Information Technology Services at The University of Iowa

IT Security Day 2012 is coming in October

September 24th, 2012

Security Day 2012 banner

Please join your colleagues and panel of presenters on 17 October for IT Security Day 2012, to learn how to better calculate risks, layer defenses and increase efficiencies within your areas. Click here to register for IT Security Day 2012 to register and view the day’s agenda.

Funding available for faculty interested in teaching with technology

September 21st, 2012

University of Iowa faculty members have a chance to pursue funding for technology projects through the Innovations in Teaching with Technology Award program. Proposals will be accepted through Oct. 17, and a total of $100,000 will be awarded.

The program aims to raise the level of teaching and learning at the UI by supporting significant and innovative instructional technology projects that impact student success and retention. The Academic Technologies Advisory Council looks for proposals that use collaborative learning strategies and emerging technologies that are new to the UI.

Priority will be given to proposals with potential for replication across the university. Cross-disciplinary projects are encouraged, though not required. Proposals geared toward the instruction of undergraduates are also encouraged, though the program is not limited to undergraduate education.

The number of awards will be determined by the quality of applications. Applications can be made to support the costs of hardware, software, and personnel. Funding is not available for faculty salaries or for projects that are technologically sophisticated but not oriented toward participatory learning. The advisory council will select applicants to interview, and will request a detailed budget, project timeline, and milestones for the second round of reviews.

In addition to funding support, recipients receive resources and consultation time with instructional services staff members from Information Technology Services (ITS). For pilot projects with potential for a “Phase II” follow-up project, instructors have an opportunity to compete for a second award.

Award winners must assess the impact of technology on student learning in a particular course and make two presentations about the award to UI campus audiences. They are expected to contribute to a culture of teaching excellence by disseminating the results of their efforts through workshops, publications, demonstrations, mentorships, wikis, or other peer-to-peer learning opportunities.

Winning proposals from previous years can be viewed here, and a summary of proposals submitted and awarded since the program is available here. Additional details are available in the application guidelines.

For more information, contact Les Finken at 319-335-5467, or e-mail

ITS plays key role in transition to all-in-one ID cards

July 24th, 2012

Iowa One card

Information Technology Services is playing an important role in the transition to new university identification cards that will also serve as proximity cards to access buildings or rooms on campus.

“Prox cards” offer higher security than keys because when they are lost, or when the cardholder leaves the university, the cards can be deactivated remotely. The Directory and Authentication (DNA) team in ITS-Administrative Information Systems is heavily involved in the project, working in partnership with UI Police, Facilities Management, and the Treasury Office.

The new Iowa One Cards converge electronic identity (HawkID) and physical identity (ID card and prox card). DNA Team leader Chris Pruess co-led the identity convergence project and participated in planning the Iowa One re-carding project. She was also instrumental in the redesign of the card and reviewing the request for proposals for the banking relationship aspect of the card.

Last summer, the DNA team accepted technical support responsibilities that had previously been provided to the ID Card Office through the College of Engineering. As part of the transition, DNA upgraded the Iowa One Card management system to contemporary technologies and performed Social Security Number remediation. Since then, the DNA team has been steadily adding needed features and functionality.

To fully utilize the prox functionality integrated in the new Iowa One plastic card, multiple upgrade projects are planned in the ID Card system, electronic access control systems, and identity management tools and processes. The ITS DNA and Server Support Team (SST) and Facilities Management Key and Access Services are working hard on upgrades to the access-management systems, Millennium and AMAG. Going forward, DNA will continue to add major new support responsibilities for the data management in the access control systems.

“ITS and the University of Iowa appreciate the skills and expertise the DNA Team is contributing to the Iowa One Card project,” says ITS-AIS Senior Director Mike Noel. “This project accommodates the growth in use of electronic access control and is important to the security of our campus. The change should also add convenience for UI students and employees, who will now have one less card to carry.”

Read more about the Iowa One Card’s new look and functionality in this Iowa Now story.

UI joins global wireless network eduroam

July 13th, 2012

Woman uses an iPad in front of the Old Capitol.

