Taking an Active Role Against Racism

Colleagues,

Like many of you, I felt the weight and importance of Tuesday’s verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial — what it means for our country, our community, and our campus. While that verdict will hopefully have lasting repercussions, the work of building a better society shouldn’t stop with this outcome. We all can take an active role in fighting the racism that we hear about in the news, that happens to others, or that we ourselves experience.

While I encourage all of you to help out in the communities you feel you can have the biggest impact, I also want to mention what you can do right here at SJSU.

I’ve always believed that given equal opportunity, so many more in our community could shine even brighter. That’s why we created the SJSU IT Diversity and Inclusion Committee to provide me with feedback and recommendations on how to make our division and campus community a welcoming environment. Starting this summer, I will be joining and leading this committee. I want to thank Kara for leading this effort over the last couple of years. If you’re interested in joining the SJSU IT Diversity and Inclusion Committee with me and making a difference, just send me an email.

In her email earlier this week, President Papazian shared a number of services at your disposal — whether you seek counseling, would like to connect with supportive communities, or are looking for more ways to contribute to anti-racism efforts. I encourage you to give it a second look. And of course, we must keep in mind that our students will need our support and understanding in these changing times.

As always, the SJSU IT Division is here to support you, too. Please do not hesitate to reach out to your supervisor or to me directly.

Thank you,
Bob Lim
Vice President of Information Technology
and CIO at San Jose State University

Blanketing SJSU in WiFi 6

A map showing the areas on campus that will receive outdoor WiFi

Thanks to the support of President Papazian, we’ve put in place an initiative to blanket the majority of campus’ outdoor spaces with WiFi 6 connectivity by Fall 2021. This is something we’ve received lots of feedback about from our faculty and students when talking about a return to campus. With these upgrades, new areas are opened up for students to study and work while staying safely distanced from others and for more instructors to have the option to teach outside. 

The Outdoor WiFi initiative is an excellent example of how we’re implementing solutions to address today’s problems that also build for the future. Ensuring that our university has a reliable, fast, campus-wide network is a foundational step in our long-term strategy for achieving the vision of Transformation 2030. When we look at the list of campus technology initiatives we’re working on for Transformation 2030 — integrated camera, entry sensors, IoT devices — almost everything requires an always-on connection. We have to provide our university with a wireless network that’s stable and reliable enough to support those systems in addition to the needs of our students and faculty.

Best regards,
Bob Lim
Vice President of Information Technology
and CIO at San Jose State University

The 2020 SJSU IT Sparta Awards

It’s important to celebrate the hard work, dedication, and the successes of our division. But it’s equally important to celebrate the people in our team that make this success possible.

What are the SJSU IT Sparta Awards?
The 3rd annual SJSU IT Sparta Individual and Team Awards recognize our staff members who bring out the best in each other through a collaborative spirit, a commitment to innovation, and everyday leadership.  Award winners provide consistent and exceptional service, whether working with students or building something with a campus department. Every member of the IT Division has the opportunity to nominate employees through an open call. From there, I work with the IT Peer Consultation Group to choose the most outstanding project, program, team, or individual to win the award.

It’s my pleasure to announce the 2020 SJSU IT Sparta Award Individual and Team recipients. These folks all went above and beyond, dedicating themselves to helping our university community during one of the most difficult years in SJSU’s long history. They’ve put in the work and led by example, garnering their peers’ respect within SJSU IT and the university at large.

2020 SJSU IT Sparta Award Individual Winner
Tristan Orlino, from the Computing Services Department, is this year’s individual award winner. Tristan was nominated for always going above and beyond his work duties to help our students, staff, and faculty. Your contribution to our virtual lab implementation and deployment was instrumental in our Desktop-as-a-Service strategy’s success.

2020 SJSU IT Sparta Award Team Winners
The Team Award went to Bruce Kelbert, Rod Maciel, Devona Williams, Fred Asuncion, Phil Braverman, Cameron Myers, Danny Vo, Andy Yeung, Daniela Zopiyatle, Frank DeFanti, Jake Hanley, and Trevor Wylie who won this year’s team award.

Thanks to their work with the Equipment Loaning Service last year, our students, faculty, and staff were able to make the transition to remote modalities. Behind the scenes, this team had to quickly change their operating procedures to follow EH&S health & safety guidelines. Those changes involved a lot of extra work, but they went the extra mile to keep the customer experience seamless and positive.

Thank you to everyone who sent in nominations. I also want to thank the SJSU IT Peer Consultation Group for discussing the merits of each candidate and team nominations with me. Their input and feedback are very much appreciated.

Please join me in congratulating this year’s winners!

Thank you.
Bob-

Ensuring Technology Access

Throughout the COVID pandemic, SJSU IT has scaled up our existing Equipment Loaning Service, and we’re going even further in 2021. Students, faculty, and staff can use the equipment loaning service to borrow the technology equipment they need. We have everyday equipment like monitors, mice, keyboards, laptops, webcams, microphones, headsets, etc. With another round of CARES Act funding coming, we’re working directly with faculty and college staff to identify student needs and aligning our equipment inventory to match. Access to technology should never be a barrier for our students.

In Fall 2020, these were the top five things that were checked out:

  1.  Laptops (371)
  2.  WiFi Hotspots (112)
  3.  Webcams (45)
  4. USB Microphones (32)
  5. Headsets (17)

Extending access to education and the resources needed to succeed in higher education is a foundational mission of San Jose State University. The Equipment Loaning Service has been a part of SJSU IT for years, but in the wake of COVID-19, it was apparent that many students’ access would be restricted. We’re doing everything we can to help bridge that gap. 

I want to make sure I recognize and thank Darlene Bargas, Devona Williams, Daniela Zopiyatle, Cameron Myers, Fred Asuncion, Rod Maciel, Andy Yeung, Frank De Fanti, Phil Braverman, Danny Vo, Bruce Kelbert, who put in the work on this program for our campus.

Best regards,
Bob Lim
Vice President of Information Technology
and CIO at San Jose State University

A Better Chatbot for SJSU

We’re developing a new, enterprise-grade live chat and 24/7 chatbot solution for SJSU. With live chat, conversations will be able to transfer between departments without losing information. Folks using online chat to get help will no longer need to re-explain their problem or retell their story every time a new department needs to be brought in. This is a huge win for customer service and completely eliminates one of the most frustrating things about trying to get help online. The 24/7 chatbot will be able to gather information and provide solutions for many common problems and requests live help when it can’t. By handling the little stuff, the chatbot will free up departments to work on the big stuff. We’ll start rolling it out Spring 2021. 

Providing good support and excelling at customer service is a foundation of SJSU IT’s long-term strategy. In IT, we have to continually build trust, not only that the new tools and new resources we implement work, but that we’re there to help you when they don’t. That trust builds and extends into our relationships as we work across campus to digitize and automate processes, find more efficient ways to use technology, and partner with other departments on new initiatives. 

I want to thank Ravi Pisupati and Sree Gandikota for their help getting this ready for campus.

Best regards,
Bob Lim
Vice President of Information Technology
and CIO at San Jose State University