Committee on Information and Communications Technology
Annual Report – FY09


The Committee on Information and Communications Technology addressed a series of topics over the course of FY09 in order to provide input and feedback regarding the use of information technology at Columbia University.  Key discussions are highlighted below.

The Committee continued its review and sponsorship of renaming the “Employee” role on ID cards to “Officer” and “Staff.”  “Officer” stickers were made available throughout FY09 for those who desired to append the stickers to ID cards already issued.  Beginning in FY10, newly issued ID cards (for new faculty, staff and students and as needed to replace expired or lost ID cards) will reflect the “Officer” and “Staff” rather than “Employee” nomenclature.

The Committee reviewed and endorsed recommended investment in replacing the current CourseWorks application (supporting faculty and student interaction and access to course resources) by a more robust application environment based on the Sakai open source technology.  Unfortunately, in light of the current challenging economic environment, the University later decided to defer this investment.

The Committee reviewed and endorsed the progress made by Accounts Payable in improving its service levels by leveraging electronic document management technologies and streamlining formerly paper-based processes.  The Committee also reviewed and encouraged plans for expanded leverage of electronic document management technologies to facilitate process improvement in other University areas.

The Committee hosted a dynamic exchange on security needs/opportunities as envisioned by our Computer Science faculty at SEAS vis-à-vis the security programs now in place at Columbia University, thereby integrating our best academic thinking into the administrative programs supporting Columbia.

In a joint meeting with the Libraries and Education Senate Committees, the Information Technology Committee reviewed and endorsed the recommendations of the Columbia University e-Science Task Force to more effectively leverage technology to advance the scientific research of the University.

Over several sessions, the Committee reviewed key deliverables and services provided by our central information technology organization, CUIT, focusing specifically on:

The Committee endorsed planned capital investments and process improvements in these areas.

The Committee reviewed and endorsed the need to invest in a new Student Financial Aid System given the loss of vendor support for the existing module that is part of the current Student Information System (SIS).  This requirement has been funded by Columbia University and has emerged as the top information technology investment priority for FY10.

The Committee discussed and drafted information technology requirements, considerations and recommendations associated with Columbia’s expansion to the new Manhattanville campus (separate report attached).  The Committee’s discussions and report have increased our understanding of the breadth and complexity of the Manhattanville challenges.

The Committee reviewed and endorsed the preliminary projection of FY10 IT priorities and investments.

Details are provided in the Committee meeting minutes, and interested Columbia community members are welcome to contact Candy Fleming or Sharyn O’Halloran (Committee co-chairs) to discuss any topic in more detail.


Senate IT Committee Report – Manhattanville IT Needs
May 2009


Columbia University is one of the leading academic and research institutes in the world, with sponsored research expenditure of $789 million in FY2006-2007. As Columbia expands its campuses to include the new Manhattanville site, it is imperative to foster a campus community and to maintain a sense of homogeneity with the main campus.  In this report we review the expansion of the main campus and consider how technology should enable seamless communications and access of resources from the users’ perspective.

This report reviews the current status of CU’s IT infrastructure and the IT requirements of the Manhattanville expansion phases, also taking into consideration how the additional demand may affect existing IT infrastructure of Columbia University. The committee has identified seven major areas of IT investment clustered into two tiers, including four broad infrastructure areas and three functional areas affecting the end users.

Tier I – Infrastructure
Network Infrastructure
Data Center
Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Planning
Public Safety

Tier II – Functional
Research Computing
Communications and Collaboration
Other User Requirements

For each major area, the Committee has considered the following topics:
Effect on Manhattanville
Key Requirements
Potential Options
Guidelines for Recommendation
Cost Considerations
Next Steps

We summarize our observations and recommendations below.

Tier I

Network Infrastructure

Data Center

Disaster Recovery (DR) and Business Continuity Planning (BCP)

Public Safety (electronic access, surveillance, monitoring)


Tier II

Research Computing Requirements

Communications and Collaboration

Other User Requirements
Other support needs will expand in volume and complexity given the campus and population expansion: