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The Senate of the Faculty met in Room 106 of the Law School.

Present: D. Adler (2), L. Blenman (PPP), A. Bomba, G. Buskes, F. Coles (PP), C. Cunningham, R. Dorsey (2), A. Elsherbeni, W. Gardner (1), F. Gilbert (1), R. Gordon (2), D. Graves, K. Green, F. Gu (1), L. Hanshaw* (P), L. Harper, F. Laurenzo, F. Love* (2,P), T. Marshall (P), H. Owens (P), J. F. Payne (3), J. S. Payne (1,PP), L. Pittman, S. Prasad (1,P), T. J. Ray, J. Reidy (3,P), S. Schreiber, E. Sisson (4), M. Slattery (P), K. Sufka (P), P. Temple (1), M. Tew, M. Van Boening, M. Vinson (1,P), Jay Watson (1), R. Westmoreland (1,P), C. Wyandt (P)

Absent: K. Beason (1,PP), N. Bercaw* (3,P), C. Dale* (1,PPP), A. Fisher-Wirth* (1,PP), R. Haws (1,P), J. Mizenko* (PP), C. Mullen* (P), D. Nichols (6), T. Ownby (3), R. Pulliam (1,P), W. Rayburn (5), S. Rodgers* (2,PP), D. Schlenk (2), N. Schroeder (6), W. Scott* (5,P), S. Skemp* (1,PP), L. Smith (1,P), K. Wakefield* (2,PP), John Watson (4,P), M. Wilder (3), J. Williamson* (1,PPP), J. Winkle* (1,P), E. Young-Minor* (5,P)

* = Prior Notification of Absence Given, (x) = number of absences this session

Chair Karen Green called the meeting to order at 2:05 and set the stage for the discussion that followed regarding administrative changes in the Office of Information Technology (OIT). The concerns of the Senate are primarily: what was the process, who was involved, and was the academic community represented. She then introduced Chancellor Khayat (RK) and Interim Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance Deloach (RD).

Chancellor Khayat stated that he appreciated the opportunity to communicate directly with the faculty and that there were two points of agreement: we have to have a state-of-the-art information technology system and that there have been significant challenges with information technology for some time. Provost Walton (GW), Associate Provost Staton (CES), RD and RK believe that it is essential to have the leadership we need in OIT, and concluded that we did not have luxury of casual consideration or extended discussion into how to address the problems. When Dr. Shankle retired after about 15 years, GW and CES chose to manage the system with a team of David Roach, Krista Vernon, Mary Harrington, and Buster Clark. A national search resulted in Cliff Woodruff assuming the position of Associate Vice Chancellor for Information Technology in June 1997.

The re-engineering effort began looking at OIT and reported in January, 1998, that there was a "crisis". If the network went down, we'd lose our ability to communicate and effectively close. RD was asked to assume oversight and moved his office to Powers Hall. After 3 weeks' analysis RD concluded that:1) we needed new leadership immediately from outside at OIT, 2) that the organizational structure was flawed, 3) the network problem was being addressed, and 4) some aspects of the Year 2000 problem were being addressed. Most work on the Year 2000 problem was stalled and that there were no plans in place to solve the problem--our date is October, 1998. Most administrative work is being performed on COBOL programs on legacy systems that are no longer supported by the vendor, and that there were no plans to migrate to more modern systems. The senior leadership at OIT was unable to develop plans, even when requested to do so by RD. RD then recommended: 1) An immediate change in leadership, 2) work on the organizational structure (complete by June, 1998), 3) stabilize and gain control of the network (complete by December, 1998), 4) solve the Year 2000 problem (complete by December, 1999), 5) improve the help desk (by December, 1998), 6) migrate to a new system (by June, 2000), and 7) comprehensively address academic computing (by June, 2001). And work on all these issues must occur simultaneously.

Executive Insights (EI), an information technology consulting firm, began work on February 16. They concluded that the Year 2000 problem is now being properly addressed, that the network system was capable of being put in state to serve the campus, and that new leadership was needed. On March 5 and 6, RD reviewed plans with GW, CES, and RK, and they endorsed the plans. The Personnel Office and EEO Officer agreed to the declaration of an emergency and to bypassing the search process, and RK declared a state of emergency. EI is continuing a rigorous review of the organizational structure, and in April a committee will be appointed to articulate a vision for academic computing. The university governance policies provide for filling an administrative position when an emergency exists, and the Chancellor is comfortable in saying that an emergency existed. The hiring process was conducted by the Chancellor's and Provost's offices. Other candidates were considered, comprehensive interviews were held, references were checked. The decision to hire Mr. Hale was unanimous.

