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

Guiding SJSU toward a Data-Driven Future

A shadow-and-light pattern created by the Student Union's exterior facade

In partnership with Institutional Effectiveness and Student Analytics (IESA), SJSU IT is developing a campus-wide data platform hosted on the Google Cloud that is effective, efficient, intuitive, and user-friendly. This new Campus Data Warehouse will be a single source of truth for San Jose State University, creating a foundation for analytics and data-driven decision making. 

For the past few years, SJSU IT has been working toward a more data-driven culture. Using data to inform our decisions allows us to eliminate bias and better evaluate the way things “have always been done.” SJSU IT uses data to inform our decisions and we partner with other departments to help analyze and understand their data. But there’s always been a problem: San Jose State University hasn’t had a unified data strategy. That changes this year.

The new Campus Data Warehouse will transform how departments on campus use data. As a single source of truth, this will be that platform which everything else pulls data. Instead of having three or four databases maintained by different departments for different uses, there will be one database operated through university partnerships. This will open up entirely new opportunities for integration between systems. We’re developing data governance structures with campus partners to set definitions for parameters, decide who has access to what data, and guide the ethics and privacy discussion. 

Aside from addressing the problems around today’s data silos, the Campus Data Warehouse will move SJSU into future technologies. Having a unified platform for the entire university enables us to use AI and Machine Learning to develop predictive analytics models. By removing barriers that make data hard to access and hard to use, we empower departments to improve outcomes for students, faculty, and staff. 

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, reducing bias and increasing equity are primary benefits of a shift toward leveraging data. Using data to inform our decisions circumvents whatever predetermined notions we may have as individuals, whether they were formed by habit, institutional practices, or our upbringing. As the most transformative university in the country, it’s our responsibility to provide the opportunities of higher education to every student equally. We can do that better with data. 

 

Best regards,
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