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News and Updates

Researchers, Industry, IT and SuperComputing Experts Gather to Shape the Digital Landscape in Canada

June 20, 2016, Edmonton --­ ​Joining together for the first time under one roof, CANHEIT | HPCS combines two annual national conferences, CANHEIT, under the direction of CUCCIO, and the High Performance Computing Symposium (HPCS), under the direction of Compute Canada. The joint event is presented in partnership with CUCCIO, Compute Canada, WestGrid and the University of Alberta.

"Advanced research computing is fundamental for research excellence in Canada; it is the enabling infrastructure behind this year's Nobel Prize and is fuelling advances in all disciplines. Our High Performance Computing Symposium celebrates this community by bringing together experts, researchers and industry leaders in high performance computing. This year we grow this community by partnering with leaders in campus IT and the great research community Compute Canada supports at University of Alberta. This conference represents an important gathering of technical and research leaders and represents the foundation for world-­class outcomes in advanced research computing in Canada," says Mark Dietrich, President and Chief Executive Officer of Compute Canada.

More than 650 delegates from all over the country are expected to attend the CANHEIT | HPCS conference occurring Sunday June 19, 2016, to Wednesday June 22, 2016. The gathering represents the best minds in IT and supercomputing and will showcase the leading edge research outcomes enabled by this technology.

“The University of Alberta is both privileged and delighted to host the first ever joint CANHEIT | HPCS annual national conferences,” s​ays Brian Stewart, Deputy Chief Information Officer (CIO) of Information Services & Technology at the University of Alberta.​“The event provides an exceptional opportunity for researchers, practitioners, professionals and leaders in IT and Computer Science to meet and share knowledge, and to develop and grow relationships. We welcome over 650 delegates and over 40 sponsoring companies from across Canada to the wonderful city of Edmonton and to our outstanding Campus to enjoy the attractions of the city, to learn from each other, and to be part of a unique opportunity to help shape the future of the digital landscape.”

The four day event, held at the Centennial Centre for Interdisciplinary Science (CCIS) at the University of Alberta, is expected to draw faculty, computational researchers in academia, industry and government, technical experts, vendors, and IT professionals in the higher education community across Canada. The conference will focus on “Shaping the Digital Landscape” in Canada and will include workshops and sessions around advanced research computing and IT in higher education. CANHEIT will provide discussion on challenges and opportunities within the higher education environment. HPCS will provide insight into new tools, techniques and discoveries in computational intensive research.

“CUCCIO is thrilled to collaborate with Compute Canada and the University of Alberta this year on CANHEIT | HPCS 2016, because collaboration is what CUCCIO is all about,” said Lori MacMullen, Executive Director of CUCCIO. “2016 actually marks our 10th anniversary as Canada’s voice for leaders in higher education IT, so this is a perfect way to celebrate. We look forward to bringing together our growing network of CUCCIO member CIOs from across Canada with so many advanced research computing leaders, for four days of communication, collaboration and innovation around our biggest successes and challenges in this space, as well as where the future of higher ed IT is headed.”

For full conference details and programming, visit the CANHEIT|HPCS website: http://canheit­

About UofA

The University of Alberta in Edmonton is one of Canada’s top teaching and research universities, with an international reputation for excellence across the humanities, sciences, creative arts, business, engineering, and health sciences. Home to more than 39,000 students and 15,000 faculty and staff, the university has an annual budget of $1.75 billion and attracts more than $460 million in sponsored research revenue. The U of A offers close to 400 rigorous undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs in 18 faculties on five campuses—including one rural and one francophone campus. The university has more than 260,000 alumni worldwide. The university and its people remain dedicated to the promise made in 1908 by founding president Henry Marshall Tory that knowledge shall be used for “uplifting the whole people.”


CUCCIO is Canada’s community of information technology leaders in higher education, working together to help Canadian universities excel through the innovative and effective use of IT. Incorporated in 2006, CUCCIO is the result of almost 40 years of information­sharing, collaboration, knowledge creation and advocacy among provincial and regional associations of IT leaders in post­secondary education. Today, CUCCIO is a non­profit, member­funded corporation representing more than 50 universities Canada­wide, who collectively serve over 90% of Canada’s university students.

About Compute Canada

Compute Canada, in partnership with regional organizations ACENET,​C​alcul Québec,​C​ompute Ontario​and W​estGrid,​ leads the acceleration of research innovation by deploying state­of­the­art advanced research computing (ARC) systems, storage and software solutions. Together we provide essential ARC services and infrastructure for Canadian researchers and their collaborators in all academic and industrial sectors. Our world­class team of more than 200 experts employed by 35 partner universities and research institutions across the country provide direct support to research teams. Compute Canada is a proud ambassador for Canadian excellence in advanced research computing nationally and internationally. 

Winter Member Meeting Recap: “Long-term strategic planning, budgets a focus at Toronto member meetings”

In February 2016, 57 members attended the CUCCIO winter member meetings at Ryerson University in Toronto.

CUCICO Members meet three times per year to discuss issues and ideas most relevant to the university CIO community. The objective of these discussions is two-fold: identify opportunities to collaborate and share information in support of helping other CIOs address similar challenges at their institutions.

Over the course of a day-and-a-half, members discussed a variety of topics. Three topics were discussed at length, however, and generated the most interest:

1.    Preparing for a Different Future – People and Function

  • Members were asked the question: “What does higher ed IT look like in five years?” In response, the CIOs discussed moving mission critical applications, such as ERP [enterprise resource planning], to the cloud; funding and budget limitations; and the evolutions in skills requirements.

2.    Strategic Planning

  • Members were asked to share their experiences with and approaches to planning for IT at their institutions. Discussions ensued around the balance between operational cuts and capital funding; the need for change management situational analyses; budget and faculty planning; capacity planning; talent management; and determining the best strategic plan timeline (e.g., one versus three years, fiscal versus calendar years, etc.).

3.    The “Responsibility Centred Management” Budget Model

  • Led by Alan Harrison of Queen’s University, this discussion focused on a new budget model (i.e., Responsibility Centred Management) being adopted or looked at by a number of institutions. Based on the principle of, “allowing individual academic units to keep all revenue, but the units must pay all expenses including indirect costs” (The Buck Stops Elsewhere – Curry, Laws, and Strauss, 2013), the goal of the new model is to have all key players take responsibility for their own budget. The successful implementation of this model often includes: champions from the top; everyone in the tent at the outset; strong and inclusive governance; transparent and readily accessible data; financial expertise in all units; an established budget process; a robust enrolment model; and a willingness to revise the budget cycle.

Allison Dias of Wilfrid Laurier University – a member of CUCCIO’s Standing Committee on Communications – attended these member meetings, and has developed a follow-up report, discussing these three themes in more depth. A copy of the report is available to members through the CUCCIO members-only website.