Senator Hanshaw: When can faculty expect help in updating the computer systems on their desks? RD: The committee recommendations should be submitted by April, 1999--including the question of whether students should have computers. LH: Will the upgrade include hardware and software? RD: A comprehensive upgrade of hardware and software will begin this summer. The first system will be the financial system; second, student information services.

Senator Dorsey: In the "Huron committee" faculty recommended a client/server system and recommended another candidate because he strongly favored a client/server system while Mr. Woodruff did not. What is Mr. Hale's experience with client/server? RD: Nine year's management of computer resources here. He directed the installation of the first supercomputer. In the Federal Clerk's office he implemented systems. He is a bright and strong manager who understands computer technology. Mr. Hale can lead us from where we are to where we want to go. There is relative little client/server experience in OIT and Mr. Hale has modest experience--we will be looking to outside help for guidance. Senator Gilbert noted that many faculty have client/server experience and expertise, with the hope that this expertise would be utilized.

Chair Green: The Computer Committee has been dominated by OIT personnel, what will be the structure of the new committee? RD: It should operate like a Board of Directors with one OIT member, Mr. Hale. It should be small and needs a balance between academic computing and administrative computing.

Senator Reidy: There is a concern that important decisions are made by folks who admit they know little of the problem. Will the Board decide who the consultants will be? RD: I see the Board as oversight and leadership, but not bogged down in the selection of consultants.

Senator Payne: What experience does EI have at other campuses? How did Mr. Hale become known to EI? RD: CES and I recommended Mr. Hale, to EI. EI does not have experience on campuses other than a brief stint at the U. of Pennsylvania. They consult with the top 10 industries. I know folks who run quality IT shops and they recommended EI. Senator Reidy: I'm not sure that's good enough. Did you talk to other chancellors or vice chancellors? RD: The issues we saw were focused--leadership, planning, client/server, not academic computing.

Senator Ray: We're concerned about the process. Questions would not have been raised here, if there had not been other occurrences of an improper search. RK: I'd really like to know about any such instances. I have really tried to work with the Senate and have faculty representation on committees. TJR: Are we still committed to Huron? RK: We're committed to maintaining current systems until new systems are in place. Senator Cunningham: Given the timetable, this seems risky. RD: Not risky, but aggressive. The biggest impediment is to change the workflow to fit the system.

Senator Reidy: Were other candidates considered? RK: Internally. We and the consultants did not believe that the experience existed there. We did not believe that we had the time to revisit the search. I suggested Mr. Hale. RD: When I talked to IT shops, I asked if they would recommend candidates.

Senator Coles: Why not an acting or interim vice chancellor? RD: I don't believe you can hire a quality person in this situation and them make them compete for a job a year later. Senator Adler: Isn't there an in-between position between a single person and a full search? RK: This seemed to be the only practical solution. We received external confirmation from knowledgeable, objective sources.

Senator Gu: Will you please include the library? Senator Cunningham: As important as good management is attention to getting good technical people.

Mr. Deloach concluded by giving a current status report. When we referred to senior leadership we were not talking about Buster Clark, Mary Harrington, or Krista Vernon. Mrs. Harrington has submitted a plan for the Year 2000 problem. I believe we have people stabilized. Salary increases were implemented to stop the hemorrhage of personnel from OIT. We are working on migration to new systems. There is a current issue of network and user support. Last Monday night a hacker got into sunset. A 24-hour watch was placed on the system, and when the hacker began to modify the operating system, sunset was shut down Thursday. That is being addressed as we speak. Users have grown from 2,000 to 14,000 in 7 months, but we believe that capacity is adequate until January,1999.

The Faculty Governance committee requested that faculty inform them of instances where the hiring process has been violated in order to provide a list to the Chancellor.

The Senate passed a resolution that the proposed committee operate as a Board of Directors with a majority of members being faculty who do not hold administrative positions (moved, Ray; seconded, Temple).

Scott Wilkins, the president of the Associated Graduate Student Body, addressed the senate regarding AGSB actions, plans, and issues. One initiative is to ensure that all graduate TA's and instructors receive some sort of orientation. Graduate coordinators are asked to contact Mr. Wilkins at swilkins@cotton.vislab.olemiss.edu regarding current orientations in their departments or to discuss establishment of an orientation.

Chair Green announced that the lower parlors of the University House are now available for faculty functions at no charge. A procedure for reservations has not yet been established.

The meeting was adjourned at 3:56. Because the next regular meeting date falls on the Easter holiday, the next meeting of the Senate is Friday, April 17, at 2 PM.