The 2018 IT Sparta Awards

We established the first IT Sparta Awards, given to one team and one individual each year, to recognize those staff members who serve our campus with distinction and work tirelessly behind the scenes to keep SJSU amazing. They bring out the best in each other through a collaborative spirit, a commitment to innovations, and everyday leadership. They provide consistent and exceptional service, whether working with students or building something with a campus department.

Every department in your IT Division has the opportunity to nominate employees and department directors submit their selections directly to me. I then work with an IT peer consultation group, consisting of employees from many departments, to choose the most outstanding project, program, team, or individual to win the award. The selection process is designed to raise up our employees, increasing the visibility of staff members who come to work every day and get it done.

Team Winner
From left: Ryan Campbell, Mary Papazian, Jocelyn Tom, Leon Nguyen The inaugural Team Award went to Leon Nguyen, Ryan Campbell, and Jocelyn Tom for their work supporting the Digital Transformation of SJSU through the implementation of OnBase and DocuSign. This team works with many departments on campus to migrate old paper records and paper processes to digital workflows, making them more efficient and more accurate.

As of February 2019, the team had digitized 2.9 million documents — enough to pile up to a 90-story building — in OnBase, a digital document storage system. Digital documentation solves many problems, especially for an organization like SJSU. Digital documents prevent the creation of over 11,000 student folders per year, don’t require storage, and are much more easily indexed and searched. They don’t get misplaced and they’re instantly verified and secured. For new forms requiring signatures, campus uses DocuSign, a digital paperwork signing platform. As of February 2019, an average of 5,300 digital documents received 6,820 digital signatures. Using DocuSign greatly speeds up campus’ paperwork process. The paper trail is transparent and accountable, signatures can be done virtually from anywhere, and nothing gets lost in the shuffle across campus.

Individual Winner
From left: Devona Williams, Mary PapazianDevona Williams’ work building proactive solutions for the Division led to her recognition as the winner of this year’s Individual Award. Her innovations have improved the Instructional and Meeting Space team’s productivity, raising the bar for service on campus.

Devona created an app to help to consolidate department processes and provide at-a-glance reference for room inventory, location, and information. She also implemented new software to reduce paper workflows. Then, after reinventing how IMS worked digitally, she moved to optimize the department’s workspace with more organization, better flow, and a facelift. These improvements have made a tangible difference and brought out the best in the IMS team. Devona took self-initiative, without being prompted to work on any of these projects. She saw how she could improve her department and got to work.

Presidential Recognition
In March, university President Mary Papazian presented the Sparta Award winners with plaques commemorating their achievement. These plaques are now on display on the Computer Center’s Hall of Fame Wall. Please come by and take a look. And, if you’re an SJSU staff member, don’t forget to contact IT and nominated your individual or team awards for 2019 when submissions open.

Thank you,
Bob-

Google Cloud Platform Workshop

In a first among the CSU system, Google partnered with the SJSU IT Division to host a workshop on some cutting-edge cloud technologies: Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Decision Learning, and Data Engineering. Close to 500 Spartans (including students, faculty, researchers, and staff) signed up to attend the January 8-11 event in Clark Hall, though we could only fit 50 into a packed room. The workshop brought one of Silicon Valley’s biggest tech giants to campus and augmented academic knowledge with hands-on opportunities from a field expert, delivering on IT’s promise to bring enterprise-grade academic technology advancement to SJSU.

In a follow-up survey, 100% of respondents rated the workshop as Very Good or Excellent and 100% said they would attend a future workshop hosted by IT.  “The content of the workshop is very informational and advanced in the cloud platform field. The hands-on labs are interactive exercises those make me understand the concepts well and be involved in the learning process,” said one.

When asked valuable the session was in supplementing academic knowledge, 90% of the responders rated the workshop Very Good or Excellent. SJSU IT looks to roll this success forward into future events. Participants in the workshop expressed interest in a number of other topics for possible future workshops, with Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain leading the way followed by Cybersecurity and Virtual Machines.

Google’s instructor remarked that the attendees at SJSU were some of the quickest, most engaged he’s worked with. The feeling was mutual, with one attendee stating, “The instructor was very knowledgeable with what he teaches and gives very good presentations. He was very helpful with the labs.”

While many of participants were SJSU students, there were plenty of researchers, faculty, and staff, all gaining practice and experience with enterprise-level tools to carry into the classroom or implement within the university’s IT and research infrastructures. “Overall the topics covered on GCP was exceptional. SJSU is currently exploring the implementation of cloud-based BI and Predictive analytics strategy. The timing of these workshops is just perfect and they allow the technical team to perform comparisons and benchmark for the ideal solution that is beneficial to SJSU,” said Ravi Pisupati, a Senior Analyst & Project Manager with SJSU.

Thank you to everybody involved in making this event a success. It certainly didn’t go unnoticed, as one attendee commented, “The room had a speedy WIFI connection and wonderful setup screens. Thanks for organizing everything so well for us. Their effort and hard work made the intensive experience much easier.” I could agree more and want to specifically thank Joseph Chou and Willie Simon for their work on this event.