The strength of the CUCCIO community hinges on the ability of member CIOs and their teams to convene and interact with another – to share challenges and best practices, and develop meaningful relationships. We appreciate the contributions all members bring to our member meetings, and we look forward to convening everyone again later this month in Edmonton. For more information on June’s member meetings or CANHEIT | HPCS 2016, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit the CANHEIT / HPCS 2016 website.

Teaching and Learning Technologies: “Blending personal with digital: the quest for the perfect teaching and learning environment”

As technologies evolve, so do the ways people interact on campus – from the way students study, to class formats, to how people engage online.

Today, users want the ability to learn (and teach) on their terms – online or in-person, inside or outside class hours.

Dave Kell is the Director of Classroom Technology and Services at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton.

Based in the university’s Centre for Enhanced Teaching and Learning, Dave’s team is responsible for classroom technology installation, design, procurement and maintenance – including all aspects of classroom support and service – at UNB.

“We aspire to provide technology that is easy to use, and delivers a consistent experience – so that if you’re comfortable in one class, you’ll be comfortable anywhere,” he says.

To help achieve these goals, Dave says classroom design needs to be scalable and modular – so that his team can replace outdated components with up-to-date versions, without having a dramatic effect on his budget. At the end of the day, he needs to deliver reliability and responsiveness, while balancing the availability of different levels of technology – standard and leading edge – on campus.

“Today, users want cutting-edge, but they understand it won’t be in every room. As long as you have standard technology in all rooms, the really cutting-edge tools can be used in an ad-hoc manner through plug-ins and other means,” he explains.

He says the most interesting trends impacting teaching and learning technology have been:

  • The increased demand for wireless (over the past three years, UNB has installed wireless presentation technology in roughly half of its classrooms)
  • The onset of new, modular installations
  • The idea of personalized learning

“Think of personalized learning as iTunes for your degree,” Dave says. “Universities are getting pressured to do more personalized learning to adapt to students’ needs, which includes online, blended and other different modes of learning. So, in some cases we’re shifting from lecture format, to Skype calls and group collaborations, from presentations to collaborations. You need to be able to do this quickly and easily – to have a classroom change easily. This will drive up the complexity of installations, and drive up the need to properly architect the technology in the room. But again, it comes back to being scalable, modular and flexible,” he explains.
Andrea Chappell is Director of Instructional Technologies and Media Services at the University of Waterloo’s Information and Systems Technology (IST) department.

Her team provides support in four main areas:

  • Technical support and planning for the learning environment (online course system and augmenting applications)
  • Design, installation, maintenance and support for 117 central e-classrooms, other presentation spaces, as well as support for audio and video needs for campus events
  • “Live” online collaboration tools and facilities
  • And perhaps most uniquely, media productions, which offers consultation on, and recording of, video and audio – in-studio, in classrooms and in the field – through to editing in post-production

Andrea would agree with Dave that first and foremost, ease of use is crucial to any successful teaching and learning environment.

“Technology should be as easy to use as possible for faculty and students,” she says. “It should be in the background, ready to use for teaching and learning objectives. We all know that when it doesn’t work, it’s front and centre.”

She says three things can cause the loss of a class – a power outage, an absent instructor and technology failure. Andrea’s team is around to prevent the latter. Together, they manage technologies and services across 117 centrally managed rooms, being used by more than 1,500 different instructors.

This means a lot of different needs, from a variety of different perspectives.

“Our expectations have never been higher, in terms of what can be done through the use of technology – especially at a university like Waterloo with its deep technology roots,” she explains. “It’s important for us to put in place the infrastructure that allows everyone to participate in the learning environment in an equitable way, but also to facilitate invention – be that through a great wireless environment, access to open data or building flexible learning spaces.”

In response to increases in demand and expectations, Waterloo continues to evolve its technologies, including recent work on room control systems, a fob locking system, and an increasingly popular document camera.

“We’re not interested in trends just because they emerge,” Andrea says. “We want to put in place facilities, technologies and applications that can be used flexibly and effectively well into the future.”

For Andrea’s team, recent challenges have included:

  • The ability to keep up with all of the campus’s new buildings (which, she admits, is a good problem to have)
  • Ensuring all relevant parties are involved early enough in the process of designing teaching and learning spaces
  • Retrofitting old rooms that predate technology use
  • Finding the time for room maintenance, upgrades and renovations

While Andrea says the past decade has seen a move towards active learning designs – allowing greater interaction between students and the instructor, or a more student-centered learning experience – the key is to make the rooms flexible.

“Even a foggy crystal ball shows a continuation of the incredible choices, in terms of how and when we can learn – often, for free. Learning and information are not just at our fingertips on our smartphones, but also on our wrists, in goggles and through wireless ear buds. These devices play music, answer phones, report our heart rate, count our steps, track our sleep and offer information wherever we are.”

What fascinates Andrea is that while we have never had so many opportunities to learn and record our behaviours through digital means, humans still want and need to be physically together.

“MOOC [massive online open courses] students have started meet-up groups, and blended learning is seen as the happy marriage of online and in-class,” she says. “Our physical spaces need to provide the right atmosphere and means to facilitate that kind of invigorating and engaging interaction when we are together. We need to try to understand what that may look like in 10 years and, with more and more options, to make sure that the online and physical spaces are accessible by design.”

Learn more about UNB’s Centre for Enhanced Teaching and Learning here, or Waterloo’s Information and Systems Technology department here.

Fast Five Reader Survey Report: Deep dive into the Fast Five

A little more than two years ago, CUCCIO took over management of the Fast Five: IT News – a collection of five news stories available online and affecting CUCCIO members, sourced over the previous week.

Founded by Mark Roman – former principle at 22over7 Consulting, and current CIO at Simon Fraser and President of the CUCCIO Board of Directors – the Fast Five has helped unite the CUCCIO community, helping members stay abreast of relevant news and trends, and connect with one another.

In 2015, we took strides to improve the Fast Five, with focus on increasing member engagement and continuing to refine the types and relevance of Fast Five content.

And because the Fast Five is curated for you, our readers, we wanted to hear from you.

In fall 2015, we distributed a Fast Five reader survey. This was your opportunity to weigh in on how you engage with the weekly blast, and what types of content you like / dislike most.

Survey finding highlights included:

  • Of the 78 respondents who completed the survey, the most common job title was IT Practitioner (30%), followed closely by CIO (26%).
  • 91% of the respondents indicated that they found the Fast Five useful or very useful, with roughly one-third suggesting they would like to see new types of content (29%).
  • A similar percentage of respondents (30%) indicated that they have used the Fast Five to reach out and make connections to their colleagues across the country – from offering congratulations on a recent success story, to asking for more information on specific projects or initiatives highlighted in the Fast Five.
  • According to those surveyed, the most valuable content is the release of new strategic plans (97%), followed closely by new and updated policies (90%). Learning from each other continues to be of significant value to the community.
  • Topics rated lower by readers included promotional campaigns and new vendor / organization relationship announcements.

Supported by the following anecdotal feedback, we are encouraged that readers are using the Fast Five to connect with one another:

  • “I’ve contacted several institutions to get details on outsourced email strategy and policies.”
  • “Seeing another institution had completed a project of interest allowed me to reach out to them to get details on how they did it. I have also reached out to congratulate others on successes.”
  • “I use it to connect my staff with new ideas and people.”
  • “On several occasions, I've asked CUCCIO members for contact info at their institution to follow up for more detail. I've also stolen good ideas outright from time to time.”
  • “I've emailed authors of specific items for either more information or to share ideas engendered by their post.”
  • “I’ve followed-up on implementation details or specifics with respect to a reported item that might be useful or applicable to our own campus.”

Feedback specific to the types of content you appreciate receiving most via the Fast Five has helped us fine-tune our approach and source content specific to our readers. Comments suggesting specific types of content included:

  • “I’d like to see more information about learning technologies (including LMS and social media use) support strategies, as well as more information about enterprise data management strategies.”
  • “Beyond institutional items, I’d like to see key reports from other areas / jurisdictions related to IT.”
  • “I'd love to see a little more info presented that reflects the non-centralized aspects of it (i.e., at a department, research centre or medical school level).”
  • “I’d like to see more ed tech.”
  • “Updates on multi-university collaborative efforts or initiatives would be great to see. Where are groups of members pursuing shared service solutions, for example?”

We continue to work to incorporate this feedback into how we compile and distribute the Fast Five. We are also very interested in receiving your feedback into our broader organizational communications, including articles such as the one on teaching and learning technologies in this edition of Connector.

Any CUCCIO member can submit a story to be included in the Fast Five – it’s a great way to shed light on the excellent work you’re doing, and to make meaningful connections with other members. Simply email our Fast Five editor at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

You can also check out our Fast Five blog page here, or subscribe to the Fast Five here.

40 years of collaboration. 10 years as an organization. 1 year in review. 2014-2015 highlights from Canada’s voice on higher ed IT

As part of CANHEIT 2015 at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton, CUCCIO hosted its 2014-2015 Annual General Meeting on June 17. Here is a recap of where CUCCIO has been, and where it’s headed.

A vision for increased relevance and support for the sector: the President’s report

CUCCIO President and CIO at Simon Fraser University, Mark Roman, kicked-off this year’s AGM with the idea that the CUCCIO membership’s discussions should no longer be focused on how CUCCIO might play a role in the Canadian higher ed landscape – but rather on how CUCCIO will play a role, and what that role should look like.

Mark spoke about CUCCIO’s clear vision of supporting and advancing IT in Canadian higher ed, meaning:

  • Advancing best practices, sharing ideas and celebrating successes
  • Growing and sustaining relationships with the full ecosystem of higher ed organizations that support universities
  • Supporting the growth of leadership talent in Canadian higher ed
  • Increasing collaboration and shared services
  • Prudently managing the CUCCIO resource pool while maintaining full transparency

As an organization, Mark said, this means shifting away from a more operational role (like those of CANARIE or BCNET) and toward more of a support role (similar to that which EDUCAUSE has assumed). He sees CUCCIO’s purpose as being to serve as the facilitator of a nationwide conversation on a wide variety of issues, including:

  • Cloud computing
  • Security and compliance
  • IT as a contributor / partner in helping institutions achieve educational, academic, research objectives
  • Convergence of key technologies
  • Benchmarking and metrics
  • Client services
  • CIOs becoming business strategists

Mark also sees CUCCIO’s role playing out not only nationally, but internationally as well, helping to shape and inform conversations taking place within Canada, as well as into the United States and abroad.

A strong foundation to build upon: the Executive Director’s report

Next year marks a decade since CUCCIO was incorporated as a national association.

Since 1996, the organization has grown and matured across a number of fronts – now representing about three-quarters of Canadian post-secondary institutions (57 member institutions in total), which together represent 95 per cent of the Canada’s total PSE student population.

CUCCIO Executive Director, Lori MacMullen, explained that despite not having 100% participation, CUCCIO’s membership represents the broader Canadian landscape, in terms of the size, geographic spread and various types of institutions. This includes smaller liberal arts universities, as well as the largest, research-based institutions in the country. Since its inception, attendance at CUCCIO member meetings has remained steady, attracting an average of approximately 35 to 40 member institutions to each meeting. The diversity of the membership and attendance at each meeting allows CUCCIO to identify and address issues of common interest to the sector.

Member satisfaction with the association remains high, Lori continued, with the in-person connections at member meetings continually named the most valuable aspect of membership.  CUCCIO member meetings provide all members the opportunity to meet with, learn from and share experiences with colleagues from across the country on a regular basis. And the sharing continues between meetings, with questions posed to the members’ listserv, access to the Executive Director and participation on specific projects and initiatives. These tools, along with a willing and engaged membership, demonstrate the collaborative spirit of the association.

Looking ahead, Lori explained, CUCCIO aims to deliver additional value by focusing on the following priorities:

  • Ensuring members continue to engage, at and between meetings
  • Supporting CANHEIT as the only national conference for higher ed IT professionals
  • Celebrating the sector and its successes with the CUCCIO Awards
  • Acting as the national voice on higher ed IT
  • Facilitating discussions and pursuing possible solutions to advancing collaborative sector-wide services

For more information on CUCCIO’s outcomes from 2014-2015 or its plans for the coming year, please contact Lori directly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Members are also encouraged to access CUCCIO’s full 2015-2016 Operational Plan through the Member Portal at

Renewed leadership. The same spirit.

This year’s AGM also saw CUCCIO celebrate the service of a number of longstanding members of its Board of Directors, while also welcoming new members to the table.

A warm thank you goes out to the following outgoing CUCCIO directors:

  • Bob Gagne (York University)
  • Blair Vessey (UPEI)
  • Richard Labrie (École Polytechnique de Montréal)
  • Mike Battistel (Athabasca U)
  • Rebecca Graham (U of Guelph)
  • Mike Langedock (U of Manitoba)
  • Trevor Woods (U of Alberta)

A warm welcome to the new Board members:

  • Richard Lacombe (HEC Montreal)
  • Bala Kathiresan (U of Windsor)
  • Greg Condon (U of Northern British Columbia)
  • Dana Sanderson (UPEI)
  • Bo Wandschneider (Queen's U)
  • Francois Coallier (École de technologie supérieure)
  • Michael Barr (Mount Royal U)
  • Brian Stewart (U of Alberta)

CUCCIO would also like to thank our continuing Board members, Ghilaine Roquet (McGill U), Paul Bignell (U of Ontario Institute of Technology), Tariq Al-Idrissi (Trent U), Art Exner (U of Regina), Terry Nikkel (U of New Brunswick) and Mark Roman (Simon Fraser U).

The bottom line: financial report

CUCCIO continues to manage its financial resources prudently. With annual revenues of a little over $300,000, the organization has been able to meet its operational needs, while also investing in a small number of priority projects and accumulating a small unallocated surplus. Although 2014-2015 resulted in a small deficit, of less than $5,000, and 2015-2016 has a projected deficit of $22,000, the prudent management practices of the past will allow the organization to cover these deficits, while simultaneously continuing to invest in a small number of priority projects.

For more information, full copies of this year’s audited financial statements are available through the Member Portal at

Looking to get involved? Try a Special Interest Group

Are you or one of your team members looking to get more involved with CUCCIO? Not sure where to start?

Special Interest Groups (or SIGs) are one of the CUCCIO-supported mechanisms aimed at building community among our members and within specific communities of interest.

Some SIGs are initiated simply to share information or best practices via a listserv (as is the case with our Teaching and Learning Technologies SIG), while others are slightly more proactive in addressing shared challenges through monthly conference calls and face-to-face meetings (as is the Security SIG’s model).

SIGs typically self-form and, over time, develop their structure and processes to best suit their needs, including the selection of a chair (or co-chairs) or information moderators who will coordinate the group’s activities, including facilitating discussions and defining desired outcomes and potential deliverables.

There are currently a number of CUCCIO SIGs in various states of operation, including:

  • Security
  • Teaching & Learning Technologies
  • Portfolio and Project Management
  • Portals and Portal Technologies
  • Business Analysis
  • Disaster Recovery

Over the next few months, additional SIGs (or “communities of practice”) will be established along functional lines (such as Network Services, Client Services, Web Services and Research Computing). Participation in SIGs is open to any employee of a member university.

For more information, visit the SIG webpage or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Preview – CUCCIO Resource Paper: Alternative Sourcing Models at Three Canadian PSE Institutions

No matter the location or size of your campus, if you’re a higher ed institution in Canada, chances are you’re currently engaged in conversations around the cloud – and what it means for your department, your institutions and your users.

And if you attended CAUBO in Saint John or CANHEIT in Fredericton this past June, you may have heard Bob Cook, Bo Wandschneider and Mark Roman’s panel on alternative sourcing models at the University of Toronto, Queen’s University and the University of Saskatchewan.

Building on that panel content, these three CUCCIO member CIOs are currently working together to frame up a CUCCIO resource paper, to help further the conversation around alternative sourcing models in Canadian higher ed IT.

The goal of the paper will be less to identify the best sourcing solution(s), and more to identify the key themes and criteria that all Canadian higher ed institutions should consider when evaluating the ideal sourcing solution.

The potential themes and criteria for inclusion in this discussion are many and complex. To give a brief preview, consider the following 9 tips:

  1.     Prepare for a budget model shift, from cap-ex to op-ex
  2.     “One size fits none” – each institution must find a strategy that works for them
  3.     Outsource what you understand, so that you can negotiate contracts properly
  4.     Privacy and security are key; bake them into your RFP process to test vendors
  5.     Engage your community and make sure you have senior leadership buy-in
  6.     In making your case, speak to the risks of NOT adopting the new solution (they often outweigh the risks associated with the move)
  7.     Consider the legal implications of adopting the solution(s)
  8.     Beware of any potential cultural / political implications on campus
  9.     And if you fail, try something new

Whether pursuing a private, off-campus cloud solution, a community cloud, a hybrid cloud or a public cloud solution, CIOs often recognize that the process of identifying the best sourcing model for a higher ed institution is complex.

This paper will aim to highlight the breadth of issues CUCCIO members consider as higher ed IT leaders, which also affect their colleagues in administrative and academic roles.

If you are interested in learning more about this resource paper, or getting involved in the discussion around alternative sourcing models, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Shared Services: A Matter of Cost vs. Investment

It’s a question we’ve all asked or been asked repeatedly: how to do more with less?

Over the past couple of decades, one solution has been gradually picking up momentum in IT circles – a solution based on collaboration and cost sharing, which we know as shared services.

Michael Berman is Vice President of Technology and Communication at California State University Channel Islands (CSUCI). An experienced leader in higher ed IT, Michael will deliver a keynote presentation at the CUCCIO member meetings, February 17-19 in Vancouver.

“My first major introduction to shared services was when I joined Cal Poly Pomona [California State Polytechnic University, Pomona] in 2000. At that time, it was part of the California State University system, with 23 institutions answering to one governance board. While each campus was pretty independent, the idea was to bring all 23 campuses together under one common software platform for their ERP [enterprise resource planning] systems. For students, management, finance, human resources, etc., California State University would purchase one PeopleSoft license for all 23 campuses. We were asked to migrate all those systems and information to be hosted in a single data centre, with one management centre to oversee it. It was very large and complex, and overall it was a very successful project, but it was not without many bumps and bruises – both political and operational. I hope to talk about the politics around that project a bit with CUCCIO members in Vancouver.”

Michael says the recent increased interest in shared services is linked to a CIO’s drive to make the most of their financial and human resources.

“I’ve never felt I had enough budget and people to do what was demanded of me,” he said. “I’m always looking for ways to leverage people and budget dollars, in order to provide more services for the same or less money.”

This can take many forms, Michael says, with the first step being to determine if there are key services you are currently delivering that can be commoditized, and that another campus could do cheaper or better for you.

But since the actual implementation of shared services arrangements is still a relatively new area, the process is not always as simple as it sounds.

“One of the challenges is that, in my experience, campuses are not always very sophisticated service providers,” Michael said. “They’re often used to a fairly informal set of service objectives and SLAs. In their ability to respond and provide 24/7 services, they’re fairly limited. So they must ask, to what extent does it make sense to ramp up capabilities, processes and personnel to be able to provide a third-party quality level? When a CIO says they have a service catalogue and they’re doing service management, it may be adequate, but there really is a leap from providing services to your own campus versus other campuses. I don’t think most campuses are ready to have a conversation about putting their counterparts’ needs in front of their own.”

Michael says personnel changes within an institution’s upper ranks can also pose challenges.

“Different leaders – from the President, to the Provost, to the CFO and even CIO – can have very different views on shared services. Some are open to it, and some are not,” he said. “Often an initial collaboration will get started, but then key leadership changes and things are derailed.”