If you’ve traveled to other schools to visit friends, collaborate in research, or take part in a conference, you’ve probably had to track down a guest ID for wireless service. You’ll have to do that less often thanks to a recent enhancement to the University of Iowa wireless network. Find the full story here.

A platinum record: Information Technology Facility is UI’s first building with top LEED certification

June 26th, 2012

The front of the ITF building.The new University of Iowa Information Technology Facility (ITF) has become the first building on campus to earn LEED Platinum certification—the ultimate standard for green design.

The LEED Platinum-certified Information Technology Facility will house and protect computing and network equipment that is vital to the operations of the university and its hospitals and clinics.

Completed in December 2011 after three years of construction and seven years of planning, the 43,000-square-foot, $30 million facility will house and protect computing and network equipment that is vital to the operations of the university and its hospitals and clinics.The facility provides a secure and reliable home for the university’s IT systems. Its “hardened” outer shell is built to withstand severe weather, and backup electrical and cooling systems are designed to keep essential technology up and running if the primary utility systems supporting them were to fail. Two 7,200-square-foot data halls meet the ventilation and air conditioning requirements for servers and provide space for high-performance research computing.

“Data centers are among the most energy-intensive facilities you’ll find on a campus. To build ours to LEED Platinum standards speaks volumes about the UI’s commitment to energy conservation and sustainability,” says UI President Sally Mason. “Our goals for a sustainable university are stated in our strategic plan and 2020 Vision sustainability targets, and this major accomplishment significantly helps to bring those aspirations to reality.”

Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council, the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) system measures sustainability in site selection, water efficiency, energy sources and consumption, materials and resources, air quality, and other environmental considerations. The ITF is believed to be the first educational institution data center certified as LEED Platinum. In 2011, only 20 higher education buildings in the country achieved LEED Platinum status, according to a report in Scientific American.

Full story in Iowa Now:

ITS seeks courses for e-textbook pilot project

June 20th, 2012

This fall, University of Iowa students in participating courses will have a chance to try out electronic textbooks free of charge as part of a pilot project to examine the effectiveness of etexts.

Information Technology Services (ITS)-Instructional Services is teaming up with vendors Courseload and McGraw-Hill on the etext pilot project. The Courseload electronic reader and McGraw-Hill textbooks will be made available to students in participating courses at no charge during the fall semester. Students also have the option to purchase a print-on-demand version of the e-textbook.

ITS-Instructional Services, in collaboration with the College of Education, will investigate the relationships between etext usage and student learning, as well as whether etexts are more convenient and economical for students. The team was awarded a $20,000 CCUMC Donald A. Rieck Research Grant in support of the study.

The UI is one of 50 institutions participating in the pilot, which is sponsored by two higher education technology consortiums, Internet2 and EDUCAUSE.The benefits of the project include:

  • Free etext access for all students enrolled in the course
  • Full text available through print on demand (additional fee required if ordered from the vendor)
  • Easy access to the etext through ICON
  • Online or offline access to the etext
  • Availability of the content on most browsers
  • Ability for faculty and students to annotate or take notes within the textbook and to share with others in the course
  • Opportunity for the UI to assess use of etexts on our campus and help set direction for future use of etexts

Participation in this pilot is limited. Instructors interested in having their courses participate should contact Maggie Jesse, senior director of ITS-Instructional Services, at by July 1. 

Data center infrastructure work scheduled for June 9, 2012

May 30th, 2012

Work in progressOn Saturday, June 9, 2012, data center updates are planned between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m.

There will be a minimal impact to routing and files service links will not function during the upgrade.

See for a list of frequently asked questions about this work.

This is the second of four Infrastructure Days scheduled for 2012. Our next Infrastructure Day will occur on August 4, 2012. See for more information about Infrastructure Days.

Mac attack Flashback illustrates that Macs are not impervious to viruses

May 30th, 2012

Get out the iKleenexes; contrary to popular belief, Macs are not virus-free. Photo illustration by Tim Schoon.


As Macs become more popular with computer users, they also attract more attention from cyber-criminals. Don’t buy into the myth that Macs can’t get viruses; do buy into security measures offered by Information Technology Services.

