Size of IS shop: 350
Mobile PCs: 1916
Hand-held devices: 800
Total screens: 17,722
Industry: Educational services
PC environment: Dell; Apple; HP; Lenovo; XP, Vista, OSX
Server environment: Sun, IBM, Dell, Apple, Linux, AIX, Windows 2003
DBMS: Oracle, SQL, MySQL
Address: 22 Princes Street, Auckland
Key IS projects this year: Upgrade of PeopleSoft Student Administration System and Processes; InfoEd Research Administration System; web enhancements; enhancement of academic timetabling and room booking practices through the Syllabus Plus system; datacentre and business continuity improvements.
For the University of Auckland, enhancing or maintaining research income and improving the ratio of postgraduate to undergraduate students, continue to be key goals for this country’s largest university and research centre.
ICT helps facilitate these goals through major process and system initiatives, particularly in the areas of student administration and research administration. Towards this, a new academic timetabling system and enhancements to teaching and learning practices through the implementation of the university’s eLearning strategy are under development.
Stephen Whiteside, director IT Services, says postgraduate students require more space than undergraduate students, which is one reason the university is looking closely at the utilisation of teaching rooms and is in the process of selecting and implementing new timetabling and room booking software.
He says the global economic situation has not impacted University of Auckland ICT budgets for this year, nor has there been any impact to date on project selection or staff levels. For the university as a whole the recession has led to increased student applications, but with corresponding challenges in maintaining external research income.
This year the university will undertake projects in most areas of its ICT facility. The largest areas of ICT budget expenditure will be student administration system development and work on research management and web content management projects and technologies.
Smaller, but still significant projects in areas including server and software virtualisation, internet telephony, mobilisation and ERP and financial software planning are ongoing.
University income from research conducted by postgraduate students and others is important, given the university’s strategy is one of increasing quality as opposed to the historical growth of student numbers that has occurred in the past 10 years. As such, Whiteside says the university has seen a need to enhance its CRM strategies, progressively expanding the use of its initial software as a service CRM application. A review of CRM is set for after the completion of the PeopleSoft student administration system upgrade in late 2010.
Whiteside says collaboration and connectivity between systems and locations is important, as are new education delivery channels such as e-research, which allow researchers to collaborate online to complete work they can’t complete individually or in person. Internet access, processing and storage computer grids are used to facilitate shared online international research. For example, the University of Auckland has a close relationship with the earthquake engineering division of the University of San Diego and access to its ‘shake table’. “Information sharing and combined super-computer generated data from other parts of the world is very important to today’s researchers,” says Whiteside.
In 2008, the university adopted a new web content management system, Jahia, and this year will implement a new Research Administration system called InfoEd. (The university is collaborating with other institutions on this project.)
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