Despite all the potential pitfalls, Michael still feels there can be a strong enough rationale – and a broad enough variety of models – to make shared services work.

“For one, there’s a case for thinking small,” he said. “If you have just two, three or four campuses working together, with similar missions and a good degree of trust, that can make a lot of sense. As you get larger, things get more complex. You have to ask how many conference calls you want to be on – there’s an overhead to that.”

“Another model is to have one larger institution providing excess services as an exchange. In Canada, you might have one or a few of your largest institutions receiving a large portion of available research money. So for them to have some excess capacity to serve smaller universities – that could make a lot of sense.”

“There are lots of different models and ways to govern. But since it’s a relatively new area, you need to invest a considerable amount of energy in governance to create these models,” Michael continued. “The choices you make around how to make things work, who makes the decisions, how communications will work – it all takes time. So you really need to determine if you are building a service that’s compelling enough – with enough savings and ROI – to pay you back for the time spent pulling it together. We can tend to overestimate value and underestimate cost.”

Michael says the concept of shared services is growing in the U.S., and that the trend toward moving services off campus will continue.

“The initiative in the States that’s received the most press is Unizin, which is being treated not so much as an IT initiative, but as an academic issue. They’re being very careful to get buy-in from the right academic folks, which might be a good strategy, but they’re being quite cagey about their goals and what they will accomplish.”

The most important distinction to make when exploring the world of shared services, Michael says, is the difference between cost-savings and a return on investment.

“When I was CIO at CSUCI, from 2008-2010, shared services was being presented as a way to save money during a tough economic time. The problem with that is when you’re in money saving mode – making cuts and layoffs – you don’t have time or money for anything new. And to take on shared services, even though you might save money in the long run, it still requires upfront investment in new hardware, travel, training, etc. You don’t just buy a new piece of software and lay-off 50 people. So where do you actually find the savings?”

For more information on CUCCIO’s member meetings, visit the website.

IT Security: Have Universities Become Targets?

A quick scan of the daily news will tell you that IT security is becoming an increasingly important issue to both the public and private sectors.

But what about academic institutions?

Often publicly funded, and frequent collaborators with both private and public sector research bodies, have universities become a focal point for today’s most innovative – and dangerous – hackers?

Paul Stokes is CIO at the University of Victoria.

“I’m one of the people who thinks we are a target – there’s no question,” he said. “We have risks in two primary areas – administration and research. From the administrative point of view, we hold big data over extended periods of time. With research, we have both research data and intellectual property. Just like any business, hackers are interested in PII [personally identifiable information] and we need to protect those digital assets.”

Similar to other challenges with higher ed IT management, Paul says IT security can be a question of resources.

“Most of us don’t have the funds corporations might have to feed massive security infrastructure – nor can we acquire the same expertise,” he said. “We work hard, but we’re limited by our resources. It’s not a complaint; it’s just not the same scale.”

Mike Langedock is CIO at the University of Manitoba.

“Why are universities being targeted? Because of their openness – it’s a part of our culture,” he said. “From a vulnerability perspective, that is the nature of who we are. We’re mostly government institutions, and with that comes a high expectation of access.”

Mike says that student expectations also make the balancing act between accessibility and security a difficult one.

“Students expect access to their personal records and grades as if they were in a bedroom filing cabinet, so how do we create the expectation of accessibility, with layers of security around it that actually take on personalization? People expect that if you could do it with bricks and mortar, you should be able to do it electronically too.”

Mike says there is a broad spectrum of IT security needs and audiences – from administrative, to student-related, to research. It’s the research world that’s often the most difficult to manage.

“We’re now challenged with how research is exponentially growing in terms of its reliance on IT, and how it is being propelled by IT services. We need to allow them to continue their work without limiting their capacity for storage, emailing, file sharing and so on,” he said. “Plus, through their ambitions to publish papers, researchers don’t always have a high concern for security or confidentiality, as you might learn from an auditor or administrator. Research has become a global enterprise, and you need the ability to connect with those services. You don’t need to build them on campus, but you need to ensure that access to them is secure, and that it’s being done in an identity-verified manner.”

To help address these challenges, both Paul and Mike feel that education and enhanced awareness of the risks – for all users – is fundamental.

“One new approach involves trying to save people from themselves. It’s providing people with the knowledge and tools they need to be mindful of their vulnerabilities as they work with technology. It’s almost like a self-governing model,” Mike said. “Depending on how you reach out to people, it could shift the cost from technical infrastructure to more of an educational piece. That’s innovative.”

“It always comes down to weakest link,” Paul said. “We can actively work on our security processes – data encryption, parameter protection, end-point firewalls, end-point protection, raising awareness and teaching – but typically, the weakest link is the human factor. For example, phishing scams are one of the top security weaknesses. In those cases, the weakest links are the people clicking on those links.”

“We help people make good choices in adopting security best practices for phishing, data storage, data transfer, etc. – it’s all about awareness and education.”

Still, both Paul and Mike agree internal and external audits are crucial components of any IT security strategy.

“Beyond security and privacy, there is the dimension of risk,” Paul said. “Whether from an overall institution or project point of view, we have to have a risk lens on. You need to choose to accept, mitigate or eliminate a risk – risk management is huge. The challenge is to be thinking about all three together, which lots of people don’t get.”

“Get third-party vulnerability tests,” he continued. “Looking at yourself is very different than having someone external look at you.”

The interplay between IT security, privacy and risk will continue to be a prominent discussion item at the next CUCCIO member meeting, February 17-19 in Vancouver. For more information on those meetings, visit the website.

Celebrating Innovation, Collaboration and Community

In the fast-paced world of higher ed IT, it can be difficult to pause and celebrate one’s successes.

That’s one of the reasons why this year, CUCCIO will roll out its first ever national awards program.

With the support of CUCCIO’s executive director, three leaders within the CUCCIO community – Graham Mowbray, Rick Bunt and Mark Roman – have come together to help kick-start the program.

Graham was Director of Computing and Communications at Memorial University until he retired in 2014. He says the timing is right for a CUCCIO awards program.

“CUCCIO is still a relatively young organization, but it’s come a long way in recent years,” he said. “It’s shown a lot of value in knowledge sharing and peer networking, and it’s quite obvious that CUCCIO members learn, share experiences and take advice from one another. The awards, in that context, are a way of highlighting excellence in what CUCCIO is doing. I see the awards as another rung on the CUCCIO ladder.”

The inaugural CUCCIO Awards will be held on Thursday, June 18, 2015 at the CANHEIT Gala Dinner, at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton.

With so much innovative and collaborative IT work taking place on campuses across the country, Graham believes the awards will help further facilitate the information-sharing function that provides CUCCIO members with so much value.

