system to what is in place here: webmaster distributed among different departments. We are still hoping to hear back from a number of other schools.
  • Schools Using our CMS – Lori Nidoh investigated the webpage management of other schools who currently use the same CMS software that we have implemented on campus. This resulted in two direct responses. The first was from the University of Dayton who seem to have a much more centralized website management/update procedure. They have 6 webmasters, appointed by each of their 6 Deans, who manage the web content in their area. These webmasters each have the ability to appoint staff and/or faculty members who can make edits — but not publish — content on the front-facing PR sites for the university (such as main departmental webpages). The University of Dayton is about twice the size of Scranton, having an equivalent full-time enrollment of about 10,000 students.

    The second response came from Jackson State who claimed to have many of the same problems that we do. They do have a central webmaster, but the publishing model is more distributed, and they also have problems determining and designating who is responsible for content management.

  • Size of the University Web Presence – Thanks to Joe Cassabona from Information Resources, Jeremy Sepinsky reported the approximate size of the departmental webpages on campus. They range from as few as 4 to over 100. Thus, it is difficult to come up with a specific “size” that represents most departments, but an eyeball-average says that most departments have about 20 separate webpages with content that needs to be managed. With over 20 separate departments at the university of Scranton, there is quite a bit of content to manage.

    Additionally, it was pointed out that the departmental websites don’t really have a uniform appearance. While they are all in the CMS, the navigation bar and the location of certain useful pieces of information (faculty websites, contact info, etc.) is not necessarily in the same place. This can cause confusion for prospective faculty and students. Thus, it may be necessary for a proposed hire to first create a uniform theme and content organization before being fully immersed in routine updates.

After this, we discussed some of the requirements that a proposed webmaster position would need. It seems the role we are asking to be filled is twofold: Webpage Designer and Content Manager. The Webpage designer portion is responsible for designing the general look of the sites, as well as collaborating with the Marketing and Communication Division to ensure proper marketability of the website. The Content Manager portion is responsible for contacting and collaborating with individual faculty members and departments, determine what should be displayed, and how it should be presented. Thus, it appears that this would need to not be an entry-level hire.

At our next meeting, we intend to start writing the formal proposal.

Faculty input on Library Learning Commons

2 01 2013

Passing along a TAG-related request from my Library colleague Sheli McHugh:

In celebration of the Library’s 20th Anniversary, we have been doing fundraising toward future improvements. One of the goals is to implement a Learning Commons into the library, most likely in our 24 hour spaces. Learning Commons are collaborative flexible spaces often including a digital media lab with software, hardware, gadgets and more.

The Learning Commons committee will be conducting focus groups with faculty to gather information on technology that they need and want for themselves and their students and we’d like to invite you to attend.   It will be mainly a brainstorming session, so bring your imaginations! Don’t be afraid to dream big!

The sessions will be held on the following dates and times:

Monday, January 21 at 9:30 AM in WML305

Tuesday, January 22 at 9:30 AM in WML306

Wednesday, January 23 at 3 PM in WML305

Thursday, January 24 at 3 PM in WML305

If you’d like to sign up, please email Sheli McHugh. Feel free to share the invitation with colleagues who may be interested in attending a meeting.

Thank you for your assistance! We look forward to speaking with you!

Sheli McHugh

Cataloging and Metadata Librarian
Weinberg Memorial Library
University of Scranton

TAG Senate Status

2 01 2013

(This post is long overdue – many apologies! My notes on the Senate discussion are a little rough, so please send me any corrections/clarifications you have.)

At the November 9 meeting, the Faculty Senate passed a few motions (#3.2012-13, #4.2012-13, #5.2012-13) regarding faculty representation on University committees. I asked for some clarification at the meeting about what committees would fall under the new language, since we’ve got a lot of TAG members working on various projects. Further discussion with members of the Senate Executive Committee indicated that there was some murkiness about TAG’s official connection to the Senate.  Back in 2010, when Jeremy and I approached the Senate about creating TAG, we got verbal approval as a subcommittee of the Senate’s Academic Support committee, but there wasn’t ever a vote or any formal documentation of our status.