UI Wireless is now part of eduroam

May 30th, 2012

The UI-Wireless-WPA2 network will still be available through the summer, so you can re-configure your wireless device anytime before then.

To configure your device for eduroam, visit the following site when you are on campus:

NOTE: In order to connect to eduroam, you will need specify your wireless username as “” Just using your Hawk ID will not work.A list of Frequently Asked Questions is available at: more information on eduroam in general (including a list of participating institutions), please check out the following URL:

If you have any issues configuring your device to connect to eduroam, please contact the ITS Help Desk at 319-384-4357.

UI recognizes ifolio and e-COI teams with IOWA Awards

May 11th, 2012

The IOWA award logo.The University of Iowa honored Information Technology Services and Research Information Systems staff members with Improving Our Workplace Awards this spring. IOWA Awards recognize UI employees who demonstrate initiative and innovation that has a positive impact in their workplace.

ITS recognized the recipients at a reception April 19. Associate Vice President and CIO Steve Fleagle thanked and congratulated the winners, noting that ITS and RIS are proud of the staff and partners involved with the projects, and that their hard work and accomplishments will benefit many people.

The ifolio team created an electronic portfolio for students. The University of Iowa and University of Northern Iowa partnered on the project, and the efficiency of this collaboration saved the state thousands of dollars. The UI had developed and deployed ifolio just as UNI was looking to replace its vendor-supported product. UNI found that ifolio was customizable, included more features, and saved the school about $20,000 per year in licensing fees. The two universities worked together to provide appropriate integrations to identity management systems, training for support staff and faculty, ongoing support for students, and local branding for each of the schools and departments.

The members of the ifolio team.

Members of the ifolio team were: Annette Beck and Sue Almen-Whittaker of ITS-Instructional Services; Andrew Rinner of ITS-Enterprise Services; Chris Pruess, Nick Roy, Gary Rogers, Greg Nims, and Rebekah Ahrens of ITS-Administrative Information Systems; and UNI staff members Aaron Thompson, Lori Seawel, Jason Vetter, Jeffrey Ries, and Donna Vinton.

“The ifolio project involved collaboration within the university community and across boundaries to UNI,” said ITS-Instructional Services Senior Director Maggie Jesse, who nominated the ifolio team. “This was a nice way to start that collaboration. It exemplifies cross-Regent communication, careful long-term planning, and measurable results. Congratulations to the staff from both universities.”

The eCOI Applications Team developed a consolidated electronic system to disclose potential conflicts of interest. Many faculty and staff face internal and external reporting obligations, and a new regulation increased the time involved with meeting federal-level reporting requirements. The Conflict of Interest in Research Office reached out to other university units responsible for complying with the reporting obligations, and together the team developed eCOI. The solution will eventually impact about 10,000 faculty and staff members by standardizing the process and saving them time.

The members of the eCOI team.

Members of the eCOI team were: Charlotte Talman of the Conflict of Interest in Research Office; Jose Jimenez, Gayle Elliott, and Ashok Vijayendra of Research Information Systems; Denise Krutzfeldt of UI Hospitals and Clinics’ Conflict of Interest Office; Diane Finnerty of the Provost’s Office; and Susan Zollo of the Continuing Medical Education Office.

“The award is well deserved, and I am thrilled that the group won,” said nominator Jim Walker, an associate vice president for research. “It’s a challenge to coordinate IT and personnel components of a project of this scope at a large institution. We were under a tight time frame, and I was impressed by how smoothly the team moved forward to create a consolidated system that meets diverse needs.”

Walker noted that the project could not have been successful without contributions from many other employees in Health Care Information Systems, ITS, and RIS. He thanked them for their efforts.

IOWA awards are given out each fall and spring. A committee of staff members from across the university reviews the nominations. Many excellent people and projects are nominated for IOWA Awards, and the nomination process is rigorous. Two ITS efforts won in the fall. Chris Pruess won an individual award for her work developing campus IT communities at the UI, and the Bus on the Go (Bongo) project won a team award. A campus-wide IOWA Award reception will take place May 22.