“IT is a constantly moving target,” he said. “IT generally moves faster than other areas, such as the infrastructure side of things, and it has been that way for years. It can be difficult for any organization to keep up or create its own best-in-class systems, programs or approaches to solving problems with IT or IS. Through these awards, and through the community itself, CUCCIO can highlight what people have done that the rest of the community should sit up and take notice of.”

Rick Bunt is Professor Emeritus with the Department of Computer Science at the University of Saskatchewan. Before retiring in 2014, he was CIO and Associate Vice-President of ICT for close to 13 years.

“The awards will shine light on some of the great things the IT teams in higher ed institutions in Canada are doing,” Rick said. “In my experience, we struggle sometimes to have universities fully appreciate the incredible business support initiatives that their IT organizations do. Too often, IT shops in universities are simply seen as under the covers, behind the scenes workers, as opposed to business enablers or strategic enablers. This will really help to demonstrate the value IT and IT workers bring to universities.”

Three awards will be presented: the Innovation Award, the Collaboration Award and the Community Building Award. Rick sees the awards program providing value to all members of the CUCCIO community – not just the winners.

“A high tide floats all the boats,” he said. “We will all benefit by recognizing and casting light on some of the great things being done. We’ll be able to go after some of those audiences who aren’t always strong in their recognition of the value of IT, and say, ‘Look what’s being done.’”

Reflecting on the work of CUCCIO members over the past few years, Rick says there are many examples of successful projects that would have been deserving of this type of recognition.

“With the Canadian Access Federation, for example, it was a small team representing a small group of institutions that did the initial work, but the benefit is much more broadly felt. Good work catches on. That’s been one of the real strengths of CUCCIO. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and people learn from what others have done.”

Mark is CIO and Associate Vice-President of ICT at the University of Saskatchewan.

“We need to create a bit of a legacy for CUCCIO, and some form of recognition of the efforts people put into this,” he said. “In this line of work, it’s a full court press every day. People don’t have time for a lot of extra stuff, so putting these awards in place recognizes that people are taking time out of their personal lives to do this – and that’s important.”

Mark believes winners of the inaugural CUCCIO Awards will represent universities of all sizes, working on projects of all types.

“Maybe it’s a project management or governance model. It might be related to how you approach supporting a particular research problem or supporting a data centre. On the teaching and learning side, it might be related to how you approach a MOOC or a hybrid learning model that enhances pedagogy. This will not only improve CUCCIO; it will improve the entire higher ed IT landscape in Canada.”

Most meaningful to Mark are those projects that are both successful locally and can be applied – or at least learned from – globally as well.

“I think the program will celebrate things we can all use,” he said. “There are lots of projects that are unique and special for one university, but it would be really interesting to see projects we can all use.”

The inaugural CUCCIO Awards will be presented on Thursday, June 18, 2015 at the CANHEIT Gala Dinner, at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton. The Call for Nominations is set to open early February, and will be open to CUCCIO member institutions until March 30.

To learn more about the CUCCIO Awards, or to submit your nomination, visit:

University of Alberta Announces Partnership with CUCCIO and Compute Canada for Joint 2016 Conference

The University of Alberta, a leading teaching and research institution in Canada, has announced today a partnership with CUCCIO and Compute Canada to host a joint conference in 2016. The conference will combine two annual national conferences, CANHEIT, under the direction of CUCCIO, and the High Performance Computing Symposium (HPCS), under the direction of Compute Canada.

The joint event will offer a platform to cultivate the latest best practices, opportunities and challenges in advanced research computing and IT in higher education. CANHEIT will provide discussion on challenges and opportunities within the higher education environment. HPCS will provide insight into new tools, techniques and discoveries in computational intensive research.

“As Canada’s community of leaders in higher ed IT, CUCCIO is very pleased to have our annual conference – CANHEIT – hosted in collaboration with HPCS at the University of Alberta in 2016,” said Lori MacMullen, Executive Director of CUCCIO. “CANHEIT is our opportunity to bring our member community together each year to discuss the latest issues and trends in higher ed IT – from security to shared services and more. Joining forces with HPCS will create an excellent, expanded opportunity for networking and sharing best practices, by connecting members and their staff with Canada’s advanced research and computing community."

"Each of our communities relies on and benefits from world-class digital infrastructure and technical expertise, whether it's to improve the delivery of higher education, or to support leading-edge research that impacts the lives of Canadians,” says Mark Dietrich, President and Chief Executive Officer of Compute Canada. “Much of the excellent research Compute Canada supports begins in the universities that make up CUCCIO's membership. Hosting a joint event gives us the chance to further strengthen the existing collaborations between our two organizations, and will expose attendees to a more diverse and impressive exchange of ideas and innovations.”

The conference will be held at the Centennial Centre for Interdisciplinary Science (CCIS) on the University of Alberta campus in Edmonton from Sunday June 19, 2016, to Wednesday June 22, 2016. Attendees will include faculty, computational researchers in academia, industry and government, technical experts, vendors, and IT professionals in the higher education community across Canada.

About UofA

The University of Alberta in Edmonton is one of Canada’s top teaching and research universities, with an international reputation for excellence across the humanities, sciences, creative arts, business, engineering, and health sciences. Home to more than 39,000 students and 15,000 faculty and staff, the university has an annual budget of $1.75 billion and attracts more than $460 million in sponsored research revenue. The U of A offers close to 400 rigorous undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs in 18 faculties on five campuses—including one rural and one francophone campus. The university has more than 260,000 alumni worldwide. The university and its people remain dedicated to the promise made in 1908 by founding president Henry Marshall Tory that knowledge shall be used for “uplifting the whole people.”


CUCCIO is Canada’s community of information technology leaders in higher education, working together to help Canadian universities excel through the innovative and effective use of IT. Incorporated in 2006, CUCCIO is the result of almost 40 years of information-sharing, collaboration, knowledge creation and advocacy among provincial and regional associations of IT leaders in post-secondary education. Today, CUCCIO is a non-profit, member-funded corporation representing more than 50 universities Canada-wide, who collectively serve over 90% of Canada’s university students.

About Compute Canada

Compute Canada, in partnership with regional organizations ACENET, Calcul Québec, Compute Ontario and WestGrid, leads the acceleration of research innovation by deploying state-of-the-art advanced research computing (ARC) systems, storage and software solutions. Together we provide essential ARC services and infrastructure for Canadian researchers and their collaborators in all academic and industrial sectors. Our world-class team of more than 200 experts employed by 35 partner universities and research institutions across the country provide direct support to research teams. Compute Canada is a proud ambassador for Canadian excellence in advanced research computing nationally and internationally.

Universities from western, central and eastern Canada honoured at inaugural CUCCIO Awards Gala at CANHEIT 2015 in Fredericton

June 23, 2015. Fredericton, NB. Winners of the inaugural CUCCIO Awards were announced on Thursday, June 18 at the annual CANHEIT conference at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton.

Celebrating collaboration, innovation and community, institutions from Saskatchewan, Ontario and Atlantic Canada received awards at the June 18 gala.

“This awards program is designed to celebrate Canada’s higher ed IT community and its contribution to the Canadian higher education landscape,” said Lori MacMullen, Executive Director of CUCCIO. “As we launch the CUCCIO Awards program, our goal is to make these awards synonymous with IT excellence in higher education. We hope all nominees, finalists and CUCCIO members take a moment to be proud of the work they do every day to support the innovative, effective and efficient use of IT in support of their institutional mandates in teaching and learning, research and administration.”

The CUCCIO Awards program is based on three award categories: Collaboration, Innovation and Community.

The NB / PEI Education Computing Network (ECN) won the inaugural Collaboration Award.

“The NB / PEI ECN is one of the most successful higher-ed IT consortiums in Canada,” said Terry Nikkel, Associate Vice President of Information Technology Services at the University of New Brunswick, who accepted the CUCCIO Collaboration Award on behalf of the group. “We have learned how to work together effectively, with the common goal of deploying leading-edge technology across the ECN – whose members range in size from a few hundred student FTEs, to many thousands – while reducing overall IT costs for all.”

The University of Toronto’s Online Proctoring Pilot Project won the inaugural Innovation Award.

“Online proctoring was – and still is – so new in Canada that many hadn’t even heard of the concept,” said Fareed Teja, Academic Information and Communication Technology Supervisor at the University of Toronto’s Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, and recipient of the Innovation Award. “Through this pilot, we have been able to develop and share our own best practices, highlight nuanced issues, and serve as a case study for others wishing to tackle the issue of academic integrity in online test taking.”

Winner of the inaugural CUCCIO Community Award was Jeff Gardiner, Chair of CUCCIO’s Security Information Group (SIG) and Chief Information Security Officer at University of Western Ontario.

“Through Jeff’s leadership, the CUCCIO Security Information Group has become a close community where collaboration is encouraged and sharing takes place in abundance,” said Mark Roman, Chair of CUCCIO’s Board of Directors, and CIO & Associate Vice President at the University of Saskatchewan. “I have belonged to many different groups like this in the past, but the CUCCIO SIG is by far the most useful for me as a Canadian security professional in higher education. Jeff deserves some recognition for his efforts and the tangible and real results he has delivered. I fully appreciate his commitment to making the entire higher education space a safer place to work and share data.”


Get with the Program

Next week, the annual CANHEIT conference kicks off at UNB in Fredericton – and while there will be plenty of east coast charm to welcome delegates, it’s the conference program that will really make the CANHEIT experience meaningful.

Wayne Hansen is Student Technology Manager at UNB Saint John. He’s also a contract academic for the university’s Faculties of Arts and Computer Science. He has served on the CANHEIT program committee before, but this year was his first as Program Co-Chair – alongside his colleague, Peter Jacobs, UNB ITS’s Director of Research Support Services.

“Over the last couple of years, we’ve really seen the CANHEIT program put technology into a broader context,” Wayne said. “It’s clear CANHEIT attendees are thinking about how IT impacts faculty members and students. It’s nice to see the realization within IT departments that technology is having a broad effect.”

He says part of what makes this year’s program special is that the program committee gave presenters lots of freedom in selecting their specific presentation topics.

“By looking at the EDUCAUSE Top 10 Trends and past CANHEIT programs, and by drawing from discussions at CUCCIO members meetings, we narrowed in on seven streams, but within those streams, we really gave folks a blank slate,” Wayne said. “Because we took such a high-level approach, it gave presenters lots of leeway, and as a result, this year’s program has great representation across geography and disciplines. It’s one of strongest programs I’ve ever seen.”

One topic Wayne says features prominently throughout the program is security.

“From assessing threats and risks in post-enterprise environments, to an information security panel, to developing secure web applications and more, the security stream is really strong, with representation across the country from many institutions,” he said. “It’s a really hot issue right now.

“We’re also seeing a major emphasis on technology’s impact on teaching and learning,” Wayne continued. “We often talk about service delivery, and various aspects of technology through an IT lens, but this year, for perhaps the first time, there’s a really strong teaching and learning component.”

Wayne says it’s great to see a growing number of presenters come from positions outside the traditional IT department. To him, it means that a growing population is interested in issues that were perhaps previously relevant only to IT professionals.

“The category with perhaps the most sessions is the ‘ever-changing technology’ stream, which looks at where technology is now, and where it is going,” he said. “It will be interesting to see where people take it – from digital convergence, to using a book club to support organizational change, to seven IT ideas to change the world, to really technical talks on things like addressing IPV6. It just goes to show that IT is evolving, and that people on the ground are thinking about it.”

Wayne says that’s what CANHEIT is all about: identifying what is foremost on the minds of Canadian higher ed IT community members, and then providing an environment for engagement.

“It’s all about identifying what the trends are and making sure you capture them, without being afraid of stepping outside the comfort zone and giving presenters freedom to get creative,” he said. “CANHEIT is doing a great job of giving people a forum through which to discuss what is important to them.”

Visit the complete CANHEIT 2015 program.

Congratulations are in Order

The CUCCIO Awards program is designed to honour individuals, groups or institutions whose work exemplifies CUCCIO’s efforts to build and support Canada’s higher ed IT community. The awards will be presented for the first time on June 18, as part of CANHEIT 2015.

Here’s what the 2015 CUCCIO Awards finalists had to say about their nominations.

2015 CUCCIO Collaboration Award

Recognizing initiatives that promote collaboration within the higher education IT, the finalists for the 2015 CUCCIO Collaboration Award are the NB/PEI ECN Shared Services Project, Wilfrid Laurier University’s Active Learning Classroom Initiative and the Ontario PeopleSoft Shared Responsibility Initiative.

“The NB/PEI ECN (Education Computing Network) has been operating for 45 years, and has a well-developed governance and financial model and framework. We have long-since learned how to work together effectively, with the common goal of deploying leading-edge technology across the group – whose members range in size from a few hundred to many thousand full-time students – while reducing overall IT costs for all. I am impressed that it has done so for a long time, meeting the diverse IT needs of its institutions efficiently and without much conflict or debate. We are all committed to doing a great job for all.”

“The CUCCIO Awards have been a long time coming, and the fact that they are now a reality reflects the increasing maturity of CUCCIO as the leading proponent and champion for higher ed IT services in Canada.”