The Senate Executive Committee was kind enough to sit down with me early in December to hash out some language formalizing TAG’s status as a Senate subcommittee.  From a TAG perspective, we were looking for a structured, defined relationship to the Senate (and a clear communication channel to the Senate), but with a flexible membership — ideally, TAG’s membership should be representative of the faculty as a whole, but should also take into consideration a faculty member’s interest in or expertise related to technology. I wrote up some notes for the Senators about TAG’s current makeup and the kinds of projects we’ve been working on.

At the December 14 Senate meeting, the Executive Committee introduced the following motion:

A proposal to change the Faculty Senate Bylaws to include the Technology Advisory Group (TAG) as a formal subcommittee of the Academic Support Committee.

The Academic Support Committee has from five to ten members of whom a majority must be members of the Faculty Senate. This committee prepares recommendations for consideration by the Faculty Senate on all aspects of support for academic programs. The Academic Support Committee has oversight of the Technology Advisory Group (TAG), a standing subcommittee of the ASC. The total membership of TAG is flexible, but should strive for representation from each of the five colleges.* The subcommittee must include one Faculty Senator who serves as a liaison between TAG and the ASC.** The Faculty Senator can, but is not required to, serve as both a liaison to the ASC and a college representative. TAG is free to seek expertise outside the faculty*** to complete its membership.


A discussion followed, primarily focusing on oversight and composition of TAG. There were a few concerns about TAG’s level of autonomy – some Senators suggested that TAG be chaired**** by a Senator on the Academic Support committee, and/or that TAG’s members be appointed by Senators from Academic Support. Others were concerned about micromanaging TAG when, to date, the group has been functioning well. General consensus seemed to be that more clarification on TAG’s goals and oversight may be needed in the future, but that for now the proposed language would be sufficient.

Some clarifications were proposed — “representation from each of the five colleges” was changed to reflect that CGCE does not have its own faculty, and “must include one Faculty Senator” was changed to “must include at least one Faculty Senator”. With this clarified wording****, the motion passed.

Since the proposal is an amendment to the Faculty Senate Bylaws, it will next go to a full faculty vote for approval, sometime after the start of the Spring 2013 semester. A 2/3 majority of those voting is needed to amend the bylaws.

Many thanks to the Executive Committee and the rest of the Faculty Senators for their time and consideration!



* Currently, we have 4 members from CAS, 4 from PCPS, 2 from KSOM, and 1 from the Library.

**Currently, TAG’s membership includes two Faculty Senators (Katie Iacocca and Dave Dzurec).

***From the beginning, TAG has included staff participants in order to facilitate communication about technology on campus.

****For the record, neither Jeremy nor I are opposed to a change in leadership for TAG. Any volunteers? :)

*****I  don’t trust my notes on the exact wording changes – I’ll post the altered language when the meeting minutes come out.

Website Proposal Group – 11/27/2012 Minutes

27 11 2012

The website proposal group met on 11/27/2012 at 1PM .  In attendance were Eugeniu Grigorescu, Lori Nidoh, Sandy Pesavento, Teresa Conte, and Jeremy Sepinsky.

The meeting began with a recap of the previous meeting, as well as a renewed discussion about the need for a forward-facing, uniform presence of The University of Scranton on the web. One major point of import is the need for a high-level of commitment from departments across the university to make this endeavor a success Without buy-in from PR, Faculty, and Administration, the university’s web presence will not accurately reflect its brick-and-mortar presence. Thus, it is imperative for this group to seek support, advice, and input from each sector and at all levels.

The group then proceeded to identify and affirm the charge and goal of our meeting. The current charge under which we shall proceed is as follows

The group of individuals listed below were charged by the Technology Advisory Group (TAG) to propose a process to better maintain and update academic departmental websites. The current process results in significant non-uniformity, a lack of aesthetics, infrequent updates, and significant imposition upon departmental faculty responsible for maintaining the pages. This proposal seeks to ameliorate each of these impositions on the public image of The University of Scranton and to build a process that allows the creation of a website that enhances the brand and reflects the true value of our campus.