- Terry Nikkel, Associate Vice President, Information Technology Services, University of New Brunswick

“Our Active Learning Classroom project is a strong example of team collaboration because it responds to the changing needs of students and advances in technology. In September 2014, we launched our second purposefully designed Active Learning Classroom, the success of which was dependent on the collaboration of several academic and administrative units who might not normally work together, such as the Faculty of Arts, our VP Academic, Physical Resources, Teaching Support Services, the Registrar’s Office and ICT. By working together we created a social working environment.”

“As far as I am aware, the CUCCIO Awards program is the only way individuals who work in IT can be recognized for their contribution in higher education in Canada.”

- Gary Wagner, Manager, ICT Technical Support Waterloo, Information and Communication Technologies, Wilfrid Laurier University.

“The Ontario PeopleSoft Shared Responsibility Initiative (OPSRI) was formed by over a dozen colleges and universities as an outcome of the Productivity and Innovation Fund (PIF) study to identify potential collaboration opportunities. Active participants are already experiencing the measurable impact and planned benefits as they share and collaborate with various types of knowledge content. The recognition we’ve received by being selected as a finalist will help significantly increase the visibility and awareness of the collaboration initiative project and provide future rewards and benefits.”

“The three categories of Collaboration, Innovation and Community for CUCCIO Awards is an excellent and visible way to recognize and celebrate significant efforts in these areas. CUCCIO is to be commended for the establishment of this program as a means of both encouraging and recognizing advances that benefit higher education in Canada.”

- James W. Carse, Director, Project Portfolio Office, Queen's University ITServices

2015 CUCCIO Innovation Award

Recognizing innovative work that has led to significant technological advances in support of teaching, learning, research or administration, finalists for the 2015 CUCCIO Innovation Award include University of Saskatchewan’s University Cloud Hosted Storage Initiative, University of Waterloo’s Student Portal and University of Toronto’s Online Proctoring Pilot Project.

“Cloud storage in and of itself is not particularly novel in 2015. Our challenge was to find a way to provide cloud storage that meets the needs of a diverse community, while remaining mindful of issues of data control and sovereignty. At a time when an entire IT industry is promoting cheap, ready-to-use cloud services, our innovation was in finding a way to provide those same types of services while retaining control of our institutional data. In addition, we were able to layer our in-house cloud storage solution atop an existing local file storage service, avoiding the challenge of giving our community yet another place to store (and thus have to look for) their files.”

“Any opportunity to showcase success at our institutions and in our industry is valuable. We all face similar challenges, and highlighting some of our community’s best work in meeting those challenges contributes to the optimism and sense of community that is an important distinguishing characteristic of higher ed IT.”

- Chad Coller, Director, ICT Platform Services, University of Saskatchewan

“The Student Portal is all about simplifying and enhancing the student experience by delivering just-enough, just-in-time information in a one-stop shop. It aggregates existing academic and campus information to deliver time-sensitive content such as exam times and locations, real-time study space and computer lab availability, campus food outlet specials, real-time bus schedules and approaching academic deadlines. The Portal is a strong example of innovation because it provides choice – allowing students to have a tailored, personalized experience based on their preferences – in a clean and responsive design they can access on any device.”

“The CUCCIO Awards are an exciting opportunity to share and learn from colleagues across Canada. It’s also a great way to recognize the outstanding work happening in the Canadian higher ed IT community.”

- Andrew McAlorum, Manager, Web Development and Support, Information Systems & Technology, University of Waterloo

Online proctoring was (and still is) so new in Canada that many hadn’t even heard of the concept. As such, it was vital that we took a systematic approach in researching, implementing and evaluating the use of this service in high-stakes online exams – we had no best practices to refer to. Through this pilot, we have been able to develop and share our own best practices, highlight nuanced issues and serve as a case study for other’s wishing to tackle the issue of academic integrity in online test taking.”

“Recognizing outstanding contributions through the CUCCIO Awards provides an opportunity to raise the profile of IT in higher education. IT is a huge support to reaching institutional and departmental goals, and this national acknowledgement sheds light on the brilliant work being done by IT professionals in higher education.”

- Fareed Teja, Academic Information and Communication Technology Supervisor, University of Toronto

In addition to being celebrated at the June 18 CUCCIO Awards gala, each of these six finalists will present their initiatives as part of the CANHEIT 2015 program.

A Community-building Conference, in More Ways than One

Anyone in event management knows there’s always more that goes into an event than meets the eye.

But the same can be said for what a host gets out of an event – and that’s certainly the sentiment this year’s CANHEIT host is taking into the three-day conference.

Terry Nikkel is Associate Vice President, Information Technology Services at UNB. He’s been working with his team to organize this year’s event, since shortly after CANHEIT 2014 wrapped.

“We know the people at PEI and the people who hosted the year before that, so there’s lots of experience to draw on,” Terry said. “We’ve also had some conversations around what we liked, what we didn’t, and what we’d copy or adapt from previous years. This year is intended to be a combination of existing things we liked, as well as some entirely new components for CANHEIT attendees to enjoy.

As Terry explains, the fact that CANHEIT is taking place at UNB Fredericton is actually quite serendipitous.

“It originally wasn’t intended that CANHEIT would be in the east at all,” he said. “But since CAUBO is in Saint John prior to our dates, the idea is to leverage the opportunity to exchange sessions, bringing the two groups together to help develop those relationships.”

Terry says it’s a coincidence that has worked out wonderfully for UNB, and that acting as host organization has been a fulfilling experience.

“One of the nice things about CANHEIT is that the host gets to put its own stamp on it,” he said. “There is a fair bit of freedom for the CANHEIT host organization, which I think adds to the enjoyment.”

“My team also draws a lot of enjoyable experience from putting the conference together and welcoming guests,” Terry said. “It’s good for my staff – it gives them experience with new organizational tasks and networking with people in a different way.”

Looking ahead to the conference, Terry thinks that delegates will particularly enjoy the keynotes and vendor presentations.

“The vendor experience is going to be particularly good because everybody’s going to be in the same place – 25 of them – all having displays in a single facility,” he said. “It’s an opportunity for CANHEIT attendees to explore the latest and greatest, and we’re lucky at UNB to have a really big space through which to give them such strong exposure.”

While Terry has acted as team lead for this year’s CANHEIT host organization, he says it all comes back to his team and the work they’ve put into the project.

“My job has been made much easier and much more straightforward by having an excellent team to call upon,” he said. “Our dedicated project manager makes sure thousands of details are looked after. We’ve been spreading out the work and we’ve had eager and happy participation. It’s not just UNB’s ITS team, but also conference services, food services, facilities people, classroom technology, our Saint John staff. It’s absolutely great team building. People who don’t typically work together are working together very well. It’s going to be a great conference.”

For more information on CANHEIT 2015, visit the website.