The rest of the meeting was then spent organizing and planning the next steps. In order to create a successful and thorough proposal, we need to first invest in a significant amount of background research. To that end, Teresa Conte and Sandy Pesavento will be contacting some of our Peer and Aspirant Universities which have an impress web presence in order to determine how they maintain and update their university websites. Lori Nidoh will contact other users of our CMS to find out what methods they find are best for a continuously updated web presence. Jeremy Sepinsky will contact PIR to get a handle on the volume and organization of the webpages that we currently have, in order to estimate the workload that would be required of any proposed webmaster. Lastly, the currently working solution (as discussed in the 11/13 minutes) likely requires the hire of a part-time or fill-time webmaster for the campus. Thus, this solution will be contingent on funding for such a position. Jeremy Sepinsky will reach out to various administrative bodies to determine the liklihood of such funding being available.

Viewfinity roll out with Windows 7

21 11 2012

IT Services is going to start rolling out Windows 7 to faculty on *new systems* (that is, you’ll get it when you get a new computer or rebuild). That means it’s time to spread the word about Viewfinity and standard user accounts.

Here’s the official statement from Jim Franceschelli, director of IT Services:

Viewfinity Privilege Management is currently being installed on all University office computers in an effort to better secure endpoints and reduce vulnerabilities to hackers, malware and embarrassing security breaches that could prove costly to The University of Scranton’s reputation. Viewfinity allows all Windows 7 users to run as standard users further reducing computer vulnerability to viruses and other malicious attacks.

Please be aware that attempting to install applications or printers or attempting to change some settings will require administrative privileges. Viewfinity will elevate your privileges and allow you to install applications or change settings as necessary. When you receive a Viewfinity prompt requesting your justification for an installation or system change, simply enter the information requested and click OK. Your installation will proceed immediately.

Just to repeat from a faculty member perspective: when you get a new computer, you’ll get Windows 7, and your account on your desktop/laptop will change from being an administrator account to a standard user account. By default, standard users can’t install or delete applications, as administrators can. That’s where Viewfinity comes in — when you try to install software, it will automatically and temporarily elevate you to administrator status. In other words, we can install whatever software we need when we need it. (Note – this only applies to faculty members. Staff have to go through an approval process when requesting new software.)

I’ve been piloting Viewfinity as a faculty user since the middle of the summer, with excellent results and no disruption to my work or research. To give you an idea of what it looks like —  let’s say I want to play around with some visualization software, like Edraw Mind Map. I download the .exe file for Edraw as usual. When I try to run the .exe to install the software, I get a small popup window from Viewfinity that asks for a “business justification”:


IT Services isn’t monitoring business justifications for faculty members, so you can simply say you are using the program for teaching, research, incidental use, etc – no lengthy explanation required:

When you click OK, you are automatically bumped up to administrator. I get a little notification at the bottom of my screen:


The software installation begins right away, and I can go through the installation steps like I normally would. Once the installation is complete, I’m automatically bumped back down to a standard user account.

Overall, the process is smooth and seamless – it adds maybe 5-10 seconds to my normal installation time. Commonly used software (Skype, iTunes, Spotify, etc) has been whitelisted to speed things up, so you don’t even need to click through the business justification step for things like that. I’m running all the software I had on my old Windows XP machine (Dropbox, Google Calendar Sync, Tweetdeck, Google Earth, etc etc etc) on my new Windows 7 machine with no issues or disruptions.

While I know some of us would prefer to still be admins, I think this solution is a good balance between freedom and security. Jim and the IT Services staff put in a lot of work to figure out a way to accommodate faculty needs, which I truly appreciate. Any issues with Viewfinity can be reported to the Technology Support Center by phone (x4357), email, or Footprints.

Last couple of points:

  • Viewfinity is not supported on Mac or Linux, so faculty using Mac or Linux machines are not affected by any of these changes.
  • Viewfinity has another big feature – Remote Desktop assistance! When you call the Technology Support Center, you’ll be able to share your desktop with the support staff so that they can help you easily from a distance. This service is in development and will be available soon. It will always have a prompt – your desktop won’t be shared without your approval.
  • Faculty members with XP machines will get Viewfinity via KBOX, so you’ll have Remote Desktop capability, but you will still maintain an administrator account (and XP) until you get a new computer.
  • Classroom and lab computers are all Windows 7 now, but they do *not* run Viewfinity — they have Deep Freeze instead. So you can install programs on classroom and lab computers, but those installations will disappear each time the machine shuts down. If you need to install software in a classroom or lab that you need to use frequently, submit a request to the Technology Support Center via Footprints.


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